In the dark, dead streets, of the city there sat a theatre. This theatre was not only a place of entertainment, but of confidential meetings that determined the lifestyle by which some of England's population must abide to. Of course the un-dead, myths of the night didn't care for such meetings, as they had un-lives of their own to attend to, but when someone their community broke their rules or an outsider didn't respect their rules, the Camarilla community had to act as there was a price to be paid.
The large stage of the royal theatre was populated with a speaker, two guilty parties, four guards and the speaker's henchmen. All of which were pasty and pale, looking as if they hadn't seen sunlight in years. The speakers' audience was spread out among rows of chairs, separated into friendship groups, Clans or loners. Several members of the audience sat by themselves away from the others, but somewhere they could hear the speaker clearly. Other members, who either were more important, or believed they were more important, sat in the boxes and balconies either side of the stage.
This was meeting for vampires. One of these vampires was new to these meetings with this country's Camarilla and unacquainted with many of Kindred present, due to her Clan she was probably going to remain that way. Either way the blonde was unbothered by this situation, there were more serious things to worry about besides making friends. Listening the speaker was Genevieve's main concern at the moment in time. The vampire's dirty blonde wavy hair had been parted in the centre to frame her soft feminine face, for someone who looked so young she was very mature and wise. It wasn't uncommon for her to be mistaken for a member Toreador Clan, until she started speaking. Like all Toreadors, she cared a great deal about her looks and came across as an air-head, which is what she wanted many people to think. Her icy blue eyes followed the speaker as he causally walked about on the stage, explaining the disgrace the un-named Gangrel had brought to the Kindred. Genevieve sighed as she listened to the Prince rambling on about the Gangrel man that had created a Childe without the Camarilla's permission.
The Prince appeared to have forgotten that, as of ten years ago, the Camarilla no longer had the right to control what the members of the Gangrel Clan did. Though that didn't matter, as Prince Isaac Low didn't care much for the newly re-formed Camarilla.
Isaac, spoke on the stage at the front of the theatre with enthusiasm and confidence, believing his choice had been the right choice. His silver hair reflected the light hitting it. The illumination from the stage lighting seemed to reveal dark bangs under the old man's eyes and slightly wrinkled skin. Isaac was an ancient vampire rumoured to be from the middle ages, very old fashioned in his views and policies. Like many Princes he was from the Ventrue Clan, meaning he had fine taste and old-fashioned beliefs. His large bank account made him very influential and had given him easily access into Camarilla. Low had little interest in reforming a system where he still had power.
The Brujah or 'Rebels' were held responsible for this social change. The Clans that formed the Camarilla still had to obey the rules that protected them from discovery, but the system of hierarchy had changed. Instead of having a Prince in control of a major city, a Prince now supervised the activities of a whole a region, when the Camarilla's Clans were the majority. There would then be Baron or Baroness, in control of part of the region which was heavily populated with vampires belonging to the Camarilla. Within said city there would be several potential Barons, or potential Primogens, supervising various activities and spying on other Kindred. It was far more restrictive than the previous system, which was something many Brujah didn't like. The reform has caused the members of Ventrue Clan to strengthen their positions within the Camarilla, and many Ventrue Clan members had taken high positions and extended their influence.
Now Genevieve wasn't familiar with how this English Prince ran his Region. All she knew is that a Germanic prince, if there was one, would have issued the Gangrel with a warning and a second chance. Low wasn't known for being merciful. As a Baroness from Vienna, the blonde watched with interest as Isaac spoke. This Englishman's speech was explaining why an independent vampire was being sentenced to death. She then focused on the fact she'd compared Low to non-existent Prince, rather than the Prince she used work for...
She'd came to England because humans were going weary of the fact that she wasn't growing any older after owning the same nightclub for over 15 years. The blonde quickly sold the nightclub to the Baron that was replacing her and arranged to become a Baroness in England until the humans grew weary of her again. Unaware of where she was going to be sent, Genevieve resented her amateur move and could only hope to acquire another nightclub and continue where she left off.
