• Tuesday, December 27, evening
• L suggests just hiding in a hole and letting everything blow over, but V says that he can’t simply vanish. One, the conditions of living in a hole are beneath him, and people ask questions about it. Z wishes to bring the information to the Marquis, V says they shouldn’t, Hyacinth points out there is already another Halmeister in charge, Baron V says he is in charge and wins the counter argument. Baron V then suggests that they should increase the guards for the time, claiming hearing about rumors regarding a threat. Baron V says that he has his extra guards to hopefully protect himself from Baroness Tonberr, and that they have to deal with her, but should they kill her or not? L says she can’t really persuade the Baroness with her ‘assets’. Baron V suggests inviting her to a meeting, and then having L killing her. L points out how the Katarina attempt at that went. V hopes that Tonberr is ignorant to her actually being Bloodflower and that the metal is simply a hobby of her, to make things easier. L reminisces about the good old work they had a month ago, V “The easy stuff.”, L “It paid the bills.” V “I much preferred the things that didn’t have a target on my head.” L “It paid the bills.” L stares at V for a while. V “Right now my best thought is to stage a meeting and then remove her at it. L asks where it would be, V says he wouldn’t want it at his place but he might have to. L asks if she doesn’t want to meet at V place where they would go. L doesn’t like the idea since it puts them both there and makes the risk of them both dieing. V says that if they don’t do anything then he dies, but then L points out that she would still be alive. V suggests then she could try to run from it while V tries to deal with it. He also suggests just going and saying the truth of knowing her identity, and saying if she leaves them alone he won’t reveal her identity. They seem to prefer that idea to the others, but then V should make all the different copies of it, hide some, and give out others in order to reveal it should he die when he talks to her. V also asks L to escort him to go pick up Aggro. They walk close to the place, V with his hand casually on his pistol, but can’t find Aggro so they go back to his place. L sleeps in Aggro’s bed and watches Benjamin Rell for the night. V makes copies of all the evidence that he has (3 copies). V then writes up a new last will and testament, leaving the house to Riccard, the money to be split between Lillith, and Zac, and all his stuff to be claimed by anyone that he knows (let them fight over it), and the letter with the copy of the evidence to be delivered to the guard upon his death. V gives another copy of the evidence to Lillith, the originals to the Marquis on the morrow, and the last copy to the guard that still owes him a favor from back in the day. Baron V refuses to sleep for the night and waits it out with his guard.
• Eve has a dance lesson with Baroness Tonberr, but she is two hours late. Eve waits patiently, Tonberr apologizes when she arrives, but they then gives the full lesson as per. Then she goes and enjoys some food, since she actually has to eat the actual amount. Scamic asks why, V says he is troubled as he polishes his gun. Dolia asks about the hazard pay clause, but V says that at the moment they aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary.
• Wednesday, December 28, 989
• Eve goes in to work for the day, eating normally. With the end of her contract coming up Fernand becomes slightly more lenient, but Eve still helps with the moving of heavy things.
• V has Scamic stay to watch Benjamin, gives V a letter to Tonberr requesting a follow up meeting. Then V, with L tailing him go to look for the guard that still owes him a favor, finds him at home, knocks on the door, gets a disgruntled response, but then hands him the letter and tells him that if something happens to him to get it to someone influential. The guard asks if it makes them square, they agree, and then V goes to the Marquis’ with the other packet and L. Hyacinth, Nathaniel, and Z are doing the usual studying. Asha shows V and L over to the Marquis’ office, where they go in and V hands him the form and informs him that should he vanish to have them go to and dealt. Marquis asks if it has anything to do with him or his family, V says that it shouldn’t, Marquis notes the extra guards and V says for the best. V and L return to his home, and Scamic gives him a letter. V opens it expecting it from Tonberr, but it is actually from John Cambry to try and get an organization together in order to focus on the lawsuit with V and the Marquis to meet with them regarding it. V waits for the Marquis’ input before responding. Then Riccard returns with a letter from Tonberr inviting V to meet with her at a tea shop at 8 in order to meet up. V sends Riccard asksing The Marquis when it would work for him, and a letter to Tonberr, confirmingfor the appointment. Then he waits for a response.
