The Danse Macabre

ACT IV

ACT IV

MEMORIES
You wake up from your forced slumber, and the events from last night flood back into your consciousness. You remember making decisions, which seemed virtuous, but in retrospect might have also been a bit masochistic. You remember finding Mary in an abandoned storefront, but choosing to ignore Alexander’s phone calls. You remember turning Mary over to Savoy and lying to Alexander about it. You also remember making the long walk to the sanitarium after finding your van, and the $10,000 it contained, to be missing upon exiting Savoy’s church.

Most dramatically, you suddenly recall the last thing you saw before your unnatural sleep… Maldonato’s silver Mercedes had apparently followed you to the sanitarium, and was forebodingly parked 10 blocks away. The sanitarium that you are using as haven is relegated to the outskirts of the city, where any activity becomes conspicuous. His presence in the area was not mere coincidence.

You stand up and look around, clearing the blur of sleep from your vision, and make a mental note of all your companions’ presence… Dmitri is not in the room, and all your gear and equipment is gone – no cell-phones, no laptops, no knife, no extra clothing, and no backpack.

THE SANITARIUM
The doors do not appear to have been physically breached during the night. The fortifications you built to barricade the entrances are undisturbed, and will take some time to dismantle to get back out.

The halls of the asylum feel sterile and cold, like a prison pretending to be a hospital. There are no windows to be seen – an architectural feature you would normally be thankful for, but today only makes you feel imprisoned. The hospital has a basement, two wings, 2 floors, and an elevator.

1st Floor – WEST WING
ROOM 103
The artificial light from the overhead lights casts shades of yellow across the linoleum floors, which gives stark contrast to the dark blood you see coming from the room on your right. The door marked 103 is locked, but the blood oozes from underneath the frame. You hear movement inside.

You open the door just in time to see Dmitri fall to the floor, apparently losing consciousness. As he lies on his back, you see that his right hand holds Sterling’s knife, and his forearms have been sliced open, from wrist to elbow. The skin is pulled back, hanging in bloody flaps, and the muscles and tendons have been pushed aside, tearing through nerves and blood vessels, leaving the yellow-white of bone exposed.

A man in a white doctor’s jacket is strapped to a table in the back of the room. His nametag reads, “Dr. Sacci.” He is badly injured. His heart rate is below 30, and each beat is softer than the last, almost indiscernible, even to you.

Dmitri, apparently from his own stolen blood, wrote a message on the wall.

The wall reads, in blood - HELP ME -

Dmitri has all the group’s possessions with him in the room. He must feed on the doctor to survive and heal, but it will cost the doctor his life.

The group, interestingly, and prudently, decided to spare the doctor’s life istead. They find, on his person, a wallet with a security key card, a driver’s license with his local address, and various credit cards. The characters were forced to subdue Dmitri, to keep him from going into frenzy and consume the doctor’s life. While Dmitri was unconscious, the group went out of there way to find Dmitri an alternative food source – a pizza delivery boy. They attempted to bring the Dr. back to consciousness, but even with Joe’s medical skills, nothing seemed to work.

1st Floor – EAST WING
ROOM 102.
The artificial lighting in this wing flickers, sporadically casting you into darkness. The lights flicker out again, but this time the lights don’t come back on. You hear slow, deliberate footsteps walking away from your position. A door moans against its hinges as it opens, and the lights turn back on as you hear the door slam shut.

The door is marked with the numbers 102. The room is padded from floor to ceiling in pure white fabric. Hundreds of tears in the fabric form the numbers 303 in various sizes all over the room. In the center of the white, padded room is a rag doll, with black buttons for eyes, and long red yarn for hair. A flower-print dress hangs from the dolls shoulders, but is stained with droplets of blood. The mouth is violently held shut with 4 metal fishing hooks.

2nd Floor – WEST WING
ROOM 203
You hear a telephone ringing from down the hall. You follow the sound to Room 203 – the door is open.

An old-fashioned dial-up telephone sits in the center of a large file-room on top of a child’s jump rope.

You pick up the receiver, and hear a young girl’s voice on the other end of the telephone, “two plus one equals 303.” Lydia notices, as the receiver is picked up, that the cord isn’t plugged in.

Room 203 is filed with files. Some files contain history of the sanitarium, detailing the revocation of the government funding it relied upon.

