----- Πριν σας πω τι χασατε στο προηγουμενο επεισοδιο, δυο τρεις μικρες διευκρινησεις: Πρωτον σορρυ που το κειμενο ειναι τεραστιο, αλλα το σκεπτικο ηταν να καταφερουμε να βγαλουμε ολη την ιστορια σε πεντε περιπου παρτς, κι ητανε και φανταστικοποσα σεσσιονς να πουμε και μην ακουσω κανεναν να παραπονιεται γιατι μας βγηκε το λαδι να τα γραψουμε. Δευτερον θελω να διευκρινησω πως αυτη τη φορα μεγαλο μερος του κειμενου εχει γραφτει απο μενα, επομενως για οποιεσδηποτε αρπιτζιακες ανακριβιες, λαθη, ή παραπονα, ξερετε ποιον να κατηγορησετε, εδω σε μενα που τ'αλεθω ολα. Τριτον, θα ηταν καλο να σας ενημερωσω οτι το κειμενο δεν αναπαραγει σε καμια περιπτωση τα σεσσιον κατα γραμμα, ουτε εχει τοσο ως σκοπο να μεινει θρησκευτικα πιστο στο κλιμα του Vampire the Masquerade, παρα μονο να καταγραψει μια ομορφη βατη και για τους μη αρπιτζαδες αναγνωστες ιστοριουλα, επηρρεασμενη απο τα σεσσιονς και τους χαρακτηρες. Τεταρτον θελω απλα να πω οτι δεν θα ηταν ποτε η πρωτη μου επιλογη να γραψω στα αγγλικα γιατι ειμαι υπερμαχος της μητρικης μου γλωσσας, ειδικα οταν προκειται για δημιουργικη γραφη, αλλα εφοσον η ιστορια ξεκινησε στ'αγγλικα θα ητο τουλαχιστον ανοητο να κανουμε ξαφνικα τραμπα σ'αλλη γλωσσα και γιατι στον πεοτα σας απολογουμαι τωρα ενας θεος ξερει. Πεμπτον, δεν ξερω αν και ποτε θα υπαρξουν επομενα παρτς γιατι το εγχειρημα εχει αποδειχθει λιγο παραπανω φιλοδοξο και κουραστικο απ'οτι αρχικα υπολογισαμε. Εκτον, να ενημερωσω οτι το μπλογκ εμεινε κλειδωμενο τις τελευταιες δυο μερουλες για δημιουργικο ρετους και προσωπικη ανασυγκροτηση και γιατι στον πεοτα σας δινω αναφορα παλι ενας θεος ξερει. Και εβδομον και τελευταιο, θελω να ξερετε οτι αμα δεν αφηνετε κομεντς και απλα διαβαζετε μεσα απ'την κλειδαροτρυπα σαν τους ηδονοβλεψιες, εγω δεν ξαναγραφω τιποτα κωλοπαιδα, νταξει; Και τωρα Εντζοη! ----
Τι χασατε στο προηγουμενο επεισοδιο:
Η Αθηνα εχει γεμισει βαμπιρια κι εχουν ολα εντελως γκεη ονοματα οπως Τζιν Τονικ και Τζολι. Τεσσερα συγκεκριμενα βαμπιρια, ενας αρχαιολογος, μια θεατρινα, ενα πλουσιοπαιδο και μια μουρλη που την εχει δει σαμουραι, φτανουν στην πολη, ο καθενας για τους δικους του προσωπικους χαβαδες. Θα καταφερουν να γινουν ομαδα και ν'αρχισουν να τρωνε κοσμο; Θα ανεβασει η Μηντεα την παρασταση που ονειρευεται; Θα ανακαλυψει ο Αντονεν ποιος θελει να του φαει τα φραγκα; Τι ψαχνει να βρει ο Νειγκοστ; Γιατι λυσσαει η Τζο οποτε ακουει το ονομα V, και ποτε επιτελους θα παιξει μαπες με τη σεριφισσα Τζιν να χαρει ο λαος γκομενες κυλισμενες στη λασπη; Αποψε, η συναρπαστικη συνεχεια!
Jo Lee was strolling around Athens’ famous rock and roll neighborhood, Exarchia. She had just left an ambiguous goth club, feeling all refreshed and jolly after she got a quick taste of the local “cuisine”, and she was currently looking for a place to crash for the day. She admitted that it was a welcoming neighborhood, just like her old one back in N.Y., dark alleys and shady streets, it suited her. She was walking in a particularly dark and shady alley, when she suddenly felt an urged push, along with a stream of hot air. Before she could realize what it was, someone was grabbing her, forcing her onto the cold wall. She growled and tried to break free, but in vain. With a single inhumanly speedy stroke, a hairy hand shredded half her clothes and underwear. "What the fuck???” JoJo shouted and tried to shove off her attacker again, but again, failed miserably. She literally felt the Beast inside her howl, and she was sure to fall into berserk mode, when suddenly she heard an angry cry behind her back. The forceful pinning on the wall stopped at once.
