The City of the Dead

Ken's Vampire Game

Session One

After a couple of days of adjusting to Melbourne after her journey from Mansfield, Helena still stricken with grief over the death of her sire, Jeremy, makes her way to the address where he once told her the prince could be found. She finds herself at the doorway of a large, baroque building on the corner of Flinders Lane and Elizabeth Street. There, Helena is greeted by a bored security guard who glares at her with great contempt as he asks her of her business before grudgingly ushering her upstairs.

In a reception-like area, Helena is greeted by a vampire with long blonde hair dressed in a white suit, whose name she is later to learn is Jessamy, one of the Prince's knights as well as her grand-sire, who seats her and tells her to wait until the Prince is ready to see her, with a similar disdain to that of the security guard. After a long wait, Jessamy calls her into the Prince's office. Sitting behind an ornate desk is a vampire neatly dressed in an immaculate grey suit with red hair. As he speaks, he keeps his face in a perfectly expressionless mask revealing nothing of his thoughts or feelings. After asking her of who her sire is and the circumstances surrounding his death, the Prince (who has introduced himself as Michael Collins) informs her that as an illegally-turned vampire, she is to fulfil a series of duties for him to repay him for the fact that she was sired without permission and for his decision not to destroy her outright. Meanwhile, Jessamy stands behind the prince staring smugly at her. During their meeting, the Prince alludes to a personality conflict between Jeremy and one of the knights. Both Jessamy and the Prince roll their eyes and shake their heads as they discuss Jeremy. He instructs her to return on Friday night to receive further instructions before dismissing her.

A couple of days later, Daria drives up to the same building in her four-wheel drive to also present herself to the Prince, upon the realisation that despite the promise of her sire, Malcolm, that he would return for her from a trip, he is not going to be coming back. She is told to wait for the prince by Alfred, a vampire dressed in a leather jacket, who speaks with a strange eclectic yet unfamiliar dialect. Eventually she is called into his office, whereupon Daria informs the Prince that Malcolm is her sire. The Prince shakes his head, and alludes to Malcolm having been cast out of the city on the basis of religious issues. Daria is also informed of a similar debt to the Prince as Helena's. The Prince also instructs Daria to return to him on Friday night to receive her instructions as well.

On Friday when the girls arrive, Daria and Helena are to go and observe a group of kids hanging out together at Monash University who have been seen to exhibit slight behavioural changes (which could be just teenage vegetarianism), and one in particular who has been seen to exhibit Ghoulish behaviour (tearing a locker door off a locker in a fit of yelling) by an avid SCA fan and Nosferatu. They are to report back to Alfred as to whether there is a vampire out there acting illegally, and to what extent these violations could threaten the Masquerade. Daria and Helena get their addresses and discover that the suspects spend much of their time "bashing each other with sticks". Daria and Helena are supplied with two addresses: (1.) Daniel's, the boy suspected of being a Ghoul, and (2.) the share-household of three of the others displaying behavioural changes. Along with their debt, the Prince issued the girls with a series of instructions they are to abide by while staying in his city, among which include that any traces of their feeding within the city need to be covered up, that they are not allowed to kill vessels in the CBD and obey his knights as they would obey him.

Alfred tells the girls that this behaviour was observed by a Nosferatu "out there" named James who likes to go and observe the kids' fighting. He tells them to hold on while he goes to get James to describe what she had observed. As Alfred leaves, the girls can see in on Jessamy screaming at a group of blonde vampires dressed in white "I don't care if you've been living in that fucking drain for 50 years, why's this my problem anyway? You're in the north; where's Maryanne? I just want you out". Alfred brings a blonde woman in a white dress from the room, who seems to shift slightly to a form like Alfred's, each time they look away, to which Alfred responds by telling her to "knock it off". James gives the girls similar information to that Alfred gave them.

The girls head out together in Daria's four-wheel drive to Daniel's house, where they meet his housemate Jason, having feigned lost directions, who eventually informs them that Daniel is at "Anne's party", the address of which they manage to get from him through a series of lies. Daria, pretending to use the bathroom, goes through Daniel's room and finds a steel helmet, some armour and some dirty clothes.

Together they walk into the party pretending to be drunk gatecrashers, and observe Daniel smashing beer cans into his bruised forehead. Through some surreptitious investigations, the two of them learn that the party mainly consists of drunk SCA students, as well as the occupants of the share-household address, Damien, Wesley and Joe, all of whom appear geeky yet normal, yet not exhibiting the same ghoulish behaviour as that of Daniel. While at the party, they notice an attractive girl reciting poetry to a group at the party, all of who seem to be enraptured by her- seemingly totally spellbound, whose name they learn is Jennifer. Together, having seen nothing else out of the ordinary, they leave the party and set out for the share-household address.

At the house, after Helena has picked the lock, Daria falls upon a series of photographs taken at night in the carpark where the SCA fighters train. Daria notes that Jennifer seems to be in just about all of the images. Daria and Helena head back to the party to learn more about her. Many of the students appear to be following her around; quite enthralled with her. In the mean time, Daniel's bruised forehead has healed up.

