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World of Darkness: Attrition - The LA Touch [FIN]

Adrian Moss

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They gathered at the Taste of LA to see and be seen, or in my case, to find someone who he needed to talk to, or needed to talk to me. I was here for a talking to. Robert Venier had given me a message to meet with Belzer here, so I was there. I had not done business with the Nosferatu favor-broker, but if he wanted to see you, then something was up. Could it be Crimson? He had been hoping for a lead in that direction, something Ariel and I could share.

I glided through the club toward one of the tables along the side wall, partial curtained off. I could see him through the poor lighting sitting there, sipping something red with those blue tinted Lennon shades. His close cropped grey hair and lined face gave the false impression of a man past his prime. This was a Nosferatu and could most likely twist me into a pretzel. I didn’t want to mess with him. When did I ever want to mess with anybody?

“May I join you?” I requested politely. He was an Invictus, like me, save that he had actual status in the society, where I was a cog in the machine.

“Sit yourself down,” he said congenially, like we were old friends. “The blood here is warm and fresh, if you want some.”

I nodded my head. I wasn’t here for the fine dining, though I was a bit peckish. I could hunt later, once I knew what this was about.

“How is Jorge? I don’t hear from him much. Westwood treating you well?”

Instinctively I closed ranks. They were my coterie damn it.

“He’s good. We’re good; keeping an eye out for new recruits, helping each other out when we need to.”

“Don’t be the last rat off a sinking ship,” Belzer muttered. “Loyalty is one thing, and noble, but don’t let it be blind loyalty – that’s foolishness and shows a lack of mental acumen. It’s an anti-survival trait.”

Was he warning me about something happening to my coterie? I was totally confused … which was probably what he intended.

“Thank you for the advice,” I managed. “I’ll try and keep that in mind.”

Belzer grinned and nodded. Undoubtedly he had dealt with his fair share of foolish young kindred.

“I can see you are anxious to get down to business,” Belzer cut to the chase, which I had to admire in one of my faction. We tend to become long winded and stuck on protocol as we rise in the ranks … as they rise in the ranks.

“I’ve gathered up several of your favors – primarily from Leon, Saragossa, and Madeline. They owed me and now you owe me big time. Do we agree?”

I could only nod. I did owe him big time. Not final death big time, but still tomorrow my word would mean shit if I didn’t play along. It was how the game was played.

“I need both your considerable skills and your discretion. Discretion is paramount. No one knows you are working for me. None of us know who you are looking for. This has to move through mortal channels, but with no mortals involved, if you know what I mean.”

“No PI’s or cops, got it.”

I want you to find a Nosferatu named Amanda Ash. Find her and let me know were she is and wait for me to arrive. I need to talk with this kindred. Is that clear?”

His words carried a bit of urgency that was uncharacteristic for one so composed.

“Got it. I find this girl and bring her to you.”

“No!” he hissed. “You find her and I will get her. Don’t be stupid.”

Which translated in my book to ‘she’ll waste you, moron.’

“You can do this?” he said somewhat doubtfully. While not doing much for my confidence, it did sink home to me how dangerous this might be.

“I’ll do my best,” I responded carefully. “If she can be found, I’ll find her.”

“Here is my number,” he hands me a card blank except for ten little digits. I take it and stick it in my pocket. It was time for me to go hunting. I had a feeling it was going to be a long couple of days, and I wasn’t wrong.

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I had done my hunting and was cruising around in my mustang, trying to figure out what I was going to do. As I was learning at community college, I broke down a hard problem into a group of smaller ones. In this case I was down to a target, Amanda Ashe, a client, Belzer, and a serious limitation – no vampiric or mortal help.

First problem: she is a vampire, a Nosferatu, and a woman. A vampire needs to hunt. If she is being hunted by someone with the resources of Belzer, she was going to have to feed along the fringes, either the homeless or the underground club scene not frequented by other kindred.

Second problem: he’s old of LA, also a Nosferatu, and he’s a power-broker. He had personal power, but mainly strength and the ability to fuck with people’s minds, or so the stories would have you believe. I’m not up to testing it, but that’s me. I like unlife. Anyway, he can’t find this girl through his vampire network. That’s some power … or he can’t trust his normal sources. I go for the lack of trust, so I know who my first call is to. I may be a small cog, but if something happens to me, existence gets harder for all the larger cogs, or so I hope. I call Jorge and give him the bare bones. It also gets me to thinking about were this girl isn’t. Shortening down the list helps.