The Sire was suddenly dragged to the centre of the stage. His soft blue eyes looked up at the audience begging for mercy, which was not common behaviour for any Gangrel Clan member to display. His tattered brown hair was in short tattered dreadlocks, and his skin seemed to have scaly quality to it. He had created a Childe, which he intended to leave to fend for herself, to see whether she could adapt to her new world, before being taken in by him. An excellent, yet awful, way of seeing whether she was worthy of the Gangrel blood that sat in her dead veins. If she did not successfully adapt she would be seen as a liability and left to become a Caitiff, a Childe without a Sire. Usually, the Gangrel stalk a human for days deciding whether he or she was worthy of vampire blood, however, this man did it purely because he could.
Low, paused for a brief moment, as if he was having second thoughts about his decision. After regaining his confidence he paced behind the Gangrel Sire, pulled out an old-fashioned pistol and pressed it to the back of the Gangrel's head. The man jumped slightly, as the cold metal rested against his head. The Sire sighed, knowing that tonight had been his last night on this earth.
After several loud bangs, the Gangrel fell forward lifeless, his whole body turning to ash, he'd suffered Final Death, the ultimate sacrifice for those who broke the rules.
Low the wondered towards the other Gangrel on the stage "Now, as for the Childe..." He started
"No way." An American accent barked from the back of the hall "You're not killing a Gangrel Childe, you had no right to kill the Sire!"
The American had grabbed the attention of everyone in the room. Turning round, Genevieve saw a tall muscular man standing on his chair in the middle of the eighth row. Admittedly he hadn't been sitting that far back in the theatre but he'd certainly distanced himself from the other vampires in the audience, by sitting several rows behind them all. His brown hair was messy. The American's eyes were dark and unwelcoming. He obviously wasn't Gangrel, but had a strange, rather aquiline nose. If his outburst hadn't shown his disagreement with the Prince's decision, his scowl certainly did.
It was now obvious to Genevieve that this man was a bit of a troublemaker and didn't make the Prince's life easy. Oh joy, a verbal sparring match, just like the Austrian days! The blonde thought as her lips curved upwards into a sadistic smile. It has became apparent that I shall be enjoying my time here in the land of Engs.
"Relax, Enoch..." Prince Low calmly replied "I had no intension of killing the newly embraced Childe, she is going to become a Caitiff, like her Sire intended... The Sire was punished for embracing a human that lived within the domain of a Camarilla protected region..."
Although a Prince supervised a region, there were many parts of every region that weren't controlled by the Camarilla, purely because there weren't enough Clans belonging to Camarilla there for the Prince to have full responsibility over them. If the population of the Independent, Anarch or Sabbat Clans outnumbered those belonging to the Camarilla, the Prince had no right to send Barons there. Though it wasn't unheard of for a Baron, to occasionally visit these areas. Usually if a member of an independent Clan broke the rules set out for the Camarilla members, they'd be punished as if they were Camarilla. For obvious reasons many disagreed with this.
There were many of these areas with the Britain and Ireland alone. The countryside didn't attract many vampires from any Clan, even then, many cities lacked the presence of many vampires. It seemed many of the Camarilla vampires had fled to the North of England, with urban areas renowned for nightlife, it was obvious that party-goers were easy pickings for vampires. Though the tinted alcohol filled blood was unpleasant to the senses, of some vampires, it was far better than having a raging thirst to deal with. The London nightlife was now becoming too competitive, many European and American vampires visited London, making hunting difficult for the local population of vampires.
"You can't just let Dominique's Childe wonder aimlessly around the English countryside, she'll become a threat to anyone and everyone she come into contact with. Gangrel are well known to 'frenzy'!" Enoch argued back.
Gangrel lived there lived close to The Beast. The Beast, existed inside all vampires from all Clans and it needed to be controlled, if it controlled the vampire instead the consequences were devastating. Going into a 'frenzy' was the state where The Beast controlled a vampire's every action, causing the vampire to act on its most primal instinct, breaking the laws that protected them. The best ways to avoid going into a 'frenzy' was feed regularly and to never kill while feeding. Genevieve's Sire once told her "Never suck until the artery is dry, it will ruin you..." By maintaining their humanity, a vampire could tame The Beast to a certain extent. Gangrel often had trouble controlling their primal instincts, every time they gave into The Beast they'd gain a new animalistic feature, everything from tufted ears to scaly skin. It was rare for a newly embraced Gangrel to still look reasonable normal after 10 years.