She slowly turned around, baffled, only to see Medea standing above a hairy corpse. She was carefully cleaning her two long hairpins, which ended in two very small and sharp blades.
“You’re… you’re that bohemian chick from before… Medea, isn’t it?” she mumbled, still in shock.
Medea gracefully fixed the pins on her hair and smiled.
“Are you okay?” she asked Jo in a concerned, but singing tone.
“Uh… yeah… thanks”, Jo replied and looked at the hairy thing on their feet. She noticed that it had horns, and its feet were those of a goat. “What is this fucking hairball?” she whispered.
Medea cutely shrouded her shoulders.
“My guess is, it’s a Panas” she replied. “I haven’t actually met any of them before, but I’ve heard of them. They’re like, you know, goatgods…”
“You sneaky necrophiliac son of a bitch!” JoJo shouted, kicking the corpse right on the guts. “Man, this town is weird!”
Shortly after booking a room at the Great Britain, Neighost was walking into the bar of the posh hotel, with a couple of books under his armpit. He scanned the room, looking for Adonnen. He wasn’t very hard to find. He was sitting in a group of very uptight and seemingly rich people, enjoying a glass of fresh blood.
Neighost approached him and nodded politely.
“We need to talk... somewhere quietly. Do you have some time?”
Adonnen snobbishly glared at him, then stood up and excused himself from his company.
“I guess it wouldn’t make any difference if the answer was negative now, would it? I’d just have you follow me around like a leech…” he replied, and started walking to his room. Neighost murmured something not very nice under his breath and followed him.
“It’s about this Griffin company…the one that is after you” he ventured as they sat on the luxurious sofa in Adonnen’s room.
“And what would you know about that?” Adonnen asked with suspicion.
Neighost gave him a serious look.
“I’m willing to offer you my assistance. I have my share of information on Griffin, and it will be easier for us to snoop around if we have each other’s back”
“Oh, really?” Adonnen quarried. “And what’s the catch here? What’s your interest in Griffin?”
Neighost was ready to say something, when a soft knock on the door interrupted him. They both sat still for a minute, looking at the door. Then Adonnen stood up and walked towards the window.
“Will you get that?” he asked Neighost in a commanding tone.
“But it’s your room!” Neighost replied, somewhat insulted.
“I know…” Adonnen whispered indifferently and turned his back, gazing like a king down to the city lights.
“So who is this guy we’re meeting??...” screamed Medea .
“His name’s Marvin” JoJo screamed back. “He’s an obnoxious geeky fellow, but not of the bad kind”.
They were riding a motorbike that was too fast for Medea’s tastes, but not for JoJo’s. She had a soft spot for bikes, especially the fast and furious ones, and one of her first priorities after Marvin’s text message, was to acquire one in an almost legal manner.
They stopped in front of a common building and Medea eagerly jumped off the bike.
“So why are you seeing this Marvin?” she asked, desperately trying to bring her tangled hair back to its normal state.
JoJo tried to look aloof and not committed
“He’s got a little something for me. His text said I had to see for myself…” JoJo’s eyes shone like blades for a second. “No sweat, I’ll just be a minute. You stay put.”
Medea wasn’t sure what was going on, but decided to wait anyway. She awkwardly sat on the huge bike and looked at JoJo disappearing through the building’s front door.
JoJo was ecstatic. She had been looking for her Sire for a very long time and it seemed like Marvin finally got a lead on his whereabouts. She reached the third floor and was ready to knock on the door, when she realized that something was very wrong. Bloody wrong, to be precise. The door was half open and the room looked like it had witnessed a major battle. She reached for her katana and cautiously walked into the apartment. Blood was everywhere and a pile of ashes was indicating that someone, probably Marvin, had died, permanently.
“Fuck! Fucking fackety fuck!!” JoJo hissed.
She frantically started searching the apartment. After sweeping through a bunch of useless papers, she reached the computers. They were Marvin’s pride, but just like Marvin himself, not much was left of them. Four of the five machines were beyond repair, but the fifth seemed in a better state, although it had suffered a great deal of damage. She grabbed the hard disk and ran out of the apartment.
“Dude, I’m in some deep shit”, said the panting Jo to Medea as she started the bike. “Good thing you’re around, ‘cause I need your brains”.
Medea rode behind her, looking puzzled.
“Well, not in a literal way” JoJo smirked and started driving like the maniac she was.
“Good evening”, said the little girl on the door in a sweet voice.
Neighost’s perplexed face looked down at her.
“Uh... good evening…” he answered.
“Can I come in?” the little girl asked, and without waiting for a reply, she walked into the room holding hands with a middle aged man with a blank and empty stare. She had an adorable pink dress on and she was wearing her blond hair in delicate braids.