The limitations suck. I would go to Jameson on this one (it’s that important) but he’s mortal. The same goes for Gwen, which sucks. I’m really starting to lean on her. I can’t go on the street and ask for some who looks like … well, all I have is name and we don’t take good photos anyway. This is going to suck.

On the plus side, I know a few Rave promoters and have a few homeless folks sort of on the payroll. Now, the Rave promoters don’t know me, so we can hardly be friendly, but they don’t hate me either. Raves are the prime feeding area for nomads and the unaligned kindred who are keeping a low profile. It’s my best hope for finding someone who isn’t Sarah … or any Gangrel for that matter – damn animal-feeders.

I find my first promoters in the middle of scoring with some women. One of them shows some interest in me, so I play the wingman and talk up the guy, making him sound like my best bud, and how much I like to hang out with him … and anyone who hangs out with him. I have just enough of the predator to give my play a convincing edge. I get my address and time. Sometimes is simple, other times …

Beating the crap out of me makes some guys feel big. Not that these guys often feel that big. They are gangsta-wannabes hanging out with the woman I need to talk to. They do their beat down. I take one of theirs pagers. The pager will give me the parties place and local on the night of. I need to hunt again though and that burns up most of my night.

What follows is really thrilling in the movies, but is boring as hell when you are the guy having to walk through the throngs of gyrating bodies and scout for any kindred you don’t recognize. Meth- and X-heads are particularly trying as their bodies are so willing for the fang, and poisonous to boot. I have no reason to unleash my beast in a drug-addled haze, and people I care about enough to want to remain sober.

I don’t find her, or word of any kindred named Amanda, or Ashe. I do meet some real low status vamps though. I do my best to be friendly which is tiring. My beast wants to throw down. Fortunately my own discipline keeps them away from that struggle, and keeps them from normally noting that a kindred is even around. All of this does me little good because I can’t find the girl. Four days have past and I only have one option left.

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It’s an underage club that floats about the city. It attracts the more aggressive set of high school students, but its main attraction is the runaways … and those that prey upon them. A fourteen year old in the city for the first time, all alone, is prime prey for all kinds of predators and not just the vampiric kind. They go missing in this city every day only to be discovered in a desert patch half way to Bakersfield ten years from now. They are the fuel of dark fantasies, darker hungers, and the foulest sins. In a way it makes me feel better about my own tortured existence knowing there are humans out there who could have a face to face with my Beast and compare notes.

I don’t dress the part. I don’t have to. One, I look wealthy and wealth has a seduction all its own. Two, I don’t remain reachable by normal senses all that often. Too bad I can’t ask questions like that, or I would never be seen. As it is, I scare kids because I look like an older kid, and I attract the desperate ones because I look like I can help. They don’t understand what I’m really there for, though they are willing to feed my sins for a bit of comfort. Even the high schoolers want to escape something in their lives. You can see it in their eyes. That or they are here to feed their own dark desires on those less fortunate.

It is one of the pale, weak ones that I’m attracted to. He’s a lot like me before I was turned. Well, he’s kind of like me now too. I’m working on growing a backbone but it’s a work in progress. Maybe he senses some of that in me. I sense he’s been fed upon recently. I buy him a mystery punch, which my nose tells me, is more colored water than alcohol. I draw it out of him slowly. I don’t want to panic him about the pretty freaky sensation that feeding upon is. A boy his age, in his health, would be pretty overwhelmed by it all. I coax him along, keeping him away from the X, because I want him to be cognizant.

My boy-snitch and I moved through the crowd, and into the side areas of the warehouse not part of the immediate party scene. We found her in the third alcove, concentrating on moving her next victim into the shadows, confident the music would drown out his struggles. I extended out my senses and smelt her stench over that of the unwashed bodies and marijuana haze. It would explain why she was here at the low end of the hunting scene. She could mask the scent of rotting meat in that of the general uncleanliness.

