Beneath the city that never sleeps an eye opens.
Lambach temporarily established himself in Los Angeles after acquiring the Eye of Hazimel and leaving Tara's San Diego domain in ruin. An unfinished yet abandoned school made a serviceable haven for Lambach and his horde. Soon after sundown that horde made another of its nightly excursions.
Outside a 24-hour convenience store, a number of Lambach's new recruits pressed their faces to the glass to witness his work inside.
Peering through the window, Gage saw the front door open and observed two cops enter the store. "We must help our sire," he squealed. Before he could move to offer assistance, Lambach sent the first cop's head and torso flying along divergent paths.
Dane, Gage's elder by 48 hours, shouted, "The Master is invincible!" Lambach's kin released a unified roar.
The second cop drew his weapon but was unable to fire it before Lambach crushed him with a frozen-dessert machine. Shaking off the distraction, Lambach returned to the two store clerks feeding at his arm, simultaneously undergoing their Embrace.
"That makes six recruits just tonight," Gage said.
Lambach casually exited with his new troops, ignoring the red light on the security camera above the door. The security video had undoubtedly recorded at least part of the action, and Lambach's disfigured face was sure to be prominently displayed.
* * *
Hesha's ability to peer through the Eye continued to improve up until the moment he saw Lambach install the orb. Thereafter, his actual sight ceased completely. Fortunately, Hesha's gem continued to function by pointing out the direction of the Eye. It would have been easy to be distracted by the Lambach menace, but Hesha remained focused on a greater peril.
Hesha had previously felt the tug of the Eye upon his will but believed that the orb had no inherent desires of its own. His experiments confirmed his intuition. Since Hesha had first attuned himself to the Eye, however, he had felt the presence of someone or something watching along with him as he peered through the thing.
He cautiously sought the source of the energy behind the Eye. Probing with his mind while burning mugwort, he observed emerging patterns in the smoke as they solidified and dispersed in curious relation to his mental prodding. Hesha was not surprised to determine that New York might be the source of the Eye's power. The recent conflicting signals from the Middle East were unexpected, however, and not easily assimilated into his theories.
* * *
Moving through the Hamidia bazaar, Sascha Vykos reflected on how little things had changed over the centuries. The shopkeepers and their goods seemed mere reenactments of scenes from her earliest memories of the place. Advancing along the wide main thoroughfare, she turned right and continued down one of the myriad narrow alleyways. Vykos proceeded past a closed copper shop and up the stairs to the appointed place. The door, slightly ajar, was intricately carved and set with various mother-of-pearl patterns.
"Hello Hazimel," Vykos said as she entered the shop. He was clothed in Bedouin garb and seated at a low table studying the detail in a brass chess piece belonging to a nearby hand-made board.
"My lady," Hazimel replied, briefly raising an eye to take in the sight. "You are even more lovely than I remembered." He returned to studying a knight while Vykos found a seat. "For some time I have wanted to meet with you again, and there may be no future opportunity."
Vykos ignored the compliment but pondered briefly the comment concerning future opportunities. "You said you had a message for me, what is it?"
Hazimel turned toward her, shifting his face from out of the shadows and into a patch of light. His left eye socket was empty and dark. "These many years in torpor I have observed the machinations of our kine through my Eye. Though it served me well, I know that I was not the lone voyeur."
"Do you know the identity of your fellow spectator?" asked Vykos.
"I do. However, there is more to it than merely spectating-the watcher has considerable power. After a time our roles reversed, and my preeminence was usurped. Several weeks ago my ability to see through the Eye was shut out completely. My final sight was accompanied by a rush of energy that flowed to the bearer of the Eye. The identity of the observer then became clear to me. The power your clan believes it destroyed still persists."
Vykos knew what he was implying. She juggled the possibilities, all of them bad, in her head. "Who now bears your Eye?" she asked.
"One of your kin, Lambach, has possession of the bauble. I still sense his movements and know that his actions are not his own. Lambach now exists only as a thrall to it." Hazimel read Vykos's grim look and found pleasure that he had brought the Fiend as close to fear as she might ever feel. "I survived my Week of Nightmares. How will you fare with your own?"