Genevieve had always found Gangrels, well, rather assuming, there was just something so strange about them. Was it the fact they have claws for fingernails? Or that their fangs were more noticeable? Whatever it was blonde couldn't help but giggle when she saw one. The girl kneeling on the stage just looked so amusing, she was so beastly, but not at the same time. The blonde had almost forgotten about the debate between the Rebel and the Prince.
The Prince stared down at the protester."Well, perhaps you should be her Sire, Encoh..." Venom seemed to seep out of the Prince's mouth as he said the rebel's name "You'll have something in common seeing as Brujah are also well known for 'frenzying'."
The brunette vampire had been caught by surprise, much to Genevieve's amusement. I do take pleasure in watching the rebellion of the Americans against the English. It sounds like a familiar event. She thought to herself. Encoh was no longer standing in on his seat but now in front of it, he'd been fighting for the Gangrel girl's rights not for custody of her. The American's objectives were still a little unclear to Genevieve, but she had a feeling she'd understand his goals after talking to him, face-to-face.
"Surely that kind of responsibility belongs to a Baron..." The rebellious vampire eventually replied
Low frowned in concentration "I suppose you're correct..." He addressed the whole audience "Are there any Barons after such a responsibility?" He paused for a brief moment "No? Not one of you are going to save this Childe from Final Death?"
No one attending was from the Gangrel Clan, having a non-Gangrel teach the Childe would probably put everyone in more danger. Genevieve felt a buzzing in her ears, the 'cobweb' was active, the thoughts of the voices complaining that this was not her place to become involved, Gangrels didn't trust her type. Why should they? Genevieve thought they were hilarious.
"Why don't you just give the girl to the Malkavian Clan, they'll send her to her doom faster than you can!" Encoh retorted
The Malkavian Clan, was a difficult Clan to trust. Many Gangrels knew that Malkavian vampires were difficult to trust because they listened to the voices, which came from the 'cobweb', which freaked the Gangrels out in a way. In fact the 'cobweb' made Malkavians a little too unpredictable for anyone's liking.
These voices existed in the 'cobweb' that unified all the brilliant Malkavian minds. It was this 'cobweb' that allowed them to organise themselves and spontaneously attend social events. The Malkavian Clan appeared to be a disordered bunch of lunatics, while in reality they were so highly organised they didn't even seem to realise it. This effortless organisation allowed the Malkavians to peruse their seemingly mysterious goals, goals which somehow always seemed produced significant results. It was rumoured that the elders of the Malkavian Clan held the capacity to manipulate the rest of the Clan through it the 'cobweb', though few from outside and within the Clan actually believed it and some within the Clan were sceptical.
Genevieve had only attended this meeting because she'd heard about it through the 'cobweb'. The voices and thoughts of other Malkavian vampires could sometimes be passed along through the 'cobweb'. The blonde had heard the thoughts of a fellow Clan member that was also in attendance and she was continuing to hear their thoughts as the meeting went on.
The Prince frowned "Fine, would any Malkavian vampires in the room, like to play Sire?" The Prince suggested, as he looked directly at a blonde vampire "How about you, Caden? You're so eager to become a Baron, this could help you on your road to success."
Genevieve pouted. The blonde recognised the name Caden, though she hadn't met someone by the name since the 1840s during a brief visit to Ireland. She'd met many men during her travels, but Caden seemed to be a name that had remained firmly in her mind.
"To be honest I would rather not babysit a Childe that could potentially kill me. If she were Malkavian on the other hand, I'd have no choice but to adopt her as my own. However, she's Gangrel. I will not assist a girl from the Clan that refuses to trust me." Caden replied
Looking over at Caden, the female blonde had to admit, he even looked familiar, but something was off. The feminine facial features, flaxen hair and brown eyes were memorable to Genevieve. The pale slender body was one she'd definitely encountered before. Even though Caden looked like a man she'd met before something was off about him. There was no charm or playfulness coming from Caden, he seemed rather robotic in his actions as if programmed to act cold and unfeeling. The blonde appeared to be impersonating a Toreador or Ventrue Clan member, with a designer suite and well-kept hair. He was too clean, too obedient to be a man she'd met before.
