The Shenandoah Reports

Caritas in Veritate

In which the path to truth is found in a charity

After Soup found the keycard at Drexl Wallace’s estate, the group decided to pay another visit to Harris’ Charity. All roads seemed to lead there, and they were running out of other options to get to the bottom of the crimson snow epidemic. They came up with a plan for Alucard to attempt to take an extra shift at night, then head down into the basement area, and hopefully get through the secured door there with the keycard. Hugo also attempted to make contact with his handler on the White Council, but wasn’t able to secure any help for the mission. He left a message, with a report of what they had found and what they were going to do… but they couldn’t wait for a response.

For once it seemed that things go according to plan. Alucard was easily able to get the night guard to switch with him- his want of an extra shift to get extra money raised no eyebrows. They decided to strike a couple of hours past midnight, and as they put their plan into motion, everything seemed quiet. Nickodemus shorted out the CC TVs, and they made a beeline through the offices to the secured door. Nickodemus took a look at the door again to make sure that nothing had changed, and after they were sure of this, they swiped the card, and were rewarded with a simple click. They opened the door into a sterile light shining on tiled floors and plain walls. Nickodemus probed before them for magic, and came up against a hotspot of magic- some sort of sensor. By interspersing these magical sensors with technological ones, the designers of the area where they were had effectively left the short cuts out of the equation- they could not short out the cameras without setting off the magical sensors. But the cameras covered the area they had to go through. But they had not counted on the combination Hugo and his growing mental abilities, and Soup’s faerie magic. Utilizing the cloak and veil with Nickodemus’ magic, they were able to disable the cameras, one at a time.

Finally coming to the end of the corridor, they breached one final door before coming into an area that was a strange mix of a drug den and a medical facility. Unfortunates drugged out on crimson snow were being bled dry by an elaborate set-up to distill their saturated blood for some purpose. There was also a darkened pit in which they heard growling at the other end of the floor, and guards patrolling the hallways. But the group had the feeling that this was just the tip of the iceberg, kept going, veiled by Soup, to see what else they might find.

Heading up the stairs, they came into a warehouse area, patrolled by even more guards. It was surrounded by a catwalk and office space upstairs. There were several guards patrolling the warehouse floor, but once again they made their way through, veiled by Soup’s magic. As they made their way up the stairs to the office areas, things became a bit more murky- literally. Some sort of darkness that they had a hard time penetrating inexplicably covered the whole office area- walking through it was even a difficult task. They attempted to continue their sneak, but it was quite hard to do so in the dark. So Nickodemus decided to cast a light.

In the office surrounding them were a combination of faerie creatures, apparent vampires, and a mage. Not what you want to run into in the dark. One of the faeries barreled through the thin drywall, cutting off the group’s escape. The vampire wanted to know what they know and how they found out. He let them know that they knew of the group’s coming from the moment they used the keycard, and that he knew it was Mac’s extra card, cursing the man for his carelessness. But for all of that, he seemed pleased at the way that things turned out, and stated that if the group wouldn’t tell them what they needed to know, they could find out from their bound spirits.

Nickodemus decided not to wait on that, and let loose with a powerful spell, hoping to take out of a few of the faeries and neutralize the mage. A beam shot forth from his hands as he channeled it forward, cutting two of the fairies in half with the concentrated light as he drew a line towards the mage. But she was ready for him. As the light outlined her, he could make out everything, from her startlingly green eyes to her skimpy leather outfit and chains and piercings- more befitting some Harajuku Girl than a true mage. But the outfit belied her power as she held forth her hands to catch the channeled energy. The light from the beam began to be snuffed out as the two mages battled for control of powerful magical energies. In the darkening light, the teeth of her master could be seen as he bared his fangs in delight seeing her bearing down on Nickodemus. Strands of darkness invaded even the light on Nickodemus’ end, and he knew that he couldn’t beat her. His choices were few- ground out the energy, in which case everyone would take the brunt of the resulting blast. Or internalize it, and die. But in these two choices, he found a third.

“I curse you…” he whispered. And everything went blindingly bright. There was an explosion centered on Nickodemus, and beams of light streaked out from his person, going not just through the office space, but spearing through the drywall separating the catwalk from the warehouse and caressing the guards. One became transfixed as he ran through the door, instantly turning to ash. But the others were not far behind him, as their inhumanity was burned out of them. In proportion to the portion of their mortality given up to supernatural powers, they were burned from the inside. The vampire lord streaked out of the warehouse, screaming as he ran through the boarded over window into the night.

As the light subsided, and the group could once again see, they saw piles of ashes, and wrecks of humans with half or more of their bodies missing in a macabre display. The mage was strangely untouched… but her eyes stared out into nothing, her mind gone. And of Nickodemus, there was no trace.

They made their way back through the warehouse into the basement. The power of Nickodemus’ death curse had apparently made its way down here also, but was weaker by the time it did. The addicts had the drug burned out of their system, and were in various states of panic. But the calvary had arrived- Ramirez, Warden of the White Council from the West Coast, and one of his subordinates had made short work of the guards that were left. They had also uncovered what was in the pit- transformed vampires that had gone out of their minds. One of these they actually recognized from the pictures in Drexl Wallace’s house- it was his son Colin. They were able to convince the Wardens of the importance of recovering him. Nothing was promised after so long, but they said they would do what they could. And if not, they would put him out of his misery. The mage, they killed. They also searched the grounds, and found definitive information that could possibly, with a lot of work, help to implicate Harris.

Still they had no more information than when they came, though the felt like they had done a great good. But it was still disappointing. That is, until Hugo received a call from Drexl Wallace. Mac had taken Trish, and wanted the group to meet him at his club… to ‘discuss’ the situation, what they had found, and what they planned to do with it… and to bring payoff money from Drexl so that Mac could get out of town.

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