“You are new here” she continued happily. “It is always hard to be the new kid in school. There might be bullies. Bullies are scary... hm hmm”.
Her large blue innocent eyes wandered from Neighost to Adonnen and then back to Neighost.
“Who are you?” Neighost asked.
The little girl smiled widely at him.
“I am Lila” she answered. “I want to be friends with the new kids. Papa says that I have to be nice to the new kids. Isn’t that right Papa hm hmm?”
She looked at the middle aged man, but he didn’t reply. He kept staring at the wall with no sign of life in his gaze.
Adonnen seemed uninterested in her.
“We have no time for games little girl” he urged. “It would be better if you left”.
Lila smiled more widely.
“Oh, don’t be so mad that the big bird treated you bad mister Adonnen, hm hmm” she laughed.
It was Adonnen’s turn to look surprised
“What… How the hell do you know?” he shouted in an intimidating tone and angrily moved towards the little girl.
Neighost jumped right between them and waved at Adonnen to stand back. He kneeled down on one knee so that he’d be on the little girl’s eye level and he gave her a big kind smile.
“Don’t worry about him” he told her in a soft voice. “I’ll be your friend”.
Lila smiled and her face indicated that she would have blushed, if there was any blood running through her cheeks.
“You’re nice” she said to Neighost. “Here, these are my welcome gifts”.
Neighost reached out to take something from her hands. He looked at it. It was a handful of candy and three Tarot cards.
“Now I must go to sleep” she continued. “Papa will be very angry if I stay up past my bedtime, hm hmm”.
She turned to the door and started to leave.
“Wait!” Neighost shouted “What are these for?”
Lila opened the door, still holding the hand of the middle aged man, and quickly hoped out, humming a lullaby.
Neighost looked at the cards on his hands again. It was the seven of cups, the eight of swords, and the card of death.
“So what is this all about?” Medea asked. “You look like you’ve just seen a ghost”.
They were now in the room of a run down motel. JoJo wasn’t answering. She was trying to figure out how her new laptop worked. She had just "borrowed" it from the motel’s reception, but she didn’t know much about computers.
“You know, I cannot help you if you re not telling me” Medea shouted as she was starting to loose her patience.
Jo threw the laptop on the bed angrily and started pacing up and down the room, kicking her suitcase around and screaming incomprehensible things.
“Twenty five years!” she shouted, “Twenty five fucking years and once I get a break, that bonehead goes and dies on me! I can’t believe this shit!”
“Calm down Jo, you’re making no sense” Medea said, even more irritated.
Jo suddenly stopped and turned to her with a dead serious look.
“Hey, bohemian chick…” she whispered in an abruptly composed voice, “what’s your relationship with your Sire?”
Medea sighed and sat on the bed.
“Well, I don’t know my Sire” Medea started, “I was turned against my will. I was catching a late movie in an old theatre… someone was sitting behind me. It was just the two of us in there. I don’t remember much. I woke up with an insane thirst… and that’s about it. I had to figure out the rest on my own.”
JoJo’s eyes shone once again, and Medea noticed a hint of compassion in them.
“Then you know…” JoJo whispered. “You know what it’s like, to be abandoned, to be left, to wonder around for years not knowing what you are, what you’ve become. Our only difference is, I know who my Sire is. And he’s gonna pay for what he did to me”.
“You wanna kill your Sire???” Medea asked, shocked. “You know that’s against the Camarilla laws, right? You can’t kill a fellow Kindred without permission, especially your Sire. They’ll be after you. You’ll be as good as dead!”
Jo sat on the floor. She started stroking her katana with genuine affection.
“The Camarilla…” she mumbled. “Those hypocritical pieces of shit… they’re all about their laws and their pride. It’s all for show, an ancient circus run by ambitious power driven bastards. It’s also against the law to turn someone and then abandon them without proper training on the vampire ways, you know. Where was the Camarilla and their righteousness when our Sires left us?”
Medea lowered her eyes in agreement.
“Besides,” JoJo continued in a suddenly jolly tone, “who said anything about killing him? That will come last…” She jumped up all happy and cheerful again. “Now, can you gimme a hand with this junk?”
“That hard disk, that Marvin guy,” Medea asked as she placed the laptop in front of her, “they’ve got something to do with your Sire, right?”
“Ok, let me try it. I can sing one or two songs for it”.
Medea’s fingers started dancing around the keyboard.
“By the way…” Jo said very seriously, “thanks for everything bohemian ch… Medea”.
“Don’t mention it, samurai biker chick” Medea said with a smile on her beautiful face, and continued playing with the laptop.
After the little girl’s departure, Neighost and Adonnen were caught up in an awkward silence. Neighost finally spoke.
“What the heck was that?” he wondered.
“I couldn’t care less… let’s get back to business” Adonnen replied indifferently. “So, your reason for wanting to help me is….?” he asked.
