Vampire The Masquerade : Ludoviga’s Court

LogoClanGangrel

Introduction

It’s been a while since I wrote another part of Oliver’s adventure. The reason behind this is that I’ve been so busy with this thing called “real life”, that I’ve not had any time to actually write something, or even attend any plays. I’ve only just started playing again, and before that I’ve not played for three months.

For those wondering, how to tie this in the story so far, consider the simply fact that summer is currently in place, and Oliver is a Vampire with an extremely lowe Humanity. 3 to be exact. This means he gets up really late, or not at all during certain periods. Combined with the fact that he was the host of the Prince Council this year, I’d say that’s reason enough for the little Vampire to sleep a couple of months.

Several days prior to the Court…

Oliver has been extremely busy. Organising the court requires a lot of work and preparation, sending out invitations that meet the standards of the Camarilla in both security and etiquette, as well as ensuring the location is secure, and meets all the requirements needed to hold what is supposed to be a traditional Gangrel Court.

The invitation send out by Oliver was the following: Invitation

In the middle of the preparations, together with the Herald of the Domain, Oliver was so occupied that he had shut off his mobile as well as stopped responding to the various letters that were being delivered by his ghouls. He simply did not have the time to deal with anything outside the domain at the moment, but took notice of the various names mentioned in the letters and the threats ushered.

On the final days of the preparation, something went wrong. At the beginning of the evening, three days prior to the court, Oliver started to feel unwell, which was uncommon for a Vampire, as they are immune to diseases. Out hunting with 2 of his fox ghouls, he struck a pray and commenced feeding on it.

Not soon after he had finished, a pain in stomach caused him to vomit and puke out all the blood again he had just gained. Slightly alarmed, Oliver took a bite from one his ghouls, and immediately puked out the blood again. Healing the wound on his ghoul, he made his way back to the location where the court would take place and finished further work.

This pattern repeated itself, and the problems piled up. The Herald of the Domain was of a different opinion on many things with Oliver on how this Court was supposed to take place. At some point Oliver got so frustrated that he snapped and growled at her. She proclaimed that she could not help him, and left. Oliver was now left alone with the several foxes around him and finished his work, still unable to eat and keep any blood inside his body.

The day of the Court.

The day finally arrived. Oliver’s face was now as pale as a sheet of paper, and his eyes were surrounded by a deep, red hue, revealing that he was severely undernourished from the past days, making him weak and aggressive as his inner beast was fighting to get out and slay something for fresh blood.

One of the first guests to arrive was Ludoviga herself and a Gangrel in her company, known as Weasel. She was early and made her place straight inside the reserved spot that Oliver had build. Quickly going over the agreed terms, Weasel was responsible for not letting anyone of the Domain speak with Ludoviga until they had proven their worth for her.

This immediately threw up some tensions as the Seneschal entered the large tent that was constructed and made his way to Ludoviga to report informations from Leipzig and Magdeburg. Only to be talked down by Weasel that nobody was allowed to speak with Ludoviga. After a few attempts, the Seneschal gave up and left angry.

As more guests started to enter the tent, Oliver suddenly felt an irresistible urge to leave the tent and go outside. Gaining his strength and trying to keep control, as every guest he walked by smelled of such sweet, delicious blood, he made his way outside only to find the Seneschal waiting for him.

He immediately fired several questions at Oliver about what was going on. Why he wasn’t allowed to speak to Ludoviga and how his information would affect the Domain if he could not deliver it. Oliver tried to remain calm and explained the purpose as to why nobody was allowed to speak with Ludoviga. Even the Seneschal was included in this rule, and no exceptions were made. Those who wished to call themselves a part of this Domain, had to undergo the Gangrel combat ritual and prove their worth in front of Ludoviga.

Finding a new Herald

One of the immediate tasks given by Ludoviga on the evening was to find a replacement Herald. She did not say whom she wanted to have as Herald, but it had to be someone worthy and capable of the position. Oliver was now responsible of finding a replacement as host of the evening. A quick word with the Seneschal led to two potential candidates: Gustav Moebius of Clan Toreador and Huxley from Clan Ventrue. OIiver made up his mind instantly and went to confront Moebius.

