Marcovic is awakened in his hotel room at the Aria (courtesy of their hosts, the White Court Skotakis Clan) by the sound of an old-fashioned phone (the room is designed for wizard guests, with no T.V. and minimal electronics, as well as decorations designed to help diffuse magical energies). The voice on the other end of the phone (scratchy and full of static) begins with a Warden passphrase and waits for Marcovic to give the appropriate counter-sign before informing him that a lead came in from the Paranet and they are to meet a local minor practitioner named Sammy Beck who claims to have information about an auction the night before that White Council analysts believe might have involved Outsiders
Marcovic meets with the rest of the group (Alois, Daniel, and Tom) and fills them in. They all leave together to meet with Sammy. On their way out they run into Monique Skotakis, who greets them warmly (especially the wizards). Alois (due to a compel) mouths off, but instead of angering Monique, it just seems to make him more appealing to her and it’s clear from her smile that Alois is her new project. She also mentions that she needs a message delivered to her outcast brother, Eric Skotakis, and the eager marcovic (because of a compel) recklessly made an oath to Monique Skotakis that he would find her brother, Eric, and deliver a message to him.
Outsiders and Waffles
They meet Sammy Beck just outside the Aria. Sammy first tells them that Gloria Pierce (the unofficial leader of the local minor talents) has forbidden anyone from using the Paranet to bring in the White Council, so he’s taking a risk. He’s obviously frazzled. Daniel calms him down. Sammy takes them to Billy’s Diner (an anomaly for being a public building with a strong Threshold, bolstered by the owner, Billy Miles’ faith) before giving them the details. Tom notices a spirit that’s been following them and watching them.
Once the two wizards cross the threshold (leaving most of their power behind) and everyone settles in a booth, Sammy tells them about the sale. It took place in the Harmon Hotel last night (at the same time they were at the ball at the Aria – see last session). The Harmon is unfinished due to structural faults and indefinitely on hold. It’s technically owned by the White Court, but everyone knows the spirit called theArchitect is the real tenant. Sammy gives them some sketchy details about some of the potential buyers, including a middle-aged German or maybe Swiss woman and a small group of chubby, rich techie types from California.
He also tells them he reads Tarot cards and that the Tower card has come up over and over again, seemingly based around the auction last night, suggesting that major upheaval is about to happen.., and their presence and impending investigation of the sale last night is likely right at the fulcrum.
Snooping Around the Harmon and a Home Visit
The group splits up to investigate.
Daniel and Tom talk to (and bribe) the security firm manager at the vacant, half-finished Harmon to let them watch the security tapes around the time of the sale. They see a group enter the hotel and take the elevator to the thirteenth floor. The manager is surprised and says that shouldn’t have happened. He gives them the name of the guard who was on duty.
Daniel and Tom find where he lives and drive out. Along the way, the spirit Tom spotted is still following them (appearing at several points along the way, though they never see him move). Then the spirit is in their back seat but only Tom can see it. The spirit greeted him as a servant of Bear and told him that the Spider Mother (from the Spider Host) was an old ally of Bear and was calling in an old favor so that when Tom got a certain artifact (it then describes one of the copper disc rings) he was to bring it to the Spider Mother. I compelled Tom’s ‘Spirit Bridge’ aspect and since he accepted, he felt Bear acknowledge the request and knew that now he would either have to do so or piss Bear off.
At about the same time, Daniel got a call from James Fendler, his fellow Venator agent, saying that he had set up the meet to buy one of the copper disc rings from the group that had stolen it from the earlier auction (see first “Street” session) and that he had a solid lead on the other disc in the possession of a homeless man named Benny in the Storm Drains. James was just filling Daniel in, since Daniel had different duties (tracking down the source of the Outsider trafficking).
Both are talking about the same artifacts, though neither knows it.
The guard lives in a suburb in a quiet neighborhood. The guard is sleeping but Daniel tells his wife (watching several young kids) that it’s urgent and she wakes him up. Daniel convinces him that he isn’t in trouble and the guard tells them that one of the guys comes a lot, but since he’s one of the owners of the hotel, it isn’t really breaking the rules…
Power Outages and Going Straight to the Source
Meanwhile, Alois and Marcovic head to the local city government building to get a floor plan of the Harmon Hotel. Marcovic tries to mute his hexing aura, but Alois is overconfident (a compel) and blows out the computer of the woman looking it up for them… and the entire antiquated network goes down. Alois and Marcovic walk out empty-handed.
They decide to go scope things out more directly. Alois and Marcovic walk right into the Harmon as if they belong there. I compelled them both on different aspects and they drew the attention of the Architect. They go for the stairs (it is 12 flights up but they’re not going to risk the elevator). The Architect locks them in and speaks to them as a disembodied voice. It asks who they are and how dare they intrude. They go for the (incomplete) truth) and say they’re looking for someone who was in the hotel the night before. The Architect says that two of two of the guest’s from yesterday are still in the building, actually, on the 13th floor along with a guest. Then the Architect seems to come to a realization and says with disturbing glee that it’s finally that time. It says that things are about to get very interesting and it says it’ll let them out. It’s clearly very eager for something.
Alois and Marcovic exit on the 13th floor and it’s easy to find where Eric and his guest are. A woman with a Swiss accent is alternating between making demands in a business-like voice and begging piteously.
Marcovic decides they should enter with flair and summons a wind to bang the door open before them. He loses control of the spell and it slams shut again, throwing him and Alois back. Alois keeps his feet, but Marcovic hits the wall and slides to the ground in a ruffled heap.
Marcovic has an aspect about being prideful and always trying to one-up others, but also pouting when shown up, so he stays on the floor on the verge of tears (a compel including that he won’t notice Eric Skotakis is in the room and won’t give him the message and that it will come back to complicate his life with Monique). Alois goes in alone.
Inside, the Swiss woman (Greta Strauss) is begging Eric Skotakis to tell her where the winning buyer is. She caught a glimpse of the Outsider she lost and she’s like an addict desperately trying to get another hit. Eric is refusing, seeming more bored than dismayed.
Alois and Eric talk a bit. (I can’t remember how Alois convinces Eric, but…) Eric won’t give Alois the location of the winning buyer, but he does give him the winners full name: David Massengill (that’s enough to form a sympathetic connection with the buyer for thaumaturgy). The Swiss woman is clearly not a knowledgeable practitioner because she doesn’t blink at that or try to remember herself.
As Alois is leaving, Eric finally has enough and hits the Swiss woman with a hard blast of despair (not the usual Skotakis emotion – clearly Eric has associated with other White Court houses). Alois pauses to make sure he isn’t about to feed on her, but Eric just walks away as she crumbles in a sobbing heap on the ground.
Alois talks to Greta briefly, and recognizes the signs that she’s a White Court junky (like he used to be). He talks to her a little about her White Court mistress in Switzerland to try and build some rapport. He gets a little information from her, but not much. He gets her phone number in case she might be useful later.