City Lights at Night

Boxes and Bloodsuckers
In which the drop is made and much information is exchanged

Well, we‘re a motley now. Seems everybody and their brother knows, word travels fast I guess. It’s a good thing though, or so everybody says. I’m glad to know them, for the most part— Ondrej is the very picture of a wealthy (if slightly sleazy) gentleman, Red‘s tough and reliable, and Masa never ceases to amaze. He’s got a goblin friend now, a little hungry thing he calls Frederick. Adorable as anything, I swear. I need to get myself one of his watches soon.

I was certainly glad to have Red and Masa there with me when I went dream-hoppin’. Made me feel at least a little less terrified. Anyway, what I got out of that nightmare was this— Roy bought from a dealer in southern Paradise, called him Dante. He deals out of a building with a green door, 1674. There were two men there, I met one later, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Dante is a tall, thin, black man. The Greek says his name en’t actually Dante, but I en’t surprised. Pockets en’t called Pockets, either.

We went to make the drop at the casino all right, the whole motley came along. Ondrej made himself look like a Mexican— what a trick. I ought to keep a better eye on him… anyway, I dropped the box off and made a tally mark like I was ‘sposed to. One of the gentlemen from Roy’s dream came to pick it up— the man Pockets called the Greek. His name’s Costas. Fine example of what we’re dealin’ with, though he seemed a bit more accommodatin’ than most. As it turns out, he’s a ‘squito. (That’s why the drop had to be made at sundown.) Seems Pockets left a note at the bottom of the box sayin’ that if I came alone, he could have me for dinner. Costas was ticked, since Pockets didn’t give me the mixer to take along. I have some words for him when he comes to collect. That aside, Mr. Costas let us in on a few things— one of the things the base is cut with is vampire blood; Leah runs with John Galt (the Satraps); Patrick Tallum died an awful bloody death, and Dante’s name en’t Dante, it’s Mike somethin’. Awfully kind gentleman (and I do mean awful, creepy as all hell), I said we’d let him know when Pockets comes through. I intend to pay up and wash my hands of that son of a bitch (pardon my language).

I told Ms. Silver about all this, she seemed pleased that I’d found out so much. She told me Pockets’ actual name— Roland Checkers— and that I ought to tie up the loose end (that is, Roy) right quick. I just need to bring Mr. Dante to the E String, and give Mr. Kemp a call… though how I’m goin’ to manage that is beyond me.

So much I found out lately, and so much I still don’t know. All this diggin’ up dirt makes me feel like I’m just diggin’ my own grave— and for some reason, I keep hoping it’s only mine I’m diggin’. I don’t know them well yet, but if the three fine gentlemen I pledged with got themselves hurt or dead on my account, I’d be… I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be pretty.

“Oh, now I tried to tail you last night in my car

So scared I might find just what I was lookin’ for

Little by little…" (ST)

—Wren

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Who John Galt Is

I’ve finished with Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged. (“John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains—and he withdrew his fire—until the day when men withdraw their vultures.”) My English is progressing well, which is good, our vow of silence was broken by Mr. Red. Wolfe gave me a call, apparently I don’t need sleep as far as she is concerned. But Red tipped her off that I knew something about Morse. She asked if I was hustling drugs. The exchange got heated, she sent the mob to my new basement. This did not stop us from swearing a motley pledge. Wren is much prettier now, I am much wealth now, what Masa (Masamune Masatsugu) and Red got from the deal I am unsure…

So, there are 3 mobs here in Vegas. The Jews, the Sicilians and the Mongrels. The freehold should give me some measure of protection from the last, and I’ve purchased a very reasonable status as a free holding agent from the Sicilians. If I stay out of their way for a while I should be able to hold myself against them. I will need to find a way to deal with the Jews so they understand that I am not to be trifled with.

I must find a way to set aside the differences with my Motley. Red has worked against me at many turns. This must be dealt with. We must stand together, even if our courts may work seperately, I believe that the monarchs understand this very important point. Together they stand against the Fae, divided they will fall. The same can be said for our mikrokosmos of the freehold, though the enemies may not directly be as threatening as the Fae, they will surely devour us given the chance.

I have extended my protection to the motley, they are my familia now. This is a deep connection, it saddens me that they do not see it.

We made Wren’s drop. This led to our meeting Costas Petrakis, a lichvář, er… Vampire, that is the word. He was quite informative, and why not, he didn’t pay us as he was supposed to. None of the others seemed to mind. John Galt is the Pearl Satrapy, Leah Rexpin is one of them. I imagine they will find me if they should like to if they are seeking to remain secret; their legality seems to be in question here.

I gave Wolfe a tip on Morse, I don’t think it will be enough to ruin the market for me, but it should buy me some more good favor, I feel bad for hurting her, it was unnecessary. Regardless, I sent her after the lichvář connection.

