Investigating The Casino (Part 2)

JP with LaserSexPanther, Jaxx and Cindy

It took some time but eventually, the Trimere gave the all-clear to enter the building. Colette took Ryker and Dominic with her to the second floor which was full of what was once some private gambling rooms, a restaurant, bar, gift shop, and a reception desk area.

Once it was confirmed that there were no magical traps, Colette said. "Let's start down the end of the hall and work our way back to here."

Ryker put up his hands and signed to Colette that he understood and began his way down the hall, still being cautious and listening for any doors that they passed to open.

Erykah bid Dominic good luck as they parted ways and continued their investigation. Erykah when with Jai as Dominic went with Colette and Ryker. Dominic reached into his bag and pulled out an odd-looking compass that did not seem to work very well since it didn't point north. Dominic seemed focused on his compass as he walked with Colette. He then muttered to her, "Please do not bump me. This device is rather........delicate."

Colette watched Ryker proceed down the hallway. Following him with Dominic. She didn't question the compass, Trimere had their gadgets, after all.

"Understood," Colette responded to the request.

The first room was apparently a lounge of some sort. Colette, upon making sure it was clear, entered and began meticulously going over every inch of the room. If there was something to find she'd find it.

There was a wooden box in the corner, that wasn't very big, like a medium-sized crate, not big enough to hold a person unless they were a contortionist. It didn't seem to have an opening and looked completely out of place. "Hey," Colette said to the two men with her, "What do you make of this?"

Dominic noticed his compass was glowing as the needle pointed to the wooden box. He got near it as he saw the needle glow brighter before he called out to Colette. Dominic spoke up as he said, "This here compass can find enchanted things of various sorts. Makes it easier to locate wards for the beginners and when we are in a hurry. How should we deal with this box?"

"I'll trust you to get it opened, as clearly it must be enchanted for a reason. Just be careful, of course." Colette responded. "I search more of the room while you're doing that."

Dominic nodded as he replied, "Aye. This will take a while." Dominic set his bag down and began setting up some items to aid him in his task. Some items looked like voodoo dolls, candles on odd stands, saucers with odd things put in them, jars with dirt, and other dead things in them. After arranging them in a particular order he began to chant in an old creole language while swaying in a circle. The smoke gave off a pungent smell from the candles as he blew dust on the box and the fire ignited it as a flash of white smoke poofed before him. After a few minutes, the box glowed and faded as a protective vanished from it. Then Dominic noticed another layer was under the one he removed as he sighed and shook his head. He then spoke up to Colette, "Looks like they put on more than one layer of protection on this will take a while." Dominic sighed as he went back to work removing several layers of protection from the box.

Ryker posted up near the door. Waiting for Dominic to finish his work, having nothing to do and no skill in much other than combat that would help in a place like this. Ryker got Colette's attention and signed to her, "Are we sure this isn't a waste of time?"

Dominic looked like he was in a trance as he mumbled an odd ancient language and swayed in a small circle pattern while holding a feather and voodoo doll. He looked like a bad actor on a tv show as he worked and it was only a matter of time before someone expected him to pull out a chicken to sacrifice unless he be brought a pre-sacrificed chicken at KFC, which has been done before but given mixed results. Dominic had to be patient as he slowly peeled one layer of protection off the wooden box at a time. Either this was a sick joke from a Malkavian and he would find a rubber chicken inside or someone really didn't want this box open. Either the box was hiding something or preventing something from getting out. As a precaution, Dominic planned to ask Colette and Ryker to be close in case it was a trap.

Colette gave a small nod to Ryker, "The Tmizice aren't known for randomly magically locking something without a reason. The Malkavians might but they can't do that by themselves. I'm pretty sure there is something of use in that box."

Suddenly, the box fell open as if a secret lever had been found. Inside the box was a metal key, with a three embossed on it There was also a note written in Latin:
Par ne quaere, imparem quaere. Clavis ad alteram te ducet.

