It all started with a strange call from Wei Shen, a heavy hitter in the underworld, and Lieutenant of the Black Dragon Triad. Assembling a Coterie of notable Kindred throughout the San Francisco area, Wei propositioned them with a task. Recover a case of gems, stolen from Han-Dynasty Lu Bu’s tomb, which were stolen and smuggled into the US by members of the Zhei-Fen Triad. Offering a lucrative lump sum of $8,500 for their assistance in the matter, our protagonists accepted.
After a few well-placed inquiries, the Coterie wound up on the doorstep of a bar in the Chinatown district of San Francisco. Armed with a little knowledge of the underworld, Sofia schmoozed her way into the back room of the Zhei-Fen hideout, and after losing a little money at the illicit casino, managed to weasel a location for the sale of a case of gems from the bartender. The deal was to go down on the Mega-Yacht of one Candace Boyle, a wealthy venture capitalist who was well-known throughout the bay area.
After using Sofia’s talents to distract a trio of police officers by Ms. Boyle’s private dock, Chen made good use of her talents for skullduggery, snuck onto Ms. Boyle’s yacht, and learned the layout, also gleaning that Gregorio’s Catering Company was providing the food for the party.
Posthaste, the Coterie made their way to the Castro district of San Francisco, where there was something of a row happening inside Gregorio’s. Chen again fell victim to her rampant kleptomania, and stole a spare key for one of their vans, before realizing that the disturbance inside was caused by Candace Boyle herself. Formulating a plan of action, the Coterie leaped into action!
Masquerading as an unlucky motorist with a dead battery, Nick Strong managed to talk Ms. Boyle’s driver, Archibald into assisting him with his misfortunes. After turning a corner, Nick unleashed a vicious right hook into Archibald’s jaw, knocking him cold unconscious. Quickly, he stole the man’s uniform and firearm, and not a moment to soon. As the Coterie piled into the car, Candace stormed out of Gregorio’s. Sofia turned on her natural charms, and with leveraged application of Majesty, forced Candace to reveal her regrets and secrets. After the cathartic experience, Candace and Sofia ordered “Archibald” to take them to the Stem and Flute where Candace drank a few too many cocktails, allowing Sofia to ply two invitations to her extravagant party from her, each good for one, plus a guest.
After another sunrise and sunset, the Coterie made ready to attend the party. Dressed to the nines in fresh clothes, they stole a boat from the marina, and found Candace’s mega-yacht. Keeping a weather eye out, Nick spied a duo of Triad members, and a group of five snappily-dressed men, who were discerned to be Mages. After waiting for the exchange, Cheng started a fight on the dance floor, and Nick exploded with supernatural speed, stealing the case of gems and leaping into the boat, leaving Sofia and Cheng to fend for themselves, while Dr. Avalon sped away, managing to lose the Mages behind them.
After a rendezvous at an old dock, the Coterie opened the briefcase, revealing seven large, sparkling gems. As they examined their find, a pair of shadowy warriors coalesced behind them, in full Han-Dynasty armaments. Putting their martial skills to use, the Coterie quickly dispatched their umbral assailants, and returned to Wei Shen for further instruction. Wei was pleased to have recovered the gems, and shooed the Coterie from his office so that he could study them.
The very next night, Wei assembled the vampires again. The gems had been speaking to him, whispering in his mind. He felt that it was the spirit of Lu Bu attempting to contact him, but he could not communicate with the spirit, nor understand it. He tasked his new minions with finding someone who could assist him, a mage, a seer, or something of the sort.
Xing piped in, suggesting that they speak with [:spider], a known Kindred, and broker of information. Spider was the owner of an industrial metal club downtown, The Descent. Sailing past the line to enter the club, Sofia managed to gain an audience with Spider. He knew someone who could help her, but no information comes for free. Turns out, a few losers had been dealing low-quality drugs outside of his establishment, and he wanted them stopped, and he didn’t much care how it happened.
Using their talent for grace and tact, the Coterie set up a large drug buy with the gang, and beat the ever-loving shit out of them instead of purchasing drugs. Escaping before the police could arrive, they returned to Spider with the fruits of their labor. Spider was perfectly pleased to part with a morsel of information in return for the favor. He recommended the Coterie find the Bay Point Church, and track down the head Priest, one Lucas Collier. After warning the Coterie that a gang of mages was out for their blood, Spider saw them off with directions to Father Collier’s church.
Father Collier was none to happy to have vampires in his church, but he was, after all, a man of God, not a man of senseless violence. After hearing them out, he agreed to help them speak to the soul inside the gems, hoping that he could help it find a final resting place. He implored them to come back the following night, and he would conduct the ritual.
Returning with Wei Shen the following night, the ritual was ready to begin. Father Collier spread the gems atop an altar, covered in arcane etchings and silver. As he closed his eyes and pulled forth a magical weaving, the gems began to whisper, smoky tendrils rising and writhing throughout the seven gems. Suddenly the whispers ceased, and an electric tingle pressed in around the table. Father Collier’s eyes shot open wide.
And he screamed.