The Prince shrugged "Very well then..." He uttered, turning to look at Genevieve "How about you? You're Malkavian, and a Baroness... Surely you'll be willing to save this Gangrel from her doomed fate..."
The blonde looked at him in horror for a brief second. He wishes for me to play babysitter? After that second her horror became anger, as the 'cobweb' again became active. If I wasn't conscious of this chess match before, I am now... Trying to compel me into submission... Been waiting for me to intervene since my arrived... A little reminder of who I am will put him in his place... The Baroness' broken inner-monologue fought over the voices.
"Although the poor kitten is sliding further into the vast, black abyss, I shall not be the one that stops her teetering over death's razor edge." The Baroness calmly replied.
The Prince frowned, confused by the reply. It wasn't uncommon for a Malkavian to talk in a abstract manner, though many learnt to speak in a way that most people understood. It was only the really insane ones that spoke in this manner most of the time. Isaac looked round, other Malkavians understood her rambling, while the members from the other Clans frowned, most trying to comprehend she'd said. All Prince Low had gathered that Genevieve wouldn't prevent the girl's death, he wasn't entirely sure what the first part was about.
Caden spoke up, translating the previous speaker's sentence. "The Baroness just said the girl is doomed and she won't prevent the Gangrel's fate."
Murmurs came from the audience, unable to grasp how an abstract speech could be so translated into something so simple. Enoch was still standing, isolated at the back, being completely ignored, hoping he'd saved the Childe from her doomed fate in some way. Genevieve however sat, with a manic smile, staring straight at the Prince. Send the kitten to land of Scots, where Gangrel run free and wild. She unintentionally, and unknowingly, sent her thought running through the 'cobweb'. The voices in return spoke in either agreement or disagreement.
Enoch stood in isolation, knowing he'd failed. There was no chance of him avenging his friend by saving Dominique's Childe. The Gangrel was doomed to die. Even if releases to her own Clan, they'd leave her to fend for herself with no knowledge of what she'd become or how to survive.
"Why not send the girl to Scotland?" Another Malkavian suggested, in Enoch's horror.
"What? That's insanity, she'll not be able to avoid the temptation!" Enoch argued
Vampires from all the present Clans started to stood up and make their voices on the subject heard. most voting against the girl's freedom, believing she should serve the Camarilla, because she owed her life to the sect.
The 'cobweb' had its flaws, for example none of the Malkavians present knew which of their Clan had broadcast the message as the voices were different in each Malkavians head. The beauty of this is that some of Genevieve's fellow Malkavian Kindred may believe it was her that sent the idea round but they had nothing to prove it. Her mistake would go unnoticed. The voices were always difficult to keep secrets from.
Caden who'd originally been bored by this whole pointless characid had now taken an interest in the events unfolding before him. The most recent message delivered through the 'cobweb' had caused a mass argument to break out among many of the Kindred present. He observed the Isaac Low standing centre stage unable to regain control of the situation.
The argument had starter because it involved sending the Gangrel girl to Scotland. Controversial because the Camarilla had taken responsibly for the freshly embraced vampire, and not a single region in Scotland was controlled by the Camarilla. Anarchs had pushed the Camarilla out of Scotland when the Scottish humans got their own government. The majority of Scottish vampires were now independent, or Anarchs, there was no clear majority between the two so no system of order could be put in place in any of the regions. There were very few Scottish vampires who sided with the Camarilla that had survived the whole "revolution", but any that did had been classed as uninteresting and no threat to the Camarilla-free Scotland.