Dominic cocked his head to the side as he translated the text, "Don't look for even, look for odd. The key will lead you to the next one." He looked at Colette as replied, "This rather sounds like one of those mystery novels Erykah would read to us as kids. Any idea what it means? I am not so good with detective work."

"They apparently figured Leon or myself would be involved with the investigation, that's why it's in Latin." Not that that was surprising, "Let me see the key," Colette retrieved the key from Dominic. "It has a three on it."

None of the rooms would just be three. Pulling out a paper from her back pocket, Colette opened it. It was a directory of sorts. What used to be on each floor?

"The third floor had private offices and security. I bet this key goes to one of those offices." Colette seemed to be thinking out loud, then looked at the other two vampires with her and said. "I think it's saying to look on the odd floors. Whatever this key opens will lead to the next clue, and it's likely on the third floor."

Dominic began collecting his items and putting them into his bag as he replied, "Its your call. Just be careful.........Whoever made this was both clever and unhinged. It could be one big trap or sick game they want to play." Dominic put his bag strap over his shoulder and looked at Ryker and Colette.

Ryker put his hands up and signed a reply, knowing if Dominic didn't get it Colette would translate. "They would have to be to have taken someone so close to the prince."

After translating what Ryker said, Colette responded, "Well, I saw the picture that was sent to Mr. Williams." As the Prince preferred to be called. "I know at least the Tmizice that was in the picture. His name is Levi. He is unhinged but so are all the Tmizice. He was part of the group that kidnapped and tortured Quinn. My guess is he's likely following orders, as I doubt he's in charge, but he's old enough to be somewhat powerful."

Dominic seemed very insecure after hearing what Colette said. If he could sweat from fear he would. However, it would take a lot of effort in order to do so with his kindred body. He wondered if Erykah was in on this bit of information. It was not his place to speak up but he was now conflicted by running away out of fear and doing his duty to his clan, Primogen, and the Prince. Sadly his duty outweighed the fear of his unknown enemy. He secretly hoped that Ryker would protect them if things went bad since he only had so many magic tricks to aid him in combat. Dominic then sighed as he reached into his bag and fumbled around till he pulled out three stone arrowheads and showed them to Ryker and Colette in the palm of his hands. Dominic then said, "Since the threat level went up please hold onto one of these till our mission is complete. The stone arrowheads are drawn to each other and will point the way to each stone if we are separated, much like a compass of sorts."

Colette took the stone and thanked Dominic. Then said, "Let's head to the third floor."

As they were making their way, Colette let Jai know via the walkie-talkie that they had found a clue on the second that led to the third without going into detail. They arrived on the third floor, the same routine with Dominic checking for magical traps. There were none.
At the very end of the hallway was the security office, it was locked but the key didn't fit the lock.
2nd room, the same thing, locked but the key didn't fit. It seemed like each room on this floor was going to be the same.

"I think none of these doors will open until I find the right one," Colette said, looking down the hallway toward the doors. "I'll take the right side of the hallway if one of you can take the left."
Ryker tapped Colette on the shoulder and pointed this thumb at the locked security office. "I can get it open." he signed but didn't wait for a confirmation. Meaning it wasn't meant to be a question or an offer, but more a declarative.

Ryker stood in front of the fortified door. Looking at the lock and handle before taking a single step back and raising his leg delivering a solid kick and the door burst open nearly coming off its hinges. He stepped inside and started to look around, though he wasn't sure what exactly he was looking for but if he found anything remotely interesting he'd bring it to Colette if she didn't come to him first.

Behind the door, the security office was dusty, with a few spider webs in various corners. The wall had some black spots creeping through, indicative of mold. Right in front of the door was a large console of various switches and levers, above those TV screens all the same medium-level size. Not a flicker or blink of having been activated in a long time. Off to the side were various three-ring binders and a small metal file cabinet. The ceiling held what were once strips of fluorescent lights.

Meanwhile, Colette continued down the hall trying to find what the key went to.

