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Author Topic: Steeple, John - Framed  (Read 4464 times)

Drakilian

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Steeple, John - Framed
« on: October 01, 2016, 10:16:53 am »

The Warehouse was unguarded, its contents, while valuable, were not the sort to be stolen. Massive palates of lumber, mostly cedar and other building equipment lined the building, creating a network of passages that reminded Steeple of a maze. After a few minutes of navigation they found the scene of the crime toward the back of the building, where Roland would have been hard pressed to escape.

Sawdust and wooden splinters littered the spot. There were many, many footprints but after some investigating Steeple and John were able to pose a workable theory of the crime.

There were dozens of footprints, most of which belonged to the guards who had discovered the body. Roland’s own stood, flat in the center of the chaos, his feet had been planted. Whatever had killed him left only faint trances, as if he stood, supported by the sawdust for a time. Unfortunately that left a third, as yet unaccounted for, set of prints. Made of a light traveling boot’s heal. John, now mostly recovered, was able to follow those tracks to a window, where he found proof of it being pried open, whoever left by it, entered by it as well.

When Vendramino shows up the necromancer brings with him the murder weapon, which he hands to Steeple upon his request. Whispering to the spirit of the blade Steeple gets a rudimentary response - it says that it was carried by a man, and that it has only been wetted with blood once. It seems to be unable to contribute much else.

When Steeple asks Vendramino about Roland's spirit the necromancer informs him that Roland's spirit is beyond contact, though there are other ghosts nearby and they might have seen something.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 06:02:02 pm by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 06:40:35 am »

Steeple is mildly irritated by this entire turn of events, knowing that Vladivostok is to blame some how.

Perhaps he can turn the tables if he plays his cards right...

Addressing the necromancer, he asks, "Any of these other ghosts see anything?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 06:05:32 pm »

Vendramino whispers to the dead of the warehouse. Opening his eyes to their realm he finds only one ghost who had any semblance of reason: a shriveled up old prune of a man, wearing nothing but a ragged ashen loin cloth. A deep, weeping wound hung over his right eye.

The necromancer mutters some cursed words of power as he slips a knife across his finger and taps Steeple on the forehead, leaving the slightest of smudges, and opening Steeple's eyes to the realm of the dead as well.

"Ask, and he shall answer."
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 07:40:14 pm »

"You my good man," Steeple addressed the ghost, pointing him out; "a great son of Caine was betrayed here, his very ghost destroyed by his murderer."

"We seek to bring justice upon the one who carried out this foul deed using this poisoned dagger."

Steeple holds the dagger for the ghost to see.

"What can you tell us of this event? What did you witness in your silent vigil?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2016, 02:28:41 pm »

“There was no murder," the ghost says, confused.

“But there was, over there.” – Vendramino says, pointing at the spot where the body had lain.

“No, sorry, I’ve known murder, I myself was murdered and I can feel murder. That kind of rage fills an area, you can taste it for hours and I am telling you, there was no murder.” – The ghost says, adamant.

"He died quickly," Prince Maurice suggests.

"Could be the poor fool was killed so fast he didn't even have time to figure out he was dead."
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2016, 02:46:44 pm »

"Could it be suicide then?" Steeple asks, confused.

'Or diablerie...' he thinks, scrutinizing John's aura again to compare with how it was when they first met (before john had gone off alone to be the cause of so much trouble).
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2016, 02:50:14 pm »

Amazingly enough, John seems to be the only one of the Cotterie whose aura isn't covered in the dark veins of a diablerist.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2016, 03:32:54 pm »

'Well, that's the same as it was before,' Steeple thinks, frowning.

"Did you see these two engage in any correspondence then?" Steeple asks the ghost, "I mean, if it wasn't murder, what other sort of arraignment could it be?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2016, 03:58:22 pm »

The ghost looks confused then.

"Just... whispers and shadows. I'm sorry, I can't remember much else sir."
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2016, 04:20:01 pm »

"Ah, that's a shame." Steeple pouts. "Oh well."