Lydia had critical success investigating the fileroom, and found the following:
• The patient files contain one particularly curious file of a young girl named Amanda, who was brought in by a Doctor Sacci as one of his first patients over 20 years ago. Dr. Sacci reported that he found her abandoned at a local orphanage. He reported that she clearly exhibited the usual signs of schizophrenia and dementia, even at her young age. The report details sessions Dr. Sacci took with Amanda, where Amanda claimed to see dead people, spirits, ghosts. The next session between Dr. Sacci and Amanda was cancelled – Dr. Sacci claimed Amanda ran away. Amanda was never seen again.
• Another record of Amanda details a pattern of delusions she suffered. Amanda insistently talked about a 3rd Floor in the hospital, just before her disappearance, despite there obviously not being more than two. The elevator has only two buttons – a 1 and 2. These delusions served as affirmation that Amanda truly was insane.
• Dr. Sacci was written up numerous times for inappropriate behavior with his patients, over his 20 years at the hospital. He was accused by another doctor to be using his position of authority and apparent power to take advantage of some of the younger woman at the sanitarium. Some patients reported inappropriate touching, but no action was taken, because nothing could be proven.
• When the sanitarium shut down, security had difficulty removing Dr. Sacci from the premises. The report states that he continuously attempted to gain entrance every night, screaming the name “Amanda” as he was dragged away each time. Eventually, after about 4 days, he stopped returning.

2nd Floor – EAST WING
The elevator door is stuck open. A children’s book lies in the center of the elevator. The book is an illustrated version of Rapunzel, which tells the story of a young girl who is held captive by an evil witch inside a tower with no apparent entrance.

The elevator has only 2 buttons:
• One key is printed with the number “1”
• Another reads “2”

Room 303
You pressed both buttons 1 & 2 simultaneously, and the elevator suddenly lurches as it actually moves UP from the 2nd Floor. The numbers above the door change from the number 2, to a hand-drawn number 3, written with black pencil on lined school paper.

The elevator opens to a large room. The ceiling is so low that you have to hunch down to fit inside. The floor and walls are unfinished. Each step you take feels precarious – the floor feels like it might crumble beneath your weight, but so far it holds.

A single room has been crudely constructed in the center of the expansive floor. It looks like the room is made of left-over dry-wall and parts of the floor that had been removed.

A strong odor hits you as you approach the room. You recognize this smell as the stench of death and decay.

The elevator doors slam shut behind you…

The door to the isolated, solitary room is constructed of cardboard, and leans against the side of the room. As you look inside, you see what used to be a woman, probably around the age of 26, but now is a rotten corpse laying in a pool of liquid flesh from months of decay, but preserved from the usual scavengers that feed upon the dead.

A Polaroid picture of the woman is attached to the front, makeshift wall, labeled “Amanda.” The photo was taken in this same room, showing her naked and chained to the floor. There are minor abrasions on her breasts and legs that look like scratches from a large hand. The woman was once truly beautiful.

There are more pictures along the wall, too. …you suddenly realize how long Amanda was held captive up here. The photos date back almost 20 years. It appears that each year a photo was taken… each year, for 20 years in this same room.

No matter how far removed you are from the humanity you once had in life; you feel intense sorrow at what this woman must have endured. And incalculable hatred for the monster who did this to her. The monster who you hold unconscious, Dr. Sacci.

The characters, wanting to avenge Amanda’s tormented soul, try to think of a way to revive the Dr. and make him pay for his sins – death is not good enough for him – but nothing seems to work. Lydia thinks that maybe if she feeds the Dr. her blood, it would wake him… and it does wake him… into the undead life of a vampire.

When Lydia realizes what she’s done, she stakes him in the heart, pulls him into the elevator, and commits diablerie, consuming Sacci’s soul, and destroying him utterly – a pain that no mortal is able to ever feel, let alone understand. The rest of the coterie find her in the elevator, sitting in a pile of ash. She tells them, believably, that she ripped of his head to kill him.

The characters take all Amanda’s belongings, and her corpse, to a secluded area in a local park, and give her a proper burial.

THE CITY

FIRESTARTER
As you exit the sanitarium, you hear the whine of sirens in the distance. The horizon is ablaze with fires all across the city. The smell of smoke and soot become stronger and more potent each minute. Lydia checks the news on her laptop, and finds an Emergency Alert News Broadcast through a streaming video feed on Channel 5’s website. “We’ve just learned that another church, Corpus Christi, is also up in flames. As firefighters rush to yet another fiery scene, many citizens are wondering whether or not they’ll live through this tragic night…”

The characters, wanting to avoid the fiery scene, decide to find dinner at their local goth bar. Tonight, however, a folk-metal band is playing, and the crowd at the bar love it. The band has everyone’s attention. Joe notices that the base-player’s aura is that of a vampire’s… in fact, Joe thinks this is the same vampire they came across at this bar a few days ago. Marcus, spots the band’s groupies behind the stage – obviously the most beautiful woman in the bar. He attempts to charm them, only to suddenly find a tall, patently handsome man standing in front of him… the base player. He introduces himself to Marcus as Damna, and after some witty banter between the two, Damna challenges Marcus to play the lute, and puts him on the spot while announcing his special performance to the whole crowd. Marcus surprised everyone with one of the best performances anyone has ever heard, and after such a great performance, Damna invited Marcus to his trailer, welcoming such sophisticated company, and offering to share his beautiful groupies with Marcus for dinner. Lydia follows Marcus into Damna’s trailer, while invisible to their untrained and unsuspecting eyes. While watching Marcus indulge himself with the blood of these beautiful woman, Lydia feels extreme jealousy – the women possess a beauty that Lydia once knew, and now can only see in others. She wants their beauty, but most of all, she doesn’t want Marcus to have them. As the woman start to undress before Marcus and Damna, Lydia loses control, comes out of concealment, and rips off her mask, sending Marcus, Damna and the women into an uncontrolled state of fear frenzy.