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Glamour and Goblins
In which there is acquisition of some questionable things

Well, I’m an expert at this (or so it would seem). I’m not sure how I feel about this whole “feeding off of emotions” thing, it’s new to me yet. I… fed? harvested?… off of a suit in a strip club, he was so… flustered, frustrated… horny as hell… even the memory’s a rush, and damn, it was so overwhelming. Like bein’ drunk.

Then there was the market. All of the August Motley went as a bunch, en’t much of a surprise there. I did better than I thought, Ms. Silver ought t’ be pleased. Wouldn’t you know it, we en’t been there five minutes and I found Miss Leah. She didn’t want to talk much, understandable— but I got a fair piece outta her. She was in the business of movin’ the stuff, and she did know Mr. Tallum. I still gotta find out ‘bout him, but she was nice enough t’ tell me a little of how things work. She and Mr. Pockets drop off the base to a gentleman Mr. Pockets referred to as “Greek”. I bought a hit of Morse off him— not for me, mind you, it’s for Roy— and I offered to help deliver for some information. Leah gave me the box— last shipment, she says— I’m supposed to drop it at the loading dock at the MGM Grand.

We’ll see how that goes. The only other thing I could get outta her was that “there’s somethin’ wrong with Spring”. I told the rest of the motley about it, they’re kind enough t’ help me out. We’ll see how that goes, too.

One more thing I ought t’ mention. There was a creepy little goblin at the market sellin’ dreams. Dr. Sinclair, I believe it was. I bought one off him— he was willin’ to sell it for a song. I can’t remember what I sang, and I won’t get it back, but what I got in return might just prove much more valuable… Roy’s dream, the night ’fore he shuffled off this mortal coil.

I’m in over my head, I think.

“There ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe

The light I’ve never known

Oh now it ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe

I’m on the dark side of the road." (ST)

—Wren

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Knife Wounds Build Character

Ow.
Ow ow ow ow goddamn ow.
That fucking lowlife was faster than he gave him credit for. Not on his feet, of course, but with his blade, and more importantly with his mouth. No matter how many times you catch a blade, it never gets familiar. Or pleasant. And sure, the freak fruit had patched him up fine, he should’ve stocked up, but it didn’t make it hurt any less. He was just glad he had Masa along to tell him which ones wouldn’t give him something worse than a knife wound. After the underhanded, sneaky bullshit Wren has been pulling lately, it was nice to know that he had at least one friend that could be relied on not to be fucking him over for his own motivations. I mean, he knew Ondrej was a slimy little shit, but Wren seemed reliable. Sad that the only person he knew that he’d be surprised to find stabbing him in the back was Winter.

Anyway, that was past now. Wren and Ondrej had both learned valuable information. But he was sure that he wouldn’t leave the shady ass casino of that shady ass Darkling without either a fight or a pledge. He had no problem with the idea of them joining up, he never expected to be able to trust them, but their subtlety had proven a good contras to his… not. But hopefully, it wouldn’t be tonight. He didn’t give a shit about the drugs, they weren’t killing anyone but junkies. That was natural selection as far as he was concerned. And he wasn’t willing to betray his word and his friends to run to Wolfe or Coyote about it just to kiss enough ass to climb up the Summer ladder. That’d come soon enough, and besides, it didn’t mean shit unless he earned it.

No, what he wanted was more basic. Wren said that that same lowlife Scum was coming by the E-string in the next couple days. He intended to have every possible resource waiting there for him. That bastard was going to be caught or die, and fuck whatever intel he might give up to Wolfe or The Clown. He was going to suffer. Red just had to make sure he could get the welcoming party ready without breaking his pledge…

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Drugs on the Table

Well, that’s done and over with. The brand new Andrei Moore will not be gracing the streets of Vegas again, at least not so long as he values his life. Didn’t get my shadow back, but who the hell has one of those on the Strip anyway? I picked up some info on tarot cards at the market, something happened between them. My memories aren’t straight on this, I might be losing track of time. I need to be more careful, the market could be problematic. I did learn some valuable information from a věštec there though. I will meet a powerful woman before New Year’s. She will be opposed by a dark stranger (will I not know them or will she, one thing is for sure, it’s not Neon) I will have to choose a side, I guess they both better bring gifts. Saul was at the market, I don’t think we spoke. This loss of memory is bohyně unsettling.

Then there was Joe Pockets. Mr. Red caught a knife, his own damn fault. Don’t tell the dealers your their new competition until your putting them out of business. A rookie mistake, but he seems a nice enough guy, also not one who likes me. No one ‘round here does. That’s irrelevant, I suppose. And now their are drugs on the table; Wren’s. This group called the Satrapy of Pearls sounds interesting, I’ll need to learn more. Also, who the fuck is John Galt, really? I think I’m missing something, fucking bohyně, nasraný na Americans. Also, theres a guy, The Greek, but he’s Midwestern, he’s the connection around here. I should like to have a chat with him. Oh, the Satrapy uses a necklace as a symbol, maybe I can use that to ask around. And Pockets rides a Chopper made of bone. I’ve been thinking about getting a motorcycle. The black truck is my only ride now, and it gets hot. Yugo went to New York. Part of a different life now. Cutting ties. Different life, different person. What do prdele day is it?