Turning to the Necromancer Vendramino, Steeple tries to get him to leave. "In spite of the ghost's lacking recollection of detail, you have been most helpful Vendramino."

"Thank you," he bows.

"Please, take the ghouls and leave John and I here to investigate a bit further. We do not want to waste your valuable time, as we dodder around the crime scene and all."

As he talks, Steeple eyeballs the dark recesses of the warehouse and strains to see into the rafters above (activating heightened senses).

Anyone looking closely, might note a hint of giddy sadistic mischief - or outright madness - in the Malkavian's eye.

'Where is that Maximus lurking,' he wondered, 'I need him to help me dispose of a dead weight...'

« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 04:23:06 pm by BerkaZerka »
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2016, 04:38:16 pm »

"It is of no issue. However, I am afraid that I hold no sway over Narses' ghouls, and that I doubt they will stop following you as they will have been instructed to ensure that you do not escape the city."

With that Vendramino takes his leave of the two cainites.

Frustrated, Steeple takes a few seconds to search the rafters. He notes that John follows his eyes and also searches the ceiling for something in some degree of confusion.

It takes a bit, but Steeple finally manages to make out the indistinct outline that is Maximus perched entirely motionless atop one of the rafters, it hiding most of his hulking form. If Steeple hadn't known to look for him, he never would have found the gargoyle.

"Well i'll be damned, it never ceases to amaze me how something that huge and heavy can be so damned sneaky. A regular assassin there...", Maurice murmurs.

"What are you looking for Steeple?" John asks, with some frustration.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 11:18:09 pm by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2016, 05:30:19 pm »

Steeple takes a headcount of the Naussie babysitters and sighs heavily.

"Something truly amazing, my good man," he replies to John.

"Give me a bit, while I will study these unaccounted and out-of-place footprints. I wish to see where they lead..."

Steeple then begins his Illuminate Trail of Prey ritual.
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2016, 11:26:02 pm »

Steeple considers using the ritual but remembers that he needs to first have an idea of the target he is looking for - and at the moment, all he has are footprints, and "Shadows and Whispers".

"Maybe we should take another look at the body?", Maurice suggests.

"I think I've heard of a necromantic ritual where you can see what your subject saw right before dying, maybe Vendramino can help us there. If we get a look at the killer - even a bad one - you can start searching for him in earnest."
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 11:28:27 pm by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2016, 06:34:09 am »

"Bother," Steeple mumbles, looking at the footprints.

"We need one more favor from Vendramino," Steeple explains to John, "Before I can follow the killer's tracks."

Steeple hurries out of the warehouse to catch up with the Necromancer and make arraignments to see the body with him.
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2016, 08:58:12 pm »

Vendramino looks surprised (and slightly irritated) to see Steeple running out of the warehouse after him.

"What is it Steepleton?"
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2016, 09:28:36 pm »

"A thousand pardons," Steeple appoligizes, "but I can track the killer if I can see his face."

"I haven't seen his face, but perhaps the body of the deceased has?"

"If you would grace me with a ritual that let's one see the last moments through the eyes of the dead, it would prove most helpful."
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2016, 11:21:18 pm »

With an almost mournful sigh, Vendramino gestures for Steeple to follow.

"I'm afraid that Necromancy is not as simple an endeavour as that. It's an entirely different school of magic from the thaumaturgy that you learnt from the Tremere," he begins to explain.

"I can share all the details of the ritual with you, even tell you what words of power to cast, how to spill your blood, instruct you on the exact steps you would have to take all throughout - but without the proper background in Necromancy it would all be for nothing. I know the ritual you speak of, however, and I would be able to enact it on Roland's body. It hadn't occurred to me to do so up until now because i've been so busy in my own duties - but I could provide you with a description of the last thing Roland saw before he dies. Will that be sufficient?"

