Through the Ages
Session 5 in detail
It is Good Friday in Jerusalem and the characters have been invited by Kindred christian leader Gilberti Grilati to celebrate it on the Temple Mount. Aziz is reluctant to go, but knows it is a decree that even the Prince cannot ignore (should he wish to). They all attend, leaving Conrad at home. On the way there, the streets are packed, even at night.
They are let into one of the meticulously kept outer buildings on the Mount, where Grilati's childe receives the guests while his Sire prepares a mass. As with the mortals, many Kindred have traveled from all over the region to attend Easter at its source. Some thirty vampires have come. The gathering is of course also a Kindred social event and the pecking order outweighs any belief system. Maria, a recognized jew, enjoys far more respect from those gathered on account of her ancient Sire, than any christian Kindred lower in line. Christophe, Colino and Aziz, being mere neonates, ride on Christophe's pedigree and the respect that his Grand-Sire's name still instills in some. They are not far from the bottom however. Aziz knows full well not to cause a scene this night and is relieved that the moon rage slumbers in his veins. He keeps to himself, confident that none of the guests can afford the social suicide it would be to confront him, no matter how curious they may be. Christophe, it turns out, takes the brunt of this inquiry. He claims simply that the Gangrel is book-learned, which most take to be the reason the savage hasn't torn up the place already and leave it at that. Meanwhile, Colino has his own little piece of social suicide, recognizing his penpal Kether off by himself and goes over to discuss academics and the sciences, blissfully unaware of clan Tremere's reputation.
Soon, Grilati calls to mass in an inner hall. The guests are seated in order of influence. Maria opts to stay in back with Aziz and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Kether. It is a slow flowing monster of a mass - skillfully written but dreary - that drones on for over three hours. Grilati uses his monster masterfully, noting those that waiver to berate them later. Aziz knows the parts and flow of a mass and does not fall in this trap. Colino keeps up appearances. Christophe however lets his mind wander, which as a clan member reflects badly upon Gilberti. He is not pleased.
It takes time waiting to have Grilati summon them after the mass. Each attendee receives personal spiritual advice from the self-appointed cleric according to their status, before they are permitted to leave. Christophe's blunder delays their audience. It is dangerously close to dawn when the characters come down from the Mount and head home.
In their agitation, the characters do not take the celebrations into account. They try to cross the Via Dolorosa and are swept into the immense crowd. Someone sprinkles holy water over the crowd and it gets into their faces. Aziz is almost overcome by the red fog trying to get away, clubbing people left and right to get out. Christophe and Colino start to bleed and weep. The young Lasombra tries to wipe the blood from his eyes, opening wounds in his hands, when he is spotted by the by-standers. In their religious fervor, they mistake it for the miracle of stigmata and hoist the child above the throng to declare its holiness. Colino too is lifted on the same ill-begotten grounds. Aziz, malformed from the near-frenzy and strangely bewildered, confronts some from the crowd who call him out as a spawn of Satan come to desecrate the festival. He reassures them that such is the case with glowing red eyes and flashing his fangs to try to draw away people from his friends. He is unsuccessful and flees through the alleyways instead. Conrad takes the news of Christophe's and Colino's abduction badly. With the first rays of dawn, Aziz begs Conrad to find out what became of the others.
Meanwhile, the two vampires are taken to a small church and here the priest take their presence as a sign from God that his congregation will again grow. Colino trying to get ahead of it stands up and holds a sermon full of fire to go out and tell the city of the miracle that has happened here.
His plan backfires and only a few leave the church to speak of what they have seen. Christophe heals his wounds and as the priest tries to calm the child he is convinced that they need to talk to him alone in the sacristy. Dawn is upon them and seeing that there is no way out of the back room he commands the priest to let no one in during the day and let them sleep.
They both sleep a restless sleep filled with dreams of all the sins they have committed. Christophe wakes early as usual and has to wait for Colino to rise from his sleep. As he lies in the darkened room he realizes that someone has both cleaned him and removed his clothes. Instead of his regular clothes he is draped in white linen. Colino rises and discovers that he too has been rubbed in scented oils and swept in white. The neonates deliberate in soft whispers what this could mean. With growing horror they realize that the priest has taken their inanimate sleep for actual death and prepared their bodies for the final rest. There is no escape from the sacristy now, without creating a panic. They try to resign themselves to playing along, hoping that the church's attendants will come to remove them for burial. Preferably while night persists.
That same following evening Aziz wakes to the news that Conrad has found where the Lasombra and the Toreador have been taken. Unfortunately they are in a church surrounded by hundreds of devotees. They will need Isabeau's uncanny powers of going unnoticed to get them out. Aziz sends for her help the only way he can think of. He steps down into the basement and, like a madman, speaks to no one in particular, hoping the vermin will take a message.
Conrad and the Gangrel rush to the church. The congregation outside is strangely forlorn. When asked some of them say that the holy ones are dead inside, God's blessing taken from them prematurely. Aziz too comes to the conclusion that the mortals most likely have mistaken Kindred sleep for death. He spots Isabeau in an alcove off in the distance and goes over to explain their predicament. She claims she cannot go inside and get them out without being noticed. Something else has to be done. The Nosferatu och Gangrel consider their options.
A few hours later a rotund, plainly ugly woman comes to see the priest. She claims that the bodies held in the sacristy are riddled with pneumonic plague and are highly contagious. She brings documents from a respected physician that they must be removed as soon as possible and buried outside of town. The clergyman reluctantly agrees after being shown aledged proof of this on the corpses.
Christophe and Colino are carried outside to a waiting horse-drawn carriage. A large procession of devotees follows the sainted ones on their way out of town.
Approaching Damascus Gate the crowd is overtaken by three Knights Hospitaller, come to investigate for themselves this rumour of anointed ones. They demand to see the deceased. When one knight reaches out to touch Colino, Aziz humbly reminds the nobleman that there might be contagion. He is swiftly reprimanded. Still the knights seem discouraged and send the cart on its way.
In the dead of night amongst the hills outside Jerusalem, the non-breathing forms of the Lasombra and Toreador are entombed to the wailing of the masses. Christophe in particular feels a swell of claustrophobic panic at being incased in the rock, not knowing if the closing boulder is large enough to completely shut out the sunlight during the day.
During the ceremony Aziz and Conrad are able to discreetly whisper to them that they will come the next night to let them out.
The Gangrel and Sir Thomas' servant are forced to dupe a group of worshippers who have set up vigil at the burial site the next night, claiming they are sent by the church with special prayers and to replace them. The devotees are reluctant to go, but eventually leave.
Christophe and Colino are shaken by the ordeal when they are released from their tombs. It is a reminder too close for comfort that they have indeed left the land of the living behind.