February 10th 2008

Their perhaps vaguely constructive meeting over, the scions went their separate ways. Hito had business elsewhere to attend to, so informed the rest that should the world start to seriosuly fall apart in the next few days, then he was sorry that he would not be able to help. Theodore waited in the sepulchre of the Lafayette Cemetery for some of his men to turn up and supply him with the information that he had asked for. Except they thought that he would meet them at their house. So after waiting patiently, Theodore headed to Marcus’ house to discuss the progress that had been made in expanding the OGHP’s presence throughout the rest of the BGDN in New Orleans. According to Marcus, the various displays of supernatural power – which Theodore attributed to the zombu – combined with his inspirational speeches, had pretty much secured the BGDN were falling into line behind the OGHP. As far as converting them to Vodou, things were progressing more slowly, although Theodore was less concerned about this than he was about getting sufficient control over the gangs to bring an end to the gang violence that had plagued New Orleans. According to Marcus, there were two groups that were not playing ball – a Korean gang and a Mexican gang. Theodore asked for descriptions of the leaders of the respective gangs, and armed with their streetnames, and flanked by the Sanders brothers, headed for a showdown. The Koreans displayed typical disrespect of rival gangers and buzzed Theodore and the zombu in cars as they headed to the warehouse that the gang operated out of. Once there, Paul knocked on the door. A grill opened with a shotgun pointing out of it. Theodore informed the wielder that he was there to talk to the leader of the gang. Perhaps the fact that there were only four of them gave the Koreans confidence – but they opened the door and let the group in. Theodore was introduced to the Korean gang leader. Somewhat brazenly, Theodore quickly made it clear to the Koreans that he was assuming control of the gang – and that they could comply or suffer the consequences. The Korean leader chose to suffer the consequences, ordering his men to shoot Theodore. Calling on the power of his divine heritage, Theodore’s skin blackened til no light reflected from it – and the bullets –those that hit – bounced ineffectually off him. Out of bullets, the Koreans stood in shock. Theodore turned to the leader of the Korean gang and told him that all were the Baron’s children – burning his visage into the mind of the Korean, and leaving him a weeping mess on the floor as all his former followers appeared just as Theodore did. Theodore then turned to the man who had managed to hit him with a few bullets – prompting the man to put down his gun. Theodore told him to pick it up, and congratulated him for actually hitting him. Theodore informed the man that he was the new leader of the Korean gang, and began to outline his duties and the territory that they would have access to. Theodore then had the new Korean leader bring in the remaining men from outside, so that he could speak to them and encourage them into a new, better way of thinking – more in line with the teachings of Vodou. Satisfied that all had gone well, Theodore headed to south of the river to the Mexican gang’s lair. Things didn’t go quite according to plan with his meeting with the Mexican gang leader. He’d heard what had happened to the Koreans, but didn’t seem the slightest bit concerned. Theodore put 2 and 2 together and came to the conclusion that this guy was more than met the eye – and not actually being particularly good at fighting, decided to talk rather than threaten the guy. The two of them agreed that Theodore’s people would have the north, and the Mexicans would have the south. As far as Theodore was concerned, and he presumed, as far as the Mexican was concerned, this would be a temporary agreement until one or other of the groups was large enough to take on the other. So, a not inconsequential obstacle to the securing of New Orleans for the Lwa. But all in all, not a bad night’s work. Theodore went home for a well earned sleep.

Whilst Theodore slept, Ravencroft went out – looking for “daughters of Erzulie”. Disguising himself to look younger, Ravencroft moved from bar to bar until he spotted that an attractive looking black girl had been following him. They talked, and Ravencroft took her round the back of the bar – where she revealed her true intent when she tried to eat him. Ravencroft had been expecting this however, and had not gone to the bar unarmed – unsheathing Tyrfing and trying to sever the girls leg. Only partially successful, but enough to make the daughter of Erzuli realise that she was trying to bite off more than she could chew, Ravencroft leapt up the wall that the girl rapidly scaled in her escape attempt, driving her back down to the ground. As she tried to run, Ravencroft easily caught up with her, although her screams of “rape” would be enough to attract the attention of people in the bar. Ravencroft silenced her with a killing blow, and her body dissolved into blood. As Ravencroft stooped to collect some of the blood, a couple of bouncers appeared at the back door to the bar. Ravencroft deftly deflected a possible incident by saying that he had heard someone crying “rape”, but had not seen anyone when he’d come out. The bouncers requested that he stay and talk to the police when they come, but Ravencroft was having none of it. As it was, only chance permitted his escape whilst the bouncers went inside to deal with another bar patron.