Caden O'Shea was also one of the few Malkavians not bickering with their fellow Kindred. There were three other vampires from his Clan that were not partaking in this dispute. Victoria West, a Malkavian who suffered from chronic depression, these arguments would only worsen her fragile condition. Originally she held the high status of Primogen for the her Clan, but her depression worsened as she started spending more time in meeting with the other Primogens. She now spent most of her time away from the politics and in her own fantasy world, writing novels under a pen-name. Her title of Primogen had been revoked a decade ago. Finding a Malkavian Primogen that would last more than one decade was often difficult.
Then there was Lucius, he was perfectly capable of creating such disorder but he was more of a sadist than a quarrel creator. The dark-haired Malkavian was man who replaced West as Primogen. He wasn't too interested in the politics and would rather spend time working on his bizarre projects and studying the disciplines available to the Malkavian Clan. Lucius' work with dementation was infamous, though it appeared to be having negative effects on his own mental stability.
The other was the mysterious Baroness ... He, like many, did not know her well enough to understand her motives behind starting a public spat. If Caden's brother had attended the meeting with him he may have known all of this by now. The blonde's sibling had thing for flirtation and fornication, as well as soft spot for other Malkavians. Caden's twin's ability to interact with the 'cobweb' was much greater than his own, his brother often knew the intentions of other people before they made them clear. When Caden attempted to listen to voices he usually got static or murmuring. He'd barely heard the whispering about sending the girl to Scotland.
The sound of gunfire came from the stage. Everyone's head's snapped to the front of the room. The Gangrel was fine, Low was furious. His steely grey eyes scanned the crowd, looking on at them in pure rage. The freshly fired gun in his hand had shot a hole in his one of henchman's chests. The wounded henchman look forward pretending to be unbothered by the hole in his torso. It was easy for Caden to tell that the vampire was silently fighting the urge to harm Low.
"You're all animals!" Low exclaimed "Fighting over the fate of a girl you don't know. Did any of you even know her as a Kine?"
The audience replied with silence, a few even submitting to the Prince's power and sliding back into their seat. Enoch, now accompanied with other Brujah clan members remained standing.
Low continued "No? I thought not. This girl means nothing to any of us. If it'd please everyone I'd kill the Childe and have this whole mess taken care of... But as usual there's someone who lack loyalty towards the Camarilla."
"I don't lack loyalty towards the Camarilla. I lack respect for corrupt, egotistical businessmen." Enoch retorted, a few of his peers holding him back.
Caden reacted the same way as a few of his fellow Kindred and looked around both confused and insulted by the accusation. Like many Kindred Caden owned and ran his own business because there was the ease of working at times that suited the Kindred lifestyle. There was no use in having a job that required working in the daylight hours because the Kindred would suffer Final Death before they reached the workplace. Owning nightclubs and other businesses where managers could be employed suited the Kindred just fine.
"I maybe slightly egotistical, Enoch, but I'm not Corrupt... The Primogens are there to ensure I do what's right for all the Clans in the Camarilla." Low argued.
The Rebel scowled at the Prince. "Whatever you say, Prince."
"Now, I believe this... Girl, should be given a chance to survive, however without a Sire she is doomed to fail. So... This Childe shall be sent else where... There are a pack of Germanic Gangrels in Sunderland at the moment, I shall pay them to 'adopt' this Childe as their own. If the Germanic Gangrels do not accept her, she will executed." Low compromised.
The room fell silence, several of the Primogens, including Lucius, nodded in agreement. If the Malkavian Primogen agreed with the decision Caden also agreed with it. The blonde looked over at the Baroness, she seemed uninterested in the matter, or she was just bored by how long this meeting was taking. Again Caden's access to the 'cobweb' was limited and he just getting information he already knew.
"Very well then, if no one has any objections, I call an end to this gathering." Low proclaimed.
As the Prince and his henchmen hurried off behind the stage's curtains. Caden jumped to his feet and rushed out of the row and into the aisle. Pushing past several other vampires, who complained about his lack of manners, the blonde Malkavian marched towards the nearest exit, hoping to catch Low before he sped off in his, over-priced, stretch-limo.
Once out on street, the Malkavian saw Isaac wondering towards his black car. Caden rushed over to the Prince, causing his henchmen to automatically form a wall in front of Low. Luckily, the blonde had done enough to catch the silver-haired man's attention.
