Bad news began this Gathering dear friends and relations. The media reported that the Shadow Church had gained popular support within the city of Atlanta, and estimated 49% of Atlanta humans were members of the chruch… Well, I'm leaving. I hear Barbados is nice, but screw this place. Oh, but that wasn't all. There was also the matter that with such widespread devotion, there was also widespread shadow-taint. Officials at the CDC were looking into the matter, but were completely baffled. Just how many times can the arcane slap the mundane in the face before science comes around? Also, the Malkavian Prank-a-thon held true this month when dozens of letters sent to City Hall contained what appeared to be Anthrax, and a letter that said “BOO.” Two million dollars, one dead mother, and three heart conditions later, some sick and creative Malkavian will be walking away with a prize in April. Happy Valentine's Day! Other Malkavian pranks may have included the packets that were dropped around the Elysium written in Script of Caine ink, but you'll have to ask those that went, if any, about the results.
Other than the initial news, the Gathering began much as it always did. David Kendrick said one sentence, maybe two, and that was it. He stated that the Kindred would be returning to the sewers this month to finish off His Divine Shadow. A well timed interruption stopped everyone cold. A shadow form of Oscar Richstaffen (sp?) walked in professing the greatest of appreciation from His Divine Shadow for defeating the shadow-infected Aztec warrior Teoyaomqui last month. His speech was in turn interrupted by the arrival of Teoyaomqui … Err? Without words, Teoyaomqui laid the Smack Down on the Shadow Oscar (ouch by the way) in one blow. The Kindred stood still for a moment, looking from one to the other and wondering what to do now. Then, the warrior began talking. He revealed that the Shadow had taken him and that this was a rare moment of levity in his otherwise chaotic mess of insanity. He quickly instructed the Kindred in the method of destroying the Shadow. Teoyaomqui then asked us to finish him off, so, we did. A few gilded/silvered strikes and a little fire worked rather nicely… Still, nobody had the cahoones to try and Diaberlize his torpored body, heh, chickens.
The city at large was waiting for Melissa May to arrive as she had the glowing sword of minor shadow-thingy destruction. Meanwhile, everyone else decided who was going and who was staying, readied their arms, and gathered mass amounts of blood. Eventually, the Gargoyle showed up and an assault team went down into the 5 th level of the sewers.
On the surface, it was a bad Valentine's Day for old folks. A Senior Citizen's center was attacked by the most sadistic of creatures. Hearts were removed from chests with bone saws, LSD was pumped into I.V.s, and blood writing saying “Valentine's Day Sucks” was left on the walls. Was this a Malkavian Prank too? Was some lost soul was tortured by love and left to lash out in this fashion? No, it was a rollerblading git who claimed responsibility. Sure he had no idea why he had dood it, but he dood it.
On the West Side of Atlanta, five officers were killed on I-20 for pulling someone over and asking him nicely to come on back in. It sure is a hard job being a cop in this city. Not to mention that it was only one guy… One to five, and the one won? Hey, just dance all over the Masquerade buddy, we don't mind. Cleanup on aisle 20!
Things also got a little furry when a chinchilla farm was raided. A large number of guards were slain and a human captive was freed! Was it freedom for animals? A rescue operation? Perhaps some poor lost souls' just wanted to do the right thing for a change and help an innocent victim… Or perhaps they weren't paid well enough to off the captive along with everyone else. D'oh!
Meanwhile, underground, the Shadow assault team got busy and encountered many warriors and creatures down in the sewers. Although my notes are not first hand, there was a great warrior riding a shadow scorpion and then a literal flood of shadow rats. A neat little candle helped them out with the rats, but I'm just glad I wasn't there at all. Finally, they discovered a huge obsidian temple, in which His Divine Shadow rested. Taking turns, the greatest warriors took the Obsidian sword in hand and began hacking at the monster. It didn't help any that His Divine Shadow knew Dominate. Anyway, blood and sweat, and a lot more blood eventually wore him down and he made a last ditch effort at peace with the Kindred… Didn't work Mr. Shadow, did it? As the monster was struck down, every trace of shadow taint vanished into thin air. Entire shadow creatures were disappearing in an instant and this horrible curse was over. Unfortunately, this also meant that 49% of the human population of Atlanta were suddenly missing body parts, some of them very valuable. Massive panic erupted in the city and it was considered a National Disaster Site. There were also several Kindred infected with shadow material, among them were Torrence Wicke, who was little more than a spine and a head, and Melissa May, who was too far infected for hope of return. Melissa May, for fighting the Shadow, we salute you! To any others that valiantly fought and died to rid us of the Shadow, we salute you too, and I would like to apologize for not seeing it first hand, but I like to keep my happy undead ass where it's safe.
At the end of the night there were a few Kindred who were in the Valentine's spirit, handing out human hearts instead of cards… Okay, I know we're sick little monsters and all, and yeah, maybe the fate of helpless mortals isn't our concern since they're our food, but dear God, show some taste. What's wrong with the 2” X 4” pieces of cardboard with Spongebob Squarepants on the front?