Veronica and her Brownie went to a coffee house called the Prancing Pony that was run by a pooka (a type of changeling). They had coffee and discussed changelings in general and the Brownie in particular. Veronica needs changeling assistance to complete a mission for her new mentor. She brought up her needs with the Brownie, but he is not a member of the nobility so he could not help her. He did, however, promise to mention her name to those with more authority. She was soon contacted by Deirdre, a member of the Sidhe court who wanted to meet.
The party met with the pretty blond human seeming woman in a parking lot of her choice and the group went to lunch at one of Alex’s hotels. She explained that one of the court’s most important members, the Winter Queen, had suddenly gone missing. In the human world she goes by the name Amanda Winter and the court was willing to trade the information Veronica needed to the party if they would return Amanda to her rightful place before an important ceremony she was to officiate at.
The party starts their search by having Deirdre take them to Amanda’s rooms in the court, a place bizarre even by the standards of people used to living in a chantry. They entered the castle and traveled to Amanda’s rooms, which seemed to be a winter glade. After finding little there that caught their interest, they had Deirdre take them to Amanda’s real world apartment.
The white and winter theme continued, but in the real world Amanda had a place for everything, and almost everything was in its place. The party got the feeling that Amanda was not a naturally organized person, so the real world demands of the accounting job that gave her access to most of her most beloved artists were hard for her to sustain.
While Monty and Veronica searched the rooms for clues, Alex used time magic to watch Amanda’s last evening here. She went through her normal routine, and went to bed with her favorite CD, a gift from one of her artists, playing. Once she was asleep, a trio of mages stepped out of the Umbra where they had been hiding, captured her quickly, then stepped back beyond the gauntlet. Alex tracked the female leader of the trio to a building in Chinatown. The sign on the building proclaimed it the “Red Lotus”.
The party traveled to Chinatown to investigate further. They found an old woman in the apartment complex near the Lotus who was willing to talk about the place, but she really didn’t know much about what went on in the building, only that men came and went at all hours. She said “If there was more than one woman there, I would think it was a brothel.” Alex also asked a rat spirit for information. The creature looked like some nightmare version of a rat, warped by dark energies in the area. It was huge and had glowing red eyes. Despite that it was fairly chatty, expounding at length about the deliciousness of the meat the inhabitants of the Lotus were constantly disposing of, it didn’t have much real information to offer. It was afraid to go inside the place.
The party decided that they really had very little choice in the matter, walked up to the large red double doors and went inside. The main hall was cross shaped and painted with murals in a vaguely Tibetan style. Three deities dominated the murals, and three of the four downstairs rooms were dedicated to those deities. Closest to the nonfunctioning elevator were the kitchen (fully stocked with dismembered human body parts) and the brothel/ bondage hall of the goddess of lust and filth. Across from each other by the stairs were the bloody altar in war’s room and the torture chamber devoted to the god of plague.
The second floor was divided into slum apartments, and looked as if somewhere between twenty and forty people slept there regularly. All of the rooms were empty except for personal effects. There was one office that didn’t seem to be attached to the mass sleeping rooms. In the filing cabinets here the party found wallets, IDs and personal effects for a large number of people. From the state of the clothes and personal effects, they deduced that many of these men had been homeless before they wandered through the doors of the Red Lotus. Their bodies were probably in pieces in the kitchens below.
The third floor consisted of two rooms only: an antechamber with a large rug on the floor and a larger room beyond an intricately carved pair of double doors. Three people waited beyond those double doors, each dressed as one of the deities from the first floor. Verbal and physical sparring began, with the dainty Asian woman taking the face role for the Red Lotus tribe and Alex doing the same for the party. The lying and the fighting temporarily stalemated, and Alex managed to convince the woman that he was willing to let her seduce him. The two went out to his car where he worked a surprising bit of Spirit magic, wrapping a bit of the gauntlet around the car and turning it into a prison for bodies and souls.
The entire Red Lotus building vanished as the gauntlet twisted. The two men managed to escape in the chaos while Monty and Veronica barely managed not to be injured by their three story fall. Alex remained trapped in the Umbra, lacking the strength of will necessary to risk attempting to rejoin his friends. Monty and Veronica called the chantry and a tow truck, specifically one that would not require them to open the car up in any way.