Last night I ran Promethean, as I'm wont to do.
The characters, recall, had gone back to Enoch's place to do a little research. Enoch put the ciphered pages they found up on the wall to try and figure them out. Avalon, meanwhile, made some art (wrapping Fluffy in plastic wrap and doing some sponge/splatter painting; she's trying new methods), and Feather went out and got pizza.
Enoch, in studying the cipher, realizes it's a book cipher - he needs the key book to solve it. It's not the journal that he nicked from Rivers' apartment (not enough pages), so the characters figure they might go back to said apartment and poking around. They also want to swing by the pharmacy and see if they can get a sense of who poisoned poor Charles.
They head back to the apartment, and realize the door is unlocked. Grimm uses Piercing Sight and looks through the wall - three men. One, a very handsome, very well-dressed man, is sitting on the couch looking through a book. The other two, obviously well-trained and buff, are looking through the bookshelves, checking the door and the window every few seconds. The characters go downstairs to figure this out.
Avalon suggests she could go into the apartment and claim to be a neighbor checking on her elderly friend. Grimm disagrees, saying that these guys are trained and might see through this deception - they should take them down. This becomes an argument between Avalon, who is frustrated with Grimm's rush to violence, and Grimm, who is annoyed that Avalon doesn't appear to recognize the gravity of what's happening. Meanwhile, Enoch just walks in and claims to be a student of Charles (taking a Beat for his Refinement Condition). Matt and Avalon follow, while Grimm and Feather stay downstairs.
The leader introduces himself as Devon Parker, and when he learns Enoch is a student of Charles, reveals that he, too, is an alchemist (though he doesn't say the word). He claims that Charles was in the process of joining Devon's "social club," but as it's exclusive, they're here looking for the correspondence between him and Charles so they can get rid of it so it doesn't get out to the general populace. Devon seems intrigued by both Avalon and Enoch, and hands Enoch a business card from a gold case, inviting him to dinner. Matt notices that Devon wears a gold ring with a scales etched onto it. Avalon, meanwhile, checks the room to see if any books are missing, but fails the roll to figure that out and takes the Beat for a dramatic failure, and is thus convinced that these guys stole some books.
Downstairs, Grimm vents to Feather and indicates his plan to go off to the pharmacy alone. Feather tells him to wait, and they check outside - sure enough, a third dude is watching the building from a car. Grimm sits down to cool off, and Feather makes a milestone (talk someone down from a rash or violent act). Presently, the others come downstairs (and Grimm and Feather hides as Devon and company leave).
The characters go upstairs and start searching for a book that would work as the cipher. They don't find it, and Avalon is of the opinion that Parker's people have it. They go downstairs a while later, as the sun is setting, and a young man with a soft black jacket and pale skin passes them. Grimm knows a vampire when he sees one, and Enoch notes that he doesn't leave a handprint on the glass door - he doesn't sweat. Does a vampire "live" here? They see him go upstairs, but don't follow.
They head downstairs to look for a storage unit, and find one. Opening it up, they find a footlocker with a bunch of shabby, but folded, clothes, and boxes of knickknacks from across the country. Enoch, remembering the journal he found, realizes that these things were all from Charles' Ramble, the souvenirs of his Pilgrimage. In the piano, they find a number that seemed to be an SSN, but not other referent.
They head down the street to the pharmacy. The pharmacy is family owned, not a chain, and the pharmacist is very old. They tell him of the death of Charles Rivers, and show him the inhaler - he confirms that Rivers got it here. Avalon glances around using Identification, looking for mercury cyanide, but doesn't see any (though she can't see far back into the guy's workshop). They chat a bit, and learn that Charles has been a customer for nearly 20 years, but only once came into the shop with someone else, a young woman named Carla. The pharmacist also mentions the tattoo on Charles' hand; they got into a discussion about it (the pharmacist is Jewish, and assumed Rivers was, too, and there's that whole prohibition against marking your flesh). But as Charles explained it, if he ever vanished or died, he wanted that to be the end of it. The pharmacist also gives them the number that Charles had listed as an emergency contact - but there is no name with it.
The characters leave and head back to Enoch's apartment, and discuss things a bit. Grimm wonders, again, if Charles might have killed himself, but Enoch says that if he wanted to die, he was capable of much less painful poisons. They talked about Rivers' apparent request for closure, but they'd pretty much already violated that. Avalon does a little hacking, and isn't able to match the SSN with anyone who's died or is receiving death benefits. She also finds that the phone number is an internal phone number for a company called ChiTech, but the company doesn't seem to have much real presence - no web site, no records online. Might be a shell.
The characters figure they have three main avenues of exploration, here: Devon Parker, the SSN, and ChiTech. We shall see what happens next time.