Goddamn věštec. I should have knowed better than to consort with those who know what they shouldn’t.

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Make new friends/but keep the old/ one is silver/and the other is a quadrapedal clockwork automaton that ferries me through the hedge

9:33:23:PM Arrive at Andrej Gmeur abode. Nice place.

9:35:17PM Gmeur gets phone call, picks up suitcase and leaves… strange

9:38:28PM Big Jim’s slow knock

9:40:36PM Timex watch to fix

9:41:11PM Big Jim’s slow departure

11:24:49PM Time to work. Hopefully big project it will be done by tomorrow

DECEMBER 5

3:17:48AM Almost done, need a fire for the boilers

3:27:20AM Flame given willingly. My Hedge Transportation is complete! But now I need a name. Troublesome.

December 6

12:00:00AM Goblin Market! had to feed a goblin a watch to park. Good thing I always carry an extra. Shame though, good watch.

12:17:01AM Dream Merchant knows too much. Useful information, but price too high. Must think on this. Slow and Steady Wins the race.

12:53:21AM Mr. Red attempts to procure illegal narcotics, it does not go well.

2:10:15AM Promise leaves procured, this should be exciting

3:40:29AM Wren and Ondrej have gleaned much from the market. They are proving to be resourceful allies. Even Dr. Cruces would approve of their methods. This motely may be a good fit.

4:38:17AM Mr. Red referred to me as “a friend”. It is a good day.

5:06:28AM Debrief proves valuable. Satrapy of pearls involved. Ondrej too excited when I informed him of their motives. Risky people the Satraps. Nothing sacred, not even watches.

5:08:36AM Proposed pledge. Perhaps this is the right time. Can’t rush into this. Slow and Steady wins the race. Must draft a copy before I check on my life tonight.

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Snakes in the Hedgegrass

Charlie gave me a tip on a project I’ve been following the other day. Turns out its off limits by royal decree of the sad clown. Luckily some associates of mine have reason to head out to cemetery out on 66 and I can tag along without raising any suspicion, I believe. I only hope that I can help my friends with whatever business they have there. That and set up a very lucrative business meeting.

Back to the hedge again for some sort of Church meeting. It was unclear who they worship there, but I suspect that any church in the hedge has more than its share of dark secrets I’d just as soon stay away from. Mr. Red and Masa took part in some sort of communion they called the Blessing of the Thorn: Wren Swift sat it out, which is good news for me, I don’t need some sort of higher power having influence in my house, not unless I know a damn good deal more about it. To big a risk that They know it. The monarchs were all there, save Neon, again good news for me, I’ve no use for some sort of higher power having influence in my house, as I said.

The church did afford me a chance to meet Wolfe’s counterpart, Saul Jackson. A quite reptilian man, I believe he may be a man after my own heart. He serves as the Freehold’s lawyer, though I believe he may be willing to take some leniency with the law for the right price. Anyway he told me about this little Church in the hedge. Turns out the 4 Monarchs couldn’t form this here freehold without giving a little taste to The Rev. Doremus Silas. At least that part is a concept I can get behind, so long as I don’t have to kick up too. I should ask Neon about it some time, maybe. Further he told me to pass a message to Red that coyotes and wolves don’t run together here in town. It could be valuable information. I’ll be sure to let him know if it benefits me.

I met with Neha Rafsanjani while looking for Neon to get some guidance on the Morse issue, she claims she’s not involved with the drug trade, good if its true. Neon gave me the go ahead with the warning to head to the Market armed and keep out of the eye of Cruces, and by extension his eye on the street, Wolfe.

My basement should be opening Monday, I’ve gotten the word out to the regulars (Bethany Wolfe, Charlie Prince and Enrico Juarez). I need to start getting word out on the street to the right people that this is a place to play, at a reasonable rate.

More important yet, things are coming together to deal with my Fetch. I’ve got the briefcase, the cash, the gun and the new papers. Now I’ve just got to head home and give him an offer.

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Drugs and Dead Things
In which there is a strange seance, a church service and acceptance of a quest

I didn’t ever think I’d wind up explorin’ subterranean Vegas, but it’s on the list of things I’ve done in the past week. Yesterday I went to go deliver Mr. Red a message— David called and said he’d need us to open up today. Seems he’s of the Jewish persuasion… anyway, I got down there all right, found him and let him know what was goin’ on.

