1259.4 Beerskin

(meeting thread)


I am sending you funds to travel to the Transylvania Tribunal where you will be a member of a new Covenant. It has taken considerable effort to place another of our House In the Tribunal. The Praeco was not willing until I made a personal plea. The Tremere assigned to the Covenant is called Laterala. They expect you there before midwinter of this year. Do not mess this up!!

For now, your job will be to catalog the fae of the area making notes of their stories and habits. I will expect reports from you bi-annually.

Prima Brennus ex Merinita[/i]

Zoltan checked the letter again as he stood back to look at the compound. Darkness had fallen but that meant little for him. The garlic hanging from the doors and the three dogs he could see around the Inn...that was a different story.

((Dogs...why did it have to be dogs? I only made the one grog, but presumably Zoltan has some porters and servants, the non-fighty type?))

Zoltan was bundled in the coach categorizing his various effects, finding that again, Juriska had meddled with his organized belongings. After checking from the description of the letter and looking up his eyes grew wide and a snarl formed on his lips. He pounded on the front panel to alert one of the drivers. A head poked around to look briefly in before the man hopped down and came to the door, his reddened face mostly covered by a scarf.


Zoltan pointed a hand at the inn. "What is that?" he demanded, keeping the stammer out of his voice, only barely. The man followed his slightly shaking hand to look at the inn.

"It's the inn, we're here." he said and then looked in the coach to see if he'd been drinking or something.

"I know it's the inn! What is that on it and around it?!" The man looked back again for a few seconds and then turned back to the coach.

"Uh..." he stared at the inn for a few moments before turning back to Zoltan. "Garlic wreaths?" Zoltan put on a sarcastic grin and clapped slowly in appreciation at the observation. The man's cheeks flushed darker.

"And those...things, that are walking around leaving their...excrement every which way. What do we call those?" Zoltan said, pointing again.

"The dogs?" the man said as he saw the hounds who were looking at the coach with some curiosity now.

"Yes! You must be the smart one in your family! Now...take those meat hooks you call hands, and remove the garlic and the dogs!"

"Ok...but..." he began.

"No buts! Just do it!" Zoltan demanded, a slight bit of panic edging into his voice as he saw one of the dogs was sniffing the cold ground and appeared to be ready to head towards the coach.

"But what should I do with them?" the man asked, not hearing the panic in Zoltan's voice.

"I don't care! Kill the dogs!"

"You want me to kill the dogs? What about the garlic?"

"Kill the dogs and stuff them with the garlic! I don't care just do something! That one's getting closer!" Zoltan was backed up into the far edge of the coach seat as he saw that one of the dogs had definitely decided there was something interesting in the coach and needed inspecting.

As Zoltan scooted to the farthest edge of the seat in the coach, the coachman turned to the dogs. "Hey boy! Here!" And patted his thigh. Intrigued, two of the dogs trotted up to him and he lowered a hand so they could sniff it. The third was an old dog and he looked intently at the coach, seeming to see right into Zoltan's eyes. While the coachman tended to the two dogs the third one got up warily and started to walk purposefully towards the coach. He could smell the fear on Zoltan, even hear the hammer of his heart beating in his chest.

"Hey! Get back here!" tried the coachman, but it walked right by, not caring. Zoltan was breaking into a cold sweat as the dog sensed his prey, trapped in the coach. It started to pick up speed into a near run. Zoltan wondered if his spells would even work under these circumstances; he was about to find out. Suddenly a howling wind picked up and knocked the dog over. The dog rolled over onto its feet and looked around as the other two dogs looked first in confusion and then whined in fear. The older dog's hackles rose and then it yipped as if struck. Soon the two dogs by the coachman turned and ran and the old one did its best to follow after it yipped again.

Zoltan tried to calm his hammering heartbeat and focus his eyes out the window, finally seeing after a moment the blue little girl Juriska. While he feared dogs, Juriska actively disliked them. She waved and smiled at him then made a show of briskly clapping her hands together after a job well done. Then she flew off out of sight, no doubt to linger about the inn.

With the dogs fleeing the coachman turned back to Zoltan. "Huh. I guess they don't like you."

Zoltan feigned disappointment. "Ohhh...and here I try so hard to be extra tasty." he whined sarcastically. The coachman frowned, not sure what he meant.


"Get rid of the garlic!" Zoltan roared.

"Alright, alright!" the coachman said and walked to the inn door and pulled the wreath off it. He turned and seemed about to walk towards the coach with it, but even in the dim light from the lanterns outside the inn, he could see a positively lethal glare in Zoltan's eyes. Shrugging again he walked it to a refuse pile of old rushes and tossed it on top.

Zoltan sighed. "Idiots!" he mumbled in Latin and pounded on the panel again to get the other's attention. "Bring my trunk in! And let me out of this rolling coffin if you please!" The grumbling coachmen set to work unpacking his travelling trunk and one opened the door to let him out. Zoltan pointed to the door of the inn. "A private room. You two can stay in the commons...or the stable for all I care. Go, a room!" he demanded, handing a small pouch with a few coins in it. Zoltan followed the man to inn and stayed behind him as he knocked on the door.