I had my mark, mission almost accomplished; now time for some insurance. Working alone sounds really good in the paperback fictions, but in reality, friendship is the way to go. I’m no Lone Wolf. Hell, I’m no kind of wolf, but I know a few and I’m getting smart enough to know when to call on them.

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Dammit Adrian, what are you getting me into?

Sarah made her way to the meeting location - as instructed - on a bus of the dead. At least, she certainly didn't look like the only dead thing on board; by and large, the diesel-belching monstrosity hauled a tired and spent cargo, the invisible people who kept a great city cleaned and fed, clothed and groomed. Some were heading home to whatever flophouse or quarter of a room they called home... and those were the fortunate few. Most were enroute to their second (or third) underpaid job of the day.

The Dead-Wolf, however, was heading to her first, at the request of a friend.

Somehow - Sarah really didn't want to know the how - Adrian had gotten in deep debt to some big, powerful Haunt. And now, he wanted Sarah's help to keep said misbegotten walking nightmare from turning him into a pile of ash... or at least a coatrack.

She pondered how that particular joke, gleaned from the old Buffy movie, still managed to survive among the undead, even as the bus pulled up to her stop. A few others shuffled down the steps with her and off to toward their respective unappealing destinations, and so did Sarah. A few short blocks and a very dark alley later, and that familiar angry feeling in her gut came up to a rapid simmer at a similarly familiar figure in the shadows.

With Sarah, preamble was pretty much a lost art; the closest thing to a greeting Adrian got was, "How bad is it?"

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"Pretty bad. I have this kindred, who I can't name, gathered ... Well, let me start at the beginning. When you and the Pack need information, I ask around for it from various kindred who trade in information. Normally I do some leg work to pay off these debts, but this time this powerful favor-broker gathered up my debts and rolled them into one big favor. Part of that favor is that I can't tell anyone who I'm working for. Another part is I can't tell anyone who I'm looking for - no vamp contacts - no mortal contacts, not even ... nevermind."

"As I've been doing my search, its occurred to me that I'm becoming a prime canidate for bring disappeared. I mean, no one but you knows were I'm at, or has an inkling what I'm doing. So, I'm trying to stay true to my contract because that's who I aim to be, but I'm not looking forward to being in a room with this guy when the job's done, if you know what I mean."

"This may seem paranoid to you, but this guy didn't gain his current position by being a nice guy. He makes people that cross him go away. If he hadnt' gathered up my debts, I wouldn't be working for him, but I got to play this game if I'm going to be useful in this city. You've got Lone Wolf Kindred covered."

"I've found his target and I need to get in touch with him. First though, are you up to helping me out of this mess? I don't have a long list of people I know who can help me out."

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Sarah let out a low whistle. "When you get in over your head, you really don't fuck around." She let that hang there in the air for a moment, then: "What I don't quite get is what the hell I can to do get you out of this. Can't go in with you, or it blows your deal. Can't kill the Haunt, or your reputation goes to shit. So the options are pretty fucking slim.

"So what are your thoughts on the hows of making this work?"

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"We work it like this. You hang out on the roof of the motel the target is hanging out in. If you hear guns, you come running in. After all, once he tries to kill me, the deal is off, right? It isn't like I've broken my word. You don't know any details of my case - my word's intact."

"The down side is that I have to stay alive long enough for you to get down there. If I don't need you, or I get staked in silence ... I guess you best not get involved any further. I don't know who he is likely to bring along, but I don't think there will be another vampire, just ghouls. He's not big on trust."

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"The time issue is a factor. Do you know what room he'll be in? Better if I can hang out close to the window instead of on the roof; gets me in quicker. Don't need much space; you'd be surprised where I can perch when need be."

A hint of a grin came to Sarah's face, the tips of her fangs adding a feral edge but her eyes speaking of confidence.

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Adrian pointed to a flea-bag motel that probably had asbestos sheets and normally was paid for by the hour. Sarah had to curl her nose hairs imagining the human stench of the place. The building was in a "L" shape and built to the height of sixties fururistic design.

"Room 203," Adrian told her. "She had two companions, but they took off before I called. She's fed and seems to be hanging out in her room for the night. Oh, she most likely has obfuscate, but I haven't witnessed her using it ... and she's most likely strong. Just be warned."