The Prince pushed through the protective wall "Gentlemen, please, young Caden means no harm." He said with a false smile "What it is child?"
"In the meeting you said that was an opportunity to make me a Baron..." The Malkavian explained "I regret missing the opportunity and was wishing for you would grant me with another, Sir."
"As you know, Mr O'Shea, I don't usually grant second chances, with a competitive society like ours I can't just create opportunities for certain individuals such as yourself" The Prince started "Besides the position as Baron has been filled... However the new Baron is unfamiliar to this region... If you were to... Assist the Baron, I'm sure I could... Make an exception..."
"Thank you , Sir." Caden replied "Who would I be assisting?"
As Genevieve started to leave the theatre her path was blocked by a tall, dark-haired man. Black bags hung under his grey eyes and his skin was so grey it was practically blue. He was rather slender seeming to lack any form of body fat almost as if he had suffered from an eating disorder in previous life. His naturally contoured face and the grey suite he wore did not make him look any healthier. According to voices this man was a Malkavian.
"You must be the bullion Baroness of Vienna, here to substitute for the Baron of Blight." He purred.
Genevieve frowned "Baron of Blight? My mind is unfamiliar with this name."
"Ah, I had a feeling you were a Malkavian like myself… Originally I thought the Prince was wrong about your Clan and your abstract speech belonged to a Toreador lost in deep thought. However, you appear to suffer from flaws of our bloodline far worse than most... Stuart Tomkins was the previous Baron. He was more of a nuisance to than anything else. Constantly in debt and continuously asking the Prince and his Primogen for assistance. According to the rumours he was killed by hunter, though the voices tell me the Prince had finally had enough of his antics..." The dark-haired Malkavian replied.
"My grey matter shall remember to stay on the Prince's dark side, so the sun never shines... What name do you go by, colourless clown?"
"I am Lucius, your Primogen in this region. I hear the voices tell you what to do and not always why to do it… Obviously you insight is slightly foggy, but no matter, a few meetings with this region's… shadier characters will clear the fog for you, Genevieve."
Without even excusing himself, Lucius walked off towards another vampire. The blonde had a feeling that Lucius may have just given her a warning to watch her back, usually the voices were a nuisance, but in this city they appeared to be a useful ally. Though the 'cobweb' told her Lucius was no threat, she was still weary of him. The blonde started to consider allowing the voices to talk to her more often.
The blonde readjusted her satchel before making her way to the double door that led to lobby area. Apart from Lucius no one else seemed too keen to talk to her and the amusing Gangrel girl had been escorted elsewhere. By speaking like a Malkavian she'd automatically lost potential non-Malkavian allies in the city. With no reference of how to return to her riverside flat, the blonde was feeling a little lost.
"I haven't seen you around these parts before." A voice strangely familiar voice stated
Turning to her right Genevieve saw Caden. He was a little shorter than she'd first thought but he was still pushing six foot four. The sharp suit turned out to be a high-street brand and his hair slicked back out of his face. He was still rather robotic in his actions and appeared to have been pushed out of his comfort-zone. A cloud of strong, unpleasant, aftershave surrounded him, the blonde frowned to show her disproval of the odour that accompanied his presence.
"I don't hail from this vanquished region." Genevieve replied.
"I thought not, I would have remembered a pretty girl like you." The blonde smiled, attempting to flirt.
"The voices cry you don't partake in those activities."
He shrugged "The voices are correct… But do they tell you why I'm here?"
"They give me many reasons, dark brother."
Caden seemed to flinch slightly, reacting negatively to his new nickname. He then appeared to realise that the voices were informing Genevieve of his twin and possibly other things he didn't wish for her to know about.
"I'm here to help you, Baroness."
"Support me how?"
"I little bird told me you're unfamiliar with this region, even though you're a Baron in it... I believe I can help you settle in, if you can assist me in return..." Genevieve raised an eyebrow "...I own a nightclub by the river which isn't as popular as I want it to be, the same little bird told me you were nightclub guru… Perhaps an agreement can be reached."
"A pact maybe made. Let's parley terms, dark brother."