• Eve goes back home, asks the Duke a little more about his interests, gets food, tobacco, firearms and that he keeps and arquebus under the pillow at night. They chat.
• V receives a letter from the Marquis, saying he will base his schedule around it since it is quite important. V and L then go out to the tea shop in order to meet up with Tonberr. She is already there grabbing a cup of tea. L sits in a corner and has a cup as well while V sits down with her. V greets Tonberr, she welcomes him back and asks regarding what this meeting is, and V asks regarding what she will do since he knows she is Blood-flower. That makes Tonberr set down her tea. They discuss the tablet and what it could be returned to its owner, Tonberr says that her employer would not allow that, and that she no longer even knows what it is there for. Toberr also comments on whether any more of V’s friends will be murdering her companions, V says that Z defended himself and tends to tell the truth. V asks regarding his bodyguard, Tonberr says she has him safe in her estate. Tonberr the offers a trade for him back, giving V his life, and his bodyguard, for the man that killed Shen Kaminari presented to her or dead, and without his cape. V asks about the cape, Tonberr doesn’t elaborate. V says that it could possibly work. He also then points out that he has taken steps to keep his life safe should he die her story is blown. Tonberr points out the other players in the game that V has pissed off, and V then suggests she protect him as well. Tonberr frowns and leaves. V gets up and leaves, and L follows him. L suggests that that didn’t went terribly too well, but that he is still standing. They discuss whether to betray Z, pretend to betray Z to spring a trap, or just have L kill him and deliver the head. They figure they would rather not. Then they decide to head back to V and turn in for the night.
• Thursday, December 29, 989
• Eve goes in to work not carrying her lance but otherwise equipped, checking on the guard situation and what kind of armor they wear (partial, 2 light plates). Eve sees if there are any extra pairs, but everyone keeps their own stash. She then talks to some of the other guards about their armor preferences as she is thinking of improving her armor. Thinks about her military skills and other things
• V has Riccard take a letter to the Marquis in order to get the date that would work for him to meet with Veis, and then take the letter over to Veis. Riccard returns and tells him that they have a meeting right at 3 pm. V makes it before the Veis continuity there. He meets with the Marquis, so they discuss what to allow for the buyout, V suggests protection of assests, people, and property from future attacks, a large sum of money and such. Points out the case is 3 months and that much can happen in that time. The Marquis trusts his judgment, and says that he will add things as necessary. Asha arrives to show that John Cambry and a half-dozen heavily armed men have arrived to see him. The Marquis has Zac and 10 of Asha’s guards to stand behind. Then they let Cambry in. He enters, places a piece of paper on the desk and says that it is the offer available for them to accept or decline. They look it over, and it is an offer of 200,000 GC. While the sum is good, V points out that there aren’t any of the other of the protective caveats that they would need to reach an agreement. Cambry points out that there isn’t any evidence except for the claims of keepers and this one other staff member that made offensive comments and also appeared to be greatly disgruntled and no longer employed by Veis. V tries to persuade an off the books agreement, but Cambry denies that offer, says the cash offer is the one that matters. The Marquis and V look them over, and then the Marquis says that no agreement will be made. Cambry stands, tears up the offer, and he and his guards leave. V comments that things may get more interesting very shortly. Marquis agrees, and tells Asha to post extra guards, no days off, pay them extra, and to have them placed every where with the family in their rooms at night, after V reminds the Marquis about the whole other witness being assassinated. V goes to the Veis office, and asks to speak with John Cambry, is told he will have to wait for a moment, which turns into about two hours. He is then escorted to a massive boardroom with Cambry, the Veis heads, and twelve guards. V hands over his weapons to have the guards leave. Then he offers to throw the court case and hand over the witness, in order to ensure the protection of his friends and assets. Cambry says that he will think on it, have a lawyer draft an official looking report regarding those offers and then work with it to have everything going well. V then goes back to his home, takes a stiff drink, and turns in for the night.