"My car is in the parking lot across the street at the liquour store. I've got a shotgun, my sword, and five stakes, if you would rather use something else besides claws."

"I really would rather not kill this guy if I don't have to. Him being alive is handy, but not nearly as much as you being here," the young Mekhet says, attempting to reach out and touch her shoulder, but falling short.

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"If we're going for intimidation," Sarah said in deadly tones, "claws'll do better than anything else."

A thoughtful look crossed her vision, and the Dead-Wolf cautiously added, "Though I can think of different claws that'd do the job a whole lot better. You said that this guy stipulated no mortals and no kindred. Last I checked, folks like Declan and Amber don't fall into either of those categories. And fuck-all if they ain't the most intimidating things around."

She looked to Adrian and raised an eyebrow, obviously asking if we wanted to bringing in a very primal piece of additional insurance.

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"Amber? I've been leary of bringing her into anything vampiric. Hell, it was a hard enough call bringing you in, as much as you hate our society. Still, I can put her in a room with me with less initial concern ..."

"I'll give her a call," he says looking at his watch, "and most likely wake her up."

Still, this was a fight that didn't have to happen if he could just convince Belzer he would be terribly missed if he died. Testify!

"Hello, Amber. It's Adrian. I know it's late, but I have this problem and ..."

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Amber was there thirty minutes later. It might be her night off, but she paid her debts, damn it. Her truck shambled to a stop and she pulled the headphones out of her ears, trying to not think about the task ahead. Not only was it vampire shit, but Sarah was there. While Amber had started to relax toward her former cousin, she still didn't like being around her. Hell, she didn't like the way she wanted to be around any vampire, though the outcome of such an encounter brought a bit of a smile to her face.

Preparing herself, she walked up to the waiting dead things. "Evenin'," she grunted. "Now, what's going on?" Even as she spoke, her mouth watered, and she quickly licked her lips and squelched the desire to tear into one or both of the vampires before her.

Click to reveal..
Amber's Resolve+Comp to not eat their faces: 3 sux

1d10=1, 1d10=9, 1d10=5, 1d10=9, 1d10=4, 1d10=1, 1d10=1, 1d10=8, 1d10=2

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"Hey Amber. I'm working for a Ki ... vampire that pulled in some favors to have me work for him. I'm kind of the bottom rung of our society, so I don't much in the way of choices. Anyway, I can't bring any other Vamps or Mortals in on this. Sarah doesn't know what I'm doing, only that at the end of this I think I'm going to be killed. It's that LA touch way of dealing with over-population."

"Yes, this guy is supposedly on my side. That means all of jack and squat in this situation. He's older and more powerful and he can get away with killing me ... so I need to make a contingency."

"Here is how I see it going down: I'm going to call the guy I'm working for in about two minutes. He should be here in about fourty-five ... say four-thirty. He's going to go into room 203 over there," he points across the street to a shabby looking motel that looks like its seen better decades. "If they dont' try to deal with me in the office, they are going to call me up to the room and deal with me there. Why bother hunting me down when he has me right at hand?"

"I need you close by like Sarah, but I leave it to the two of you on how close you can get before you're spotted. I don't know how long I can hold out on my own."

"I only expect on vamp and a group of ghouls. He's not the trusting type."

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As always, seeing Amber was a bittersweet affair. Part of Sarah wished for all the world to be able to give a broad smile and greet her cousin with a proper howl and maybe a playful tussle. Part of her lamented the unlikeliness of that ever being accepted.

And now, part of her noticed something else. There was a look in Amber's eye, a disturbingly familiar look... and then, Sarah's eyes widened in recognition.

Click to reveal..
Perception test:

(14:21:52) ChatBot: (Sarah_Dead-Wolf) rolls 6d10 and gets 1,9,1,3,6,8.

2 successes. Sarah is officially worried.

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Originally Posted By: Amber Wren
"Why don't I go with you, as a wolf?" Amber asked. At their looks, she said, "It'd be the best way to have me right there, even if they make me wait outside. It's not like they could tell I was a werewolf, either."

"If he can do that, we might as well hang it up," Adrian jokes dryly.