The next morning Theodore met with Ravencroft – who thoughtfully brought egg McMuffins™ for Theodore’s breakfast. Ravencroft wanted to discuss something that Theodore was sufficiently disinterested in that he figured they could chat about it on the way to the house that had been identified as where Violet Baptiste had been staying. However once they got there, it appeared all was not as it should be. A group os simian-like creatures with prehensile tails ending in a hand – probably from Aztec mythology – were busy trashing the place. Theodore paused to make a quip about Shakespeare before trying to grab items – a cushion and a folder – that he thought might contain a link to Violet. Ravencroft meanwhile defended against the monkey-creatures until some of them ran into the kitchen and dismantled a gas-line. Ravencroft ran out as the gas line was set on fire by the monkey-creatures –Theodore turned his back to the explosion to try to prevent damage to what he was carrying. As he tried to leave, monkey-creatures that attached themselves to his leg tried to steal several sheaves of paper from the folder. Proving to be stronger than Theodore, they tried to leg it with the paper. Theodore called for Ravencroft to help – who chased them back into the kitchen, through the gout of flame, and just managed to grab the paper before the monkey-creatures appeared to dissolve and flow down the sink plug-hole. The two of them then decided to leave and find somewhere else to locate Violet and the daughter of Erzulie, the blood of which Ravencroft had obtained the previous night.

Ravencroft and Theodore headed back to the Baron’s sepulchre at the Lafayette Cemetery. Once there, they set about looking through the folder that they had obtained from Violet’s house. It contained several maps and a copy of the letter supposedly written by Prestor John to the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus. Theodore read the letter and had a look at the maps – the predominant of which was an annotated map of Africa indicating that Violet had taken voyage on the La Amistad – possibly heading for La Isla de (An)nobon. Theodore focussed on the annotation and found himself looking through the eye of Violet, looking upon an amethyst and ivory table, remarkably like one described in Prestor John’s letter. Violet appeared not be not fully in control of herself – her actions repetitive – so Theodore, reluctant to leave her as she was, forced her lips to whisper “you are not alone” before withdrawing and returning his senses to the “real” world. Theodore then took the blood that Ravencroft had taken from the daughter of Erzulie and attempted to ride her senses as well. He was shocked to find the creature staring out at some Mexicans who it appeared had her bound and gagged, and were busy coating her with gasoline whilst wielding an axe. Theodore left before the axe blow landed and they burned the undead creature alive. Just because he’s nice, Theodore let Ravencroft know what he’s seen.

The next mission on the agenda was locating Ngala, who was also missing. Marcus had been able to give Theodore a number for Ngala’s speech giver – which Theodore called in order to arrange a meeting. It turns out that she was on her way south to give an elocution lesson. Theodore began to suggest that she not go, then decided that he would meet her there. He and Ravencroft took a taxi, only to find the taxi, as it crossed the Mississppi, slammed to a halt, a massive invisible barrier that seemed to prevent Theodore and Ravencroft from crossing the bridge. Ravencroft and Theodore got out of the taxi and Ravencroft spotted a couple of black balls on top of the bridge supports that he was sure shouldn’t have been there. They headed back to the north side of the river. Theodore decided that he was going to try and walk across the river bed, whilst Ravencroft suggested that they try the other bridges. Theodore stripped and headed out of the house wearing only the tail-coat that the Baron had given him. Ravencroft tried the other bridges. Theodore was successful, and crossed the riverbed without encountering any obstacles. Ravencroft found that all the bridges were warded, and so took the ferry, although he spotted that he was being watched in the process. Theodore then headed for the address that Ngala’s speech-giver had given him, arriving and asking for some trousers – which were duly given. Ravnecroft arrived shortly afterwards. Theodore asked if she had any items that belonged to Ngala, which she did, and then used those items to focus on whilst he sought out Ngala’s senses. When Theodore opened his eyes, it was to a nightmare world – and to intense pain. Ngala was impaled through the chest on what appeared to be a huge canine tooth, his skin burned from what was obviously the fires that raged in Guinee. Theodore withdrew from Ngala’s senses, and told the speech-giver that he would find Ngala, but that it might take some time. She mentioned that she was Ngala’s half-sister. With nothing else that he could do, Theodore asked the Ngala’s half-sister if she would teach him to sing. She agreed, and so the two of them got on with the perhaps somewhat painful business of Theodore trying to strike a note.