• L is awoken to the unpleasant sensation of having a sword pressing up under her ribs. She awakens to see Umbra and Penumbra standing over her. They apologize for the interruption, asks about where V is since they promised not to bother him again, so they could say everything. L asks why they are there, they say to inform them of something that is going on. Then they inform everything regarding The Demonica, being hired for 200,000 GC later in the day but earlier the same day, with regards to make an example of V, the Marquis, the shops, F, and E, in order to do the bidding of Veis. Umbra and Penumbra comment that they would have liked to work with The Demonica under other conditions. The Umbra and Penumbra then asks L to tell them which room V is going to be sleeping in tonight. L offers to take them to him. L knocks on the door, Scamic answers the door, asks about the other two when L demands entrance. V asks why he is being woken up, and Scamic says that there are L and two cloaked figures are waiting outside. V tells Scamic to let them in, then to leave. They enter, give the same general information regarding who they are, what it is, and what it is planning to do. V asks for a time when the deal was made, and it was 5, during the bit when he was being kept down in the lower areas waiting for things. Then V and L ask if there would be a way to persuade Umbra and Penumbra to help, and they say that they would rather watch, but if a good offer were made they might. L asks how they assume the other identities regarding their powers. Umbra and Penumbra do not respond. Then L suggests that if Demonica were to die they could be him. The two look at each other, whisper and argue about only being one, and other options that are present for them to take, but not L since she is a friend. Then they consider the options that they have, and offer to keep V and L informed of the events that occur, while they leave through the window in order to arrange for things. V and L chat over a stiff drink, V telling her about the old arrangement, the will, the murder groups and organizations and the other situation that then led to it. L commented on how he lied right to her face then, V said he thought it was necessary. L then gives the long list of individuals that are on the list to be killed.
• In the middle of the night there is a knock on the door of the Duke and Eve’s room. A guard lets himself in, and tells E that there is a man waiting for her. E asks who, and is told that it is Fernand. E puts on her weapons and armor, given that everything Fernand asks her to do something she gets into trouble and has to fight. She is lead down the stairs, doesn’t see anyone, and then has the guard apologize and say that he was doing it for the Duke. Then the guard’s neck is broken by a massive man, The Demonica. He strides out, and tells Eve that if she wishes to see her charge again then she has to simply get past him. E asks what he is doing and why he is doing it, but gets no response. Then she shouts for guards. The guards come running down the steps, so The Demonica laughed and began slowly walking down the dark path. E followed until Demonica rounded a corner, and then couldn’t see him. E talks to the guards to ask about that in order to look for the culprit. E then returns to bed in order to look forward to the morrow.
• Friday, December 30, 989
• Eve goes to the shops in order to see if Fernand is there. The shop is still closed down. E then goes to Fernand’s house, and finds the front door ajar. She announces herself and pushes the door open, and finds the body of Helga torn and demolished across the lower floor. She also smells something from above, and so goes to Fernand’s bedroom and finds the mangled and demolished remains of humans, as well as the far wall of the room being on fire by the window. Hearing breaking glass, she looked behind her to see the oil soaked lower level ablaze. Trying to run through the upper floor she through herself out the window, tumbles and lands hard in the snow on the ground. She does one final search of the other stores, and then heads to the Marquis’.