"Well I've been putting this off long enough."

Adrian pulls out his phone and a card. He dials the number, waits a few seconds then,
"It's me."

"I found her. No, I haven't been spotted. No, I haven't contacted her ... jeesh."

"Sure, I'll wait right here."

"Room 203, Starlite Inn, South La Brea."

"Yes, I'll meet you when you arrive. Sure. Will we be taking her down? Good. Just need to know."

The phone goes dead,
"Bye ... now."
"Quick hang up. I can't say his attitude is settling. Time to get ready for business."

Adrian walks up the street to the Liquour store across the way from the motel. he looks around, opens this trunk and takes a black bag out of his trunk.

"Ladies, please just wait by the car. Listen to some music if you like. I'll be right back. I need to be alone to help me make my Shadow thing work right."

He takes his bag out of line of sight of the car and the motel, takes off jacket and puts on his harness for his sword. Silencers go onto his pistols, and a knife goes on the back of his belt. One by one he draws the shadows around each of his items until he looks rather helpless and unarmed.

Coming back, he pops the trunk and puts away the bag.

"I'm ready, or as ready as I think I can be. Wish I had fed before this tonight, but hunting didn't leave me the time. He'll be here soon."
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"OK, time for me to take my position then." Her position wasn't exactly hospitable; the windows of the Starlite Inn's second floor were a good fifteen feet off the ground. Fortunately, the ground didn't have much to do with Sarah's plans.

Forcing vitae througout her body, the vampire simply changed. Arms became wings as her mass reduced to something supportable by such delicate limbs. Within seconds, a falcon was taking to the air from where Sarah had stood, pulling the sky behind as it rose in circles. After a half-dozen or so such transits, shapr eyes searching her surrounding, Sarah swept in to a crisp landing on a two-inch ledge only a few feet from the window of room 203. And there, she waited.

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He saw Sarah take off and was filled with envy for that kind of power. It was not only a cool power, but it showed a mastery of her vampiric nature he was nowhere close to.

"Trust me, I'll be screaming," Adrian told Amber half-jokingly. "Of course, I hope you forgive me if I settle for breaking a window."

Adrian didn't have to wait long. Belzer's group/team/whatever came by in a Lexus sedan and an Ford Explorer, both black. Two largish men got out and looked around before Belzer got up. Adrian walked over anxiously, trying not to run.

"Let's go get her," he said without preamble. Four more men got out and joined the group, making seven in all, plus Adrian.

"Wait here," Belzer spoke in a bare whisper. He and two of his men went inside the manager's office and soon came back with a key.

"Been ghouls long," Adrian joked with the four men with him. They didn't respond.

Belzer beckoned the four ghouls to join them. At least by sensing their heartbeats, Adrian could determine that. He followed them up and hung in the back. The lead vampire handed the key off to one of his retainers who stealthed up to the door, let the others surround him then charged in. One of the last men in pulled out a stake from his coat, holding it aloft.

Lamps broke and light swirled around the room with shadow. Shouting was heard, turning into a shrill shreak of fear, rage, and frustration. It was cut short into a brief gurgle. Belzer walked into the room.

"Follow me," he horsely called out to the Mekhet. Before going in, Adrian leaned up against the door and waved Amber to come on and get closer. He then went into the room. Belzer closed the door.

"How is my daughter doing?" he inquired of his lead ghoul called Torque.

"Fine Boss. She'll get better," he grinned ever so slightly. Probably sadistic.

Belzer walked through the wreck of the room and stood over his daughter.

"Dissappointing. You found her rather quickly, Adrian. Some new aspects of this city yet evade me."

He left more unsaid, Adrian had no doubt. Instead, he gave Torque a gesture and Torque reached into his jacket. Suddenly, everyone was looking at Adrian. Torque took out his stake and grinned that same sadistic grin.

'No time like the present,' the Outnumbered One thought. Guns flew into his hands and everyone froze. Adrian fired his silenced automatics ... and missed. All he managed to do was put holes in the window, spider-webbing them. Everyone but Belzer and Adrian were grinning. After all, if this guy couldn't hit anyone in a room full of guys less than six feet away, what sort of vampire was he?

