Venatori

Vision and Spirits

Further investigations into noctural goings-on

We rejoin the pack to find Summer and Vellum in discussion about what to do with ‘Natasha’ the would-be assassin from the Tong. Summer favours giving her to the police, perhaps by tying her up and then dropping her off in the middle of nowhere, along with an anonymous tip-off to the police.
Vellum argues that she could be a useful source of information, and furthermore that by capturing her and imprisoning her back at base they can keep her employers in the dark for longer.
Summer reluctantly agrees, on the condition that they have her for a couple of days at most.
Vellum leaves to pick up the Van in order to transport her, whilst Summer continues to restrain her.

Summer’s grip slackens slightly as she manoeuvres to reach the case and pistol discarded on the ground a few feet away, and Natasha takes advantage of her momentary inattention of break Summer’s lock on her and slip free. Natasha is fast and makes it though a side-door and along corridor into the factory adjoining the warehouse; but Summer catches up with her and thwarts her escape.
Moments later, Vellum arrives back with his dark and ominous van. The two werewolves bundle the struggling criminal into the back of the van, attracting the attention of a group of squatters and addicts from the far end of the factory complex. Hurrying, the pack members are able to embark and dive off before the approaching figures can get a good look at them or discover what is going on.
Several minutes down the road, they realise that they have left the empty case back at the warehouse. They double back and sneak in to retrieve it, only to find that it has vanished. The people loitering the factory are also gone.

Back across town, Lewis helps Simon Ellsworth, the old man that he defended from being mugged, into his house and falls into conversation with him. It transpires that the old man is a retired architect in his 90s, and is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker (thought prone to going off on tangents). Ellesworth discuses some of his work and talks about the philosophies underpinning his designs. Lewis develops a suspicion that there may be more to this man than meets the eye, and some of his ramblings about the golden ratio, vesica piscis and ‘sublime geometries’ seems to border on the mystical, of the werewolf’s ears.
Eventually the old architect tires, and Lewis leaves after exchanging business cards.

Over in the scrapyard, Denton works quickly to stuff the crushed remains of the creature that attacked him into some bin-bags and into the boot of his newly acquired car. He rests for a moment, as the aftereffects of the adrenaline take their toll, and smokes a couple of cigarettes to help calm himself. Determining his plan of action, he drives to an out-of-the-way public toilet to finish cleaning the gore off of his hands (wet-wipes only go so far), and drives to Camden Market.

Denton bursts into Spandex Ted’s cramped flat by breaking down the door, and confronts the shocked and shaken crook, holding a gun to his head and demanding to know why he had been followed. Ted, clearly terrified and angry, protests that he has done nothing.
His brain going into overdrive, Denton clocks the details of the room and of Ted’s demeanour, and deduces that something other than Denton has got him scared.
After a minute of intense and insightful questioning from Denton, Ted breaks and reveals that he has recently started working for the Tong.
Apparently, over the last few months the Tong have been making significant inroads into the territory controlled by the ‘East-End Mafia’, and the Tong made Ted a deal he could’t refuse. For the last few weeks, he has been selling their mysterious new drug (‘vision’). He’s making money hand over fist but the stress is killing him.
Denton takes him back to headquarters, partly though persuading him that Denton and his associates would be able to protect him, and partly to making it clear that he was coming anyway, either under his own power or dragged kicking and screaming if necessary.

Doubling back to Camden now that the streets are quiet, Lewis walks around the back of the Chinese restaurant that he met Denton in earlier (after detouring to an off-licence en-route to pick up some crimage) and stealthily clambers up drainpipe to jimmy open the window and creep inside the upstairs apartment.
Entering Ted’s room, it is clear that the occupant left in a hurry. Lewis performs a thorough search of the apartment and turns up a small bag of something that he is pretty sure isn’t tobacco.

Pondering his options, he decides to risk calling the spirit that he observed earlier that night, his instincts telling him that it is still somewhere in the area, watching him.
The spectre quickly appears and identifies itself as ‘Insatiable Hunger’. Lewis questions the spirit – a creature of consummation, vice, and quick-fix joy. After some negotiation, the spirit agrees to answer a few questions in exchange for a point of essence and the tribute of Lewis taking a gulp of the whisky that he purchased earlier for each piece of information that it divulges.
The spirit speaks partly in metaphors and emotions, but from its alien testimony Lewis discovers that vampires are involved in propagation of the mysterious ‘vision’ drug throughout the city in conjunction with the Tong, and that some vampires are feeding on users in order to feel the effects themselves (which pleases and amuses Insatiable Hunger).

Arriving back at Aldwych, Vellum and Summer bring their prisoner into the building only of find that the room fitted with the restraints is already occupied – Denton has installed Ted within in, and the two of them are sat eating Chinese, perturbed when a restrained Tong enforcer is hauled into the room.
Lewis stumbles in a few moments later, trying to shake off the effects of the alcohol. After overcoming their surprise, the pack relate to each-other what has happened to them over the course of the night.

Questioning Natasha confirms that the Tong are involved in the supply of Vision and that the latest shipments from the USA was supposed to be in the case that she had been sent to intercept tonight (following meddling by the Mafia that disrupted the Tong’s normal supplies). Interrogation of the Tong woman also reveals that she knows of a plot involving a supplier of Chinese food in the city, whereby something is being put into the meat (though she doesn’t appear to know the details).

As Summer chains Natasha up downstairs, Vellum begins dissecting the block of crushed metal and meat that is the remains of the creature that attacked Denton earlier in the evening.
Hitting the cryptology books in his library, Vellum finds that the remains are a close match to the description of a ghoul – a creature that hungers for human flesh, and is supposedly the result of a human eating the meat of their own kind.

Denton meanwhile, begins scouring the Internet for mentions of Philip Travers, the Tong, vision, and Victor Crumb (the courier who Natasha shot). Of the latter, clues point in a strange direction – there is a minimal internet presence which has a constructed rather than natural feel to it, apart from a few connections to some obscure mathematical forums. Denton begins to suspect that the injured courier is not what he appears.

Vellum beings an alchemical analysis of the sample of vision that Lewis found in Ted’s flat. He quickly discovers that the drug has mystical properties and that it contains traces of hemoglobin. The clues suggest that this drug my be connected to the ‘lacrimosa’ or ‘mandrakes’ the he found reference to in the British library earlier.

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Mooncinder

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