• Having been given that report, Baron V, L, Riccard, Benjamin Rell, Dolia, and Scamic all leave the Verboden Manor and attempt to make it to the Marquis’. They get there, explain to the guards why they are here and what they need to do. Then they move Benjamin Rell into the guest house and then inform the Marquis of exactly what is going on. No one is happy about it at all, and so they begin thinking about things, at which point one of the guards also lets E in. She goes to the Marquis and also tells him about the kidnapping of Fernand and the slaughtering of his servants, and the burning down of the home and throwing oneself out the window. They discuss what is going on, and what they should do. They begin the fortifying the plans, Hyacinth going down with Nathaniel and Lorenzo in order to begin preparing something. Eve goes down to see also, and sees that there are Hyacinth fusing swords together to form a large barreled cannon, using the Lightning Scepter in order to give it solid blasts and fuse the metals together. E asks what they are doing, and Hyacinth says they are making a cannon to fire the Doom Sphere at this intruder should he arrive. E thinks of questioning it, and then figures that it is above her paygrade. Then Eve and Hyacinth go up in order to check with the people in the control room. All the Halmeisters, V, E, L, and a guard Captain from the city to go over things. Outside there are the screams of a maimed woman (hobbled, no fingers, no eyes), as two guards brought her in to be treated by Nathaniel and Lorenzo. They used another piece of the healing salve in order to save her life, and in exchange she says that Demonica says that he has Fernand, and that they need to come to the location where the battle arena was, alone, in order to get him back. None in the house wished to go since alone would be foolish and trying to sneak up in his place would be a problem, and Z wishes to stay within and protect and guard the family. The Guard Captain assumes that the rumors regarding Demonica aren’t true and that a group of guards should easily bring them down. Some of the others aren’t big fans of it, but the Captain is determined and so gets a group organized. L decides to follow later in order to see how they do, what happens to Fernand, and also what Demonica is capable of. The others begin to sort through the options that they have, and what they need to do. Hyacinth mentions the Doom Sphere Cannon, and Baron V gets a new idea on how to more effectively use the Bound Sphere of Thalmos. He thinks over the ideas for a bit.
• Late that night the Captain of the guard, 35 extra guards, and L following a way back. Down into the base they go, then they pass the headless remains of an old man holding a book of Varjan Legends. Then they go down into the pit, seeing Fernand tied to a chair, the food and drink restocked, and L noted that the sands were darker then before and Viscount Kaminari was still there. The Captain jumped down to start working through in order to try and free him. Then Demonica appeared in the hallway, descended into the pit, snapped the Captain’s neck, killed another guard, stood up and said he told you to come alone, then throws a torch down into the pit to ignite the oil soaked sand to begin burning them. The guards start trying to flee and Demonica kills several that tries to get past him, then he walks the slow laps killing others, using a torch to butcher another, and then picks up the last one and grabs a bottle as well. L sneaks up behind him, puts her dagger against his throat and draws a great deal of blood from him. Then he turned around. Eyes wide, L stabbed again, but had her sword blocked with one knee and then too a hard elbow to the chest. Then, with a great elbow Demonica broke L, leaving her to collapse to the ground. As she lay dieing, she could hear the bottle going to work on the last guard.
• Saturday, December 31, 989
• Early in the morning, while still heavily dark, Umbra and Penumbra paid another visit to Baron V. They knocked and were let in by Scamic, and then Umbra and Penumbra informed V of the instance at Duke Underkeeper’s, and then about the result of the failed raid and the death of L. Penumbra then pulls down her hood to reveal that she is wearing Lillith’s face. They had to kill three guards and a dog to get in, because they didn’t really listen. V shrugs it off. Then, since L died and they had the other instance, that they would be willing to provide assistance in the killing of Demonica in order to obtain his face as well. V accepts, and offers to let them stay in his room for the time being in order to arrange things. They agree and will follow his leave. Also, they give V a gift of candies and chocolates in honour of New Years. V can’t help but laugh at the simplicity and authenticity of the offer. Penumbra states that she felt it might be a good gesture given all that was going on, a taste of normalcy.