"I guess it's on?"

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Amber drifted closer at Adrian's signal, so when she heard the window break, she just opened the unlocked door, entered and shut it behind her. As Sarah spoke, Amber slid up into the Dalu form, becoming the biggest, ugliest, hairiest woman they'd ever seen. Her voice rumbled with a threatening growl as she added, "Sometimes the littlest fishes have the longest reaches."

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There was a pregnent pause. Belzer had to be thinking, 'On feral vampire, probably Gangrel, and her ghoul. Odds were still good.'

"Kill them all," he said in a voice barely above his normal hoarse whisper.

Torque grabbed another ghoul and turned him toward Sarah. He turned toward her with stake ready, held low. Belzer picked up his childe. As the closest two to Adrian charged the little Mekhet, the last two turned on Amber and smiled at their good fortune. Two ghouls on one maybe ghoul while the others had to face a vampire. They got ready to beat the life out of the girl.

Adrian fired first, face grim. Both barrels went off into the closest. The man collapses against him flailing while the other stumbled past him and crashed against the mirror temporarily stunning himself.

Click to reveal..

Adrian's Attacks: Gunslinger Merit-both pistols same man

(22:08:23) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 8d10 and gets 1,7,7,4,10,8,7,1.

(22:08:33) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 1d10 and gets 4 = 2 successes

(22:08:42) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 7d10 and gets 8,1,10,9,1,6,10.

(22:08:56) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 2d10 and gets 4,8 = 5 successes!

Goons attack: Strenght3+Potence1+Brawl3 - Defense5

#3 (22:11:15) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 2d10 and gets 2,1=Botch!

#4 (-3 due to damage)Chance Die(22:10:58) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 1d10 and gets 8 = 0 successes

Ghouls have a 7dice Brawl pool, 6dice Stake Pool, a Defense2+Armor1/2(ballistic), eight wound levels. #1 and #2 are on Sarah, and #5 and #6 are on Amber.

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"Why's it always gotta be the hard way," Sarah grumbled more to herself than the advancing ghouls. For a moment, she let herself relax, head sagging and arms hanging limp. To the pair planning to take her on, it must had looked almost as though she was giving up. The reality was quite different, as the Dead-Wolf centered herself, pumping sluggish blood into her muscles and readying for what was to come.

The ghouls were just coming into striking range with their stakes when the seemingly dejected girl burst into action. They weren't entirely unready for it... but the marginally closer of the pair was unprepared for her claws to cut through his ballistic armor like butter, slicing an agonizing set of furrows into his chest.

Click to reveal..
Boosted Strength with vitae. Claws pool is 7, minus 2 defense.

(21:37:41) ChatBot: (Sarah_Dead-Wolf) rolls 5d10 and gets 3,1,8,7,7.

One agg damage.

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Amber grinned at the prospect of imminent violence; this was a chance to stretch out and have some fun. With an effort of will, she called upon the Gift taught to her by the spirits of Strength. She selected an incoming target and kicked him hard in the chest. The Ghoul blinked as a rib cracked as her blow landed way too hard.

In reply, he punched her, surprised again by how tough her skin was. Her grin didn't slip as his fist slammed into her. His companion's blow had no effect either, not even to make that insane grin on her face falter. This ghoul was really creepy and starting to unnerve him; only his faith in his boss kept him here.

Click to reveal..
Willpower spent to activate Crushing Blow

Amber's attack: 1 sux, 1 Lethal

1d10=8, 1d10=3, 1d10=5, 1d10=7

Both Ghouls spend Willpower to face Amber for a turn without penalty (they have an effective 8 Willpower against her in Dalu form).

Ghoul #5's attack (7-defense and Kung fu bonus): 1 sux

1d10=2, 1d10=1, 1d10=10


Ghoul #6's attack (7-defense and Kung fu bonus): 1 sux

1d10=7, 1d10=8, 1d10=2

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Click to reveal..

#1 Grapple(23:15:58) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 4d10 and gets 2,8,7,3 = grapple
Torque(23:16:23) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 3d10 and gets 9,5,7=1 lethal with stake

At the window Torque and his crony attack Sarah. The goon grapples with Sarah at the window's edge. Torque stabs Sarah across the arm, scratching her.

