Insylum – First Level of Crazy
James awoke in an asylum with no idea of who he was although his personality was intact, as were his associations (vampire emotion is more association-based memories than true emotion). Despite staff attempts to convince him that he was simply schizophrenic, he soon came to believe that he was a vampire being held in some sort of underground facility for some bizarre reason. He was fed ‘meat shakes’ (really, blood) as apparently he had an eating disorder where he would only eat liquefied foods. Once night, he awoke in a different form of the asylum which was more of your typical hate-filled world of darkness mental institution. It only lasted a night as it rapidly devolved into a violent outburst with James sneaking around the asylum and almost escaping. He was drawn back only by the need to save a patient, Hester, who had strangely fallen ill a few nights beforehand. He was stopped by a strange man (with Dominate). During this period he also slowly pieced together memories and though he couldn’t remember Walsh, he started remembering Charlotte, his ‘daughter’ (at the time he thought she was his born daughter). The staff led him to believe that he could see his ‘daughter’ when his memories stabilised as he kept having episodes that wiped his memory.
Insylum – Second Level of Crazy
James spent some time in the regular asylum before awakening to the sound of something chipping away at the floor beneath his bed. When he peered down there, he spotted a hole that led into a Silent Hill-esque version of the asylum. No people, just clues as to the sources of their insanity, weird puzzles, and the occasional monster or other threat, such as a room that started to melt around him and a strange entity hiding beneath the clothing. He ran into a huge man with a big axe and a gas mask who was more solid than most of the enemies, and who seemingly killed a man in front of him (actually a vampire slammed down). James hid in the pool in the dark until the threat passed him by. Finally, he came across him again in a mirrored room (required a few puzzle locks on the door to get in) where he faced the man again. He lost the battle and dropped to 1 blood. He slammed into a strange state where he found himself entering a room where Charlotte and Hester were chained to a wall and he was ferociously hungry. At first, he frenzies and consumes them. Then he’d back in the room, still hungry, and he batters himself against a wall to prevent himself from attacking them. This causes him to frenzy and he consumes them. Next he comes out of the opposite side of the room and sees himself enter through the other door. He attacks himself and fails. The fourth time he comes out through that door again and then attempts to consume himself and succeeds. Thus he learns the first dot of Coil of Beast.
Insylum – Third Level of Crazy
James awakens with no memory of anything that had happened to him but his Beast is more controllable. Strangely enough, he feels nothing. He is a sociopath, though not a violent one, and he toys with the other patients a bit but is otherwise relatively compliant. He is led through hypnotic technique and Dominate into believing that he is a schizophrenic vampire whose sire (Jeremiah Tyler) is slowly teaching him while keeping him there. He reads books on Tyler techniques and goes out to nightclubs where he is taught how to seduce (though no further). He then meets his alleged wife (Joy Tyler) and after a couple of weeks is allowed to go home for Christmas to meet his wife and daughter. Joy meets him at the door and there’s an awkward conversation as James accuses her of being a puppet or a liar. When he goes to leave, the lights go out and Joy disappears. He hears a scream upstairs from a little girl but when he rushes up, there is no one. He finds the dining table set with goblets of blood and, hungry, he feeds from them. He then hallucinates dreadfully (glamour-soaked hedge blood) and feels the great strength of that particular emotion. After an hour of this, he is lured into the basement where he finds himself in a long corridor with mannequins of people who swap facial expressions and body language. He duplicates them, each one, though they get more difficult with each time before reaching one at the end which grins at him. The stress, strain, and changes wreaked upon him teach him Coil of Souls 1.
Insylum – Hidden Crazy
James is then put through the Coil of the Core training where he is bound to a table and fed glamour-infused hedge blood to bring him to the heights of a particular emotion, while an Ordo Dracul Ventrue called Wilhelm Wintringham shows him colours. Again and again, he is taken through this. We don’t play through this until later on as this memory is repressed. I just spend the next few sessions in the next adventure arc describing colour by emotion (“The flower is Red like Anger”). The harsh part of this training is feeling the emotion drain away at the end, revealing to the poor young Daeva of the falseness of his emotions.
NB: Coil of the Core is a custom coil that you will be able to read soon. The link will appear on this page once everything is complete.
James finds himself cross-legged before a mural of a rainbow in an abandoned factory. He remembers only what he had learned in the asylum as well as both sets of time in the asylum. He doesn’t remember the ‘Hidden Crazy’ information nor does he recall anything of the past nine months. He manages to find his home where he is called by an Ordo Dracul and advised to come to the Chapter House – there’s bad news. Turns out his foster sire, Jeremiah Tyler, is missing and presumed dead after a warehouse he owned (later discovered to be a blood farm that James emptied of victims) and his primary haven (a large mansion) were both burned to the ground. James is a suspect for a few people but no one has any proof. James discovers he has a Slave, a rather normal-seeming Mekhet, and is tempted to stick around but when things come to a head and four people from the asylum plus a BBC presenter arrive to kill the woman he had handcuffed in his spare room, he starts to have second thoughts. It turns out that the apparent victim was a demon (Lamashtu – Demon: the Fallen ‘demon’) rather than a victim and she had started grooming him to replace the deceased Jeremiah. She was hoping to get an Earthbound up and awake. James kills her but not before knocking out the so-called ‘patients’ due to terrible miscommunication, and then kidnaps the ‘patients’ to the factory where he manages to extract the truth.
Jeremiah had blood bound and torpored James, sending him overseas to a specific London Ordo Dracul chapter house so that he could have his personality replaced, be taught a few coils, and then shipped back. The London coterie had become famous for their quick and successful teaching methods and Jeremiah had kidnapped someone important to Wilhelm Wintringham. Wilhelm had fashioned James into the perfect weapon to despatch Jeremiah, freeing the girl, and getting a way to slay the demoness as well.
The so-called BBC presenter stuck around after the others left and pretty soon James pieced together something interesting about him as well. You see, in Jeremiah’s haven there was a concrete-topped dirt hollow where an Iraqi-looking kindred had been found. James didn’t recognise him (his face was different from James) but he did look similar. There was a hole in the back of his mouth leading up into an emptied skull, yet the corpse still gave off the sensation of a Beast. James followed the leads. It turned out that something had crawled out of the skull and burrowed through the dirt sides of that hollow, ate a couple of dogs, grew wings, startled a homeless man, ate a bunch of pigeons, became the size of a large dog, was taken into the pound, ate all of the dogs, stole a lab coat and ID and some painkillers to make it look like a burglary. The trouble was it also stole the facial identity of one of the men at the pound. A man who looked suspiciously like the alleged BBC presenter yet didn’t recognise James at all.
James confronted the alleged presenter, whose mannerisms and demeanor reminded him of Peter Walsh (he was regaining more memories with each passing day). There were always a lot of things that didn’t add up about Walsh:
· He was rarely seen to feed.
· His reflection was blurred in a different way.
· He never seemed to fear the sun or frenzy.
· He was such a sook about pain and injury.
· He just never really seemed like a vampire.
So James confronted him and discovered that the alleged presenter was indeed Walsh who also happened to be the Songbird. They collected Charlie and kept going.