Seeing as Moebius broke the etiquette rules by not presenting himself at the host, Oliver rubbed it in rather quickly and directly, but said that Moebius did not had to bother with an apology or excuse. Oliver, and more importantly Ludoviga, required a new Herald and Oliver had chosen him. Seeing as he owed Oliver for this, Moebius agreed and Oliver made the required arrangements, and promptly gave Moebius his first assignment, to get everyone to the battle circle outside to start the Gangrel Ritual.

The Gangrel Ritual

The wish of Ludoviga was clear: Those wanting to live in this Domain had to prove themselves. This would be done by a classic Gangrel Ritual where every participant had to claim his spot and defend it against the others. This does not necessarily means physical combat.

As the announcement was made by Moebius, the Ritual was opened. The first person to enter the ring was Huxley, a Neonate of clan Ventrue, who had exactly 5 seconds to leave the ring when Ludoviga stepped in and others asked if he was more important the Prince of the Domain. This was followed by laughter from the Gangrel present as he walked back out.

As soon as Ludoviga had announced her position, the Seneschal and Moebius stepped up and tried to claim their position, only to be told off by Johanna Plinganser, an Elder of clan Brujah who was a surprise guest that showed up during the evening. She claimed the second place and told them off that they should be ashamed for this behaviour.

Then the two tried to gain position 3, only to be set aside by Linkmann, an older member of Clan Malchavian. She did kindly informed the two Neonates about their place and that they still had much to learn. However she left the ring whereas the others remained inside. At that moment Oliver claimed she was position three, but this overruled later by Ludoviga after discussing it out.

As the battle for fourth and fifth place started, Oliver was also someone who stepped into the Circle. Not so much to claim the place, but to actually challenge the Seneschal for this place, as Oliver held a deep hatred for him. Although not successful, the initial plan of setting doubt in the ranks succeeded as more people rose to challenge the positions and see that anything can be done.

The evening continued and places were distributed. Some of the challenges were a test of the mind, speed or simply phsysical combat. Eventually everyone had claimed his position. Oliver managed to secure the 11th position inside the Domain, putting others behind him such as Rene Fanget and Julius Speestein. His fight consisted first of Rene Fanget and Julius Speestein fighting each other, and Julius wining by making Rene leave the ring. As Julius was standing near the edge, Oliver took his chance and charged at Julius to push him out. Julius saw this and threw him to the side with Potence, only for Oliver to let out his inner beast and charge back at Julius as soon as his feet touched ground, knocking Julius out of the ring.

Despite the other Gangrel not feeling him to be fully ready, Oliver felt accomplished as he managed to hold his ground and secure a spot. This lead to approval of the others afterwards.

The audience with Ludoviga

The position that everyone had claimed, was also the order in which they received an audience with Ludoviga. Eventually Oliver’s turn came. Oliver was already sitting against Ludoviga’s chair while listening in on the conversations she had with her guests. As he was not being chased away or told off, he listened to all the guests that tried to present themselves for the position of Keeper of Elysium.

Oliver’s turn came. At first there was a silence between both of them. Oliver looked curiously at Ludoviga, letting the curiosity of his animal take over, and sit down on the floor in front of her, relaxed and feeling comfortable in her presence. Ludoviga observed and said nothing till Oliver asked if she was content with the night.

Ludoviga explained what she understood about being pleased, and how it not applied to the evening. But she was satisfied with Oliver’s performance and how the night was progressing along.
Oliver said he would not present himself for the position as Keeper of the Elysium, but he said he would like to present himself for the position of Sheriff.

Ludoviga replied that a whelp would not be able to gain any official position in the Domain. Oliver said he knew this, but he felt that his time was close for being hunted. Ludoviga reaffirmed he was a whelp, but that it indeed was time to test him. Seeing as Oliver had already held the Prince Council this year, she wanted his test to be….special.