“All you need to know for now is that I am informed there is some valuable ancient knowledge hidden within this Griffin company… and I’m a sucker for knowledge” Neighost replied.
Adonnen stood silent for a minute.
“I guess I have no reason not to trust you…” he stated. “But if you try anything funny…”
“I don’t do funny” Neighost said with a smile. “Now, I am also informed that the company’s main offices reside in Piraeus. What do you say we go check it out?”
“Piraeus…” Adonnen said amused. “This should be interesting…”
Medea brought the system back to life with a couple of swift moves.
“Oh look!” she moved her face closer to the laptop screen “It seems there’s some kind of security videogame... This late Marvin fellow sure was resourceful”.
Jo looked at the screen. There was a small cartoon with Marvin’s head cut-out photo smiling at them and pointing to a text:
"At night they come without being fetched
And by day they are lost without being stolen"
“You gotta be kidding me” said Jo and pushed a couple of random buttons. The Marvin cartoon jumped around and gave her the finger.
“I think we must type in the correct answer” Medea said calmly. “Let’s see.... this is something I heard before... I know…”
She typed in the word "stars". The Marvin cartoon danced a victory dance and pointed to another text:
"I never was, I am always to be,
No one ever saw me, nor ever will
And yet I am the confidence of all
To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball"
“I don’t know this one. Maybe we should try it again tomorrow... it’s getting late” Medea suggested.
“No!” Jo shouted... “I know this one, gimme this junk”
She grabbed the laptop and typed the word "tomorrow”. The Marvin cartoon danced a different victory dance and pointed to another text:
"Runs over fields and woods all day
Under the bed at night sits not alone
With long tongue hanging out,
Awaiting for a bone"
'This is soooo lame…” It was Jo’s turn to complain. “Is it a dog?”
“Hmm, that would be too easy” Medea thought out loud. “Under the bed… Try ‘shoes’”.
JoJo typed the word and the result was a tiny polka dance which ended at another text:
"There was a green house
Inside the green house there was a white house
Inside the white house there was a red house
Inside the red house there were lots of babies"
“Maybe some kind of fruit... the babies could be seeds” said Medea.
“Green, white, red.... watermelon?” Jo shouted with enthusiasm.
It was the right answer. The Marvin cartoon announced : ''Four down and one more to go''. The last riddle appeared on the screen:
"The beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of the end
and the end of every place"
“Jeez, I have no idea” said Jo.
“Me neither” seconded Medea.
They thought and thought and typed and typed, but got the finger every time. Jo was almost ready to break the damn thing.
(Dear readers, leave your interesting and creative responses in the comment section below)
After typing the last answer, the Marvin cartoon blew kisses and the screen went black. Then suddenly, blueprints of the Griffith building in Pireus appeared on the screen.
“Blueprints?” Medea wondered.
“Hey, ain’t that name, Griffin, familiar?” Jo pondered. “Isn’t that the name of the company that is after that snobbish guy we met at the Prince’s office?”
“You’re right” Medea answered. “Anyhow, this must have something to do with your Sire… Maybe that’s where he is…”
Jo jumped up and grabbed her katana.
“Wait, calm down” Medea commanded. “It’s almost daylight. We’ll get some sleep and we’ll go check it out tomorrow”.
Neighost and Adonnen departed for Piraeus shortly after they woke up that following evening. They were both very cautious, since they knew they were in great danger walking around there. Piraeus was long dominated by the Sabbat, the Kindred fraction that opposed the Camarilla for centuries. The two fractions were in an ongoing fight over territories and power, and although the Camarilla members had dominated almost all Athens, they were certainly not welcome in Piraeus. Adonnen and Neighost tried to stay away from plain sight as they searched for Griffin’s location, which Gin Tonic had mysteriously provided for them earlier that evening. “Be quiet and discrete” was all she advised them.
They were just cornering a dark alley, when they stumbled upon two distant mysterious figures. Neighost tightened his fist and got ready for battle mode, as the two figures quickly moved towards them.
“Well, if it isn’t Indiana Jones and Richie Rich!” a funny accented voice greeted, followed by JoJo’s amused face diving out of the shadows. “You two boys should be more careful running around this hood. There are some bad fellows living here, you know”.
A few minutes later, the four Kindreds were gathered around a bench on an old playground which seemed abandoned, after Neighost’s proposal to move to a safer place where they could talk.
“So I guess Gin Tonic send you two here as well”, Neighost started.
“Nope” Jo replied. “I don’t do business with that alcoholic bitch”.
“For god’s shake, she is the sheriff of this town,” Adonnen complained, “show some fucking respect!”
“To Ginnie from the bottle?” Jo laughed out.
“Jo here is a bit warm hearted” Medea tried to apologize. “But she’s sweet as hell. So you two are planning to look around in Griffin I suppose…”
“The question is, if Gin didn’t order you here, what is your interest in this, ladies?” Neighost asked suspiciously.
