(Between Sessions) Blood Bags and Geiger Makeup; A Material Ghoul; Not-So-Safe-House
Table of Contents

Rob

Rob was loaded int the back of a cargo van with the grey-suted "vampire" he just met (Mr. Callahan). You ride off in silence. After what seems like a an hour or 5 minutes (your thoughts are wondering and your mind is not exactly fully together at the moment), you arrive at your destination. The door opens up and the men help you out into a drve way of what looks like an average house in a lower-class residential area (worse than yours, but not a slum). One of the men opens the side door for Mr. Callahan and you. Callahan goes in. The house seems sparsely furnished, but completely normal in terms of what you would expect to see in this kindof neighborhood (cheap furniture, small tv, drapes that look like they might have been considred attractive for fifteen minutes i the '70s,etc). The one odd thing is that two men you hadn't seen before (drssed in slacks and loose shirts) are in the living room, doing situps, and running in place. One of the "security" that brought you here removes his jacket and shoulder holster (glock 19, by the looks of it), and joins them. Callahan turns to you and says, "This is a safe house. We'll be able to sleep in the basement, out of the sun until tomorrow evening."

Rob: Muttering to himself: "Safe from what?" Then, more out loud. "Yeah.. sure. Hey, why don't you just take me home?"
Callahan: "I'm not sure who shot up that restaurant, but it's possible I may have been targeted, and it's conceivable they may have seen you with me. You should probably avoid your home for a few days. I'm having a few people watch your home. If no one shows up, you should be able to go home in a few days. Besides, I have a great deal to brief you on. And yo have to come to grips with your new …condition. We wouldn't want you accidentally losing control of yourself and tearing the paperboy in half…"
Rob: "…." Glances back toward the piece, thinking "wish I had mine". "Fine. Look, man, if you're after money, I don't have any. So I'm not real sure why you've kidnapped me, and I'm not sure what you slipped me, but it's getting real fuckin' old, you know? So I'm not real sure why you've kidnapped me, and I'm not sure what you slipped me, but it's getting real fuckin' old, you know?"
Callahan: "I understand this is very confusing, Rob, but I'm not after your money. At the moment, all I can say is that this is the onl safe place for you to be. Safe for you, and for those around you." pause "And I'll explain exactly what's going on tomorrow evening. I have to make some calls before the sun comes up, and we won't be doing anything during the day. You'll also want to call in sick for work for a few days. Did anyone know where you were going to meet Miss Ozaki and me?"
Rob: Thinking, "Wait, you're gonna give me a phone?" Saying, scowling: "No, no one knows where I am. And just how am I supposed to call in?"
Callahan: Callahan holds out his hand, and one of the men hands him a cell phone. He looks you in the eye, "You need to trust me. Tell them you have food poisoning. Be convincing. And don't try to through up any red flags. It's unnecessary and dangerous." He hands you the phone.
Rob glances meaningfully at the guy packing, then takes the phone with a muttered "Heh. Dangerous. Right." "Yeah, sure." He makes the call and is fairly abrupt about it. "Listen, Frank, I got a shitload of sicktime, so you can stick your goddamn emergency. Have Jeff handle it - he knows what he's talking about. Yeah, yeah, maybe a few days. I'll call in when I know."
Callahan: Callahan smirks, turns to Ozaki, "You weren't kidding."
Rob: Rob wonders about that but decides not to ask. "Fine. Since you're obviously the CO here, where's my bunk?"
Callahan: He takes the phone from you and throws it bak to the guy who gave it to him. "Alright Rob, before we take you to your room, I know you're hungry. (very much so)" He gestures around the kitchen and liing room at the men in attendance. "We know you found Cynthia's blood palatable. Do you find anyone else here to be palatble?"
Rob: "Oh, I see the problem, you got the wrong guy. My name's Duskin, not Dahmer. You gotta head up to Milwaukee or something." (Still, he's probably subconsciously scanning the room.)

You look around. There are 8 guys in the house besides you, Callahan and Osaki. All are men. Most are white. There's one black guy and two hispanics. You notice you can smell them, everyone really, far more than you'd expect you could. Especially the three who have been working out while you've been talking. The scent of sweat is heavy in the air. Testosterone is plentiful (though you're not really experienced enough to discern it). None of them appeal to you at all.

