The beginning of the 10th session sees the victorious party standing around the corpse of Redteeth. After a moments discussion, Wilfric slashes Redteeth’s enormous gut open. Its entrails spill upon the floor. A foul pool of ichor pooling around the disgusting mess. Benedict steps forward and begins searching through the creatures guts. He’s examining the disgusting mess to determine if Redteeth ate Marianna. After sifting through the grizzly contents of the troll’s stomach Benedict has found:
• The semi decomposed corpses of two children
• The rotting cadaver of a man
• The skeletal remains of a deer
• A collection of fist sized stones and other objects
After verifying that Marianna hasn’t been eaten by Redteeth, Benedict offers the corpses the nearest thing to a burial he can devise, by throwing their remains over the side of the bridge, into whichever nether realm it spans.
The group decides to collect some ‘mementos’ of their kill. Benedict, Wilfric and Bertold each hack off a horn, tusk or antler. Bertold chooses to ‘liberate’ Redteeth’s jawbone as a ‘momento’. Frankie joins the group in time to help himself to a particularly large horn from Redteeth’s head.
Benedict returns to the monastery with Paul. Upon returning, Benedict seeks out Japeth. He is somewhat surprised to learn that Japeth was planning on speaking to him soon anyway. Japeth tells Benedict how proud he is that Benedict has chosen to follow the path of bones, and that his studious efforts to learn the discipline of Necromancy have paid off so swiftly. It is because of these factors that Japeth has singled out Benedict from all the group to speak to about a most delicate matter.
He says the following to Benedict “When one thrice drinks the blood of a kindred, one becomes bonded to them. One must obey their word, even if one were to disagree with them, one is compelled to obey. My sire, cappadocious, is a good man; he wishes to unify the living and the dead. But I fear he trusts the Giovanni in error.
He has asked me to let Giovanni be, to trust in Giovanni’s sincerity. It fills my heart with sorrow to speak these words aloud, but Cappadocious is in error – Giovanni plans treachery, of this I am certain. But my sire’s forbids me from acting against him.
Fortunately, he said nothing of you and your companions. And so, I have bought you a gift. A shroud and boots woven from spiritual essences that even I little understand. They will allow the wearer to move and act during a maelstrom. I have a set for you and your companions. Please, take them and perhaps you can make a difference in the coming storm.
I’ve tarried too long, I have preparations to attend to for the meeting tonight. No matter what happens, I’m proud of your studies, and proud that you have decided to walk the path of Bones with us.
We shall speak again soon, after this dreadful matter is behind us and Giovanni is unmasked before my sire.“
Meanwhile, the other members of the party travel to a nearby village, in search of Marianna. They find the majority of the villagers have barricaded themselves in their homes for the night. That the only places still open are the blacksmith and the two pigs inn.
When the blacksmith sees Frankie, he hands over the modified brass knuckles he ordered as a gift for Benedict. Wilfric orders a weapon, and pays for it with a golden necklace. Maria takes the opportunity to ask for a dagger and some throwing knives, for which she hands over one of her silver coins. Their enquiries about Marianna prove fruitless, so they move their search to the two pigs inn.
They find the two pigs to be a disgusting backwater dive. An old, drunk, couple sit in the middle of the room noisily arguing. The group attempt to make sense of their argument, but find it to be nothing more than drunken swear filled nonsense. Attempts to talk to them about Marianna yield nothing more than a vulgar rant by the couple, swiftly followed by a resumption of their seemingly never ending bickering.
Attempts to talk to the innkeeper also fail to lead o any promising leads. Maria is offended by his attitude, and she Dominates him into constantly drinking – until he eventually passes out. She also subtly manipulates the drunken couple into escalating their fight until they start attacking each other.
With the realisation that no useful information will be gleaned from the Inn, the group decide to return to the monastery and rest for the day, in preparation for the big meeting tomorrow night.
As the group begins to awaken, Benedict visits each of them in turn. He gives them the gift of the shroud and boots and explains something about the meeting he had with Japeth. Each dons the items under their usual clothes.
