Hard Times in the Big Easy

Boom, headshot!

In which shit gets real.

When last we left off, Jack and Jacob were waiting outside a bank while Nevarres and Alandria were inside, posing as a Red Court vampire and his assistant, searching through safe deposit boxes for a Kemmlerite artifact. And the Vampire had just shown up on the scene. In broad daylight.

Jack’s immediate reaction was to smear some faerie ointment on his eyes, giving him a better capacity for seeing through glamours, in hopes of it being Roane in disguise, looking to pull his heist at the same time they did. Jack knew immediately the old ointment was still good, because it left his skin all tingly where it rubbed it in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter, because there was no glamour. It was Giovanni Valentine himself. This was bad news for all kinds of reasons, most prominently being that if he could hide from the sun under a flesh mask, he had to be very powerful. That ability was generally only available to Red Court nobility, or people shortly about to become nobility. Roane was a wimp, this guy clearly wouldn’t be.

Jack and Jacob followed behind Giovanni, and after receiving a suspicious greeting from the security guard inside, deflected (some) suspicion by asking where to go in order to open a checking account. He then proceeded to harass a poor teller about every possible little thing about every step of the account-opening process in order to stay near Giovanni without arousing (more) suspicion.

Giovanni spent a brief time arguing with the bank manager, producing identification, and pointing out that he never brought an assistant with him, before finally being taken back to the vault to confront his doppleganger.

Back in the vault, Nevarres and Alandria were unaware of the trouble incoming, and continued to search through boxes. Alandria pocketed a few particularly potent items, and used her magical senses to pick out the strongest source of magic in the still-unopened boxes. Once they got it open, they artifact was found: The staff was nowhere to be seen, but the skull atop it still remained. Alandria had just pocketed this as well when Giovanni appeared to confront them.

Far from being (outwardly) angry, Giovanni seemed mildly, very mildly, impressed with their con, and was willing to let them go alive, and even potentially hire them in the future, if they replaced the items and left peacefully. Instead, they decided to cut and run. Alandria told Nevarres to get Jack, then hurried to open a portal to her demesne, while Nevarres tried to divert his attention by tackling him.

It worked. Giovanni focued his full attention on Nevarres … and backhanded him clear out of the bank, through the front windows, directly into an oncoming vehicle. On the upside, the vehicle hadn’t been going all that fast. Nevarres decided that the best course of action was to steal the car from the old lady driving it.

Inside, Alandria managed to get through her portal, and despite Giovanni’s efforts to haul her back, got it closed behind her. Unfortunately, neither Jack nor Jacob were aware of this. They both showed up almost immediately after she disappeared.

Giovanni, upon spotting them, wondered aloud if one of them would be the ‘Jack’ Alandria had referred to. Being the sort of person he is, Jack immediately assumed a challenging posture and informed him that he was, in fact, Jack, and demanded that he ‘bring it.’

Well, he tried to anyway. Halfway through, Giovanni dealt a crushing blow to the young man that should have wounded even the tough knight terribly. Instead, it met with the stonelike solidity of Jack’s enchanted shirt… which wasn’t at all how he had intended it to work. In fact, while it protected him from the blow, now it left him unable to move properly.

Or, at lest, it would have kept a lesser man from moving properly. While Jacob laid a holy touch on the back of Giovanni’s neck, burning him rather painfully, and caught an offhanded blow for his trouble, Jack cracked the shirt off through sheer upper body strength and dealt Giovanni a blow to the face with all the impact of a mortar round behind it, destroying another of his enchanted items. The blow flung the vampire across the room and shredded the face off of his flesh mask. At this point, the pair decided to bug out, with Jack helping Jacob along, careful of his freshly dislocated shoulder.

Then Giovanni threw a bench at their heads. A large bench. A large steel bench. That Jack opted to throw himself into the path of. The young knight caught a dislocated shoulder of his own for the trouble, and popped a few stitches to boot. The two stumbled outside to find Nevarres pulling around in his stolen car, and they all hobbled in as a safety deposit box came flying out, to be met by Nevarres’ blade, literally split in half with a single stroke.

Then Nevarres hopped back in his stolen car and drove off. And the police decided to follow.

Jack and Alandria had a barely-coherent phone conversation in the back of Nevarres’ car before, thoroughly frustrated with the irritating Selkie, Jack hung up on her after she suggested letting themselves be arrested so she could break them out of jail. Jacob, with much apology, took one of Jack’s guns and, eyes closed, blew out all of the pursuing police’s tires, giving them a chance to get away.