As Zoltan rushes into the Inn he feels the pressure and tingling of passing through an Aegis.

The large common room has many trestle tables all which have people sitting and drinking beer and eating food. Severing girls bustle around carrying large mugs or pitchers and sometimes a bowl with food or some bread. Several young boys are moving around cleaning up spills on tables and gathering the empty mugs from departed patrons.

Zoltan's coachman scans the room and finds a stout man wearing an apron giving directions to a boy. Pavel! Hey! he shouts and goes over. A conversation occurs and some coins trade hands.

Pavel makes his way to Zoltan. He can not hide the fear when he gets close. A p-p-private room sir. Y-yes. You w-w-would be Zolt-t-an then?

Zoltan has recovered some of his composure now that the dogs and garlic were gone. The aegis was unexpected but he should not have been too surprised. He held a handkerchief in front of his face, the lingering stench of the garlic they cooked with was still palpable. That would have to be changed if he was to be frequenting this establishment. He was somewhat lost in thought when he heard his name being stuttered. He looked about him and saw the innkeeper stammering his name. He fixed his gaze on the man and slowly put the handkerchief away. Some had said that Zoltan's gaze was like that of a snake paralyzing a bird. He objected to that description; snakes do not always catch the bird he'd say.

He paused, allowing the innkeeper to grow even more uncomfortable, he didn't speak until he saw the first bead of sweat begin to drip from his brow. "Innkeeper. I am Zoltan, yes. My needs are simple, yet very important." he said in his cultured Magyar tones. He holds up one slim finger. "First, the dogs. Keep them away from me and all will be happier. If they are not in fact your dogs, then they should be done away with. If they are yours then they must be locked up." he holds up a second finger. "Second. Garlic. It is a filthy reeking bulb that even the brute beasts that till the field won't eat. Keep the garlic away from me. I don't wish to see it or smell it and I certainly don't wish to see wreaths of it hanging from doors. My meals will not have garlic, understood?" He holds up a third finger. "Third...there is no third. Just the first two. If you can handle those extraordinarily simple, yet deadly important issues...then we shall get along quite well. Now!" he claps his hands together, smiling as he saw the man jump after his spell was broken. "I need my room prepared, my things brought up, and I'll have a bath prepared." he looks over to the two coachmen. "Oh...and they need...You there! You eat do you not?" the two coachmen look to each other and then back to Zoltan who is waiting impatiently, finally nodding as Zoltan twirled a finger impatiently. "Good. They need to eat, and something to drink I'm sure. So...innkeeper. Can you accomplish these things?" Zoltan said as he speared him again with his gaze.

((Piercing Gaze Virtue))

((Updated my post, I mistook the innkeeper for someone else))

Pavel nods but Zoltan is not sure he really heard what he said. He nods several times then gestures to a back table. As Zoltan moves to the table, other guests get up and move as he gets close. He can hear whispered words like demon and vampire in his wake. As he gets to the table he thought the innkeeper was gesturing to, he noticed that four men at a table have not gotten up. They just watch him go to his table. They are obviously armed and could be mercenaries or caravan guards.

Zoltan keeps an aloof expression on his face as he walks to the table, staring straight ahead and pretending not to hear the mutterings about him. Some things never changed, that they were wrong made no difference. He sat at the table and turned his chair to face the people in the inn and stared straight ahead, his strange eyes seeming to absorb the light, never blinking his hands steepled on the top of the table.

'Vampire? Demon?' he thought. 'They could not be more wrong...I am far worse.'

After several moments of silence he settled his gaze on Pavel again and made a simple "come hither" gesture with the index finger on his right hand.

Pavel approaches nervously, He hold a pitcher of beer and a mug for Zoltan and places them on the table. He also places a sealed scroll on the table and leaves quickly. The outside of the scroll says ( in Slavic) Zoltan - you can't miss him because his appearance will scare you and your customers. Tall. White skinned with long black hair and black eyes with no white in them.

(Assuming Zoltan opens the scroll)

[i]If you are not Zoltan reading this I need to get a innkeeper.

Trusting your journey went as well as could be hoped and no interpreted vampire hunter has not accosted your yet. I have such a glowing letter from your Primus I will be looking forward to meeting you. Your unique knowledge of the dark fae should prove insightful to us and the Tribunal.

When you are ready, go to the door on the east wall towards the north end. There four men sitting near it. Go to them and tell them your name and that you wish to see the Crooked One and they should open the door for you. I swear on my House and my Oath that no harm will become you.

Through the room and down the corridor ahead of you and you will find Aleksandar, our Steward. He will guide you to me.