Callahan: "So, that would be a 'no?'"
Rob: "I'm not looking to burgle any turds, no."
Callahan: "Fine." He glances around at the assembled men, then turns back to you. "Hollister, Reynolds, show Mr. Duskin his room." Speaking now to you, "You should be able to enjoy some television until sunup. I need to take care of a few things. I'll speak with you in full tomorrow evening." Two of the men gesture for you to head down the hallway and go down the stairs into the basement. Looking over your shoulder before going through the threshold, you notice, over the shoulders of the two men folowing you, Callahan biting the arm of one of the men who was working out.
Rob: snorts derisively, muttering something about being trapped in a den of homos.

In the basement, there are bare cinderblock walls and plenty of open space. At the farend looks to be two metal doors in the cinderblocks. On the left wall there's a bucket sink, washer, dryer, and a cheap card table with four cheap chairs. Toward the right wall you have a small television (cable), and a cheap couch and two cushy chairs, as well as an end table. There's a couple of cots leaning against the wall. One of the men goes over to the metal door on the right (which has several locks on the outside and a pair of U-shaped pieces of metal that most likely serve to hold a door brace). He opens it. Inside is a simple cot with blankets. He says "you can sleep in there. Other one is for Mr. Callahan. Until you get tired, there's the TV, and we've got some cards."

Rob: "Mmph." heads in to the cell and starts flipping through the TV channels. He's nervous, but them not putting him in the room right away is quieting that hindbrain terror that was starting to creep in. Towards the mid morning hours, just before dawn, Callahan comes down. Rob's getting very tired. He's moved to the cot, following that old military maxim of "when in doubt, get some rest."
Callahan: Callahan, seeing this, comes to the door saying, "Goodnight. When you wake up tomorrow evening, the door my be locked. They'll open it up as soon as I'm awake."
Rob: "Sure they will." He's been considering whether or not he could single someone out and take them down in order to get out of here, but he's so much older (apparently) than everyone else that it seems unlikely. They look to be 20s and 30s. All in good shape, though most aren't quite as burly as you.

Jerome

TODO

John

John: We left off after the second drink, Conrad had left beforehand, and John had succesfully beaten the addictive qualities of the blood before eventually choosing to drink. At this point I guess he'd be pleased he'd been able to control himself so far, and trying to gauge what is different after the second drink.

ST: Well, Con roy, btw, left, and you find yourself feling excellent, as before, watering down and drinking down every last drop of the sweet, incredible magic liquid. You think perhaps you hear a sigh, but find youself alone. Your senses heightened, you look around at the unfamiliar surroundings, and feel a twinge of uneasiness. You wonder if you should leave, a thought which quickly fades as you consider Mr. Conroy. Your keen skills of appraising people, while noting something odd about him, tell you that this man has a nobility about him, a trustworthiness. You've never "hit it off" with someone as easily as you fel you have with him. You try to occupy your mind with work, then television. After about 3am you get to sleep. When you wake, not as groggy as you might imgine (at 6:30am), aa breakfast of eggs, sausage, toast and juice is waiting at the small dining table. The thermos is gone.

John: The breakfast is there when I wake up or someone brings it?

ST: It's already there when you come downstairs.

John: That's real helpful with that feeling of unease. By the way, John is mildly disappointed there is no bacon. He eats and then running over his schedule in his head realizes he missed his latest eskrima session. Putting the dishes away he goes back up stairs to see if there is anything he could work out in (have we established available clothing?)

ST: Yes, there's some clothing in the closets/dressers in your size.

There's probably some sweats and t-shirts.

John: Alright then, he'll put some of them on and find an appropriate place to work out. Mainly just needs an area with some open space. If there isn't anything in the guest house, I'd imagine there is an open space on the nearby grounds that should do.

ST: The nearby grouns have a ton of open yard, nice and flat.