Walkin’ home, things got funny. I ran into Mr. Kemp, who happened to mention that we have a ghost. (Explains a little of what’s goin’ on at the bar, sort of.) He kept talkin’ over his shoulder, presumably to that THING of his. Anyway, I asked if he could come by this morning and ask it what it was doin’ hangin’ around, he said he would. And boy, did he.

Seems our “guest” en’t a new face. Our resident spook is Roy— he’s hangin’ around until he gets to see his dealer again, and until we get him another hit of Morse.

Oh, I forgot to mention church. We attended service for the first time yesterday, in a church the likes of which I’d never seen. Beautiful, in an eerie Hedge sorta way. The Reverend gave a very nice sermon, most everybody attended (a few of us missing, but not everybody’s a church-goin’ type). There was a… communion, of sorts, at the end. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet. I still en’t so sure there’s somebody up there watchin’.

I ran into Ms. Silver after the service, she wanted to talk to me. She sent a car to pick me up, a nice (grayish) gent drove out to the bar to fetch me. Court business— as sort of a ‘prove you’re an asset to the Court’ thing, I’m s’posed to find out about this Morse stuff. The best place to do that, she says, is the Goblin Market. She also said I ought to look into Leah Rexpin— said she went missin’ a while back, but she’d know more about it than anyone.

What am I gettin’ myself into?

“And I’m lookin’ for answers

Lookin’ for answers that nobody knows…" (ST)

—Wren

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Hangovers and Harbingers

His head felt like an artillery shell had gone off inside of it, and not one of the regular ones. One of the terrible, screaming ones filled with lightning and nightmares. Even so, he hadn’t needed his alarm, and he clumsily flipped through the options menu of his phone to disable it. Waking up when he needed to was part of what had helped him live to make it back here, and it was still a useful skill. Especially when he had to open a bar at 8 am.

Even this early, the sun was bright and the day was hot. The heat he appreciated, the light made him profoundly wish he had a pair of sunglasses. Wren was already there working on the locks when he got in, and she had news. Apparently they were expecting a visit from good ole Thompson, and he didn’t care what any of them said, it was fucking him. But it was about goddamn time something was done about this, minor pranks are one thing, but bloody mary puns cross a line

6 hours of day after hallucinogenic vision trip hangover later, he finally showed up, and got to work. He wasn’t using any means Red had seen before, but he was clearly doing something. A half hour of loud cursing and louder radio static later, and he managed to glean that the bar was haunted by the ghost of some junkie who had died before he even started work here, and that the only thing that was gonna placate him was a hit of Morse and a visit from his dealer. That worked fine for Red, it shouldn’t be too much additional trouble. After all, the Coyote had already given him the job of dealing with the morse bullshit, having a second of peace at work would just be a nice bonus. But he wasn’t going to be able to waltz into a Content Not Found: goblin-markets by himself and expect results. He knew he could take down his share of creepies if he had to, but he’d rather not risk all of them, and besides, he was a blunt instrument, but just sharp enough to recognize it. If this was going to be done peacefully and successfully, it was going to take some seriously shady dealings. So it was time to call in the shadiest person he’d met since he’d been back. Luckily, the same person had bought him a phone.

It felt good to have an objective again, something immediate and tangible that he could put in work toward. And even more than that, he was doing it for reasons he understood, for something he wanted, for people he had chosen. Plus, he might even get to break some hedge freak’s face in. This was gonna be fun.

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Slow and Steady wins the race

8:56:11PM Reporter man came back. Nice watch. He isn’t so bad.

December 04, 2010

12:00:52AM Went to church of Thorns, metThe Rev. Doremus Silas. Influential, powerful, inspiring. Service was nice, painful, beautiful. Like life. Perhaps a return is in order. But must not rush into things. Slow and Steady wins the race

12:31:49PM gave photos to Bethany Wolfe. Already had them. Thought I was being helpful, guess not.

1:47:47AM Ventured into the hedge. Dead bad-watch-druggy had an amaranthine sprouting out of him. I retrieved it but was not cautious. Must be cautious. Will not make mistakes next time. Hedge Dangerous, but hedge fruit helpful. Must prepare. Can’t be impatient. Slow and Steady wins the race.

7:00:00AM met with Dr. Edmund Cruces at the Cirque. Too many mimes. Creepy man, soft spoken. Must do task for admittance, very undesirable. Likely will involve more like dead bad-watch-druggy, undesirable. Must go to goblin market, dangerous, maybe my friends(?) will go with me, safety in numbers. Slow and Steady wins the race.

11:51:00AM made lunch

12:00:00PM Ate Lunch, very tasty, worthy of note.

12:04:16PM decided to pay my younger counterpart a visit in the near future. Perhaps tonight? Everything must be perfect before proceeding. Slow and Steady wins the race

5:03:43PM New friends(?) came by my store, Mr. Red carried me. He seems nice.

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