The Adventures of the Denver Historical SocietyEdit
The Sequel Campaign to Eaters of the Dead.
This campaign borrowed heavily from John Connolly's novel The Killing Kindand to a lesser extent, bits of Silent Hill IV and Night Watch.
Denver, CO (VtR): The Vampire's Guide to Denver
Six months after the previous campaign...
- Four months ago, a pack of rogue werewolves, calling themselves Black Moon Extreme, claimed territory in Denver, scattering and breaking up the weaker packs. BMX didn’t respect the ‘quiet neighbourhood’ approach to Denver, and actively hunted vampires, in spite of the various treaties and arrangements that were in place. BMX’s presence also lead to the infiltration of other packs, eager to gain territory for themselves now that Denver had been declared a ‘battle zone’. This led to a street war between the invading Uratha and the Crusaders of the Living Testament (the military wing of the vampiric Church of the Holy Assumption and the Living Testament) that threated to escalate.
- The mysterious Mr Druitt & Associates Trust wrote to a Mr Roman (allegedly responsible for the werewolf faction in Denver), but Mr Roman either refused or had difficulty reigning in the ‘rogue elements’. As a result, Mr Druitt & Associates withdrew their patronage (and whatever other favours they bestowed) until Mr Roman could get the situation in hand.
- This lead to a certain amount of tension between the vampiric and werewolf factions in Denver. The Crusaders took ‘emergency control’ tried to get the situation under control as quickly as possible, but there were rumours of other parties exacerbating the situation.
- As the Denver political crisis deepened, strange events started to occur, as though something were stirring beneath the city itself.
The Denver Historical SocietyEdit
The Denver Historical Society is an odd, eclectic group, protected by the patronage of Mr Mercier, who is a member of the Mr Denver & Associates Trust and who also has some sort of ties to the Esoteric Order of the Illuminated Dragon. According to the records, the Society was founded by Mr Mercier and a Mr Castle in 1912.
Mr Castle appears to have left the society in 1945 (a copy of his resignation letter is in the library vaults). The Society remains strictly neutral in Kindred affairs, and any issues are settled with the individual involved rather than the society as a whole. There are clauses in the Trust’s lawbooks that given special dispensation for the Society, providing it manages its own affairs discretely. The Society allows non-Kindred membership, however all members must swear to an oath of loyalty and once sworn, it cannot be revoked. Mr Mercier runs the Society as a private organisation, allowing interested individuals of whatever background to join provided they complete a historical thesis or perform a suitable service for the society. There's large parts of the Society House that appear to be locked off and no one can enter them. All that Mr Mercier says is: "Those are Mr Castle's rooms, and one can only enter them on his wishes."
- Miss Grace Yee, a historical student.
- Mr Douglass Halvard (big, brawny fellow with lots of shaggy hair), currently researching sites of 'urban interests'.
- Mr Benjamin Rath, (a Kindred, Estoteric Order of the Illuminated Dragon - more loyal to the Society because of the subtle racism of the vampiric elders of Denver - "You're a capable man, Mr Rath, for a Negro..."), researching 'Wyrm's Nests and occult behaviour'.
- Miss Kat Fairbanks - recently joined after submitting a thesis on 'Masonic Influence in Denver's Architecture'.
- Mr Gerard Sandbourne - spends a lot of time trying to get into the rooms locked by Mr Castle, but no avail. Is still allowed to study these. Researches the impact of Mr Castle upon Denver.
- Mr Merryweather (old man, occasionally speaks in tongues. Gives out the odd prophetic statement after a few glasses of wine).