In the central part of the room, Belzer moves toward the window looking for a way past the Gangrel. Adrian turns and fires point blank into the man in the mirror. One bullet impacts in his bulletproof vest while the other catches him in the arm. The other goon swings drunkenly.

Click to reveal..

Adrian Shoots twice:(23:24:13) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 8d10 and gets 7,9,5,2,8,8,5,1 = 3 wounds
(23:24:27) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 7d10 and gets 7,1,3,7,3,6,2 = 0 wounds frown
Goon #3 Stunned this round
Goon #4 Chance die (23:25:06) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 1d10 and gets 5 = miss
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A wicked grin creased Sarah's lips, fangs showing bright in the room's light. The goon was grappling her, pulling her close... and that was just fine with the vampire. Without hesitation, those beautiful sharp bits of ivory, tools that could bring ectascy and cool bliss, instead tore into - and through - the ghoul's throat, ripping it into a bloody mess.

For his part, Torque was starting to get desperate... and desperation can bring the best and worse in men and monsters alike. Focusing for all he was worth, he took careful aim and made one more effort with his wooden stake. To his dismay, the thrashing goon flung an arm in the wrong direction at the wrong moment, and the wooden doom was knocked to the side.

Click to reveal..
Bite attack; no defense due to grapple.

(00:04:06) ChatBot: (Sarah) rolls 6d10 and gets 1,8,5,9,9,4.

Three nasty lethal.

Staking attempt by Torque, burning a Willpower for +3.

(00:09:56) ChatBot: (Sarah_Dead-Wolf) rolls 6d10 and gets 4,2,5,5,3,4.


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Almost lazily, Amber struck at one of the ghouls. This time, her palm strike caught him almost in the same place she'd kicked him, and the poor ghoul heard another rib crack. Grimacing, the ghoul expended some of the liquid crack in his system to heal himself, even as he saw the "ghoul" he was fighting do the same and heal a bruise.

They struck together this time and actually rocked her backwards into the door with a double-pounding that took the smile off her face. "We're done playing?" she growled, and then her body rippled. With a quick, "Surrender now," she dropped to all fours and shifted into a monster in the blink of an eye. It was a monstrous wolf the size of a small horse, with displayed fangs longer than his hand. Where she had been facing both of them, she now stood between them, her fuzzy haunches pressed against the exit. Gibbering fear spiked through his mind as the animal-brain reached back to pre-history and remembered living in abject fear of this perfect, phenomenal hunter.

Click to reveal..
Start of the round, Amber automatically regenerates a level of Bashing Damage.

Amber's attack: 1 sux, 1 Lethal

1d10=1, 1d10=9, 1d10=7, 1d10=1

Both Ghouls spend Willpower to face Amber for a turn without penalty (they have an effective 8 Willpower against her in Dalu form). When she shifts, that effective 8 becomes a 6; I'll get the details on what that means when I get access to a book again.

Ghoul #5's attack (7-defense and Kung fu bonus): 1 sux, 1 Bashing

1d10=3, 1d10=3, 1d10=8

Burning blood to heal a Lethal - Health (8) 0/1/0

Ghoul #6's attack (7-defense and Kung fu bonus): 2 sux, 2 Bashing

1d10=8, 1d10=10, 1d10=4


Health (8) 0/1/0

Amber blows a point of Essence to quick-shift to Urshal at the end of the round.

Health (11): 4/0/0 | Essence: 8/10 | Willpower 3/4 (current for shift into new form)

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Adrian backpedalled, not wanting the bigger men to bear him down like they had Sarah. He unloaded both pistols into the chest of the the more fit assailant. The first bullet cracked his collarbone, but the second was absorbed by the vest completely. Cursing his luck, Adrian waited for the beat down.

Instead, they bore himm down, dogpiling on the slight vampire. Yeah, Adrian didn't like the way this was going.

Click to reveal..

(11:53:05) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 8d10 and gets 10,5,8,5,2,1,7,9.

(11:53:16) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 1d10 and gets 1 = 3 more successes.

(11:53:29) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 7d10 and gets 3,1,2,5,2,5,5 = 0 successes.

