On the phone with Sam, Luke admitted that he had gone to speak to the Warden in defiance of Sam’s orders, but pointed out that he did so in order to try and solve the murder of Zhao Wong. He told Sam they needed a truce, and Sam agreed to consider it before insisting to talk to Zhishen. After giving his token condolences, Sam told Zhishen that Wong’s death changed everything for them, and they needed him to return to the Venatori Musuem as soon as possible. Luke agreed to come along too under truce, so they could work things out.
Not everyone was willing to give peace a chance, however. As soon as the they got off the phone, Luke and Zhishen noticed a huge flock of crows and ravens gathering around them, along with a build-up of Warden Draven’s magic. They hopped on the motorcyle and tried to flee, but it stalled, leaving Zhishen to ward off the crows with his new gun while Luke tried to get it to work. Eventually, they were able to speed away before Draven could catch up to them.
Before meeting with the Venatori Luke drove to Coronado Island to meet with Carmen at her family home, since she’d asked him to meet with her as soon as possible. Her house proved to be an enormous, elegant, Spanish style home decorated in a crimson and obsidian theme. An actual butler met Luke at the entrance, and tried to object to his carrying Holy Water into the house, but Luke shrugged him off and went in to meet Carmen. In the shady garden, Carmen welcomed Luke to her home and admitted she had a secret to tell him.
“I am the leader of the Red Court of Vampires in San Diego,” she said, almost apologetically. “My real name is Carmilla.”
“C-Carmilla?! Holy sh-”
“Oh! No. Not that Carmilla,” she explained. “I was just named after her.”
Carmen got to the point quickly enough. She knew Luke was involved in the Venatori, and she wanted, as his friend, to protect him from them… and also to use him as a spy against the Venatori, who are her greatest enemies in the city. Luke sidestepped that offer for the moment to ask a few questions of his own. Why did she have her cousin Victor try and kill them at the Paranet meeting if they’re really friends? Why let the meeting get attacked by her own allies (the Fomor)? If she’s a vampire why is she sitting out in broad daylight? Carmen explained that the Fomor have started acting against the Red Court, but she wants to avoid direct blood shed and is working to deal with them in a more subtle manner, hoping to use the Venatori to wipe them out and keep the Court out of it. Victor has gone rogue, possibly throwing in with the Fomor himself, and she very much plans on ‘disciplining’ him for his actions. And Carmen is only a half-vampire, remaining mortal by force of will as part of her duties as the “Pactmaster” of the Court, though she plans to turn vampire when she takes over the position of her father some day.
Questions set aside, Luke and Carmen argued about her motives and actions. Carmen refused to admit to doing anything especially evil, pointing out that she keeps her minions in line, avoids unnecessary killing, and has used the position of vampire lord to improve the lives of many people, such as her vampire butler Ricardo, who used to live on the street as a hopeless addict. She told him she could offer him the same: immortality, protection, power, and the strength he needed to stand on his own and do as he wished.
Luke turned her down, and returned to the museum.
At the Museum, Sam explained that the chapter needed a new Grandmaster… and that a magical ritual could be performed to grant Zhishen all of his father’s memories through the link in their blood. Zhishen agreed to the ritual and new position as Grandmaster, stating that he was going to make some changes around there, the first one being that Luke would be allowed to join without handing over his blood. Upon gaining Zhao’s memories, Zhishen learned quite a lot of important info, namely:
*Wong was responsible for the Warden’s current insanity, due to a curse he cast on him when the Warden was getting too close to investigating the Venatori.
*Wong had created a backup plan to ensure his research was completed: in one month, homunculi he had created and spread all over the city would activate, transforming the entire city into vampires if his research for a vampire cure was not created before then.
*Zhishen’s sister Chloe was needed for the research to be complete, along with as many vampire test subjects as could be found..
Luke and Zhishen resolved to search for Chloe, while Sam and Travis worked on capturing vampires.
The next day, Luke and Zhishen went to speak with Melanie, who begged them to rescue her fiance, being held prisoner by the Fomor.