- Mr Hubert Buck, a vampire. (Mekhet, Ordo Dracul (Esoteric Order of the Illuminated Dragon))
- Mr Lionel Butterworth, a vampire. (Ventrue, Invictus)
- Miss Emma Cook, a mage. (Moros, Apostate)
- Miss Sue Franklin, mage. (Irraka, Iron Master)
- Mr Ulysses Jones, a mage. (Mastigos, Adamantine Arrows)
The last thing Hubert remembered was being torn apart by a werewolf. He awoke six months later, starved of blood, having been fished out of a crate at the bottom of the Cherry Tree River by one of Mr Druitt’s lackeys. Hubert had no idea how he’d gotten there. The Trust was not impressed with Hubert, but Mr Mercier of the Denver Historical Society arranged for clemency on Hubert’s behalf. Things weren’t going too well for Hubert these days – the enforced torpor had disturbed his mind and Hubert could still hear Sean’s mocking laughter and the sound of the morgue door locking shut each night when he rested. In addition, his apartment had been burned down and his ghoul Lilah had gone missing. To make matters worse, Hubert had lost all of his hunting rights, until could prove himself to the Trust. This meant living off animal packing plant blood. This was a long way down for Hubert who could clearly remember the rich, heroin-hit taste of werewolf blood. Mr Mercier, extending his patronage to Hubert, asked the young Mekhet to assist in the historical education of a vampire who’d just come out of torpor, who last memories were of 1905. He also quietly warned Hubert that the Society’s interests would take precedence over what the Trust should offer.
Mr Butterworth’s IntroductionEdit
Mr Butterworth, who would have a hereditary seat on the Primogen Council when Lord Butterworth Senior retired, had been asked by the Primogen Council to deal with the ‘werewolf situation’, perhaps using Hubert as a resource, and wasn’t sure where to start. Mr Butterworth was part of a three-hundred year old cyclical dynasty, and had just emerged from a one hundred year torpor.
- Emma Cook, was a historian studying at the Aurarie Higher Education Centre, was an Australian visiting Denver. She ignored the problems of the recent recession and racial tensions, ensconced as she was in academia.
- One of Emma’s friends, Grace Yee, had recently gone missing. Grace had been working on a thesis about Colorado’s historical fringe religions but her thesis wasn’t for Aurarie, but for some private organisation called the Denver Historical Society. Six months ago, one of the key ‘lost’ religious cults that Grace was basing her thesis on were found, dug up in a corpse pit. Grace told Emma that this news was just the ‘missing link’ she needed.
- One night, Grace rang Emma from her apartment and said that she’d had completed the thesis and was going to get Emma to read it. That was the last time anyone heard from Grace. That was over two weeks ago. Worried, Emma used her key to Grace’s apartment to search for clues, and found all sorts of strange things. A pentacle amulet, a ritual dagger made of bone, stuff written about the Dark Messiah Longinus. Was Grace secretly a Satanist?
Sue Franklin, an Iron Master Irraka werewolf, had been asked by Max Roman to infiltrate the Historical Society, a group of vampires and other weird things who share a love of Denver’s history. But is that really all they did? Max also believed that the recent vampire/werewolf fights were caused by something called a Bale Hound, a corrupted werewolf. Max thought that Sue might be able to find out something about the Bale Hound using the Society’s resources. And perhaps something about the spirit that corrupted the Bale Hound in the first place.
Ulysses had been sent to the Society by his Sensei. “Service is Mastery,” Sensei had said, suggesting that Ulysses find what ideal or premise about the Society was worthy of his service, and in doing so, find greater knowledge about himself. When Ulysses arrived, he found that his presence was expected. The Society’s previous Gatekeeper had been Grace Yee, a necromancer on the Path of the Lead Coin. And now she was dead, and Ulysses had the job. Mr Mercier seemed surprised that Ulysses was a warrior and not a scholar, but suggested that Ulysses’s presence might be symbolic of the troubled times facing Denver, what with all the race riots, recession and car-bombings going on these days. When Ulysses joined the Society, Mr Mercier asked if he could open a door in the lower levels, but he could not. Mr Mercier said the door was waiting for Mr Castle’s heir to open it.
Emma kept getting strange, disturbing calls from a person with a deep voice using random telephone boxes around Denver. The person wanted Grace’s thesis, and believed that Emma really had it. The voice said that unless she turned the thesis over, Emma had only a few days left to live. Emma had also found herself followed by a dark-haired woman wearing sunglasses a few times. Was it paranoia or something else? Emma went back to Grace’s flat again to continue the search
Emma was disturbed by some other people coming to Grace’s apartment to look for things. They were a group of strange people who addressed each other formally: an aristocratic man called Mr Butterworth, a disturbed-seeming man called Mr Hubert Buck, an athletic young man – Mr Ulysses Jones - that Grace vaguely recognised as being one of Aurarie’s martial arts champions and who was also completing a degree in sports medicine, and a short, blonde woman Miss Susan Franklin. After talking with the strangers, they claimed to be from the Denver Historical Society and they were also investigating Grace’s disappearance.