ST: You notice, in the rising daylight, a couple guard patrols, also with smgs slung periodically walking. They give you a wide berth and try not to disturb you. If you get near the wall, they ask that you stay away, as there are certain sensors that you will set off. You also notice a lot of discretely placed security cameras. Obviously Conroy's security is very tight. The grounds are immaculatley kept. A pair of gardeners tend hedges and flower arrangements. A koi pond is located between the main house and the guest house, near the outer wall.

John: John follows security's requests, keeping a distance from the wall but working out near the pond. On his own and without instruction there isn't a whole lot he can really do, but he knows his teacher will make it rough on him if he doesn't do what he can. To begin he mostly just goes over a kata of the hand to hand strikes and blocks. He admits to himself he's not all that good, but he's trying.

ST: From behind you you hear a familiar woman's voice. "You need to relax. You're too tense." You turn to see Conroy's… assistant?… Mildred Cummings behind you, dressed in a custom-tailored gray business suit/skirt, a blue silk blouse, her hair done up in a braided ponytail and smelling of jasmine.

John: How far back is she?

ST: about six feet

John: Okay, figured it would be disconcerting either way. Either he should have detected her or that he was smelling her when he shouldn't be able to. Guess it was the first.

ST: The scent of jasmine wafted into your nostrils pretty much at the same time she spoke. You were upwind until the breeze shifted.

John: John smiles a little, trying to let go of his discomfort at being surprised. He bows a bit and greets her. "Good Morning, Ms. Cummings, it's good to see you again. To what do I owe the pleasure?:

ST: "Mr Conroy just wanted me to make certain you were enjoying your stay with us thus far. He apologizes for not being ble to spare much time to speak with you yet, but he has been unexpectedly busy of late." She pauses and shift her weight. "He also wanted me to tell you that, while he will be unavailable throughout the day, he would like to speak with you at seven tonight."

John: He straightens up and addresses the situation. "It's physically comfortable yes, though I must admit I chafe a bit at having to stay here." He pauses, as if trying to decide what all to say…

ST: "I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully, any questions you have can be answered by Mr. Conroy tonight." She turns and oes over to a gym bag you're just now noticing was laying on the gound behind her. "As for the other reason we asked you to stay with us," she says as she picks up the bag, "let's see if we can resolve those right now." She opens the bag and takes out a sphigmanometer and a stethoscope. Underneath, you see folded gym clothes.

"I'm supposed to see how you're doing," she pauses, "And put you through your paces." She has a slight grin on her face.

John: His eyes narrow at the medical equipment. It does make sense, but t would have been nice to know before hand. He tries to make light of his situation. He quips, "I guess you don't make house calls then."

ST: She grins a bit more devilishly. "In your dreams, fella." "And I'm not a doctor. You can think of me," slipping the stethoscope around her neck and taking out the sphig, "as a combination of the good-looking nurse you're picturing right now, and the meanest drill sargeant you can think of." She walks up and looks you right in the eye, smiles, rips the velcro on the sphig aprt quickly, just for effect… "Roll up your sleeve, please."

She exudes the attitude of slightly coy, but not someone who, well, suffers fools gladly.

Not that you're a fool, of course.

But that's the general "gut impression" you get from her.

Your testicles might have involuntarilly retraced just a bit when you heard that velcro rip while she was looking you in the eye, though… :-)

John: John's grin is sheepish to her devilish. He hadn't intended for that to come off with any inuenndo, or flirtatious. "Probably another reason he's had difficulty with relationships," he thinks to himself. "Sorry, I didn't mean anything by that."

Knowing the sweats would just cut of his circulation if he rolled them up, instead he pulls the hoodie over his head and dealt with the cool October air, shivering a bit in just a t-shirt.

ST: "Oh, don't worry, Mr. Petrowski. And unless you run marathons a lot… sorry is what you're going to be later in the evening." She straps on the sphig, takes your blood pressure. It's higher than your last, but not by much. She shines a light in your eyes, takes your pulse, then put everything back in the bag. "I'll change and be out here in about ten minutes. You might want to stretch."

She goes back into the main house. Around ten minutes later she emerges, wearing sweats and workout shoes.

When she comes up to you, she asks if youve experienced any mood swings, uncontrollable muscle movements or anything else unusual.