The woman ran out of the trailer, covered in blood. Jonathan rounds them up, not understanding what happened, but knowing the importance of keeping whatever it is quiet. Valerie saw Marcus and Damna enter the trailer with the women, and assumes that Marcus must have lost control while feeding, probably killing one of the groupies he was feeding on. She unleashes her claws, and bars her fangs as she barrels into the trailer. Upon hearing Valerie approaching, Lydia concealed herself once more, and fled the scene. Valerie enters frenzy when she enters the trailer, going into an uncontrolled rage, focused on Marcus. Unfortunately for Damna, Marcus bails, running past Valerie and leaving Damna to fend for himself against this formidable foe. Valerie tears into him, sending blood spraying everywhere.

Jonathan, Joe and Dmitri are now, seemingly, left alone. Marcus has ran off alone somewhere, Valerie has disappeared, and no one knows what happened to Lydia. In an attempt to at least find Valerie, Joe calls her cell phone. A deep, resounding voice answers, asking who is there, and obviously angry. Joe passes the phone to Jonathan, and Vidal immediately recognizes Jonathan’s voice. Vidal gives the group 10 minutes to get to his palace, or they may not see Valerie alive again, and may not survive the night themselves.

Jonathan calls Marcus, tells him about his conversation with Vidal, and tells him to haul ass to Vidal’s palace.

Alexander is waiting for them in the driveway. He declares that he never told Vidal about Mary, but after what has happened was forced to come clean. He is offended that the group lied to him, at least twice now, and will not tolerate any more of their insolence. He might have been willing to speak on their behalf one last time to Vidal, but after Marcus attempted to lie to him again, you don’t think he will do you any more favors after the way you have treated him.

Alexander does warn you of Vidal’s wrath. He believes the characters are responsible for the fires in the city. He also explains that the Prince is now aware of what they did with Mary. And the Prince is obviously aware that some of them have been breaking the masquerade – showing their true nature to humans.

During the conversation, Dmitri suddenly questions Maldonato’s loyalty to Vidal. Vidal responds angrily, asking who he is to question Maldonato’s loyalty. The Prince snaps his fingers and has Dmitri thrown into his interrogation room – the dungeon, where Dmitri finds Valerie… and Maldonato. Maldonato’s ire towards Valerie is instead taken out on Dmitri, who is tortured through the night with a wooden stake through the heart, over and over, and eventually abandoned in the dark with the wooden stake left in his body.

After a lengthy discussion with the rest of the group, the Prince offers the coterie one last chance to come into his favor – find whoever is starting the fires, and end it, for good. If this can be done, the Prince promises to return Valerie and Dmitri in reasonable condition.

As you make your way back to your haven, you attempt to avoid the heat of the fires you are forced to pass… That old apartment complex on Seventieth Street. A grocery store. Some hospital. You follow the trail of burning flesh and glowing embers straight to a single girl who’s looking right at you with a confused look in her eye.

You stumble past her, and a small apartment complex suddenly bursts into flames. The fires crackle and spit so loudly that they barely cover up the screams of the people trapped inside.

The young woman you passed, cowers in the street, crying at the flames.
She can be heard saying, “Maybe the devil is doing this to me. Maybe I didn’t go to church enough or I didn’t pray enough…”

Flames suddenly burst from her hands, seeming to react to her guilt in a deadly dance.

She sees you standing there, watching her, and asks, “Do you know what it’s like to watch your sister die? I do, because I did it. I’m the one that started the fire, and I’m damned for it.” … “Your guilt is nothing compared to mine. I must be in hell. I’ve lost control of the fire.”

The characters ask her if they can help, and she mentions the name “Father John.” Luckily, they have his phone number, and give him a call. Father John tells them that he has been looking for Jessica, and asks them not to hurt her, and to be careful as they bring her to him. He knows a mage who can help her gain control of her new-found powers.

Father John takes the girl in haste – due to only having an hour before sunrise. He offers the basement to his burned-down church as a haven for the characters.

Jonathan finds his own haven, away from the rest of the party, sealing them inside the basement of the church with a heavy concrete slab.

Comments

Lawpsided

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.