“You first, Indy boy”, JoJo interrupted. “What’s your catch in this deal? Maybe your old pal V send you here to lead us into a trap”.
“V is not my pal”, Neighost said severely. “It’s just like I told the Prince, he’s someone with whom I share a common interest in ancient knowledge. I’ve never met him in my life. I don’t even know how to contact him. He finds me. And so far, he’s given me no reason not to trust him”.
“Well aren’t your scumbag meter sensors a bit off…” Jo murmured.
“…said the scumbag’s Child!” Neighost shouted.
“Let’s all calm down for a bit” Adonnen tried to mellow things down. “There’s no need to suspect each other. From what I understand, Neighost here is trying to find some clue or artifact or whatever…. And I simply want to defend my properties and interests, since these Griffin guys are after me. That’s all there is to it”.
“JoJo here is looking for a particular individual as you may have already presumed. And I’ve frankly grown quite fond of her crazy ass. So since I have nothing to do but wait around this town for a month until the funds for my play come up, I’m just helping her out. Now, it seems all the leads are pointing us towards this Griffin company, so what do you guys say we join forces and go have a look?”
“It would certainly be safer…” Neighost thought out loud. “Four sets of fangs are better than two…”
“I concur” Adonnen stated. “Shall we exchange clan information?”
“I am a Brujah,” Neighost continued Adonnen’s suggestion, “and Adonnen here is a Ventrue. Medea’s artistic nature makes me presume she’s a Toreador….”
“Yeah yeah, and I’m a Gangrel” Jo interrupted again, “we’re all a bunch of funny stereotypes, whatever, should we get moving now?”
“We need a plan first” Neighost suggested.
“Plans are for pussies” Jo said as she secured her sword under her long coat. “We burst in, we kick their asses, and we get our info. Greatest plan ever. Let’s go”.
She stormed forward as the others followed, rolling their eyes and sighing.
They quickly found the Griffin building, residing in a dark alley next to an old abandoned factory. The factory seemed empty, but wasn’t. Medea used her blood powers to heighten one of her senses, and she caught some disturbing conversation coming from the old building. Some people were discussing someone’s arrival. The name V suddenly came up. Medea looked at the oblivious Jo, worried. It wasn’t a good idea to let her know what she had heard. Jo was too much of a fanatic and she would surely burst in and demand answers, careless of her safety.
“We better move in fast” Medea finally suggested. “We’re not alone here”.
They moved to the Griffin building’s backyard, and they spotted an open window on the first floor with a convenient fire escape balcony attached to it. Neighost and Jo climbed up with an agility that an athlete would need plenty of years to achieve. Jo then unrolled the spiked chain she carried as a waist belt, and threw it down for Medea to climb. Adonnen attempted to follow, but failed. His luxurious life back at his palace had grown him out of his shape. He was trying to climb back on the chain again, when he heard steps and a demanding voice behind him.
“What the hell are you doing there? Freeze!”
Adonnen froze for a second, then relaxed and just… winked at Neighost.
(In a parallel universe, something went caboom in the brains of four people participating in a role playing game –“what the hell do you mean you wink at him dude???? Embrace your inner bloodsucker in a not so gay and glittery way!!!!” - the fifth person winked again, smiling this time, which initiated a group face palm this time. Personal joke out)
Back in our dimension, a very angry security guard with an even angrier dog, were approaching the winking Adonnen, who just stood there. Neighost looked puzzled from up the fire escape.
“What the hell are you winking at me for?” he yelled down to Adonnen. “I’m not your bodyguard, get yourself out of this mess!”
“Oh well…” he murmured. “What a violent and inappropriate gesture you’re doing there, little man?” he went on to ask the trembling security guard who frantically gripped the gun on his hand, wondering to himself if he had eaten something bad and was hallucinating on the sight of these four scary monstrous beings.
“Go to sleep” Adonnen demanded, using his blood power again, and the guard suddenly started snoring on his feet.
The angry dog, puzzled and raged by his owner’s peculiar state, continued storming towards Adonnen, who showed his fangs at it and got ready to attack back.
“Wait, don’t hurt it, I got this!” Jo shouted and used her blood powers on the furious canidae.
In the blink of an eye, the dog rolled over on his belly and started making happy noises.
Medea looked at JoJo amused.
“What?” Jo smiled. “I have my way with animals… but not in the kinky bit way, okay?”
Adonnen finally climbed up the window and straightened his expensive jacket.
“So, what now?” he asked. “Where do we go?”
“Just follow us” Medea said, having memorized the building’s blueprints.
They ended up in what seemed like the largest office in the blueprints, only to realize it must have been the chairman’s office. It was full of luxurious furniture and three paintings were hanging on the walls over the large desk. Each of the two portrayed a mythical bird, a Phoenix on one and a Griffin on the other, but the third painting was different. It was the portrait of two young boys who resembled each other remarkably. Their attire was that of another era, a medieval one, probably.
