[color=000000]So, I might as well start by sharing my Vake-hunting experiences with those who are interested. You might read it all, or pick out the parts you find most tempting. It’s up to you!
[spoiler]About the Vake itself:
The Vake is nearly 4,000 years old. It has leathery wings, its teeth possess independent motion and will break free to burrow into the hearts of those it bites, days later. Hieroglyphic tablets from the Second City mention that the Vake takes a special liking to royal blood. And it finds and eats anyone who boasts about hunting it. The best way to lure it to you (if you are so foolish) is a singing mandrake. That’s right. You’ve probably thought the pub’s name was just nonsense, but mandrakes can really be taught to sing. Quite beautifully, even.
The only way to kill the Vake, apparently, is a Sandalwood Club, topped with an original Vake-tooth (which, of course, is still as lively as it once was in the Vake’s mouth). Most of this information was provided to me by a Scarred Naturalist, who later turned out to be a Snuffer working for the Vake. I’ll come to that.
My acquaintance from Spite, the Sardonic Music-Hall Singer, taught the mandrake to sing. I got the Vake-tooth on a visit to New Newgate Prison, while the sandalwood came from an old sandalwood tree growing in the middle of a filthy slum in the far East of the City, "well past the Prickfinger Wastes". Clay tablets lying around the tree suggested that it’s been around since the times of the Second City.
After that, the Scarred Naturalist sent me north to the Prickfinger Wastes to find something "rather valuable" that a certain sisterhood of gorgeous, fighting nuns (I’m not joking) had hidden there. That something turns out to be a tiny bottle of Black Wings Absinthe Nouveau. A single drop of this is enough and I am transported to the home of the Vake, the Abyssal Depths. There, in complete darkness, the Snuffer that was the Scarred Naturalist revealed that it was "grooming victims for the Vake since long before the Fall" and that "the club is useless, I’m afraid. The Vake wanted its tooth back, that’s all. Oh, and I believe that it enjoys the smell of sandalwood."
I then killed the Snuffer and released my mandrake. At least that part was true: as soon as the mandrake started singing, the Vake was upon me; screaming, all the time, in its terrible voice (more about that in a moment). During the ensuing fight I barely managed to stay alive. In fact, I would have died then and there (and permanently, for all I know), but in the last moment that sisterhood of gorgeous, fighting nuns appeared and the Vake instantly took to flight. I got a glimpse of it then: "a furry leathery monstrosity, a black mouth crowded with bloody teeth that click like pincers, two eyes as hot and ancient as the stars." Then I blacked out.
About Black Wings Absinthe and Mr Wines’ involvement:
Each bottle of B.W. Absinthe contains a single drop of Vake blood. Where Mr Wines gets it from, I don’t know. While drinking, focus all your attention on the Vake, or you will simply wake up in a ditch at the centre of some difficult stories. The ensuing dreams/visions/whatever always consisted of me being the Vake, hunting. And of course, screaming. Here’s an example of the latter:
night cool up here in the stalactites crumbling city below fold wings drop wind whips !glorious speed! there black speck among the tumbledown temples !prey! swoop silent to street level sandstorm in my wake closer jaws wide teeth primed she turns too late fall and feast and drink her down…
"The absinthe connection is a two way process, of course. Have you not felt the Vake crawling through your nightmares, these last few weeks, learning how you taste?" told me the Snuffer, teasingly. So, that is how the Vake learns of who wants to hunt it.
After being saved by the nuns (I’ll come to them), I got involved with a guy named Jervaise who is apparently Mr Wines’ left-and-right-hand-man. He told me that "Mr Wines has vested interests. It don’t want to be associated with Vake-hunters. It has its reasons, don’t it? But it’s also authorised me to use my discretion to help them - if I think they deserve it. It’s all a big game, you see? I’ll introduce you to the right cove if you can do something for me in return." This Jervaise, by the way, is Mrs Plenty’s husband.
So, after doing him a couple favours, he did introduce me to the "right cove". At the Parlour of Virtue.
About Sinning Jenny’s involvement.[/color][color=000000][color=000000][/spoiler][/color]That is the current content boundary. I can’t wait to go on…
edited by Rupho Schartenhauer on 7/28/2016