It wouldn't - at least, not for Steeple to use his ritual, but a description of the killer is certainly a hell of a lot better than nothing.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2016, 08:19:00 am »

"Of course!" Steeple smiles confidently."
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2016, 07:16:12 pm »

9th of August, 1202; 4:46am
Narses Chambers
The Domain of Narses
Prince of Venice


It took some time but Steeple and John were able to gain access to the room so that they could see Roland’s body again. Guilelmo dispatched two Ghouls for each of them - to protect the integrity of the corpse no doubt.

And looking at it they could see why. Roland had decayed further. His skin had taken on an earthy brown hue, drying further until it was now cracking. His lips had retracted around his teeth baring his long sharp fangs. His nose and ears had shriveled noticeably. The skin around the two broken off fingers had receded leaving streaks of blackened flesh beneath open. The once tiny wound on the neck was now a large gash, the drying out having torn the very skin.

Roland, so vibrant last night was now little more than a mummy.

Vendramino went to work. Now that he was actually in the room Steeple could see that the body had fallen just as it had stood. The clothes, though dusty, were in good repair, his fingers, those left, show no sign of breakage nor did they have blood beneath them. In other words whatever killed him did it without him so much as lifting a hand in defense.

Vendramino went to the guards and asked permission to take one of Roland’s eyes. The guards noticeably flinched at the request but dispatched one of their own to find out.

When the guard returned he informed him that he could take one of the eyes, but must do so with the greatest of care. Vendramino agreed and, slitting the pad of his pinky with a small knife dripped his black blood onto the orb. The eye immediately began to smoke and decay, unraveling into nothing in a matter of seconds. Vendramino, for his part, breathed in the acrid smoke, which seemed to direct itself to him even as he sat back. The smoke invaded his nose and mouth. For the briefest moment Steeple saw the old man’s right eye glass over and shrivel, but then he blinked and it was, once again, his own.

“There is a figure… wearing a gray cloak… its mostly a blur… but I see its eyes. It’s a man. The skin around the eyes is black… too black… the eyes are calm… no emotion… its some sort of assassin. It has to be” – Vendramino coughed.

Steeple took in the information as he helped Vendramino  to his feet. He ran over in his mind everything he knew of Roland - a maddeningly small amount, given this was only the second night he'd been in Venice. Something felt off though - ever so slightly wrong.

The thought reaches him just as Vendramino thanks the guards for their time and begins to gesture for Steeple to walk from the room with him.

"Where is sword? His scabbard? He’d been wearing a belt, the thing was engraved with some particularly intricate images - Where is it now?!" Prince Maurice exclaims.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2016, 02:40:08 pm »

It was the shriveling eyeball bit that got Steeple, causing a shiver to run up his spine. He fidgeted a moment uncomfortably, wondering why that (of all things) would disturb him - when he literally swam up the shit-chute of a teetzee war-mabob that one time.

"Yes the sword," Steeple mumbles to Prince Maurice. Then to Vendramino and the guards he asks "Roland's sword. scabbard, and belt - - - where are they?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2017, 09:43:42 am »

Vendramino looks confused for a second, then shrugs.

"Not a clue... he had it when he died at least, i'm fairly certain."

"Curious. Perhaps our assassin stole away his weapons after kiling Roland? Though I can't imagine why", John throws in.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 11:14:48 am by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2017, 09:58:04 pm »

"Yes, quite the mystery," Steeple offered, looking at John and wondering if anyone would really miss the man - should he meet some foul end at a malkavian's hand.

"Probably not," he then said aloud with a shake of the head and slow tsk tsk tsk.

After all, he was foolish enough to work for the big V man 'vladdy' - everyone has likely written him off as doomed long ago.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2017, 10:06:19 pm »

"Well, I suppose we should see what the others have found out," Steeple concludes, heading next to a likely place in the palace to eventually run into them before daybreak.
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple, John - Framed
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2017, 08:26:18 pm »

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