Taking a moment to think, she provided Oliver the following challenge: He was to enter the Gangrel ring when everyone was about to compete for the position of Keeper of Elysium. He was not to leave the ring as first, but not as last either. If he managed to succeed at this, he would be recognized as full Gangrel by Ludoviga.

Fighting for recognition

As the fight commenced Oliver drew his knife and entered the ring, raising a few eyebrows by the participants and those standing around him. Ludoviga explained the rules of the event:

“Those wanting to be Keeper of the Elysium, need to be able to end conflict if it arises. For that, the Keeper will be he who leaves this circle last”

As the fight started, Oliver stayed on the side with his knife drawn behind him. Observing all participants, he did not move and paid attention to all combatants. As the first contestants started to be eliminated from the Circle, Oliver grew more impatient and shuffled around a little bit until only a few contestants remained. As they now approaved Oliver, he quickly stepped outside the ring and sheeted his knife back on his back.

Without having to engage a single contestant in combat, Oliver had done which was asked of him. Enter the ring, and stay in there long enough. He did not had to fight anyone to claim his spot.

Afterwards Oliver had a talk with Charon about being a Sheriff, and what it actually ment. Charon took him to the back near the woods and put him to test, explaining he was a wild Gangrel and had just killed something here, testing how Oliver would react as Sheriff.

After the test, Charon said Oliver did great, but still lacks experience and insight in a few things. But reassured him these would come with time.

The death of Jarvis

 The biggest spectacle came at the end of the evening. During the various combat trial it was revealed that Jarvis actually had a claw for his left hand instead of normal hands.

Ludoviga immediately grabbed him, and asked where he got it from. The explanation given was that it was a mutual sign of trust and payment. Throwing the argument aside, Ludoviga slowly broke every finger in his hand and made him squirm on the ground in pain after striking him several times with her claws.

She then threaten the Gangrel around her to never share this power outside the clan or suffer the same faith. Looking at the Nosferatu, she told him that he had 30 seconds to get out before these nice Gangrel would chase him and end his existence. As she was counting, he struggled to get up and away from the current place.

The Gangrel were transforming their hands into claws, and Oliver drew his knife and was handed a wooden stake as well. As the others were getting pumped up to chase the slowly moving Nosferatu, Oliver remained calm and nurtured his inner beast for the coming hunt.

As soon as Ludoviga stopped counting, the Gangrel shot forward. Oliver was the fastest of the lot and arrived at the Nosferatu first, lunging at him with his knife. With the strength still remaining in him, he knocked Oliver backwards against the nearby building, only to be slammed down by the other Gangrel that arrived and assaulted him. Taking several strikes and bites, the Nosferatu turned into ash as his life was forfeit.

Afterwards Rene found out, and went into a frenzy over the loss of her beloved one. Oliver approached her with an ice calm face, and asked her the simple question to confirm what he already knew. After asking her three times she finally blurted out the name of Russ who had taught poor Jarvis the power to transform ones hands into claws.

Presenting this news to Ludoviga, Oliver was told that Russ would have to give everything up he owned, but was not to be killed. Oliver returned to Russ and placed his hands on his shoulders, stating calmly that his life belonged to him now for what he had done. Making excuses and arguments Oliver just looked at him as he went after Rene trying to solve the situation.

Summary

 It wouldn’t be a traditional Gangrel evening if something didn’t get killed 😀

I’m actually quite happy that Oliver is no longer a whelp for the Gangrel, even if he’s not hunted in the traditional way. He’s not really a fighter, so this test was pretty unique, especially since it completely depends on how everyone else would react during the trial.

If they all ganged up on the whelp first, I’d never have a chance and probably would fly out of the ring as first one. But seeing as nobody paid attention to the little whelp, it was fairly easy to stay out of sight and just bide my time 😛

Also looking forward to how this further unfolds. Really going to get back at whoever put that curse on me, and definitely going to have some fun with my “brother” Russ 😀

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