Neighost started to examine the paintings, while the others were snooping around files and computers. They didn’t find anything useful, except some suspicious transactions with another company named “Phoenix”.
“There’s nothing here that can help us” Medea concluded, giving up her search.
Neighost approached the middle painting and tried to slide it over.
“I’m onto something”, he said with his back turned to the others.
Behind the painting, there was a large gate door with no handle, but with what seemed to be a security device board with numbers on it. The party stood puzzled in front of the door.
“It couldn’t be just a door handle, could it?” said Adonnen.
“We have searched everywhere” Neighost replied. “If there is anything, it must be behind this door…”
They tried entering random codes, but had no success or even the slightest idea what to do. Just before Jo set in motion the all time classic “when in doubt, set something on fire”, Neighost put his hands in his pockets defeated and felt that something was there, something like paper. It was the welcome present from Lila, the tarot cards. He took them out and started mustering them, when Medea noticed him.
“I didn’t know you were into fortune reading” she told him.
“I’m not!” answered the embarrassed Neighost. “This, presumably Malkavian, kid gave me these back at the Elysium. She said they were a gift”.
“A gift you say…” Medea took the cards and examined them closer. The eight of swords, the seven of cups and the card of death. She immediately walked to the door, typed the numbers 7, 8 and 13 and the door opened.
“How did you do that?” asked Neighost.
“It was simple” Medea replied. “First you put in the numbers of the small secrets of the small Arcanum and then the number of the big secrets of the big Arcanum. Death is the thirteenth card in the big secrets. Shall we?”
Medea stepped into the next room and the others followed impressed.
It was a small room with a set of old stairs that led downwards. After a few minutes the group arrived at a big hall. It was mostly empty except of an altar in the middle. On top of it, there was a staked man in a glass coffin and two ancient Greek armors standing empty on each side. The man seemed to be inhumanly tall with long blond hair and a very muscular body. He was wearing just a rag and old fashioned sandals.
Neighost approached the armor.
“It looks genuine…” he started to say, when suddenly, the armor started to move. The helmet looked at him as if it had eyes.
“It looks genuinely like trouble” said Jo and grabbed her katana and chain. Neighost stepped back and went into a defensive mode. Medea took out her hairpins, which instantly grew bigger and sharper. Adonnen took out his two trustworthy Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatics and fired two gunshots. The one hit the armor, and the other missed. The living armor didn’t seem too impressed or affected. It unsheathed its sword and hit Adonnen with a single swift strike. He felt the blade cut his right arm and started to curse in Czech.
“Come to mommy, can boy” yelled the smiling Jo and yielding her chain, she trapped the armor and pulled it towards her. Then with a graceful move, she cut the armor in two. A thick disgusting green liquid spread on the floor from its insides. The second armor then geared up and started moving towards them.
Neighost jumped in front of it and started banging his fist against the lively metal. The armor tried to answer back with a heavy two-handed sword slash, but Neighost evaded. Medea threw one of her pins and hit the helmet, which rolled on the floor. But the armor didn’t stop. It swung its sword again against Neighost, who parried again and started to hit the armor more forcefully this time, enhancing his natural power with forces of the blood. The armor now looked wrecked but still didn’t stop moving. Jo stepped in with a dancing twirl and finished it before the others could even catch a blink of her shiny blade.
“What’s next?” she smiled. “Mona Lisa developing a killing smile technique?”
They approached the altar and looked at the staked man.
“Do you think we should disturb him?” asked Adonnen.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” quoted Neighost. “Besides, I think I have an idea of his identity, and man, he’s worth it”.
“But we can’t unstake him here” Adonnen argued. “He will go berserk and kill us all”.
“Well, the nearest life forms are the Sabbat vampires at the abandoned fabric building next door…” Medea proposed.
Everybody looked at her accusingly.
“That’s one piece of info you could have shared with us a bit earlier, don’t you think?” Adonnen demanded.
“Never mind that now” Neighost interrupted. “Meet me in front of the gate. Let’s see if Thucydides was right”. With inhuman speed, he grabbed the staked man and disappeared.
Neighost used his celerity to enter the factory and then stopped in the middle of a room full of 40 or so vampires.
“It’s party time” he said to the surprised fellowship, and unstaked the man with a quick move. The he turned his celerity on again, and disappeared.
After a few minutes, the running Adonnen, Medea and Jo, found him standing in front of the gate of the old factory. All hell had broken loose. Battle noises and screams were coming from the building and suddenly the roof exploded and giant shadowy tentacles were moving franticly in the night sky. The noises became louder, so did the screams. It seemed like a beast was enjoying his meal.
After a while the noises stopped and the screams ceased. The only sound was that of steps coming slowly towards them. A huge blood smeared man stood in front of them smiling. He said something but nobody except Neighost seemed to understand anything.