Dominic followed Colette from behind as he looked around quietly. This place was a big death trap just from being old. However, the danger level got raised since someone was squatting and leaving deadly traps behind for anyone. Oddly the old dusty building didn’t bug him as much since he grew up in a poor environment in the slums.

The more doors Colette tried, the more she began to wonder if the key would open any of them. Door after door and nothing. There had to be something she was missing.

Hearing the two moving farther and farther down the hall Ryker got to looking quickly. Picking up anything that even looked remotely new. Or at the least had minimal water damage or dust, or anything that looked place and not left. The difference to most would likely be missed but like with laying traps in the woods, placed leaves look far different than fallen leaves when you know where to look.

After grabbing an armload of random papers and folders Ryker met back with the others. Showing Collette, he'd found things but indicated he was unsure of their usefulness.

Colette glanced down at Ryker and took them from him. She went through them one at a time, most were not that important. A security report or two, a few pamphlets for various places, an odd random copy of things like information on an employee picnic, and the like.

The Nosferatu went through each piece finding nothing until she came to an unmarked folder. It clearly wasn't warded as it could be held but the lacking of markings on the outside made it of interest as it was the only folder like that. There was no waiting, it was opened carefully, no traps but inside the folder was a single sheet of paper.

"Δεν είναι αυτό το δωμάτιο που αναζητάτε
Εκείνη όπου μπορείς να δεις την κορυφή
Ο αριθμός των διαδρόμων όπου οι αρουραίοι περνούν τις μέρες τους και διαιρείται με τον αριθμό του γραφείου τους μείον οκτώ
Μέσα στην πόρτα περιμένει μια έκπληξη"

Colette shook her head at the Greek writing staring up at her from the paper. While normally this might be interesting, fun even, in this case, it was just annoying. Time for her to dust off the Greek in her brain. Translating it in her mind first before speaking.

"This is not the room you seek
The one where you can see the peak
The number of passageways where rats spend their days and divide by their office number minus eight
Inside the door a surprise awaits"

She paused before continuing. "Well, the Tmizice might have Aurora but these clues reek of Malkavians."

Ryker made a motion to sigh before signing out a half-joke "It's like Zodiac meets Dr. Seuss.

"Well, that's an accurate description," Colette sighed, clearly understanding what Ryker was saying. " Time to decipher this. The first line seems obvious. The second - no idea - it might not mean anything." There weren't peaks in New Orleans but maybe the room had something to do with mountains or it could just be there to make the thing rhyme. "Now, the third line - the number of passageways where rats spend their days. - I'm going to assume "rats" means my clan - the Nosfartu. The passageways would have to be the underground sewers." Colette pulled out her cell and typed in a few things. "Now, do we think they mean the passageways just under the city or including the ones that go out from there?" The ones under the city were a few hundred but the ones who went further out must number in the thousands.

Ryker didn't have the answers but closed his eyes to think. After a quiet moment Ryker signed, "Do many of those paths have maintenance areas? Places they store things." he knew a few substations and areas where controls for water flow existed in the larger run off areas but wouldn't call those 'offices' but the Malkavians had a hard on for messing with people. To often by means of a thesaurus. That is assuming 'rats' wasn't being used in the old gangster sense and they didn't mean traitors or enemies.

"A few have storage areas, " She glanced down at her cell. "There are about 10 storage areas and about 300 different passageways in the sewers under the city." Colette paused in thought for a moment. "However, the Nos that live under the city only might use two or three storage areas, they tend to not have a lot of things."

Colette seemed to be texting someone. "The underground Nos are using rooms 11 and 12 for their stuff. that would be 300 - 3 or 4? Which comes to 207 or 206? But the rooms on this floor are all 300 something." She seemed more like she was thinking out loud but then shook her head, "I don't know. Maybe, I'm missing something."