John: While she's gone he begins stretching. Unfortunately katas are meant to be taxing, thus it would have been nice if she'd have shown up earlier. He's already worried about how this is going to go, but at least it will tell him something about this entire process.

ST: You'd only been doing it for about ten miutes before she showed up.

Do you mention anything to her?

John: "Hmm, no mood swings that I've noticed really. As for anything else unusual, I took Mr. Conroy's warning to heart, and I've been trying to be careful. Experimenting a bit yes, but not as much as I could. I've noticed a difference in strength, and some control issues. I did have some issues with a pool game the other night. Slipped a bit and gouged the table, not to mention sent the cue ball into the wall.

He's hoping by being open about things, he'll get a few answers himself.

ST: She nods. She then tells you she wants you to race around the house, three times, as fast as you can. She take out a stopwatch.

"Go."

roll me dex+athetics

John: All right. Difficulty?

ST: standard 6

John: 3 Successes.

ST: You're in good shape, and run well. You're no Olympic sprinter, but you have adecent time. Probably not much faster than before, but you don't feel as tired as you would expect this early. in the day.

She then limbers up, and says the two of you are going to do some endurance running together, around the house.

John: John comes to a stop, trying to catch his breath, wondering what is next. Hearing it's a distance run is expected, but dreaded nonetheless.

ST: Roll me three Stamina + Athletics + 1 rolls

John: John shuts out everything else but the run, falling in behind or beside Mildred, depending on where she indicates she wants him to run. At first he finds it peaceful, with nothing else on his mind for once. 3 successes on the first.

4 on the second

2 on the third

ST: You'd normally expect to be a lot more tired after about a solid 30 minute of farily vigorous jogging. You've barely broken a sweat. You also notice that a couple of the staff have apparently set out a weight bench and weights on the lawn. "Alright," Mildred says, joggin next to you,"fast as you can, 10 laps" and she breaks into a dead run.

3 dex+ath rolls

difficulty 7

John: OOC: Yeah, not great there. One success on the first, botches on two and three.

ST: Botches? If you scored at least one success, even if ones cancel them out, tat's not a botch just soyou know.

Botches, or just failures?

John: Even if there are more botches than successes?

1s that is

ST: more ones than successes, yes

A botch is a one and no successes, I believe

let me double check

John: The second and third had one success, two ones each. I think, I don't have the record on the second one now.

ST: okay, so one succes, then two failures

You are still not very tired, but you seem to be slipping on the dewy grass. You feel like when you get up to high speed your equilibrium is slightly off, and you trip and stumble quite a bit.

After you finish the laps, she hands you a bottle of water, has you sit down and rest a moment on the bench, then listens to your heart, lungs, takes your pulse, then the sphig again. She nods.

After a short cool down, she has you bech press variable sets of weight.

John: John sits, trying to keep his breathing even and drink the water without interrupting her readings. He's afraid he probably doesnt' do a very good job.

ST: Roll me three Strength + 1 roll. Difficulty 6, 7, 8

John: John is flustered, but does as directed, laying down on the bench. He's never been one for weights, but preferred machines to free weights. He settles in and lifts…2 successes.

2 successes

Failure

ST: You lift 100lbs, then 150, then 200, then 225, when it gets to 250, you start to lose it after the first press. She's on the spot position. She tells you to focus on your arms, think of them getting larger and stronger. The bar gets closer to your chest as the muscles on your neck start to bulge.

one more roll, diff 8

John: Failure again, 1 cancelled out the success.

Yay for rolling both tens and ones

ST: The bar hits your chest, and you have difficulty breathing. She puts her head over yours and yells "FOCUS!" She takes the bar and starts pushing it down, adding weight to it.

Roll self-control, diff 7

John: Two successes

ST: Okay, roll one more str roll (no extra die), diff 8

John: Failure

He's fighting, but coming up just short.

ST: Actually, you feel a sudden surge of strength, and you thrust the bar clear off your chest and to maximum extension before she takes the bar (quite easily, if you consider that), and puts it back on the bar. "Good job. That was about 300lbs."

"How do you feel?"

John: He's not sure how to respond…so mostly he thinks out loud. "Confused, and sort of betrayed. I wanted to succeed, but that wasn't within my control."

