As Jalen would walk down a certain street, to his left the doors to a pub flew open a man being thrown out. Roadside Cross, kind of grim for a place that just looked like a little dinky bar. “Stay out of here, mongrel. You want to play rough, you take that to the swamp.” a voice growled from within.
Jalen blinked as he heard a person growling inside the bar. Curious, and since he had time, Jalen turned towards the bar and slowly opened the door, checking the inside to see what was happening.
Kenneth had followed Jalen to the bar, only having just caught up at the growling. He had followed Jalen mostly to discuss what had happened lately, but he also realized the value of the buddy system.
Inside was filled with some people all situated already and the bartender was heading back to his post behind the bar, half of his face was badly burned, no hair on that side, and wearing an eyepatch, the edge of his mouth on his right side looked off and he was simply cleaning some blood droplets with his sleeve, grumbling to himself about stupid people picking fights over a damn drink. He looked over, a dark blue eye that seemed filled with a certain despair very few would understand. “You’re new.” he said, seeming to tone down his hostile stance.
The pub had a few faces, mainly minding their own business, some looked up but kept to themselves, there was a piano in the back, and a pool table with two cue balls only one had the number 3 written on it. Over on the wall beside the pool table was a bounty picture for a number three ball, if someone retrieved it, it was evidently worth $800 to this man currently. The place was well ket and clean, though it had a certain musk of people.
Jalen blinked as he saw the man, especially his burned face. But he noticed the eyepatch so he knew better than to say anything. “Ah yeah, I’m pretty new to town, I’m not familiar with a lot of the local places, and I heard some trouble or something, figured I’d make sure everything was okay,” he explained briefly with a minor shrug. Mortals were alright as long as they didn’t get in his face too much. He still fed, and he could be snobish sometimes, but dealing with them on a one on one occasion he tried to deal fairly. He noticed Kenneth behind him and figured this was as good place as any to talk and entered and found a table to sit at and gestured for Kenneth to follow him as he saved the table for them before anyone else could.
Kenneth entered the pub as well, taking a look around and raising an eyebrow at the bounty poster. He sat down across from Jalen, waving to the burned man as he passed.
The bounty poster seemed to be changed a lot, as there was several coats of paint covering and on top was the value; seems it goes up frequently enough. The man nodded simply. “if you;re looking for a room, tlk to me later about it, need anything else you know how already.” he said simply and went back to cleaning, the marks on his arms showing as he cleans a mug.
Jalen’s eyebrows raised as the guy mentioned something about a room. He nodded, noting to get back to the guy later. Could be better and a bit more secure than the motel he’d been staying at. “So, the women from before, they said the viper caused Creed’s illness,” he explained. “From what Creed told us, it sounds like they’re drugging them intentionally… What did you hear from Jasper?” he asked.
Kenneth shook his head sadly, “I didn’t hear anything from Jasper, he’s most likely dead. But from his blood I learned that the drug seems like herion mixed with Vitae, and it’s highly addictive.”
“Which also matches with what Creed said… It sounds like we wouldn’t be able to tell which mortals are using this drug and which arn’t, though. All we can do is be cautious of any using some type of inhaler…” Jalen sighed. Complications. “So you don’t know for sure what happened to Jasper? That could be bad…” he realized. “Like, when we found Creed he was nearly frenzying, there’s no telling what state this Jasper is in if he’s still alive somewhere.”
Kenneth nodded at the Gangrel’s concern. “As far as we know, he is more likely dead. The other Tremere tracked him into the forest, and they saw him crushed by some…. thing.” He shuddered at the thought of whatever would terrify the entire group of Tremere.
Jalen blinked and swallowed a bit nervously at the story. “Probably dead, then… Alright. And as far as we know Creed’s alright. We should probably let those two know what we found, but I’ve really got to find another place to bunk down at, the motel definately isn’t as out of the way as I’d hoped it was,” he sighed. “If you see them and get the chance to tell them what we found, let me know, otherwise I’ll try finding them at the bar they were at later,” he suggested.
Kenneth nodded once again, looking around the bar for a moment before continuing. “This could prove extremely dangerous if we aren’t careful. We have to ensure that none of us falls under the effects of the drug.”
Jalen nodded in agreement. “It’d be bad if anyone else did, though perhaps we should have a safeguard, like check up with each other via a text or every other night just to keep tabs a bit. Now that most of the investigation’s over, we don’t all have much of a link, but… Well, this sort of thing kind of affects us all,” he pointed out. “And the sooner we know something’s wrong the better.”
Kenneth looked thoughtful for a moment before he nodded, “It’d be best to keep in touch, and don’t go drinking from anyone acting strangely or with an inhaler.” Sighing, he shook his head, “And this investigation is nowhere near over, we still need to find a way to stop this from spreading.”
The barkeep seemed to occasionally peer at the two as he did his usual business, though he didn’t say anything and his gaze last no longer than a few seconds for every two or three minutes that went by, it was clear he was openly spectating.
“Well true, but technically we did find what was causing this. And they would probably know how to deal with vipers better than a couple of people who just strolled into town. I dunno, I just don’t think it’d be smart to try to go figure out how to stop these people on our own since we don’t really know what we’re dealing with,” Jalen pointed out. “But I do agree this sounds bad, and… well, I wouldn’t mind working with you again to stop whatever sick fucks are behind this.” Jalen didn’t quite notice that it was the barkeeper glancing at them, but he did feel eyes on him…
Kenneth nodded in agreement, tapping his toe in concentration as they spoke. “Something feels off about this, though. Why would someone want to do something like this? Unless it’s a mortal, or something else, with a grudge.”