Colette continued to go over and over the clue in her mind, then it struck her, maybe the office number was in reference to the offices the Nos rented out under Gorromah. She went back to her phone typing out a few more things, it might help to not guess the number of sewer tunnels. More like 450 tunnels. Now which office - calculating - the main office minus eight left her with room 358 or 359, as the main room was two rooms opened into one large one. She walked down to the other end of the hall, frst trying room 358. It didn't open but 359 did. Not intentionally ignoring the other two with her but in a zone of her own thoughts Colette turned the handle to the door.

Upon opening the door, it was clear by the large oblong table in the center, the few now damaged desk chairs on wheels, and the chalkboard that still took over one wall that this had once been a conference room. In the middle of the room lay an envelope. Colette began to move towards it but was struck but the overwhelming feeling that something wasn't right, she took one more step and a slight jolt of magic went through her as if a warning. "It's warded." The Nos turned to Dominic, "I believe this is your department."

Dominic raised his eyebrows at the scene and sighed as he was earning his pay today for sure. Dominic then put his bag down and spoke softly, "Please stand back Ms. Colette. I will need some room to do this the right way. He pulled out a matchbox and shook it gently before himself. Suddenly a loud screeching bug in the box began making a horrible creepy screech and hissing sound as it was disturbed from its sleep. Suddenly the wards in the room began to glow and hover in the air as the magical symbols were now lit up and easy to see. Dominic looked at the symbols and then pulled out a book from his back and flipped through the pages till he found a match. This took a few minutes as Dominic read the pages and then sighed. He spoke up as he put the book on the floor and began to dig in his bag, "There is something very wrong with the person who did this magic. Had you touched that envelope.....your blood would have boiled and popped till the blisters destroyed your body. Tis a good thing no one came here before us. I can only imagine the trouble the Prince would have if the humans came here first." Then Dominic went to work unraveling all the wards and traps made with dark magic. Upon seeing the lit-up patterns and symbols it resembled a pair of wired earbuds for a phone that were all knotted up. Dominic was very calm and patient as he undid each tangle before he dispelled the link one at a time.

Ryker "Sounds like something a Doktor would come up with." he signed the spelling Doktor rather than signing the word for doctor to show them who he meant.

"Well, we are dealing with the Sabbat. There is little difference." Colette replied. Yes, there was something wrong with them and the Tmizice could have once been the kind of Doktor Ryker was referring to.

Once it was safe Colette took the envelope and looked inside, she first pulled a key out. This time the clue was written on a piece of paper, in English. Colette looked in the envelope again but there really wasn't anything else in there. "It just says Room 524. Remember the last clue." Colette paused. "I don't like this, it seems too easy."

"Occam's Razor" Ryker signed. Noting it was likely too easy as well but also saying overthinking the situation might lead to the fundamentally worse outcome, not knowing how much time wasn't on their side in relation to the possible danger Aura could be in. "Should we inform the others and move to recover the girl?" he asked

"I don't think Aurora is in that room, as no one is here. It'll probably give us a clue to where they took her next. " Collette sighed. "The problem is we really need to get one step ahead of them or we're likely going to just go from clue to clue."

Collette spoke into the walkie-talkie, that they were headed to the fifth floor. It was time to check out the next room.

The fifth floor was done the same as the other. Check for traps magical and mundane first, there weren't any.

Then to room 524. No traps to open the room. The fifth floor started the hotel rooms and that's what this was.

Pretty standard, the frame of a bed lay in the middle but other than that most of the furniture had been taken out.

The light blue paint on the walls was old and chipping. On one of the walls, in red spray paint was the clue.

"Remember the Greek
Across the view
You're looking at the next stop."

Collette could figure, the view had something to do with what could be seen from the windows.

From the windows, a Riverwalk, the river, boats, - then her brown eyes caught a glance of the two towers - peaks?

"The abandoned hospital. You can see the peaks of the abandoned hospital." Collette exclaimed. "We need to go there next. Let's get back to Jai and let him know. We should have enough time to check it out before sunrise." She hoped.

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