After a suspicious conversation (why would historians be visiting Grace’s flat in the middle of the night? Emma was only there herself because she couldn’t get any sleep) Emma agreed to accompany the strange group back to the Denver Historical Society. It was an esoteric organisation – busy with scholars despite the late hour and everyone observing a level of extreme formality that could surely only be seen inside Victorian re-enactment groups. Emma was introduced to the Custodian of the Society, Mr Mercier who mentioned that Grace was a dear friend of his and he was determined to find out what went wrong.
Ulysses, whom Mr Mercier called the Society’s ‘Gatekeeper’, took Emma downstairs down a twisting, spiral staircase that it was longer than it had any geometric right to be. Ulysses showed Emma closed set of double doors and then asked her to see if she could open it. Emma tried, and the door opened. Inside was a library room with another set of double doors on the far side. She couldn’t open these. Instead, on a card table near the door was a letter addressed to her. Ulysses was looking around the room as if he’d never been in here before. Emma read the letter. It was from a man called ‘Mr Castle’ and he was writing the letter in 1945, but somehow he was able to predict Emma’s questions and reply to them within the scope of the letter. Emma read that Mr Castle had been ‘expected her’ and that she was his heir and that she was now the ‘Master’ of the Denver Historical Society. The letter urged Emma to learn to ‘open her mind’ and that she would come into power soon, and that she had to be ready for what lay ahead. The letter implied that Emma and Mr Castle had known each other in a previous existence, where a ‘great wrong’ had been done by Emma, and this inheritance was a means of repentence. The letter explained how that Mr Castle, along with a group of the people had called something into existence to grant their wishes for power and immortality, but something had gone wrong. The letter stipulated that this summoning had been a ‘great wrong’, and what had been called should have not, but it was far too late to change things.
The letter finished when Emma had asked her questions, but she was more than confused than ever. She asked Ulysses what he thought about all this, but only got an esoteric response involving ‘higher planes of existence’ and ‘awakening’. The two returned upstairs, where Mr Mercier had glumly prepared some legal documents that transferred the ownership of the Society to Emma. Although the Society was paid up by something called the Mr Druitt & Associates Trust, Emma was free to do with the Society as she wished.
Emma decided to keep trying to find Grace – if only she had asked the letter when she was reading it!
The group went to the the Pickering Family Funeral Home on Hubert’s advice, to see if any of the Pickerings their could use their death powers to find out where Grace was (assuming that she was dead!). As the group were did so they were out-raced by a sleek red sports car indicated for them to pull over. When they’d stopped, out came a woman with slicked back hair and wearing an evening dress, flanked by a brawny male associate with a peroxide crew-cut and a double-breasted suit. Mr Butterworth could sense that she was a vampire, and found himself recoiling from her potent blood. The woman casually warned him: “You should be careful, Mr Butterworth. We're having problems with that part of town. That’s Dogtown.” The woman then turned and left in her sports car. Mr Butterworth explained to the rest of the group that that was ‘Kate’ of the Crusaders of the Church of the Holy Assumption. The vampire cops.
Meanwhile, as they travelled, Ulysses tried to persuade the group to adopt ‘secret’ names to use when dealing with each other, and everyone accept Mr Butterworth adopted a new alias.
When the group arrived at the funeral home, Hubert decided to stay inside the safety of Mr Butterworth’s SUV. The funeral home held too many bad memories for him. Mr Butterworth decided to stay inside the car as well. So Ulysses, Sue and Emma went inside. A cardboard sign in the window said: ‘Willard T Pickering, Proprietor. When Ulysses knocked on the door, a stout balding man answered – Mr Willard T Pickering himself. Ulysses asked about arranging a funeral for Grace. Willard appeared to be taking orders from a handsome blond man. Sue noticed some odd burn scars on his neck. This man introduced himself as Sandford Pickering. In the room there was a man working on a computer and a hugely muscled fellow that didn’t say anything. To Sue, they all smelled of ‘wolf’. Ulysses noticed something unusual about Sandford’s aura, like something pale caught up in there.
Sandford and Ulysses made arrangements for Grace’s funeral and Sandford offered to take care of any unusual problems that the Historical Society members may have run into. He said that Jessie had gone into the mountains to work with golden eagles and that he wasn’t sure where Sean was now. “We all have our own path to walk.” Ulysses bid farewell to the Pickerings and the group reconvened in the car.