The barkeep mumbled something about power play as he was making a cocktail.
“I don’t know… But whatever it is, it’s not good, and for now, that’s good enough for me,” Jalen admitted with a slight shrug. He was still stirred up a bit, so he wasn’t thinking about why whomever was doing it was too much at the moment — just the fact that they were doing it. He noticed the barkeep mumble something, but figured he was talking to some other mortal. Had he been… watching them…? “So what’s your plans from here?” he asked.
Kenneth shook his head and sighed, “Most likely I’ll report this to Isabo and the other Tremere. And I feel as if we should all go together to speak with Kaitlyn. Other than that I don’t know where else to go without further information. If I could only find one of the afflicted mortals I could do more research…”
Jalen nodded as Kenneth said he’d go talk to the other Tremere and he was struck with a slight sense of loneliness. He was used to it at this point, certianly, but he almost wished that he was a bit more connected with his own clan or at least someone within it. “Go together? Yeah, that makes sense, then we’re all there in case she has something else to say,” he admitted with a shrug. Worked either way for him.
“Probably later, though, like I said, I’ve got to find someplace,” he said. He nodded as the Tremere continued, talking about how he wished he could find one of the mortals. “I doubt it, maybe a drug den or club or something? Doesn’t seem like your scene, but it sounds like someplace they’d hang out at to get that kind of stuff,” he pointed out. “Anyway, I’ll text you and Roxy when I’m free to go try n’ meet Kaitlyn,” he informed.
Kenneth stood and nodded, “I’ll be waiting, and I may enlist your help in searching some of the hotspots for drug activity around here as well. I’m not sure if it shows but I’m not exactly the strongest vampire in town.”
Jalen chuckled as Kenneth informed he may enlist his help. “Mmm, well, I dunno if it shows, but I’m kind of the muscle of the group. I’ll leave the sciencing to you, professor,” he teased. “In that case, I’ll also text you if I find or hear of any good spots.”
The barkeep shot a look at the tremere, and rolled his eye, he should really speak a bit more quietly, sure this pace wasn’t the most pretty but there was plenty of humans in here.
Kenneth nodded and turned to go, waving at the Gangrel and nodding at the barkeep as he made his way out of the establishment.
Jalen waved goodbye to Kenneth as he left, and mildy wondered what was up with the barkeep as he seemed to shake his head at the Tremere… but he decided not to worry about it too much. Since there was no reason to keep the table any longer, he stood up and found a good spot at one of the barstools. “So you said something about a room, how much do you want?” he asked, just wanting someplace he could stay the night, though he’d need to find a gig pretty soon if he wanted to keep a place of his own like this and not just bunk at Roxy’s every night.
The barkeep walked over, squeezing limes. “You look rough, I’ll tell you what, first night you can stay for free.” he said and looked him up and down for a moment. “Any nights after that its $20 a night, or if you don’t have the money you can clean up the tables and anything on the floor in the main room.” he offered and pulled out a key. “the room has no windows, a single twin bed, a storage trunk, and a small closet.” he explained, sliding the key over. “If you leave and don’t bring back my key by putting it in that box over there, I will have someone hunt you down.” he said. The box had a little locked down and a slit for dropping the key inside. “I won’t have any funny business and no friends go in your room unless I know about it first, no fighting, no getting a quick snack and leaving them here, I don’t like that at all. You got all that, friend?”
Jalen blinked as the barkeep offered the first night free and smiled a bit. “Thanks, havn’t had the best night so far, we’ll put it that way,” he chuckled, briefly remembering to before and how weak he felt afterwards and shivered. Then he heard of the man’s deal and nearly deflated in relief. This man was a blessing somehow, though he was pretty sure Kindred weren’t supposed to get those anymore. Good luck? Eh.
“Sounds like a good deal, thanks.” he listened as the male continued explaining what was in the room and a few rules, which were simple enough: 1. Bring back the key; 2. No snacking in the room…? He wasn’t sure if the guy was talking about eating like mortals did, or some weird way of saying ‘don’t go having sex in there’, but he was pretty sure he could cover that one either way just by not bringing anyone there in general. Which he could understand. “Alright, yeah, sounds fair enough. No problems here. So, how do I get to there?” he asked, figuring the bar would usually be open most of the night, and he’d be back before it closed since he didn’t like risking the sun. So ‘back by a certian time’ wasn’t going to be an issue.
The barkeep nodded in respect to the gangrel. “Its up the stairs to your left across from the bathroom.” he answered. “name’s Jerry by the way, if you need anything let me know.” he said and leaned in. “If I find you feasting on anyone in there, I promise you won’t be happy.” he warned, basically telling him he knew what he was, and that he really really didn’t like anybody feeding while in his bar.
Jalen nodded as the barkeep informed him of where to go. “Nice to meet you, Jalen,” he intorduced as well as he learned of the mortal’s name. Then the guy leaned in, so he merely listened, but he stared, somewhat wide-eyed when he realized that a) the mortal knew he was a vampire and b) knew about vampires at all. No wonder he glared at the Tremere earlier. “No sir,” he agreed, not knowing who this mortal was, but deciding to be serious and let him know he’d respect the mortal’s domain — especially since he was getting such a good deal for being able to house here. “Thanks again,” he said, standing up and pocketing the key. The guy didn’t seem bad, just trying to run his own place and show that it was his — he could respect that even if it was a mortal. “I’ll be back before closing,” he promised and left, texting Kenneth and Roxy, letting them know that he was free to meet Kaitlyn whenever and went to go find shady mortals to inquire about drugs from.