ST: "You didn't succeed?… You lifted more than a man twice your size, and after running for half an hour, you actually have a lower blood pressure and heart rate than before you started."

"I can respect lofty goals, but I think perhaps your evaluations are a bit skewed."

John: I mean what happened. Everything up to that point was strange enough, I'd never been able to do half of that before, but there, it's the first thing that truly felt unnatural.

(all spoken there)

ST: Hmm. Well, the… treatment seems to be working. You seem to be showing no signs of mood swings and in excellent shape. I recommend you relax for the rest of the day. Perhaps avoid the pool table…" She turns to go back to the house.

John: Main house?

ST: yes

John: Are the security people still around?

ST: yeah, a couple doing a walk around

they ignore you

John: Okay…

In a low voice, just loud enough that Mildred should be able to hear him, John speaks. "Wait a moment please Mildred."

ST: She pauses, turns and raises an eyebrow.

John: John shifts an eye towards the security people, with a slight shift of his head in their direction. "I had a question for you, if I may. About all of this…"

ST: "Yes?"

John: Again trying to maintain privacy, he continues. "Perhaps I should just wait until this evening, but this has been bothering me."

ST: btw, you have potence and fortitude 1

John: (I see, okay). I've just had this feeling the last two evenings, following the treatments. I'm conflicted enough about all of this, but I could have sworn that Mr. Conroy seems dissapointed."

ST: "I can't speak for him, but I think he was upset at having to offer you the… drug, rather than what he promised. There have also been several business issues he's had to deal with lately. I'm sure he's just preoccupied."

John: "I see. I guess I'll have to give it some thought. My apologies for holding you up."

ST: "Not a problem. Buzz if you need anything."

John: "Thank you, please let me know if I can be of any help as well."

ST: She goes back to the house.

No one comes to the house until seven. You doinganything for the rest of the day?

John: He really is conflicted about all this, so mostly he spends time thinking

Today he'll rely on his business to mostly run itself, and spend time away from the phone for the most part.

ST: Okay… the day passes quietly for you… an unusual experience.

Shorty after the sun sets (relatively), at 7pm, there's a knock at your door.

John: He's been waiting for this, so John comes back to the door, cleaned up and decked out in his suit again.

ST: Conroy is there, as is Mildred, and a couple of the security staff are standing on either side of the door facing out (you can see their arms). "Good evening, Mr. Petrowski. May I come in?"

John: (Petroski) John is a little taken aback by the number of his visitors. He had the feeling that this evening would be important, and with his own feelings and concerns knew it would be, but this was something else. He wondered as to the significance, when each of their meetings before had been in private. (Any sign of the thermos?)

ST: Not that you can see.

John: With a intrigued look and a cocked eyebrow, John draws the door further open as he steps aside. "It is your house, far be it for me to restrict your access."

ST: He smiles and walks in, and gestures to the chairs in the living room, and goes in to sit down. Milly enters as well, and after a second, closes the door and goes into the kitchen.

John: John follows, mentally directing himself away from what would be the most commanding seat in the room, the one he would usually take, and leaving it for his host. He takes up a place next to his chosen seat, hesitating slightly to allow Conroy the option to sit first.

ST: "Milly tells me you've been doing well, physically." Mildred comes back into the room with two drinks or bourbon. One she keeps, and sits back down. The second very big drink, she places on the coffee table in front of you. Conroy continues, "I'm sorry for leaving you shuffling around the guest house all by yourself." He cocks his head to the right and says "though I'm gladyou've made use of the billiards table…"

John: John puts on the sheepish smile once again. "Yes, my apologies about the table, even though I imagine you expected something of the sort. As for the scheduling, of course I understand. These things happen, and I didn't expect to be waited on hand and foot. What little I've needed, your staff was ready and willing to provide."

ST: "Good. And yes, you don't need to worry about the table." He pauses. "I also have to apologize for keeping you in the dark, then outright misleading you about something. Normally, I would have given youthe details of the arrangement up front. I'm sorry, but the deception was for your protection. Current affairs simply wouldn't allow me to tell you the truth, until now." He crosses his leg, exposing the scuffed underside of an expensive dress shoe. "I'm going to offer you a choice tonight. I'm going to have to explain a lot in order to do so. Please bear with me…."