Meanwhile, Grace’s body had been found in a car, pulled up on the side of the road. It looked like suicide, but there were a few funny things like a pack of cigarettes on the dashboard and that she had shot herself with her right hand when she was left handed. A Bible was on the car seat next to her but there was no sign of her thesis.
When Ulysses saw Grace’s body, he had a vision of her ghost appearing. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, before fading. Ulysses then felt this odd gateway opening up in his mind, sensing that he was now the guardian of that portal to a realm of knowledge, and that he would open for someone worthy. The problem was that when he informed the group of this who pestered him with their questions, he deemed none of them ‘worthy’.
Meanwhile Grace had a vision of an odd, dark-haired woman, who gave her some cryptic advice that Grace had trouble following: “I’m here to help. From point of view, this hasn't happened yet. You're filling in the gaps: “Just because something is supposed to happen doesn't mean that it well. Anything is possible. The more you close yourself off from possibility --- look at these people, they're asleep.”
The death threats against Emma continued – some unknown person kept calling her, demanding Grace’s thesis. But where was it? Sue worked out how to trigger Ulysses’s ‘gateway power’ and received a cryptic message of the thesis being a ‘shadow’. Eventually, Sue worked out to take Grace’s bone dagger into the Shadow Realm, where it became a book elegantly made from bone. Hubert used his link with the Pathfinder of the Hidden Ways to communicate with the book’s spirit; it kept saying things like: “I am the end of all things!” and “The end will come!”
Meanwhile, Mr Butterworth met with Max Roman’s pack to discuss the breakdown in the vampire/werewolf non-aggression treaty. Max explained that he didn’t control his people the way Mr Druitt did his, but after some hostile negotiations, Mr Butterworth received the right to hunt down BMX and hand them over to Max Roman – if they survived. Max warned the Mr Butterworth that the Crusaders weren’t to attack any werewolf that wasn’t BMX.
Emma waited nervously in her hidden library – surely she’d be safe here. She felt her head start to ache. Ulysses looked inside her mind with his life magic, and discovered that there was a tiny, spidery parasite slowly eating away at Emma’s brain. Ulysses killed it with a ritual spell, but it was too late. Emma suddenly collapsed. Ulysses knew that only his Sensei had a chance of saving her. He borrowed Mr Butterworth's sports car and drove frantically to the mountain health spa. Emma woke up to find herself lying in a picturesque Japanese garden. She went and found a dojo were young children were sparring. An old man nearby explained that the raw stuff of her brain wasn’t yet healed and would have to be continually maintained by ‘treatments’. ‘In the old days of magic, such things were possible, but this is a different age,” he said.
They drove back in the car, Ulysses speeding all the way...
Meanwhile, driving back there was an accident. Ulysses was going too fast and slammed into a truck. Emma’s last memories were off horrific crunching sounds. The next thing she knew she was outside the Denver Historical Society building, and could hear the others talking inside. She went in and discovered that Ulysses was strapped up and they were talking about her funeral arrangements. She was dead! And no one could hear her! And they were giving her a cheap funeral in a budget pine box! After a while, Emma discovered she could manipulate things with her ghostly powers, and sent accusing messages to people. Hubert was able to ‘channel’ Emma’s ghost with a ouja board. Emma found herself locked into a spiral of hate. Only by forgiving Ulysses was she able to ‘let go’. When she did, she saw stairs leading down. She took them, and found herself in a realm of rough clay filled of rusted buildings, bodies, cars and shapes all slowly melting down into the rough clay. After wandering around for some time, Emma discovered she could shape things with the clay. She managed to build a rough tower out of clay, bone and other bits and climbed up back through the roof of the clay realm into the light.
The next thing Emma knew was that she was outside the Denver Historical Society again. Again? Unnerved she droved home and phoned her mother. Everything appeared to be all right. Phew. Emma drove back to the Society again, where she was confused – she discovered that had been no accident. So what had happened? She also discovered that she could see the molecular shapes of objects and was able to mold the solid wooden table like putty. Skipping past any existential crisis, Emma decided to explore what she knew of her powers.
