The new Red Star still shines in the sky, vaguely unnerving, or at least curious. The group assembles at Court at the Prince’s mansion to temporarily revive Peter Walenski, sire of Hunter Boudreaux, who was beaten into torpor last game. The Tremere have a ritual to pull vampires prematurely out of torpor. This is good, because Peter is estimated to otherwise stay there for the next thousand years. The ritual requires a mixture of powerful blood and old blood. The oldest Kindred in the city known to the Court is Rowan, Embraced in 1196 A.D.
The Prince stands in for the most powerful, in the absence of Marie Laveau, Sebastian, or a presumably unwilling Morgaine. Rowan and the Prince donate. Meanwhile, the spell Chains of Water, done by a Tremere apprentice, holds Peter along with carbon fiber cables. The PCs are asked to contribute blood to help fill in the mix, which is poured into a goblet (some of them refuse). This is poured down the demon-consorting vampire’s throat.
Upon awakening, the Prince interrogates him by having the group ask him questions while she watches his aura. He reveals that the third member of the cabal who killed Pere Antoine, the Prince’s friend and priest, is a member of the Camarilla Court. He also gives the Baali’s true name as Nicodemus, and the Prince authorizes a Blood Hunt against him. Then Walenski calls upon his master, Anoster, the Lord of Despair, and teleports out of all his bonds. He wounds several in the group before being beaten into torpor again, whereupon the Prince cuts his head off. The body is burned in the backyard while the group makes plans, and Rowan comes back out of hiding.
The PCs advance on the Beautiful Rest Funeral Home, closed down six months ago for violations of state and federal law in handling bodies. Dutch, the Sheriff, goes with them to drive the van, while Hunter uses his powers of supernatural disguise to look like Peter. He marches in the front door with John Mandrake as his apparent “prisoner”, hands bound behind his back. Unfortunately, Nicodemus (dressed in a medical smock over a business suit) demands to know why Mandrake’s tongue hasn’t been cut out to prevent him from using Thaumaturgy. He pulls out a knife. Mandrake panics and conjures an AK-47, sending everyone running for cover.
Then the van crashes through the front door, and the group pursues Nicodemus into the next room, as he grows bat wings to fly. The Baali tries to talk his way out of trouble, but the group is having none of it and attacks with everything they have. Something the Baali does saps their will, though, and weakens their spirit as they glimpse the powers of the demonic. He also summons his hellhounds (previously tied up in the yard) and a minor demon to deal with the interlopers. Nevertheless, the demon is smashed against the wall by a thrown desk (Catherine’s doing), and the hellhounds prove no match for the characters. Nicodemus is defeated handily, and a giant taloned hand appears from a rift in space to retrieve his body and drag in into what is presumably Hell. Once gone, the hounds revert to normal.
Dutch is found to have run away during one of the Baali’s assaults that made him frenzy, and this is later reported to the Prince. Time for a new Sheriff (has to be a tough guy, not a coward). Looking through the contents of the funeral home, the group discovers a corpse pit has been dug in the floor and lined with stone and cement. By a pile of dead bodies, a young man is struggling to reach a gruesome-looking heart that is filled with Baali blood. This is how the bloodline performs the Embrace of mortals, according to the word of yet another demon (Dalben, of Wolfram & Hart). The man is wounded and is bleeding out, soon to die.
Someone shoots the heart, destroying it (on the principle that this particular bloodline does not need to continue). The PCs call the Prince on their cellphones to ask what to do. The only way to aid him seems to be to Embrace him as a vampire. They want the Prince to make the final call, as they would need permission to turn him, and whoever did it would be responsible for the new childe. The group asks him what he would do if he was a vampire. He says, “Whatever I want.” The Prince gives the thumbs down on the Embrace, and they watch him die.
A few days later, the ghosts of the LaLaurie House introduce their new representative, a phantom named Benjamin Mosely. He appears in a mirror. Benjamin says that they want to keep living in the house, and they don’t mind having Delphine back, as mostly they blame her husband, Louis, for making her torture them. Some feel differently, mind you. In any case, they are all afraid of Louis.
Over in the Baratria Preserve, exploratory drilling is commencing by Pentex, authorized by the State of Lousiana. Janise Hardwick is not thrilled to discover this (she missed the memo) and investigates. A mysterious man asks her if she is the vampire guardian of the Preserve. She answers yes, and he introduces himself as “Walks Softly”, a Mokole (were-alligator). The two make an assault on the drilling compound, intending to scare off the intruders. The Mokole turns into his dragon form, while Janise stays subtle as a wolf. The compound turns out to have security forces who are more than human, including a giant humanoid scorpion, a slime man, and someone covered with boils. They are firing silver bullets, to which fortunately neither Walks Softly nor Janise are allergic to. It looks like they were expecting Lupine trouble. Unfortunately, the bullets still hurt, the assailants have night vision goggles, and then they start bringing out the machine guns and the rocket-propelled grenades. Discretion is the better part of valor, so the two retreat to deal with them another day.
On Friday, the Prince is having Court again at the New Orleans Opera House. Before the group gets there, various members (Clete and Delphine, Catherine and Janise) find notes stuck to their doors at the LaLaurie House and Catherine’s apartment. It is a message from the Sabbat Don Sebastian, asking them to meet with him shortly under a truce. They decide to do so to find out what he wants, particularly since the Sabbat could just have attacked instead. At the Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter, Sebastian explains that he wants them to know the real stakes for which they are fighting.
He explains the formation of the Sabbat in the Renaissance as a reaction to the cruelty of the elders who oppressed their children. Of course, the group sees little difference between the various elders in both sects. He tells them about the Antedeluvians, something that the Camarilla officially denies, but the vampires are not particularly interested. He then asks them about their heritage. He states he believes in Caine who was cursed by God to be a vampire. Catherine and Janise reply that they don’t believe in that Judeo-Christian bullshit. Sebastian then tries to recruit them to the Sabbat. He is asked about the Sabbat’s treatment of mortals and is reminded that the sect has been known to mass Embrace neonates. He says, “They’re just human,” and tries to tell them that full membership must be earned, at which point everyone rejects him. Sebastian tells them to come to Shreveport if they change their minds, and he leaves.
Now late to Court, the group is stopped by a phone call from Morgaine, of all vampires, who says “I can’t believe I’m calling you people.” They can’t believe it either. Apparently they’ve become the go-to group when something particularly strange happens, and it’s just their luck that Morgaine has a mortal captive with paranormal abilities. They go to the back room of Club Zero, and find what seems to be the most beautiful woman they have ever seen, tied to a chair. Morgaine and her childe, Eliza Hanover, are watching her. Some of the group are tempted to undo the bonds, and all find her the smell of her blood and body tremendously appealing, no matter how full on blood they are. Morgaine says, “See what I mean? Now take her, or I’m going to kill her.” So they take her to seee someone who is “more attractive than you are” (that is, the Prince).