The Road

[V.O. Alastor] 4

How the hell am I supposed to take on the whole New York Giovanni family alone? Sounds fuckin impossible if you ask me. ONE damn vampire almost killed me. But apparently something up there thinks I can do it. Maybe if I study Space with Caesar for a while, I can pick them off at a distance. Fuck, I should stop using phrases like that. Distance is an illusion, etc.

I guess what the daimon was getting at was, the family’s a distraction. Standing between me and enlightenment. First the Mensarius and now my own “higher self,” huh? Think somebody’s trying to tell me something? Cheese and fuckin crackers. But they’re not wrong, if today was any indication. Took me a whole hour just to get started meditating, couldn’t keep my mind off Luciano and all the rest. I’ll say this, though. If I do this, it’s gotta be fast. LA and Rome might steer clear if I do enough damage, but not if I take my fuckin time between hits. Gonna need a plan. And I’m sick of owing people so best if the plan involves nothing but me, magic and a couple of good weapons. I’m thinking ghouls are my ticket to success. Maybe I’ll start practicing telepathy more.

What the hell did he mean by “wake up” though? Can you be more awake than awake?

So I looked up “Asphodel.” It was from ancient Greek myth, the part of the underworld where people who were equal parts good and evil were supposed to go when they died, or people who were just nothing special. I must’ve read it somewhere once, maybe. Is it there because of me, or because of the sleepers that guy killed in there? What will be there when I get there? And what’s with that highway sign?

Nothin but more questions. I guess this is why they call them the Mysteries, huh?

[V.O. Alastor] 3

Rubrum. What a pretentious little prick. Good for something, though, and I don’t mean Skybox. He made me realize I’ve been so busy with everything else that I haven’t given any thought to my own ascension, my own path. Gotta work this shit out sometime, and like my Uncle Tony used to say, you put it off til tomorrow, you might as well be dead.

So I read up on ways to explore your Path and your awakening. Don’t think I’m ready yet to summon demons, seems like I oughta wait on that til I have some better questions…and more to offer in return for the answers. But there’s ways to get at the so-called “demons” in your soul, too, and I’d be willing to bet mine would have something to say. There’s this thing called a “daimon,” supposed to be like…your Oneiros counterpart, the guy that lives in your soul and judges you, forges your path through the Abyss when you wake up. If any part of me knows anything about the Iron Gauntlet it’s that guy. Think I’ll go meet him.

[V.O. Alastor] 2

Met some Spanish chick today over at the Mysterium. Thyrsus. Calls herself Artemis. Like the hunter goddess, you know. Now from what I read, Artemis was supposed to be a frigid bitch, but this chick is definitely not that. I ever need to research anything else, I know who I’m calling. Damn.

She could use somebody like me around anyway, she’s got a Seer who’s good with Mind after her and as far as I know her mental defenses are zip. She’s holed up in the Library for now, warded and all, but they can’t stay down there forever and I don’t think she’s got a cabal. Something I can use to get more help out of her, just gotta make sure somebody else don’t get there first.

[V.O. Alastor]
A "journal" of thoughts

The name’s Giovanni. Adrian Giovanni. You might’ve heard of the Giovanni crime family – yeah, that’s us.

These days, though, people call me Alastor. (Or “hey kid,” whatever.) I’m what they call a Warlock, on the Path of Scourging. A Mastigos. I dunno why they call us Warlocks, it sounds kind of stupid, but whatever floats their fuckin boats.

So what’s a Mastigos? My power comes from a Supernal Realm called Pandemonium. Yeah, that’s right, like where the devil lives. Only the devil is us. Warlocks. At first I didn’t get it. Why would awakening to a higher power mean drawing that power from Hell? What are we, the villains or something? Well, depends on how you look at it. Guys I’ve whacked, yeah, they probably thought I was a villain. But somebody’s gotta stand here in the darkness, push the Fallen World up from the gutter, and better me than a bunch of sleepers and legit guys like Caesar. I’m already a killer, already living the nightmare. I can handle it. They shouldn’t have to.

Learning magic ain’t always a walk in the park. Some things come easy – knowing where a mark is with my eyes closed, picking up on how people feel, knowing how a guy died. Could do that stuff from day one. Other things are harder. Like reading books for hours at a time, Jesus Christ. I got lucky in some ways, getting picked up by the Mensarius. He’s kind of a douche but he’s the kind of douche you don’t mind working for, cause he’s got a vision and he’s smart about it. But the reason I got lucky ain’t because he’s clever, practical and more megalomaniacal than any don I ever saw. It’s cause he teaches hands-on and doesn’t give a flying fuck about me writing any papers or nothin. Thank God.

Now when I say he’s hands-on what I really mean is he’s mind-on, I guess. He just gets into my head and walks me through it, no fuckin around with books. Then he asks me questions. If I get it, great. If I don’t, tough fuckin cookies, I gotta practice it later on my own. Took some getting used to, having him in my head like that. He always makes me try to resist him, too. Ain’t ever done it yet, but I think I’m getting closer. It feels a little bit like somebody’s pouring oil right in through my ear or something, and then his voice is there in my mind. Kind of like I’m being watched, but from inside myself. I know he can read what’s rattling around in there when he does it, so I’m learning to control what I think.

Then there’s Grim. Grimnir, I should say. The Mensarius is a master at Death, but he won’t teach it yet, figures Mind’s more important so he started there. So my buddy Grim’s been showing me the ropes instead. He says I got a knack for Death, real natural. Man was I shocked to hear that, let me tell you. It really shows you how fucked the Fallen World is, looking at everything through that lens. Shows you the nightmare up close and personal. Helps remind me why I do all this. Why I joined the Ladder. I figure if I get to know Death, I’ll understand better what my place is in this world, being a bringer of it. Like the Acanthus say, we’re all destined for something. So what does destiny want with a guy like me?


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