Campaign of the Month: March 2017

Nocturnum: Rebirth

Matthew

Nocturnes, Preludes and Violence

Ever since Club Apocalypse opened about three years ago, it’s been the place for the supernatural elite in Pittsburgh. Personally, Matthew hated the place. Anita all but refused to go there, she hates it so much, but since the Upstage closed down, this is where everyone who was anyone in the Pittsburgh supernatural scene went to see and be seen. Matthew was sick of the same band, Charnel Dreams, playing every night all night, but at least they were tolerable musically. It was also unsettling knowing that this place existed both in Pittsburgh and in New York City at the same time…and that all it took to go to the other location was owing Robert Hubert, the powerful, emotionless, and more than slightly creepy manager, a “small” favor.

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Matthew came here essentially just to keep his ear to the ground and keep up with what was going on with the supernatural community and the other Covenants. As currently the only active investigator working for Blake Investigations, and a self-appointed guardian of the Hellmouth, someone had to do it. There’d been disturbing signs lately that something related to the Hellmouth was going to erupt soon, so much so that the Watcher’s Council was sending a new Slayer to Pittsburgh—something about which Anita won’t stop grumbling, and truth be told, Matthew wasn’t convinced with the way Anita has been acting over the past couple years that she was up to taking on Watcher duties right now, on top of everything else.

In any case, he’d agreed to pick up the new Slayer—a German girl named Hilda—at the airport early tomorrow morning, so he thought he would stop in here, have a drink and see if he could pick up any scuttlebutt before turning in for the night.

That’s when things got really weird.

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[NOTE: The following directly crosses over with the Cut Scene that starts Episode 1, but is told from Matthew’s point of view]

It’s a busy night at Club Apocalypse, the kind that makes rent for months. The crowd, however, is wild, unfocused, and full of chaotic energy, much more than usual. Normally Club Apocalypse is a kind of controlled chaos, one teetering on the brink but never in danger of boiling over. Tonight? Tonight it feels like a drunken frat party about to go bad.

You scan the crowd for what’s different, until you spot her. There. That one. There’s an almost palpable aura surrounding her, green and yellow and red but in dark, sickly shades. An energy exudes from her, a kind of Essence you’ve never felt before. It’s not Taint, though it is the stuff of sheer madness. It’s not Sadicas, though it is born of pain and agony and torture. It’s somehow the very stuff of insanity, made manifest.

Hubert has noticed it, too. He’s risen from his throne-like chair above the dance floor and strides through the crowd, patrons parting like the Red Sea for Moses, astounded that the King of this domain would ever leave his high throne to mingle among them. He approaches the astoundingly charismatic redhead, dancing at the center of the floor with abandon, and that’s when you notice that as inexplicably alluring as she is, her features are purely horrific. Her complexion is ghost-white, her face criss-crossed with deep scars across her lips, from ear to ear, and down each jaundiced eye. The entire effect is strangely at add with the supernatural, nigh-irresistible sexual allure she puts out. She’s hideous…and you want her, as do most of the other patrons in here who can’t take their eyes from her.

She’s also the source of the maddening energy, which seems to be driving the crowd to a frenzy.

All eyes are on Hubert and the woman as he claps his hand on her shoulder. The band’s music reaches its rough, goth-punk crescendo and a circle forms around them.

“Pittsburgh,” Hubert says, “Or New York.”

She blinks, mocking innocence. “I’m sorry?”

“Take your choice,” he says. “One or the other, but you are not welcome here.”

She shrugs, pulled away from him, and began to sway to the music once more. “Regardless of whether I’m welcome,” she purrs. “I go where I wish. I’m not leaving.”

He grabs her again and moves to drag her to the door. That’s when the energy really surges and everything goes to Hell. Someone in the crowd giggles madly as a wave of the insane energy envelopes the masses.

Another patron turns to a third, pulls a dagger, and stabs them in the throat. Suddenly, the place is a war zone, people laughing hysterically while murdering their fellows. Tables and chairs fly across the room.

You are unaffected by it all, and thank good genes for your immunity to supernatural effects. You do, however, wish you had your sword handy, but it’s hard to carry into clubs. You instead make for a corner, where you can put your back against the wall and try to avoid the fray.

In the middle of it all, Hubert and the woman are the only others who stand unaffected, his rage apparent in his aura but not in his expression.

“No,” he says, simply, then reaches out and touches the girl, whose eyes widen before she lets out a guttural, bestial utterance that in no way resembles any sound attainable by human vocal chords, and simply dusts, as though she were a vampire.

Instantly, the maddening energy vanishes, the wave passing over the crowd and through the walls. The rioting stops. Silence falls. Hubert stands for a moment, letting everyone absorb the things they’ve done, then saunters back to his throne. He claps his hands and turns to security.

“You, there,” he says. “Clean up those bodies. And the rest of you…it’s a party! Let the festivities resume!”

The band kicks back up, and the crowd returns to their activities as though nothing had just happened.

[END CUT SCENE CROSSOVER]

Matthew was utterly lost at what just took place, but was certain it had to have something to do with the signs of impending danger.

Jennifer_Lawrence.jpgHe stepped back up to the bar, where his drink sat miraculously untouched, and knocked it back, then headed to the parking lot. As he stepped outside, He saw that the chaos wasn’t just limited to the bar. The lot was a shambles, with injured people everywhere, and just as many walking around in a daze like they’d no idea what just hit them. Matthew sensed a powerful presence somewhere and his practiced eyes quickly scanned the area, spotting a gorgeous blonde far off in the distance, sauntering away. She was positively infected with that strange energy, exuding it. But as he moved to intercept her she just, sort of, stepped into nothingness.

Matthew considered calling Anita, but it was about 2am, the weird energy had gone, and everything seemed under control. He decided to head home, catch a few winks, then go pick up the Slayer and deal with all of this tomorrow.

The next day, Matthew showed up at the airport and was distressed when the plane de-boarded and everyone came down to the baggage claim. After an hour of standing there with a sign, waiting, he noticed that all but two sets of luggage had been picked up, and one of them was labeled with Hilda’s name, the other bearing a Chinese name. Just as he was about to leave and inform Anita that something had gone way South, a muscular, athletic blonde young woman approached you with a slender and wiry, attractive and definitely Gifted Asian woman in tow….

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