"Go to Hell!" she barked.
* * *
Lucinde Alastor's visit was hastily planned, but she had little choice but to agree to meet with the Brujah Justicar, Jaroslav Pascek. Recent events demanded more of their personal attention and a coordinated effort.
"We've leaned heavily on our resources within the police force, and we were able to have the security video conveniently misplaced," said Lucinde. "This would have been more difficult if they had realized they were helping cover for a cop-killer. We also found the missing city bus and sent it into a ditch in the suburbs."
"And the bodies?" asked Jaroslav.
"Even without an autopsy it would be obvious the crash didn't kill the passengers. We removed some of them and burned the bus to be safe. The bus driver was missing, so he'll probably take the fall." Lucinde, changing the subject to ask, "How is Tara faring in San Diego?"
"She's feeling pretty vulnerable not knowing how the Elysium ambush came about. She managed to keep the media out of the whole situation somehow, though. We might not be so lucky next time."
"Is it true that your people cleaned up a mess at a hospital where Lambach and his shovel-heads juiced the night staff before leaving town?" Lucinde inquired.
"Yes. That," said Jaroslav, curious as to how Lucinde acquired the information. "Unfortunately, we had too little time to clean this one up and could only scrawl satanic graffiti all over the walls. We're still working on it."
Lucinde broke a building silence, "You know we can't continue this way. We are no longer just putting out fires, we're trying to extinguish an inferno. We must suffocate the source."
"Agreed," offered Jaroslav. "However, Lambach will not be put down easily, and I am not willing to bear the brunt of a sacrifice of so many of my troops."
Lucinde replied, "Neither am I. However, that beast Xaviar would have no such reservations, especially if Lambach does indeed possess the Eye. And even if we were to offer our support, he would decline it, preferring not to fight side-by-side with us." Lucinde called out for and was attended to by a messenger. She composed a letter that both justicars signed.
During the month of September, results of select Vampire: The Eternal Struggle tournaments from around the world will create the next chapter of this story. With Lambach intent on raising up his own legion of loyal Tzimisce, you have a voice in his rise to power and in the efforts of those who wish to stop him.
To coordinate a storyline event with a retailer in your area, take the order form to your local retailer so that the retailer can place a special order for the storyline support packages.
Storyline events will be listed (and results tracked) at http://storyline.vekn.org. When your retailer places the special order, send an email to Robert Goudie using the format described below, so that your event will be listed on the web page.
EMAIL TO: Robert Goudie
EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: LAMBACH'S LEGION
(Use that subject line exactly with no modifications or additions, to ensure that your email is routed properly)
In the body or the message (not as an attachment), copy the following lines and append the appropriate information:
The Special Promotional Cards
Each player attending a designated story line tournament will receive a special promo-only card of an Advanced Lambach -- one of two cards created just for this event. In addition, new players (players who are not current Vampire: Elder Kindred Network members) and current V:EKN members who bring new players as their guests, will each receive a copy of the Legion promo-only card. The Advanced Lambach promo-only card will remain in tight circulation for at least one year before being released into general support packages. The Legion promo-only card will be released into the standard support packages at the conclusion of these story line events.
Each player is to prepare a standard constructed tournament-legal deck. At least 75% of the crypt must consist of one clan. Players will have an opportunity to add one Advanced Lambach card to their decks before play begins. Only one Advanced Lambach card may be included in each deck. Players who play the Tzimisce clan and include Lambach (advanced or otherwise) in their crypts will be considered to be playing for Lambach's Legion. Tzimisce players without Lambach in their crypts will be considered to be playing for the standard Tzimisce clan. For the purposes of our tally of the winning clans, these two Tzimisce factions will be considered separate clans.
We will compile the list of winning clans as well as the number of new players registered in each region (US) or country. As the reward for the region that adds the most new players to Lambach's Legion, we will create a region-specific card in an upcoming expansion. The clan that wins the most events will also receive a special card in a future expansion.