Neighost started speaking with the man in a very excited tone of voice, in a language that sounded like ancient Greek. After a few words, he turned to the others with an ecstatic look that would have brought tears of joy to his eyes if he was still human.
“I can’t believe it… It is him!” he said bewildered.
“Who’s ‘him’?” asked Adonnen.
“He is an Ancient one…. A true Brujah” Neighost replied. “He is Aiantas”.
“So?” asked Adonnen.
“He is the real one!” Neighost yelled impatiently.
“Are there fake ones too?” Adonnen talked back.
Neighost looked at him angrily.
“Is that what you assholes understand as quiet and discrete???” a furious voice shouted from a few feet away. It was Gin Tonic, and she looked mad.
“Hey, there’s Gin Lime, just in time for the barbeque!” Jo yelled back at her. “Sorry hon, we already ate everyone. There’s some leftovers if you’re hungry…”
“Shut up you manly bitch!” Gin shouted at JoJo. “It’s time to run, or else you’ll have every single Sabbat and cop in Piraeus on your neck, and trust me, you don’t want that.”
Gin started the engine of her motorcycle again and waved at them to follow her.
“Jeez…” Jo said under her breath, “I would’ve saved her a ‘stake’ if I knew she’d go bananas like that…”
An hour later, JoJo and Medea arrived first at the Elysium. Gin ordered them to wait until the Prince calls for them and then moved to the upper chambers, with Aiantas following her. They were hanging around the main hall waiting for Adonnen and Neighost, when Lila, holding hands with a middle aged man, a different “daddy” this time, approached them. She smiled at Medea.
“You’re very pretty” she told the actress with an innocent smile.
“Oh thank you sweetheart”, Medea replied and lowered towards the little girl, allowing her to play with her luscious curls. Lila then suddenly put something on Medea’s hand. It was a golden medallion with a photo compartment. Lila hoped away quickly in small dancing steps.
Medea was so overwhelmed with the past events, that little did she register what was happening and just stood there with the old jewelry in her hand. Without realizing it, she softly stroke the old cold pentad. The last thing she saw was the smug smile of Adonnen as he approached them wearing his new suit which was worth one sports car, and Neighost following behind him, still looking happy as hell.
Everything faded and blurred. Medea woke up and found herself sitting in a very comfy velvet chair. Next to her were Jo, Adonnen and Neighost. They were all in a small old cinema. She tried to say something but her voice just didn’t come out. She realized that this was something the others were experiencing too. They were opening their mouths but no sound came out. And it was like they were stuck on the seats. The big screen in front of them started to flicker. A sad and spooky music filled the room and a black and white film started playing. The scene was taking place in an old theatre where a not very pretty, but talented girl, was singing in a modest dress. A very handsome man was wearing the pendant that Lila gave to Medea and was playing the piano right next to her. The girl stopped singing and flowers fell onto the stage. The cinema room was dominated by a intense flower fragrant and applause sounded from the empty seats. On the screen the girl smiled at the piano player and the piano player smiled back at her. Big letters appeared as an intersection between the shots:
"THOSE WHERE HAPPY DAYS".
The next scene was similar to the first one, only the girl was more beautiful and wore a revealing dress. When the song stopped, more applause filled the room and the roses on the stage increased too, but the hansom man didn’t smile back to the beautiful woman. He opened his pentad and looked at the photo sadly. Then the man walked off the stage and the woman raged furious after him. The intersecting letters appeared again on the screen.
"I DID EVERYTHING FOR YOU ".
In the next scene the handsome man was playing the piano. He was alone on the stage. He stopped and opened his pendant, sighed, closed it again and took a zip of water from a glass that was on the piano. After a few seconds he fell down and stopped moving. From the curtains on the side, the beautiful woman appeared. She looked at the hansom man with a blank face.
"YOU BETRAYED ME FIRST" was intersected on the screen. Then the music stopped. The picture was now static and it looked like the film was burning, but after everything faded, the hansom man still was laying on the floor. Then he just stood up and walked out of the screen. He looked at Medea and floated on air towards her. He smiled and whispered something in her ear. He looked right in her eyes and floated through her.
In a blink of a moment everything was back to normal. The four were at the Elysium again, confused and shocked.
“What the fuck was that?” said Jo and looked around her, but the only thing she could she was the normal bar of the Elysium.
Adonnen was searching his suit
“If the suit is ok, I am ok” he decided.
“Ok, I think I had enough excitement for one day”, Neighost said confused. His cell phone suddenly rang. He looked at the screen and a shift of nervousness overcame him, which didn’t go unnoticed by Jo’s radars.
“Well, apparently I was wrong” he said with a pretentiously aloof look on his face. “If you all excuse me, I have something to attend to”.
Neighost quickly moved out of the room and answered his phone.
“It’s you…” he started talking to the other end of the line. “You want to meet?? Well, that’s a first… Yes… How do you know that?.... Yes…. Okay… In half an hour, yes…. I’ll be there…”
He closed his cell phone and walked back into the room. He checked Jo’s face but she looked composed.