Laterala ex Tremere
Aediles, Oppidum of Hèviz[/i]

Zoltan merely nods when Pavel leaves the mug and scroll. "It is as if you read my mind..." he says quietly just as Pavel goes to leave. He takes an appreciative taste of the nutty ale and savors it for a few seconds before reaching for the scroll and reading its contents. Once done he puts the scroll down and reaches for the mug again and drinks as he looks to the men by the door. His gaze stays on them unflinchingly while he drinks. Seconds, then minutes go by before he finally stands up and walks over to them. He puts the empty cup down on their table and again looks over all of them for several seconds.

((Perception (1) + Second Sight (3) roll on the men at the door, looking for anything unusual:

1d10+4 → [5,4] = 9
invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4231185/ ))

Once he has looked them over for the time being he says to them all. "I am here for the Crooked One."

((Zoltan sees nothing invisible or odd other than one of the men looks like he has some fairy blood))

The men all stand and move around. Zoltan thinks of trained fighters by their stances and positions.

Many people seek the Crooked One. Very few get to see her. What is your name pale skin?

Zoltan remains calm, he had no grogs of his own with him now; the coachman worked for whoever brought him here. He turned to the one speaking to him, his expression one of utter unconcern despite their numbers, his black orbs settling on him and testing his resolve. He let the quiet build until it seems to be louder than a conversation before he finally speaks.

"I am Zoltan." he said, holding up the scroll. "And I am one of the few. She is expecting me, do not make either of us wait."

At a nod from the one that Zoltan picked as having Fairy blood, another pulls a white stone from his pocket and presses it against the door which unlocks.

Zoltan moves through the first room and into an hallway. Zoltan sees light at the end of the hall and can feel warm air coming from that direction. As he gets to the doorway he notices the room ahead is round and there is a ring, carved into the floor, on it's boundaries.

In the room, which is lit not by any fire, sits a balding man behind a large desk. He looks expectantly at Zoltan as he approaches the doorway into the room.

Zoltan comes to the doorway but does not enter, he looks about the room for several seconds, staying quiet and then returns to looking at the man with his disquieting stare. Moments go by with him just staring at the man with an expressionless face.

"Something must be done about the dogs...if I am to stay here. May I come in?" He finally says.

The man folds his hands in front of him. I do not know. Can you come in? That is the question isn't it.

Zoltan quirks an eyebrow and stands there a moment before taking a step in. "Apparently I can. It's more of a formality than an actual question, though it might confound some I suppose." Zoltan looks about the room for a moment before settling back on the man. "Are you the Crooked One?"

No, my name is Aleksandar. I am the steward for the Oppidum. I welcome you Zoltan ex Merinita. He bows. I will see what I can do about the dogs.

As Zoltan reaches the center of the room, a voice calls down from above. I invite you into my aegis Zoltan of Merinita. And she tosses him a doll about the size of his hand, dressed in a bright blue and yellow dress. Laterala stands on a balcony that was nearly invisible from the doorway. Dressed in her usual charcoal grey robes and eye-patch.

As she turns to leave. Show him to my office Aleksandar.

Zoltan catches the doll out of the air and looks at it, cocking his head to the side as he does so. There was a strange look to him, almost as if the beginning of a feeling was coming over him, as he carefully adjusted the dress on the doll with one of his delicate looking hands. He didn't look up at the woman who threw him the doll, nor acknowledged what she said, but at Aleksander's prompting he moved where he was led.

"Can't have the dogs..." he mumbled, his voice tinged with some emotion.

Aleksander leads Zoltan out of the room and up some stairs to an large office. The old woman he saw from the balcony sits behind the desk. A pitcher of beer sits nearby with 2 mugs. Zoltan is escorted to a seat. Aleksander bows and exits.

Laterala studies him for a moment with her single eye. She gestures to the pitcher of beer. Have a drink of you wish. Pour one for me.
((I will assume Zoltan gives her a mug of beer))

She takes a good drink from the mug and must wipe the foam from her upper lip. Once she has her beer she continues. Why do you think your Primus wants you here Zoltan? She gestures as if to encompass all around her.

Zoltan has the doll draped over his arm possessively the entire time as he walks into the office and when he pours the beer and while sitting he holds the doll as if she were actually a child. At the question he looks up and considers for a few moments before answering.

"You must mean...aside from cataloging and what was the term? Weaponizing the fae?" He takes a sip of beer and puts the cup down. "I...would think that there are a few reasons. The first would be, our hosts the Tremere" and he bows politely to Laterala "has some concerns about my loyalties, perhaps even the loyalty of my House. We are an unknown quantity and unpredictable, things that a militant House would not appreciate. Proving my reliability might offer some assurances and soothe certain suspicions that have been brewing over the years." he holds up the doll and looks at it again, moving a strand of its yarn hair into place. "But I believe there is something nearby, perhaps in the ruins, maybe in the woods, possibly even under the water. Something of the good folk, and it must be investigated, and you'd rather risk myself then some of the armies of Tremere." he sighs and takes another drink. "Am I close?"