Sarah and Picasso make the short trip to New Orleans to speak with Clio in person. They discover that the dark spirit encountered in the basement is a Bird of Dis. Clio only knows this because another of her kind, Monique Kim, had visited the Ordo’s chapter house in both St. Louis and New Orleans looking for information on them.
Since it seems that Monique most resembles an expert on the Birds of Dis and the only viable source of information, the characters decide to pay her a visit. The address Clio provides is in Urbana, IL, a strip club. Road Trip!
Unfortunately, Mason seems to be M.I.A., that is Missing by way of Internal Affairs.
The characters drive. Once they see the city in the distance, perhaps only a mile outside of town, it hits them. Champaign/Urbana radiating an aura of death stronger and unlike anything they have experienced before. Driving into town they notice easily three or four times the normal number of the restless dead as normal. Almost everywhere they look, the stains of violent death, deprivation, and sheer un-luck permeate the landscape.
Pulling into the parking lot of the strip club, Picasso sets up his boneyard and locates who he believes is Monique, in a cellar basement under the club. He also locates a feral looking vampire approaching the basement, ripping the steel door off its hinges, and getting gunned down by two apparent bodyguards.
Watching the guards put the body in the trunk and return to the basement, Sarah in a usual moment of forthright impulsiveness goes into the basement and knocks on the inner steel door.
After a tense few moments, the characters are invited in and talk with Monique. She tells them she has been searching for information on the Birds of Dis because they are associated with how she became kindred. She wasn’t created by a vampire as usual by somehow by one of these things. She says that if they help her by providing her with information on three of the city’s supernatural inhabitants she will tell them everything she knows about the birds and give them access to what may be the largest occult library in the United States.
Adding to the weirdness, the characters see what seems to all appearances to be Monique’s ghost hiding in the corner of the basement. The ghost jumps anchors and leaves before any interaction is had. Believing they can help, Monique confides that she has been experiencing missing time for a couple of years now.
After a long day of driving and a tense meeting with Monique, the party heads off to find a hotel room.