Eventually, Jennifer leaves the party with Stuart, and Daria and Helena decide to follow. Unfortunately Daria's driving ability is not quite up to scratch, and around 2km away from the party, she manages to shatter the back of her small hatchback with her 4WD. Terrified not only of the present situation but with the thought of messing up their mission in the eyes of the Prince and Alfred, they get out of the car in a flurry of apologies and offers of money. Suddenly, both of the girls are wracked by the most horrendous guilt at having ruined this poor girl's car and having upset her- she seemed *so* kind, and *so* nice; how could she have been so horrible to such an amazing girl??? Daria gives Jennifer her mobile number and Helena gives her hotel address and number to organise the fixing of her car.

The following night, while Daria has managed to overcome her overwhelming guilt, Helena still struggles to overcome the presence that Jennifer has affected her with. The entrancement is so strong that she feels herself growing weaker and closer to succumbing to it and running to be by Jennifer's side. Growing weaker, Helena asks Daria to contact Alfred and tell him what we found out, hoping that their discoveries would clear them of their present obligation. Daria describes the situation as she has seen it to Alfred, telling him that Jennifer appears to have a group of students serving as her ghouls, and although not overwhelmingly, she may pose a threat to the masquerade. While Daria is talking with Alfred, Helena starts screaming in the background that she is losing her mind and that she cannot cope with this anymore, to which Alfred responds by asking Daria to get her back to her hotel room. In one of the moments where she can pull her mind together, knowing that soon she will eventually break, Daria and Helena eventually conclude that the best thing to do would be to take Helena back to Daria's hotel room and tie her up there to avoid her breaking down and running off to Jennifer's side.

In the hotel room, Daria is called up by Jennifer on the mobile and asked to arrange a meeting time for them to discuss the car. Loudly, Helena whispers for Daria to meet her somewhere conspicuous so they are somewhat protected by the meeting being held in a public place. They arrange to meet with Daria doing her best to avoid Jennifer hearing Helena.

At the station, after Daria apologises again for the damage to Jennifer's car, Jennifer enquires as to whether Daria was following her. Jennifer displays doubts at Daria's denials, afterall they did crash into her 2km away from the party. Both recognizing each other's deception and suspicion, Jennifer tries to influence Daria to reveal herself, yet Daria is able to shrug her off. Through some inquiry on Daria's part and lots of double entendres, it seems to become obvious that Jennifer is naive as to the Camarilla and the traditions however has been conforming to the masquerade, to an extent. Her knowledge of kindred structure and regulations is feeble, with all she knows is that there is a Prince that she has to meet, although she does not know where he is or how to contact him. Jennifer eventually suggests it would be a good idea to go to a park and talk in private. Meanwhile, Alfred calls Daria's mobile to ask her what's going on, to which she gives a brief rundown on the situation with Jennifer. Alfred instructs them not to move, and to wait for him to arrive.

Meanwhile back in the hotel room, although feeling secure in her constraints, Helena is growing weaker in her desperate attempts to fight off Jennifer's influence. She is grating at her own lips with her sharp teeth, growing delirious and vague with hunger, confusion and anger. She starts to have vague dreams in which she is confusing whether it was Jeremy or Jennifer who she shared her life before coming to Melbourne. Helena smashes her head into the wall behind her in a feeble attempt to try to stop the influence.

Upon his arrival, Alfred Enquirer into Jennifer's background, and learns that the violations to the masquerade she had been committing have been done so in innocence, in that having come from Tasmania, where no prince ruled, she did not know that she was to present herself to the Prince before she could stay and feed in Melbourne, and that she was bound to uphold the masquerade and the traditions of the Camarilla. Daria also tells Alfred about how Jennifer's presence is close to breaking Helena. Deciding to address Helena at a later stage, Alfred decides to take Jennifer straight to the Prince. Michael gives her a similar lecture and series of instructions as those given to Daria and Helena. He Enquirer into her sire, and learns that her sire, Ginger (a troublemaker of indeterminate clan, a caitiff, according to the Prince), had created her and left her to her own devices, which is why she had hooked up with the SCA kids, as they were good company and were a readily-available source of blood. She is informed that she too is in debt to the Prince for the sins of her sire, for her disrespect of his territory and for his graciousness in letting her remain alive and in his city. Jennifer is very grateful.

Afterwards, Alfred takes Jennifer to the hotel room and Alfred instructs Jennifer to "switch it off", however Jennifer doesn't know how to stop the influence, but not before Alfred warns her to not use her powers like that again. Meanwhile, Helena is ecstatic that her beloved has returned to her to ease her longing. Alfred forces her to quiet as she calls out for him to help her. Helena seems to settle when her beloved Jennifer is instructed to sit at her side by Alfred to calm her. Alfred leaves Helena with Jennifer, and instructs Daria to take care of Helena. Daria orders a pizza, and orders the pizza boy to sleep, whereupon Helena feeds from the boy, draining him of enough blood to warrant Daria having to call the pizza shop to deal with their delivery boy, who has suddenly fallen ill in the middle of his delivery.