Bertold hatches a scheme to trap his sire. He uses the jawbone of Redteeth as an arch in a display he creates utilising statues and other beautiful works of art he scrounges together from the Giovanni mansion. He places this work of art near the main entrance for the monastery, in the hopes of distracting his sire as he arrives for the meeting.
The shout goes up from a watcher – The Conspiracy are coming. Now, the time for planning is finished – it is the time for action!
As the Conspiracy approaches, benedict flags down Claudius. Claudius is glad of this, as previously he had offered Benedict the opportunity to hold a dove of peace, which will be presented to Japeth as a sign of good faith. After carefully taking hold of the animal, Benedict asks Claudius an unexpected question. As Claudius looks disdainfully at him, he tells the Giovanni how loyal he is, and asks if he may begin the process of being blood bound. Claudius understands this action – a demonstration of loyalty on the eve of his plans coming to fruition. And so he grants this boon to the hideous Nosferatu. Benedict takes a mouthful of blood – but does not swallow.
After the procession of Kindred passes him, he carefully spits the blood onto the bird – therefor rendering it useless for the purposes of trapping Japeth’s soul. But, in the excitement, Benedict does not consider the few drops of blood that will remain in his mouth unless he washes it out carefully. Next time he drinks he will accidentally take the first step towards being blood bound to Claudius. Is this price too steep?
Bertold tries to lure his sire over to the shrine he built, but the Toreador is unimpressed by his childe’s efforts, and continues onwards.
The Conspiracy gather together in the courtyard of the monastery, before continuing towards the garden where the historic meeting will take place.
The grotto is large enough to accommodate over three dozen individuals comfortably. It is surrounded on three sides by grey stone walls. Only the rock formations delineate its northernmost side. That winding wall includes several hidden grottos, a small cavern complex (the entrance is located beside the smallest member of the Trinity), and a natural spring.
The monks have collected a variety of spine and thorn covered plants and planted them in the garden to remind them of the pain all people must suffer before they can reach the perfection of God’s eternal embrace. Roses also cover the garden’s grounds.
The gardens largest grotto is cradled gently by a semicircle of rock. The monks chipped away for centuries to make benches from the living rock. Three seats in particular are impressive. The largest is flanked on either side by the two smaller. Japeth sits in the stone seat to the right. A hard faces old man with a deformed right arm sits in the left-hand seat. This is Augustus Giovanni, Claudius father, and sire. A gathering of monks stand to one side of the entrance to the grotto, chanting and praying peacefully.
Claudius and the surviving members of The Conspiracy boldly enter the garden and ‘meekly’ confront Japeth. Wilfric ensures he is standing with The Conspiracy members, Bertold lingers near the entrance of the grotto, the remainder of the group hide behind the large stones, near the hiding place of The Founders. Japeth rises and accepts the dove from Benedict (who is very careful to ensure none of The Conspiracy sees the blood on the creature). Augustus remains seated.
Japeth beckons to Claudius to come forward.
Claudius strides up, a mock penitent smile on his arrogant face. His pack of conspiritors stay at a respectful distance. He kneels before Japeth. “Forgive me, brother, for I have sinned against you.”
“Aye, that you have, brother.” Says Japeth. After a long pause, he continues “But my sire forgives all, as does my Sire in heaven. And so I forgive you.”
Claudius rises, making a show of flicking dirt off the knees of his silken hose.
Japeth clasps Claudius’ with one hand, holding the necromancer at arm’s length. He holds the dove with the other in front of his chest, almost protectively.
“Go forth,” Japeth says “and sin no more.”
“Whats this? No kiss for your brother?” Claudius taunts. “No kiss of peace and forgiveness?”
Japeth releases Claudius’ arm. Claudius moves in toward Japeth’s chest. Suddenly, Japeth catches Claudius’ head in his hands saying “Hear me well ‘brother’. I am he who sits at the right hand of our Father. I obey his will and his word. Remember well the fate of those who forsake his path!”
Sighing, he releases the necromancer “Come, Claudius. I await your kiss of peace. Let us know each other’s souls and have done with it.”
Claudius grabs Japeth and pulls him near in a single violent motion. The dove is caught between them. It falls, its neck broken, as Claudius plunges his fangs into Japeth’s chest.