“There’s somewhere I need to be….” he told everyone. “Tell Gin I’ll be back in a while”.
“See you in a while… dude…” Jo shouted as Neighost disappeared through the door.
She was struggling not to explode into furious and angry little particles ready to choke out every life left in Neighost’s body. She wasn’t the brightest star in the sky, but she wasn’t that stupid. There was something funny going on with that little sneaky archaeologist, and she was gonna find out what it was. She waited some minutes and then stated she was going back to her hotel to change her clothes.
Adonnen politely invited Medea to accompany him in his interaction with his usual snobbish company of rich aristocrats, but Medea declined his offer. She excused herself and said she would go have some rest until the Prince called for them. Adonnen paid little attention and went on to sit with his rich friends.
Medea went out on the street and searched for a taxi. She quickly found one and got in, looking dizzy and disoriented. She gave the driver an address. She didn’t know where she was going. Only thing she knew, that address was whispered in her ear moments before by some ghostly man.
Neighost walked through the park that was laying at the feet of the great Acropolis rock. He had already noticed that JoJo was tailing him, but acted like he had no clue. He wasn’t so sure he could trust V, and in case something went wrong, it was best to have someone to team up with against him. Besides, he had actually started to like that crazy Gangrel. She seemed, the least, trustworthy.
He stopped at the particular ancient greek monument that was their meeting point, and waited. Jo stopped a good distance away from him and hid behind some bushes.
Neighost didn’t have to wait long for his date. Shortly after his arrival, he saw a large figure approaching him cautiously. It was a tall big guy in a long black leather coat. His face was hidden behind the shadows of a hood that covered it. The man stopped at a safe distance.
“Hello mr McWraith” his deep voice greeted Neighost.
“Hello mr…. well do you actually have a name?” Neighost replied.
“Of course I do…” the man replied and took his hood down. Neighost examined his revealed face with curiosity. He had waist long reddish dreadlocks, a beast-like face, a devilish smile, and a pair of eyes that shone red as hell’s flames.
“My name is V”, he stated, smiling more intensly.
Jo felt her body shiver like she was ready to fall into berserk mode. It was him. She wasn’t close enough to see very clearly, but it must have been him. It sure looked like him, but something was off… The way he walked, the way he stood. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but something was strange about him. Of course, it had been 25 years since she last saw him, and she was still human back then… She was confused, maybe her mind was playing tricks on her. She tried to compose herself and moved a bit closer through the bushes.
“You’re not sharing much, as always…” Neighost replied to V’s last comment. “More reason for me not to trust you”.
“Wasn’t the information I gave you accurate?” V told him, still smiling. “Didn’t you find something at that building?”
“I did, and it was very interesting indeed, but you know it was not what I’m looking for” Neighost said in a severe tone. “And that was a Sabbat building. Do you run with the Sabbat now? What kind of shit are you involved in? There’s also someone looking for you, you know, someone seriously pissed…”
V made an indifferent gesture.
“Stop nagging me with such unimportant rubbish” he replied, “Do you want to know where the sword is, or not?”
Neighost smiled at the word “sword”. He was ready to say something, when the sound of an actual sword being drawn out of its sheath interrupted him.
Jo was standing between the two men, looking angrier than ever.
“Unimportant rubbish, ha?” she yelled at V. “Well I always loved it when you talked dirty to me, baby”.
V looked at her with a big question mark written on his expression.
“Who is this woman?” he turned to Neighost. “I thought I told you to come alone”.
“Who am I….?” Jo shouted furiously. “WHO AM I???? What, you forgot about me V? Or should I call you Sire to get your attention?”
V looked at Jo again, less surprised this time.
“Shit…” he whispered under his breath.
“Yep, that’s what you’re getting!” Jo screamed and raged forward with her katana on her hand.
Seconds before the sword touched V’s chest, everything composing him turned to smoke. And just like that, he disappeared into thin air.
Jo and Neighost froze right on their spots, in utter and total shock.
“What the fuck….” Neighost whispered. “What… How did he… If you’re a Gangrel, then he’s a Gangrel… He’s not supposed to be able to do that… No one is supposed to be able to do that…”
“Yeah, no shit…” JoJo mumbled.
“Unless he… there is one explanation…” Neighost continued to think out loud. “Diablery can give strange powers like that to a Kindred… If he consumed another vampire…”
“No…” Jo mumbled again. “Not V… he wouldn’t do that…”
“How do you know?” Neighost asked confused. “Are you sure this man is your Sire? I mean, do you even know this man? He sure didn’t seem to recognize…”
“Shut up Nei…” JoJo whispered in an exhausted voice. “Just, please, shut up…”.
She didn’t know what to think. She felt tired and dizzy. She felt like she wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
“Let’s go back to the Elysium” she finally said. “This thing is not over”.