As the lesson ground to a halt, there was a knock at the door. One of the Mexican gangers was standing there, posturing a lot, suggesting that Theodore was not welcome in the south. Theodore, utterly unwilling to accept that there was any part of New Orleans that he could not go, suggested that regardless of the barriers that the Mexican gang could put in place, he would go where he wished. The Mexican left suggesting that Theodore should do the same. Which he did. But only because he’d finished his singing lesson.

Ravencroft, mildly incensed that someone would put up barriers across all the bridges between the north and south of New Orleans, let Chambers know that this had been done – perhaps in the hope that Chambers might be able to bring some legal weight to dealing with the Mexican gangs. Chambers then ensured that he was on a call out to an incident on the south side of the river – letting him have a “chat” with the Mexican gang leader. The two nearly came to blows, but Chambers was able to reign in his inner desire to stot the Mexican upside the head with his baton, and instead left him with a warning.

That evening, Theodore and Ravencroft met again at the Baron’s sepulchre – for drinks and then a trip to the club where Sanite Dede was singing that evening. Theodore avoided queuing, as is right for a child of the Baron, and walked into the clun with Ravencroft behind him. He ordered drinks and then lit a cigarette to show Ravencroft the walking dead in the room. There were more than the previous time that Theoodore had seen Sanite sing, although as before, the only thing that identified these people as dead was their lack of breathing – they certainly didn’t seem to be undergoing any form of decay. Sanite arrived on stage. A forgotten thought filtered from the back of his head into the front – “kill Sanite Dede” – and Ravencroft fought down the sudden urge to leap onto the stage and decapitate her – and then forgot even that. Sanite sang a moving set, and the headed back stage. Theodore and Ravencroft followed. The security guard outside her door just happened to be the very same man that Sanite had been fucking a few nights previously when Theodore had “popped in”. Theodore smiled and asked to see Sanite. The man let the two passed. In Sanite’s dressing-room the three of them discussed the fact that Johnny had been hired to kill her, although by whom was unknown – and that the daughters of Erzulie were also somehow trying to monitor her. Theodore commented that he’d found a poppet of the guard outside, before smiling and saying “say my name, bitch”. Sanite suggested that Theodore not try to mount the man again. Theodore agreed that it probably wasn’t something that he’d feel the need to do again. Eventually satisfied that Sanite was not behind the daughters and their killing spree across the town, Theodore and Ravencroft left Sanite, although not before Theodore paused in front of the guard and repeated “say my name, bitch” to him. Content with his lot, Theodore and Ravencroft departed.

The next morning, a meeting was arranged with Chambers, Ravnecroft, Theodore and Arnborg – who it appeared was responsible for a large number of street IT terminals throughout downtown New Orleans – and who also, it appeared, was able to upload himself into them. This disturbed Theodore – the number of Norse scions who were showing an interest in New Orleans was too high – and the occasionally annoying Atztanti didn’t help either. The four of them discussed their long term plans for New Orleans – or more specifically, Theodore, Chambers and Arnborg discussed their plans – with Theodore indicating that he now controlled most of the gangs of new Orleans, save for a group of Mexicans south of the Mississippi. Theodore offered to work with Arnborg to rehabilitate the gangs if Arnborg could guarantee investment into those areas of the city where the gangs held sway – and if Chambers could arrange for some past crimes to be overlooked. Theodore got the impression that Arnborg was kind of agreeing in principle – but that he wasn’t letting himself get tied to anything. Chambers appeared more willing to cooperate, presumably because he saw the long term benefit of less crime. Of course, Theodore couldn’t forget Chambers’ past willingness to judge actions at the drop of a hat – or the spilling of blood – so even an agreement from him might not be the same as any form of action.