He leans back in the leather chair. "To put it simply, I'm a vampire."

John: John has spent the last few days largely on his own, trying to work this over. Work helped distract him to a degree, but all to today was devoted to working out this situation in his head, what he felt, where he was, and what he would do. It was a feeling he despised, the feeling of not having a clue what was going on. It had happened so rarely throughout his life. But now he'd been suddenly presented something, a supposed boon, only to have the game change. Then after he debated with himself and decided to move forward, he had to deal with the changes within himself, as well as the feelings he was getting regarding Conroy. Not to mention that sense of disappointment he noted from the man. Still, after everything, he was rocked by this admission. Quite literally, as he recoiled back into his chair. Not from Conroy, but from the fact itself. Petroski's mind raced, fitting facts into place. Obviously he had no true knowledge of this world Conroy said he belong to, except for horror movies and books. But despite it all there was a small part of his mind that realized a few signs fit with what he'd experienced. The same small part that held on to his agenda for this evening. All else was washed away…

ST: No doubt in his mind?

John: (I've got more, just checking a fact)

(Sadly, I just realized we're about two to three weeks ahead of the Premier of "Interview with the Vampire.")

ST: Yeah, that's gonna cause some chitchat around the blood cooler.

John: "A…Vampire. You're a Vampire?" All the instinctual parts of John's brain, the survival instinct, was screaming for him to run and hide. The intellectual part knew it was too late for that. Mildred had assessed him, and he her. He knew that she could take him down with ease, and if she could, Conroy could before he could blink, assuming he was speaking the truth. That wasn't even considering the security he knew was outside. A man of action, John was not a fighter, he was a thinker. Right now he was all but frozen in place. Fighting the self-induced paralysis he continued, his normally calm voice shattered. "And what does that mean for me?" John wanted to say so much more, but was barely able to get out even that.

ST: "That depends on how you want to proceed." He pauses, and open steeples his fingers, one pinky pointed toward the glass in front of you. "You may want that."

ST: He continues, "The truth is, I've been looking into you for quite a while. When we met the first time, I was intending to offer you the opportunity to become a vampire as well. The 'treatment' I mentioned." He pauses, "However… well, vampires have rules, and don't create other vampires often. I was given permission by the leader of the vampires in Philadelphia to turn you into one of us. Unforunately, another vampire that I am responsible for, who did not have permission, turned another human into a vampire to save his life. Normally, both of them would face the possibility of death. I've managed, through a great deal of pleading a favor exchange, to get our leader to reconsider that. However, he will not, for the time being, at least, allow me to make you into a vampire."

He pauses and waits to see if you have any questions.

John: The normal persona John presents is gone. In fact, he seems to be. His eyes are distant as he continues to process everything. Vampires…he doesn't even know where to start. Conroy asked about questions, yet there are so many he has no idea where to begin. For the first time, there is no doubt in his mind that his life and future rely on the next few moments.

ST: Milly pipes in. "John, maybe you should have a drink or throw some water on your face."

John: He's not really aware of it now, but would have looked before, what is in the glass?

ST: Bourbon

a lot of it

John: John exhales slowly, and for a while, then takes a breath back in. He looks from Milred to Conroy, hesitantly. "Okay then, so many questions. If I may, I guess let's just take them as they come to mind. First, why me? Why make me a vampire? Was what you said before true? About this organization and such?"

ST: "The vague claims I made about an organization were true. As to why I chose to offer you the Embrace… immortality… You have a strong will. You're influential. Intelligent. You understand duty and obligaton. Beyond that, I suppose it's mostly a gut instinct."

John: John is seeking truth here, something to latch on to, does this feel genuine?

ST: perception + empathy or subterfuge

difficulty 8

John: Two successes

ST: He seems to be speaking genuinely. He's hard to read. His face seems to be carved from ebon stone. But he certainly feels honest to you.

John: His difficulty reading Conroy is disturbing, considering John's skill with doing so throughout his life. Not unexpected, after being told he was a vampire, but still terrifying. It does bring some reality to the evening.