Meanwhile, Mr Butterworth received a call. The Crusaders of the Church of the Holy Assumption had captured a werewolf, but were having trouble extracting information from it. Traveling to an abandoned reservoir with the group and his retainer, Mr Jolthoon, Mr Butterworth found a chained werewolf in dire wolf form being clubbed and kicked by Kate’s crusaders. The beast had been stabbed with silverware and the room was littered with wolfsbane – a nearby copy of a book on werewolf folklore was being used by the Crusaders to determine what were the weaknesses of werewolves.
Mr Butterworth persuaded the Crusaders to hand custody of the werewolf over to him and assured them that he’d pass any information he found out to them down the line. He managed to get eye contact with the dire wolf, got it stay calm, but this was a temporary turn of events. Ulysses persuaded Mr Butterworth to give him a go with the werewolf while the rest of the group retreated upstairs. He also got Emma to shape a key for the chains from a paperclip. Emma concentrated and the shape moved! Mr Jolthoon and Mr Butterworth took bets on how long Ulysses struggle with the werewolf would last for. Ulysses healed the werewolf, but it still didn’t trust him. He tried Emma’s key in the lock, but it didn’t work. He persuaded the wolf to let him try breaking the chains and he did so. As soon as he did the wolf ran for the door and beat it down several times, running for the safety of the reservoir down near the river.
Ulysses came up empty handed. Mr Butterworth, Mr Jolthoon and Hubert gave chase, and Hubert was able to fire enough silver in the fleeing werewolf to bring him to ground. Back at Mr Butterworth's’ corporate estate, the werewolf was questioned. He gave the name ‘Firewalker’ but Mr Butterworth didn’t do anything further. Ulysses and Emma spied on the proceedings from a scrying window.
Suddenly Emma received a call – a man called Mr Faulkner had shown up at the Denver Historical Society. Mr Mercier advised her to be quite prompt. There was a beat-up truck parked outside with dirt-caked windows. Ulysses tapped on the glass, and there was a dark haired woman sitting there. Sue surreptitiously cast ‘No Name’ on the woman and found she was called ‘the Ancient Spinner of the Undying Webs.’ Ulysses saw that her aura was sparkling, like a werewolf.
They went into the Society building, were Mr Mercier was making forced conversation. Seated in a chair was Mr Faulkner, a pale skinned mane with penetrating blue eyes and dark hair. Mr Butterworth cowered at the raw blood potency of the elder vampire and ran off down the street in a frenzy. His retainer gave chance. Meanwhile, inside, Emma talked to Mr Faulkner. He wanted the Book of the Apocalypse back. Right now. Emma wanted time to discuss the issue with her colleagues, but Mr Faulkner refused. Emma refused to hand it over to him and Mr Faulkner departed, warning the Historical Society that they would face his wrath.
As the sun rose, Mr Butterworth burned away. Mr Jolthoon caught up and smashed a nearby window pane to drag his liege into the safety of the shadows. Mr Jolthoon called Emma, who sent Sue around in the SUV to collect the two vampires. Sue drove around Denver and managed to lose the police. Just to be sure, she stopped and switched license plates with a car in the run down part of town.
Meanwhile, as Hubert lay to rest he realised that the Book of the Apocalypse, which had been continually whispering its tender words of devastation in his ear, had fallen silent.
Ulysses woke to the sound of a churning sawmill and the sensation of hundreds of things crawling over him. He found that air of his room was thickly crowded with locusts. Ulysses managed to struggle outside the Historical Society, to see that the windows were all smashed open and that locusts were crawling everywhere. Preparing himself, he went back inside to rescue those that he could: Emma, Hubert and the remaining, living society members. Ulysses noted oddly enough that no one around seemed to be noticing the attack: joggers were going past with glazed eyes and cars when on without stopping. Hubert, who’d been chewed open by locusts with insects still crawling in out of his innards, achieved consciousness and discussed with Ulysses what to do. All of the Society’s books had been chewed apart by the locust swarm and the silver klaive on the wall was missing. Also, Mr Castle’s secret library downstairs had vanished, to be replaced with a moldy, concrete basement. Not coming to any solid conclusion, Ulysses went to the gym to recharge his mana, and Hubert went off home.
