The Beautiful and the Damned

Chapter Two: All the Pieces

A hideous stranger, a nervous spirit, a promising lead and a hungry brother.

You can make the pieces fit, but you’re
Just jumping with your eyes closed.

Santiago Clemente, Gaius Ferrán and Alexander Colfax Dolarhyde departed Hollywood Forever Cemetery, heading to the homes of Hector Mendoza and Romina Villagracia to collect personal items belonging to the murdered neonates. Philippa Giovanni had offered to use the necromantic abilities for which her family was famed and reviled to attempt to contact the departed spirits of Hector and Romina, in exchange for a favor to be called in at some later date.

The Mendoza home was a smoldering ruin, but inspection showed that it appeared not to be under the same level of police scrutiny that the group had previously noted at Romina Villagracia‘s house. It was later revealed that this was the result of the Camarilla’s agents managing to cover up the cause of the fire before word spread too far within the police force. Gaius located a sketch book that had belonged to Hector, and he took it to give to Philippa.

The group moved on to Romina Villagracia’s former haven. While Gaius entered to retrieve some of the extensive supply of food that Romina kept on hand for her beloved neighborhood cats, Cole and Santi waited for him in the car. During the wait, they were unexpectedly approached by Cutter, a Nosferatu acquaintance of Romina.

Cutter explained that Romina had been kind to him, and he wanted to be of what assistance he could in bringing her killers to justice. He said that he had been watching the house, and that other Kindred had been by to check it out, but he figured that since Santi, Gaius and Cole were the only ones to come twice that night, they must have a lead. Cole asked who else had been by that evening, and Cutter said that he’d seen sheriff Adeline Leclerc with the Tremere Marcus Kaplan, and then later the Ventrue neonates Kim Lyons and Eric Masters had been by for a little while. Cutter said that he’d kept his distance when Leclerc and Kaplan had been checking out the scene (because he didn’t want to deal with them, and he didn’t think he could hide from Kaplan‘s supernatural perception), but he did sneak in to listen to Lyons and Masters, and he gathered that they investigating the matter as a favor to Romina’s cousin, Ventrue Rochelle Villagracia.

Cole and Santi asked Cutter if he had any further information about Romina that might be relevant to their investigation. Cutter said that Romina had tried to maintain a semblance of a relationship with the mortal world. He also revealed something that wasn’t known to the Camarilla court at large: a body was buried in Villagracia‘s back yard. Years ago she had attempted to create a childer without securing permission from Prince Garza, but her blood hadn’t been strong enough to cause the transformation, and her intended childer died. Romina hid what she had done by burying the corpse in her back yard; only a small number of her fellow Nosferatu had been told about it.

Cutter gave Cole and Santi his phone number and departed as Gaius returned to the car. The trio made their way back to Hollywood Forever Cemetery where Philippa Giovanni was waiting. Using the personal items that the group had retrieved, Philippa attempted to make contact with the spirits of the two neonates that had been destroyed that day. She quickly found that the spirit of Romina Villagracia was beyond even the reach of Necromancy, but she had more success calling the spirit of Hector Mendoza.

According to Phillipa, Hector said that he had been awakened by the sound of his door being smashed open. As diffuse sunlight filled his, Hector’s Beast responded by throwing him into Rötschreck. Through the red haze of fear, however, Hector saw that he had three assailants (“A balding man with blonde hair, a man with curly, dark hair, and a young woman who looked like she might be a Pacific Islander, all wearing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power uniforms”). The trio of home intruders had quickly doused Hector with some sort of accelerant before lighting him on fire.

After relaying Hector’s story, Phillipa said that she would be keeping his sketchbook for the time being, as his spirit was begging her for Giovanni protection from the ghosts who felt that he had wronged them during his years as a vampire.

Now having some idea of where to begin their search, Gaius, Santi and Cole contacted Adeline Leclerc and set up a meeting to inform her of what they’d learned. When they arrived at the meeting, they found that Leclerc was still being accompanied by Marcus Kaplan of the Tremere. Leclerc explained that the Tremere was using his extrasensory powers to assist in her investigation. When it was explained to her what Cole, Gaius and Santi had uncovered, she suggested that they reach out to primogen Martin Hoults, as he had connections at the utilities that might be useful in determining if the LADWP angle was a solid lead.

Cole put in a call to the primogen’s whip, Andre Laurent, and shortly thereafter Laurent got the group a phone conference with Hoults. Hoults said that he would look into securing any information that he could that might be of use in the group’s investigation.

Not long after that call was concluded, Gaius received a call from Denis Nevski, who informed his broodmate that he had been badly beaten by other Kindred while out attempting to feed, and that he was in need of blood but in no condition to hunt until he could heal. Gaius said that he would meet Denis as soon as he could, and headed to Venice with Cole and Santi in tow. As they drove, Gaius explained that he and Nevski shared a sire, but for some unknown reason their sire’s blood had not passed the Malkavian curse to his broodmate; Denis was a Caitiff. Upon arriving at Nevski’s haven, they found that he had sustained substantial injuries at the hands of others of their kind while he hunted as Santa Monica Pier. Seeing that Denis would be unable to hunt or protect himself until his wounds were somewhat healed, Gaius, Santi and Cole each warily provided the injured Caitiff with a small portion of their own blood so that he could heal sufficiently to take care of himself.

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