"So, you lost the right to "Embrace" me, as you called it. Instead you offered me this "drug" which itself has wreaked havoc with my body, and who I am. What was this?"

John states his next question, realizing after the fact that he left out the normal niceties of conversation. The small intellectual part of him is embarrassed at this fact, which only makes the fear worse.

ST: "I think "wreaking havoc" is a bit strong. However, what you drank was blood. Vampire blood. My blood." He pauses for the inevitable reaction, pre-empting it… "This won't make you a vampire. What it will do is give you many of the benefits of being a vampire, but with nearly none of the drawbacks. You have some of our… gifts. You're stronger and more hearty. Not as much as a vampire, but more than a normal man. You may have other abilities you haven't discovered yet. You can walk around in daylight. I cannot. And, as long as you continue drinking vampire blood, you will never age, and never die."

John: Echoes of their earlier conversations return to John. "And the drawbacks?"

John again is behind with his reactions, hopelessly muddled. The belief that he drank vampire blood barely registers at first, then he's forced to fight wretching, absolutely sure of the truth of that statement.

At the same time, it brings a hunger, or more appropriately a thirst to the forefront, and for the second time that day John feels betrayed by his body.

ST: "You will be treated by many other vampires as little more than a second class citizen, at best. Also, vampire blood is quite potent. It can extend life, butif you drink the same vampire's blood on three separate nights, it creates a mystical bond. You will become completely enthralled with the vampire. This bond can sometimes be broken, but it is a bit like a mortal giving up a heroin addiction, only worse."

John: With the survival instinct so present right now, this admission raises John's ire. His vision reddens at the edges. Sure, Conroy gave him the option, and he chose this path. But now he's stuck here, one drink away from becoming something else. He senses the vampire has chosen not to name what that something else is for a reason. The idea he will be treated as Conroy states, as a lesser, digs at him. As well, John has always prided himself in not falling to vices, even something as minor as drinking or smoking. Now he's been told that he's subject to something more horrible by far.

His hands grip the chair arms, digging deep into them, he grits his teeth, on edge and seeking balance.

Slowly he gathers himself, unclenching his hands and teeth. When he really looked at it, Conroy had basically told him as much. Again taking a deep breath, he continues. He looks over to Mildred, "I'm guessing that you are one of these, whatever they are called?"

ST: "Yes. And we are called 'ghouls.'"

John: He blinks, reacting to the name. It was as he expected, a term far from complimentary, one which didn't exactly bring to mind good images. But then, what did he expect after discovering that vampires were real.

ST: Conroy just sits there, stone faced, awaiting your next question.

John: John runs his hands through his hair, mussing it and coating them with the cold sweat present within. "I'm sure the questions could go on forever, but I guess it boils down to this. Now what? I'm to become your servant, what seems to be a slave by another name if I'm following what you are telling me?" Finally John's common sense catches up, and he realizes what he just said. He remembers the room they met in, and realizes the likely meaning of those relics. He stammers as he continues." Ex…excuse me, my words got away from me. The question still stands however, now what?"

ST: Conroy lips turn up in a smirk. "Either you're just reacting to the color of my skin, or you may have guessed that I'm a bit older than I look. Let's just say I don't lightly give someone th choice to becoe a ghoul for obvious reasons." He uncrosses his legs and leans slightly forward. "As for what happens now, you have two choices. First, you can refuse to take any further part of this. No more blood. No more eternal life. I will use my gifts to wipe your mind of what you have learned here, and may go back to your old life. But," he pauses, "Our leader is not a forgiving being, and is not happy with me at the moment. Normally, a mortal who learns of us is either turned into a ghoul or vampire, or simply killed. Taking your memories of all this may keep you safe. May."

"Or, you can continue to work for me. We may be able to keep you from drinking my blood again for a short time. Perhaps, one day, I can convince the Prince to allow you to become a vampire, or to leave with more security. Or, you could remain a ghoul if you so desire, like Milly."

