A Fateful Voyage
June 11 – August 1, AD 1071
The first leg of the Plutonova Exo’s journey proceeded smoothly, stopping off at the Isle of Pisa and then the city of Messina in Sicily, which proved quite a lucrative stop despite the fact that the city was still in shambles after being torn from Saracen hands by Byzantium. After leaving Messina however, a dark pall of madness quickly enshrouded the ship. Crewman who the night before had been stalwart of mind and spirit suddenly suffered delusions and paranoia, the captain fell into a nearly catatonic melancholia, and rumors of a blood-drinking, malignant spirit spread through the galley like Greek fire.
The terror peaked three nights after the ship’s haunting began when, unbeknownst to the Cainite passengers, the ship’s cook, Luka, fed stale bread infected with ergot fungus to the crew. At the terrible urgings of St. Anthony ’s fire, his shipmates jerked and howled in agony like marionettes animated by a palsied puppet master. Amidst the desperation and madness of his captive audience, Luka pronounced himself a prophet of St. Michael the Archangel. He’d been sent a vision to prepare his ‘flock’ for the Lord’s judgment.
As the grim possibility of being lost at sea grew, Rodrigo, Geneviève, and Gaurin, who had lain low up until this point, were forced to take the matter in hand. As the three Cainites moved through the dimly lit, swaying decks, and saw the carnage wrought by Luka’s madness, the prospect of reaching Zara appeared doubtful. At least half the crew had succumbed to the fungus and another quarter remained enslaved to all manner of perverse delusions. Desperate to regain control, the trio defeated the mad cook and sought out the galley’s captain who’d confined himself to his quarters.
It was upon reaching the captain that it became clear another passenger was aboard the Plutonova Exo. The captain was not alone in his cabin. He’d been fed on by an invisible entity that fled the room as Geneviève entered. The coterie tracked the specter to the cargo hold of the ship and discovered it to be a swarthy skinned Malkavian who identified himself as Gari.
According to the stowaway, he’d stolen passage on the galley in Messina, and had been unaware other Cainites were aboard the vessel. Apparently, he was either unaware that his feeding entailed such dire side effects or was surprised by the crew’s susceptibility to it. Neither party desired further conflict so the four Cainites came to an agreement that would ensure the safety and security of all involved. Gari ghouled the remnants of the crew, including the captain, to increase their efficiency and prevent another incident. In exchange, Gari agreed to provide Gaurin, Geneviève, and Rodrigo safe passage to Zara.