• A disruption at the gate draws people’s attention, and Baron V sees High Inquisitor Norinus trying to get in, but the guards trying to deny him. V goes to tell the Marquis, then goes to talk to Norinus, who punched out one guard and then the other opened it up. V greeted him, and Norinus demanded to know what the meaning of the 40 person sacreligous imagery containing guards, Fernand, Lillith, and Viscount Shen Kaminari in a major square demanding Marquis Halmeister pay for these people’s sins. V tells Norinus what they know about Veis, even though they have no proof. Norinus says he will investigate it, and sends two church guards to also watch over the Marquis’ grounds. Fire rises from the wealthy estate district as he leaves.
• In the ‘war room’ they discuss what their options are, and V suggests that he use himself as bait to lure Demonica back to his place, with E as his bodyguard, and then having Umbra and Penumbra jump out from behind slightly moved forward bookcases to unleash a sneak attack that will hopefully bring Demonica down. V also brings the Bound Sphere of Thalmos with him, to place on his desk as an extra distraction in hopes of using it against Demonica. The group goes to the office, moves the cases, Umbra and Penumbra get into position, V places the sphere on his desk, and they wait.
• Sunday, January 1, 990
• It is as the new year arrives, with the cries of joy and retorts of fireworks echoing that Demonica opened the door to V’s study. V rose to greet him, and Demonica stared at him and E. Demonica offered them a deal, that while he enjoys the visceral death and pain that he can inflict, that others should also get the chance. He says that if V kills E he will let him leave and give him the 200,000 GC Veis paid him, and he says that if E kills V he will let her live and tell her where the Duke is. E is shaken, but V turns down the offer and gives a counter offer, saying that if Demonica can solve the puzzle sphere on his desk, both he and E will let Demonica kill them without resistance. Demonica says that that would remove the fun, and that are they sure they decline his offer. V does immediately, and E does after a while, drawing her sword and stepping forward. Staring intently at the sphere, Demonica says he accepts V’s challenge, steps forward to grab the sphere, it smoking and burning his hand slightly, V takes a step back and then hell breaks loose. V fires his pistol into Demonica, drawing blood, dropping the weapon, and pulling out his rapier to replace it. E slashes at him with her sword and also draws blood. Demonica swings at E and has her shield block the strike, although the energy from the sphere still harms her a fair bit. Then, like a pair of ghosts Umbra and Penumbra scramble up from behind the bookcases, and unleash a volley of attacks on Demonica. Umbra’s first stab catches Demonica completely by surprise, digging hard into him. His second, and both of Penumbra’s were deflected by well timed knees and elbows. Demonica allowed the sphere to fall to the ground. V lunges across the desk, stabbing Demonica solidly in the chest and dropping him to the floor. He does not rise. Umbra reaches down, removes the masks, and takes a strip of skin from Demonica’s face, which he places under his hood, waits a few moments, then stands and reveals Demonica’s face. Umbra and Penumbra take all of Demonica’s masks, but leave the rest for the others. They bow and say that all their debts are now paid and they will be leaving. V and E thank them, and V asks if they can help find the Duke for E. Umbra and Penumbra ask for a description, and then set off to look around the estate. V and E split up Demonica’s coin, V grabs some of the lockpicks, E grabs the general gear, and V takes the essentially anonymous 200,000 GC note that was uncashed in his pockets. V stares and contemplates it for a long time. E tells him to keep it for now while she looks for her fiancée. V stares at the paper for a long while before tucking it away.
• E runs through the streets to the charred remains of the Underkeeper Estate, littered with the broken bodies of guards. Penumbra taps her on the shoulder to draw her from her search, and takes her to a well where her fiancée has been lowered, badly beaten but still breathing. E thanks Umbra and Penumbra, who take their leave as they would rather not be seen when the guards arrive to help, since they had to kill two to gain access. E runs to get more guards to help her rescue the Duke. They raise him up with ropes and pulleys, lower him onto a wagon, and the Duke and E ride off to a hospital to help him.
The Golden Web of Intrigue
The Demonica of Veis
Some Beasts Should Be Kept Caged
• Tuesday, December 27, evening