John: Petroski clings to the facts he knows, coming more into himself. "Yes, with a few more pieces to the puzzle, your den (or whatever we called that room) tells a bit of a story. Regarding the rest, I guess this is where we reach the precipice. Strangely, despite the terror within me, I feel no real issue with the idea of vampires, or having had the opportunity to become one. Likely some of this is shock, and ignorance to all the facts as well. What I struggle with is being faced with supernatural servitude, particularly after evidently coming so close to this "Embrace". Even if I didn't struggle with being a servant, something I've never truly been faced with in my life, having it presented thus feels somewhat like a door prize at a party or a contest of some sort. Sorry you didn't win the money, but here's a fabulous set of steak knives."" He pauses, "I mean no offense, either to the circumstances which are evidently out of your control or to Mildred. I don't mean to speak negatively of her, or what she is, I'm just being honest. I sense that not being so might not be taken well. You spoke of the favors required to calm this situation already, I imagine it might take quite a few more for me to ever be considered again?"

ST: He seems a bit amused as John stammers out his response. "Perhaps. But I also have a great deal of influence, and hopefully, more than enough time. With regard to your 'steak knives,' some vampires would love to have been allowe to become a ghoul rather than what they are now."

"In the end, I can offer you no guarantees. The decision is yours."

John: "I imagine some must, at least at times. I don't think anyone is always at peace with their place in life…or unlife as the case may be? We spoke before of sacrifice. We've each sacrificed to get where we are, and I never once imagined that my sacrifice would bring me here. But the truth is, I'm willing to work, and to sacrifice for what I want. But I simply can't see myself as a pawn. I hesitate to imagine a life as such. Please tell me candidly, would that be my life as a ghoul, doing the bidding of my betters, with the hope that one day, perhaps long after my natural time has gone, I'm reconsidered? Hope and fear are dangerous motivators. I know you barely at all, thus I'm left hoping my life will be palpable enough to get by while something may come in the future, or face a life where I could be killed at any moment for what I know, or knew as the case may be, after you wipe these days from my mind. I fear I'm being overly dramatic, but circumstances have painted me into the proverbial corner."

John thinks back over what he said, and realizes he left out a point he intended entirely.

"Pardon me, but I also intended to ask that, as a ghoul, could my own influence in the mortal world not be leveraged towards improving the situation? We've discussed as much that first night, that my assets and resources, both personally and physically were desirable."

ST: "I feel I treat my people well. As the 'low man on the totem pole', you will be expected to do as you are told, at least by me. Think of it as a job. You are a new clerk working for a business. I, and the other vampires are the CEOs and other high-rankng businessmen. You would work for me, and be under my protection."

"I will be happy to answer any more questions you have, but I will need your answer by tomorrow. That is all the time I have been alotted."

John: OOC: For purposes of the game, I think I'll submit, I honestly don't see how it works out otherwise. I know you will, but please play this very carefully. We both know I don't deal particularly well with having controls of this variety (ex. Stick Druid) placed upon me. I'll do my best to deal with it and be quite the asset). Delving thoughtfully into himself, John takes a final consideration of everything. In the end, he knows that no matter what Conroy's abilities may be, something inside him would know he'd failed if he gave this up. Such had been his life so far. Find an opportunity or a challenge, and conquer it. At it's simplest, that's exactly what this was. Just transferred to a much bigger field. Finding out what he could do, and to an extension what his new allies/fellow employees/ and employers could achieve would be something. "Very well, for my own reasons alone I shall accept, let us see what I can accomplish in this new world." It felt final.

ST: Jonas Conroy stands. "Very well. You can meet me in the mansion tomorrow evening, and I will instruct you in many of the things you will need to know in order to navigate our world. For tonight, I'll leave you to your thoughts. Milly will help you if you need anything." WIth that, he turn and leaves, pausing to glance back at you from the open door for a few second, as te crisp night air wafs in.

I'm going to just summarize what he tells you in the coming days.

1) He will summarie the basics of vampire and ghoul nature and society. (Most of the stuff you can read in the core book)

2) There will be a formal gathering at the main Elysium (the Philadelphia Metropoitan Opera House) in the city where new vampires will be presented to the Prince. You'll need to attend that.

3) He'll describe some of the major players in the city, including who he should avoid angering or coming into contact with. (That's probably the only thing I think we'll need to play out)


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