Meanwhile, Sue was at home when she heard her mother’s scream – rushing to see what happened, she saw that her mother’s face had been grossly distorted by pussy boils. Sue and her father managed to get Sue’s mother to the hospital, but she remained in a terrible state of depression. Sue went off to the Historical Society next, and discovered a small group of people, including Emma, lying unattended on the sidewalk. Checking around the Society’s spirit-scape, Sue saw that it was crawling with locust-like spirits of destruction and oblivion, and that the little spirits of knowledge that used to madly clamber around the Society’s libraries were swiftly being devoured. Sue called an ambulance for the people on the sidewalk, ensured that they were taken away properly and then met up with Ulysses who was returning from the gym.
Mr Butterworth was noticing that flu of some sort was sweeping through his company; on the humans he usually fed from. There was another strange incident too: blood had been reported from one of the taps when one of the junior lawyers was making coffee. Hubert met up with Mr Butterworth and they discovered that these events resembled the Biblical plagues sent against Egypt in the Book of Exodus. Mr Butterworth noticed that outside a storm was building up and the night sky had an odd greenish cast: a hailstorm was pending.
Hubert went to the vaults to check on the Book of the Apocalypse and discovered that it was crawling with flies. These shifted in position to briefly reveal words that Hubert took note of: it was instructions for supplicants to return the Book to its rightful owner, by going before a ‘tower’ and begging for forgiveness. Hubert and Mr Butterworth contacted Ulysses and Sue, and the group met up in front of the ruins of the Historical Society.
Ulysses convinced the group not to give into Mr Faulkner’s threats, and suggested that they drive to Colorado Springs to check out the right-wing religious group who were linked to the theft of Grace Yee’s thesis. The Family Foundation was lead by a man called Carter Paragon who, upon investigation, was a ghoul. Carter easily crumpled before Mr Butterworth’s powers of mental domination, but could only relate to how he met with a ‘great holy man’ every month, that took him into the presence of the Lord. Unfortunately, the next meeting was two weeks away and not soon enough.
Sue asked Mr Butterworth’s retainer, Mr Jolthoon, to see who owned the Family Foundation. Mr Jolthoon informed his liege that it was owned by the Mr Druitt & Associates Trust.
The group spend sometime trying to access the knowledge offered by Ulysses’s ‘gateway’ power and failed. Ulysses then urged them to confront Mr Faulkner on his own lair: up in the lands where the Trout Creek Baptists had been buried. They paused on the way to buy large amounts of petrol from a gas station.
Upon arrival, the group could discern no forms of sapient life around the barren piece of ex-farmland. But Hubert recalled a reference to a water tower from Grace’s thesis, and the group found the rusted structure standing amid a copse of pine trees. Sue was overwhelmed by the energy from a massive locus. She reached out to siphon the essence, and found herself dragged across the Gauntlet, in an area covered with massive, ethereal webs that arced down into a bottomless abyss. Above, she could see a sky full of wires, leading to a massive tower where children could be heard screaming. And then the web started to tremble. Great, spider-like creatures were inching down the web towards her, their mandibles opened to feed and Sue was stuck fast...
On the other side, the group now had no means of crossing into the spirit world. So they torched the tower with petrol and set it alight, starting a respectable wildfire that lit upon the entire night. Hubert panicked at the flames, but Ulysses was able to bring him back to the car. The group drove back to Denver, and discovered that a massive hailstorm was raging outside.
Alone, Ulysses used his powers to spy on Carter Paragon, but didn’t get very far with that. The first born son of his family, Ulysses was attacked by a dark and powerful shadowy spirit that attacked and left him for dead.
Meanwhile, Mr Butterworth and Hubert discussed their options and thought that the safest thing to do would be to return the Book of the Apocalypse, but to Denver’s vampiric Church of the Holy Assumption, rather than to Mr Faulkner. Unfortunately, the two were unwittingly damaging the protective magic around Denver by bringing the Book of the Apocalypse in close contact with a special, lead coin guarded by the Church. The Book, the coin and three other objects had been used over a hundred years ago to anchor the sleeping entity into Denver’s Shadow, and needed to be kept apart in order to maintain their effectiveness.
The mad prophet of the Church, Mother de la Rosa, screamed for retribution upon the two vampires. Hubert became a sacrifice to the sleeping god-like entity beneath Denver, and Mr Butterworth was offered to Mr Faulkner as part of a peace settlement by the Mr Druitt & Associates Trusts.
After this, however, the Biblical plagues wracking Denver ceased, and the secrets kept by Denver's hidden rulers remained in trust.