Once they had gotten a good lead on the cops, it was decided between Nevarres and Jack that they needed to shuffle off the mortal coil for a bit to dodge the police, so Nevarres cut them a way into the Nevernever.

And directly into about two feet of snow. It didn’t take much brainpower (thankfully) to figure out that they had landed in Winter Court territory. The trio trudged along, Jack and Jacob doing their best to support one another while Nevarres led, until confronted by four wolves of winter, big, nasty, dangerous wolves that promptly surrounded the trio. Nevarres attempted to open a way out of the nevernever, only to have it immediately freeze over and close, tipping Jack off to a greater power leading the wolves.

That greater power was [insert name here], Duchess of Louisiana. After a few polite insults, the Sidhe woman offered her hospitality to the weary trio, and, to the great surprise of GM and fellow players alike, Jack graciously, even politely, accepted. And had the temerity to warn Jacob and Nevarres to be polite and non-threatening.

The three were led, without incident, to the Duchess’ home, a lovely plantation-style mansion, complete with servants … all frozen where they stood, in the middle of their chores. That aside though, it really was quite lovely, and surprisingly warm inside. The trio were all shown to a room where they could clean and bandage themselves up, and left entirely unmolested during their stay. Once they had patched themselves up and had a chance to catch their breaths, Jack returned to the Duchess to take his leave, and was granted yet another boon: A guide through the treacherous nevernever, as far as the shores of Lake Ponchartrain.

Unbeknownst to them, Jack and Nevarres had paid quite dearly for their succor, leaving behind a fair bit of blood in the winter Sidhe’s home.

From Lake Ponchartrain, Jack was able to lead the pair to Alandria’s Demense, where they were confronted with yet another challenge: It sat on an island, well away from shore, and none of them were in any condition to be swimming. After yelling and hoping for the best, they instead attracted something a bit less pleasant: The Devourer of All made his appearance, and made them the ‘kind’ offer of escort. In his mouth. Jack and Nevarres hastily declined, and eventually managed to convince him to simply ferry them across on his fins, in exchange for cows from Alandria.

In the meantime, Alandria had taken Jack’s pack, and led them off to seek him out … so they were left standing at the door watching The Devourer of All attempt to convince Higgins to let allow the Fomor to eat him. Upon her return, Jack, Jacob, and Nevarres availed themselves of her facilities and took a little time to recuperate further. Meanwhile, Alandria decided to see if she could destroy the Kemmlerite artifact, and offered it to the Devourer of All, claiming that Jack had said he couldn’t eat it. It took a bit of prodding, but eventually the powerful Fomor decided to prove he was up to the task.

The artifact exploded, and blew his head clean off. The explosion drew everybody present to examine the situation. As they came out, Alandria’s Demesne began to show signs of deterioration, caused by the necromantic energy that the destroyed artifact had loosed. At much the same time, the Devourer’s body began to show signs of regeneration, a trait not common to normal Fomor. Jack immediately suggested they either kill the body properly (and called his pups to fully dispose of the corpse) or kick the body back into the water to regenerate on its own or hopefully die, if its regeneration was fueled by the necromantic energy.

Alandria chose to have Higgins carry him off further into the water, and everyone returned to their recuperations while she worked on fixing up the damage to her Demense. It wasn’t until a while later that she realized that Higgins hadn’t returned, and her initial attempt to call him back was foiled. She tried again a second time, and managed to haul him back … with his hands terribly mangled, as if they had been pulled through too-small shackles. The Devourer had recovered enough to regain consciousness, and he was pissed. He had taken Higgins prisoner to demand an apology from Alandria. And by taking him back wtihout apologizing, she had very likely only angered him worse.

The next day, Nevarres was called to Rose‘s office at work. Once there, he had the misfortune to come face to face with Giovanni Valentine once again, chatting amiably with his unholy lover. When asked about the bank, Nevarres played ignorant, and Rose didn’t rat him out … oh no. Instead, she gave Giovanni information on the two who had attacked him, informing him that the brash youth was almost certainly Jack Belmont, and the holy man was likely … Albert Cardinael. As soon as he was dismissed, Nevarres gave Alandria a call, and gave her the heads up that she and Jack were potentially in danger of retribution from Giovanni. And, seemingly as an afterthought, he mentioned Albert.

Alandria brought the call to a quick end, and immediately called Albert to give him warning. Mid-way through the call, she heard a gunshot, a thump, and silence.

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