Ghouls on the beat down, both burning a willpower.

#3 7 pool -1 for 6 wounds +3 for willpower -6 Armor/Defense = 3dice. (12:03:30) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 3d10 and gets 10,5,2.

(12:03:36) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 1d10 and gets 8 = 2 successes (Grappled!)

#4 7 pool -3 for 8 wounds +3 for Willpower -5 Armor/defense = 2 dice (11:56:50) ChatBot: (Adrian) rolls 2d10 and gets 5,8 = 1 success (Grappled!)

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The voice spoke with enough authority to overcome the frantic melee, the bloodlust and the fear. The fighting didn't fade, it simply stopped as every eye in the room turned toward the source of that single potent word.

Belzer stood there, evaluating the room with cold, calculating concern. Silence reigned for a moment before the Haunt finally said, "Adrian, call off your dogs. Our business is concluded."

Over by the window, Sarah - still at close quarters with the poor bastard whose neck she'd ripped open, still with blood sprayed across her face and dripping from her lips - looked to Adrian with a questioning eye. The ball was now quite definitely in his hands; what he did with it would have repercussions for some time to come.

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Not wanting to use names - it would take him longer go find out who they were that way - Adrian called out,

"Let'em go," which was a bit awkward from under his pile of bludgeoned-by-bullets bodies. As he crawled out he looked to Sarah and Amber to emphasize who he was talking to.

Once they backed down, he turned to Belzer,

"They aren't my Dogs," he says angrily, "they are my friends. Oh, and you'll be leaving first ... not that I don't trust you anymore, but I don't trust you anymore."

This way he couldn't track Amber back to her ride. Adrian was sure Belzer knew his ride, but hopefully not his home address. Maybe he should spend a few nights with Own's ... but nah. The Alpha had his own share of problems. Adrian had used up a good bit of his friend's tolerance on this, but at least he had a clean slate.

Provided Belzer didn't kill him later.

Belzer's men began pulling themselves together, but fearfully stumbled out of the window, one man feebly forcing his hand against his ravaged neck. Belzer, his staked package still on his shoulder, left last, glaring back at at Adrian.

"I haven't said anything to anybody," Adrian said, answering the unspoken question.

Belzer turned away. He was in the unfortunate situation of losing out to a lower status neonate, a pauper in the game of favors. For now, there was nothing he could do.

As the cars pulled away, Amber could breath a real sigh, while it was metaphorical for Sarah and Adrian.

"Thanks you two. I so wish I had been wrong about this, but I'm glad the two of you cared enough to come help me. If ever you need anything, don't hesitate."

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Sarah watched Adrian head out, leaving her alone for a moment with her cousin. Amber watched the little Shadow go, and again Sarah saw a distressingly familiar hunger in her eyes.

As Amber herself started to walk out - after the briefest of nods to the Dead-Wolf - Sarah found her voice and quietly asked the question she had been dreading for the past hour.

"Amber? Is there a reason that you've been looking at Adrian and me like you're sizing up a meal?"

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Sarah braced for what could be a very, very angry (and physical) response.

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The Uratha nodded to Adrian, but shook her head at his offer. "We're even now, ... Adrian. Just remember that."

Amber stifled the flash of anger that roared through her soul. But she remained calm, and even got off a good jibe as she brushed past Sarah. "Staring at people like they're dinner is a great way to unnerve 'em," she said and kept moving.

Click to reveal..
Amber's Resolve+Comp: 2 sux

1d10=4, 1d10=8, 1d10=1, 1d10=9

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Don't follow. Let her go. Let it be. Sarah's brain made desperate arguments for safety and self-preservation. Unfortunately, the legs that stalked quietly after a very deadly werewolf were taking their orders from the vampire's heart.

So did, unfortunately, her tongue.

"That's a great excuse, and it might hold water with someone else. But I know that look, and the hunger behind it. What the hell happened, Amber?"

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Brain finally overcame heart, and Sarah watched Amber - and the unholy hunger she contained - walk out of the room and down the hall.

The vampire didn't follow; instead, she once more took falcon's form and left by the way she'd come, putting distance and sky behind her quickly as she climbed far above the damned city that had introduced her cousin to forbidden fruit.

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