Session 1, Part 4
The next morning they receive a package in their offices. When they open it they find a sealed letter, and also three dark flecks of crystal: Pieces of their shards.
The note brags about having finally dealt the Triads a grievous blow. It promises more pieces of their shards if the letter writer’s instructions are followed. The writer asks them to kill a man by the name of James Davids who operates some kind of business near the wharf.
“Quiet, boy. You’ll never become a gentleman if you keep interrupting people.”
- Mr. Azure
Fetch knows the name. In fact, he’s terrified of it. James Davids is well-known among the street urchins of New York City. His gang snatches kids off the streets and sends them to “work” in his building at the wharf. Those children never return, and everybody knows it’s am illegal “blood brothel” — even the police, who are paid to patrol elsewhere.
The Triad begins an investigation. Fetch and Mr. Verde stake out the building and soon discover it’s a brothel of horrors. Not only are the children subject to the sexual appetites of deviants, but the sanguine appetites of Vampyres as well! Fetch even witnesses the desiccated body of a friend being tossed into the Hudson River.
Unfortunately, the reconnaissance does not go as planned. On his way out of the brothel after a meal, one gentleman Vampyre spots Mr. Verde. He doesn’t harm the Triad, but he recognizes him and warns him in no uncertain terms to keep out of their business. Mr. Verde hastily departs, along with Fetch.
“We’ve let you do what you do because you’ve been courteous and, I suppose, because you’re a curiosity. We’re not sure what you are, or who you stand for. Courtesy and curiosity extend only so far, Triad. Do not meddle in our affairs. You’ll regret it very quickly, and very briefly.”
- Gentleman Vampyre
Meanwhile, Mr. Azure has made some promising discoveries. He’s managed to use alchemical analysis on the envelope and construct a startlingly detailed portrait of the person who sealed it with their saliva. This may well be the man with the scarred eye who gave the false shards to Dr. Aleksandrov. Or, it may not be.
Mr. Onyx, on the other hand, has spent much of his time going through their case files. He’s found that many of them are inexplicably missing. He isn’t sure if they’ve been stolen, or if the rest are simply stored in a more secure area. He also manages to locate a safe behind the painting of Abraham Lincoln in his office which contains a sizeable stash of money.
Mr. Verde and Fetch return to the office and make a report. The Triads decide to abduct the brothel owner, James Davids, for questioning before deciding whether to kill him as the mysterious note requested. Understandably, Fetch wants them to kill the bastard straight away. After hearing what’s taking place there Lily is appalled by the behavior of her fellow Vampyres, but not particularly surprised.
Mr. Onyx plans an elaborate kidnapping scheme, but it proves unnecessary. By a stroke of luck, Mr. Verde tracks the man to an opium den and then, avoiding his bodyguards, tricks him into a welcomed ride home.
Once in the office, Mr. Onyx straps him to a work bench in the garage and begins to pry information from him. He hopes perhaps some flesh-trade competitor of Davids is behind the Triad’s missing soul-shards. Unfortunately, Davids doesn’t prove very useful. He knows of a few local gangs who he muscled out of the wharf, but none have anything approached the resources or skill to pull off something like this. Besides, there are cheaper and more satisfying ways to kill a rat like Davids; a knife to the groin, for instance.
“Please, let me go. I’m just a provider of goods. Everybody needs to eat!”
- James Davids
As they’re debating what to do with Davids they spot two men dressed something like undertakers. They’re not walking either; instead they’re hovering a few inches above the sidewalk as they approach the office. Vampyres. However, they don’t seem in the mood for a fight and only wish to parlay. After some hesitation – and preparation – the Triads invite them inside.
One of them – “Arthur,” he calls himself – tells the Triads that whatever grudge they have against James Davids is not the Vampyres’ concern. They may kill him if they wish. However, they politely request they leave the “establishment” by the wharf unmolested. After some debate, the Triad reluctantly agrees under the condition that the Vampyre liaisons meet with them in three days. Lily and Fetch are not pleased with any of this.
“We’ll be in touch.”
- “Arthur,” Vampyre Liason
After the Vampyres depart, Mr. Verde administers a deadly dose of morphine to James Davids. He dies far more peacefully than he deserves, though Mr. Verde hears him screaming as he’s swallowed by the afterlife. When dawn comes a package awaits them on their doorstep…