Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
9 p.m. Sunday, December 23. Office of Edward Stahl
At the suggestion of Julia Lansdale, Norma brought the group together at the office of Edward Stahl, vampire detective. Ed didn’t know where Johnny has wound up, but he didknow the underground of New York pretty well and offerred to arrange meetings with any factions the group may feel nervous about confronting face to face without heavy weapons. He asked who may have it out for Norma, and she hypothesized that there could be bad blood from the mob since her debts were forgiven. Joseph Dante offered to give Frank Castello a quick call as he was owed a favor. On the phone, Frank thanked Dante for recovering Mirandola’s journal. It had been returned to the Gambino family and was safely in the hands of Albert Anastasia. He told Dante that Lucky Luciano wanted to make him a Made Man, and they were arranging for a formal ceremony after Lucky left Sing Sing in February. Dante asked about arranging a meeting with Norma and the gang and Frank immediately agreed. He offered to meet them for brunch the next morning and Dante counter-offered to meet at night. Frank agreed and set a location, the Jamaica race track.
9 p.m. Monday, December 24. Jamaica Race Track
The coterie met Frank and his entourage at the race track. Frank was “treating” horses to guarantee a win at the OTB the next day. Nicky “Scars” DiPaolo confronted Jasper and demanded payment, but Dante stopped him, telling him there would be a time to discuss money at a later date.
Frank offered his thoughts on the disappearance of Johnny. He suggested that there wasn’t a compelling interest in the Carthians kidnapping the boy. Their beef was with whoever had sent them after their sires, not with Norma and her family. He found it much more likely that Hubertus Strughold’s Nazi collaborators would have wanted to seek a more immediate vengeance for the death of their leader. Olga Scholl mentioned that her home had been destroyed recently and they may have been able to track down other members of the group. With few other leads, the group agreed to return to the magic shop where they had found Strughold’s address. They wanted to make sure they’d be ready this time, and decided to make a quick stop at the library to read up on gargoyles.
Before slipping out, Jasper took a moment to whisper threats into DiPaolo’s ear, hoping to deter him from following up on the money he owed.
10 p.m. Monday, December 24. NYPL
The group made a quick detour to the library, where they were met by David Ramsay, Seneschal to Prince Wycoff. David told them that the Prince was unavailable, and greeted Dirk Van Dammt with the title “Dedicated Supplicant of the Fiery Curse,” Dirk returned the honorific by referring to David as “Tested Adept of the Vital Hunger.”
Norma asked if David knew anything about her son’s disappearance and he turned strangely defensive. He cursed the Carthians and predicted that they must be striking back for the Ordo thinning their ranks. He had little concern for the child himself, and Dirk sensed his aura for hints of foul play. He detected a sharp dark blue, suggesting suspicion, and veins of black streaking through the aura, a sign of a diablerist. Rather than press him for details, the group decided to continue their research and learn as much about gargoyles as quickly as they could. The information they sought proved easy to locate, and picking up a couple of sledge hammers, they were ready to revisit the Alabaster Bookshop.
12 a.m. Tuesday, December 25. Alabaster Bookshop
Norma deftly picked the lock to the store and the group made short work of the gargoyles with a few forceful swings to their skulls. In the back room of the shop, they found the owner, recognized by Olga as Bastian Goetze, a traitor to the white rose. They subdued him and Olga began taunting him for information. When refused to offer up what he knew, she aimed to shoot him in the kneecap. Her grip slipped and his head exploded, another lead lost. They scoured the shop for anything that might be a clue. All they found of interest was a map of the city detailing ley lines that crossed through many different areas, including the Cloisters where the Nazis had originally planned a ritual. Running out of ideas, Norma suggested they pay Julia Lansdale a visit to see if she could divine from Norma’s blood where Johnny may have wound up.
2 a.m. Tuesday, December 25. Julia Lansdale’s psychic shop
The group buzzed up to Julia who invited them into the building. She was entertaining a guest they’d seen before, Richard Harvey, the guardian of New York Presbyterian hospital. Richard apologized for his abhorred behavior at the hospital, and thanked them for eliminating the threats of Typhoid Mary and the Nazi necromancers. He excused himself and Julia sat with Norma to perform a ritual to find Johnny. She took a sample of her vitae and misted it over a map of the city. The blood collected in two locations, one in the East Village and one in the Theater District. The group compared their findings with the ley lines map from the bookshop and found a convergence in the Theater District focused on one block of about four theaters. Dante expressed an interest in tracking down his sire and asked to participate in the blood ritual as well. His blood misted and did not settle on any specific part of the map. Julia suggested that either his sire had left town or had suffered the final death.
4 a.m. Tuesday, December 25. Times Square
With only a few hours until Christmas morning, the group rushed to 44th street. Several shows were running, but Norma picked out Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel at the Belasco as the place where Johnny was most likely being held. They entered through the fly space on the roof of the theater and climbed down ropes to the stage level. They saw a lit room at the rear of the balcony, and faced no opposition traveling to it. They found Johnny and a strange man in a private room at the rear of the theater. The man introduced himself as David Belasco (not to be confused with David Ramsay, why did I do that?), an Initiate of the Wild Curse. Johnny told Norma that he hadn’t been hurt and that David had been giving him Kool-Aid to drink, though it tasted funny. He wanted to be able to stay with David who was his best friend. Norma realized with horror that her son had been made into a ghoul by David. She sent Johnny back into the lobby with Jasper and turned on David Belasco. With the help of Dante, she beat him into submission. She searched his writing desk and found correspondence from Prince Wycoff ordering the abduction of the boy, explaining that Norma was a liability who put her mortal family above her kinfolk, and she needed to learn a lesson about loyalty.
The group agreed to deliver Belasco’s body to the prince and seek out the Carthians. The time for rebellion was drawing near.