Vampyr

Vampyr

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Now it's time to play some VtES again! Oh man! I haven't played since april. I'm so excited. Since we have so few tournament in Norway I decided to host my own! And since we were hosting a Con here in Moss, I tought I could host a CCQ at the con! So, with a little help, we are going to do that! This saturday! I can't wait. I love this game. I'm not sure what I'm going to play yet. But it will great!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#{project_title}'s video poster



I keep trying to help with the achievements for this new book! Here is my Giovanni inspired selfie- with a skull!

Now this achievement has already 10 selfies. Hopefully my contribution will make it 25!

Back the book here!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Trying to help get the Nosferatu achievement for the Kickstarter campain for Lore of the Clans! This is me near a storm sewer or something like it in Moss, Norway!

Back Lore of the Clans here! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/deluxe-v20-lore-of-the-clans/description

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rio Grande Chronicles: Fae & Beasts


The Rio Grande Chronicles
Fae and Beasts
It was the sirens that woke Pedro this night, which was weird since he had grown accustomed to the city noise a long time ago. Police, Ambulance and fire sirens were as common as the common churning from the air-conditioner, the constant noise that that made you nervous if you did not hear it. It had become the safety blanket that he could wrap himself in before slumber, the sign that everything was as it should be and he could safely enter his vampire sleep. Yet this sound had awakened him, made him aware and invoked some internal instinct of danger. Something was wrong, out of place or something soon would be. The sharp piercing pain in his chest returned and Pedro had to sit down to not let the agony overcome him. He touched the scar in his chest with his index and middle finger, following it up and down as if to massage the pain away. It was only an inch away from his heart; the white scar that never really healed. A reminder now of an incident he rather suppress. The pain subsided and his mind resisted the urge to go back to that painful night. Pedro got up and opened the barricaded window. He quickly used his senses and knowledge of the city to get an understanding of what the situation outside was. All the sirens were headed for the military camp; he could hear from the sirens that there were ambulances and police involved. More accurately he could hear that there were 6 police sirens and 2 ambulances all heading north. Pedro turned around and faced his somewhat new apartment. To any normal person the place looked like a dump. The linoleum floor was bulging up in random places and the wallpaper was torn revealing the four previous choices of wallpaper. There was no furniture except from his coffin in the inner room and the desk and chair where the laptop, which Marcus had given him, stood. The apartment did not look like much, but it was his haven and probably the best one he ever had. Sure it was not as personal and nice as Snows haven but… well nice was a relative term he thought. To him that haven wasn’t as much nice as it was a sacrificial lair; where young children where dismembered while warlocks where chanting with burning candles in their hands, or whatever crazy shit those fucked up Tremere were into. As fucked up as he thought Snow was, he somehow pictured the Tremere clan to be even more twisted. Then again he had never found himself in a situation where he had been around a Usurper long enough to get properly acquainted. Every time he caught himself in thinking that Snow was not that bad, his instinct kicked in and reminded him that she was one of those evil Warlocks. He was not quite sure if it was the old Sabbat hate for the mages that stirred or if it was the Gangrel blood in him. Either way, Snow was one of them and he would need to be careful around her, no matter how nice she seemed. Pedro walked towards his laptop. Marcus had set it up with the newest software and updated firewalls with a secure communication between them. Pedro logged on and tried to find some news on what was happening in El-Paso. There seemed to be some shooting at Military compound. Several people were shot and the gunman was still loose. The police had stated a red alert and increased police patrol in the city until the shooter is apprehended. That was going to be a serious problem for his hunting routine he thought while he licked his fangs. He was about to turn of the computer when he noticed a blinking icon on the bottom right of the desktop. He clicked it and a message popped up. It was from Marcus. He had sent him the link to the news about the shooting and commented: “Not good! This will really fuck up our feeding”. Another message came shortly after “BTW, thought U would like 2 know this about Lustria” There was a document attached. Pedro opened it and started to read. It explained Lustria's bloodline and heritage. Apparently he had lied about being a Toreador and who he was. He was actually a Ventrue and came from a wealthy background with a high standing family. The document portrayed Lustria as somewhat a spoiled brat who never lifted a finger to get what he wanted and apparently he had some contacts in some really high places. Pedro started to type a response to Marcus after reading thru the document. “Why would he lie about who he was?” Marcus quickly responded “I don’t know, but he sure did not put a lot of effort in backing his story up. It’s almost as if he dared us to find out” “Yeah” Pedro responded. “Either that or he was just too lazy to put any effort into the lie”. Pedro was getting ready to log off and head out to see how the city life was this evening, but Marcus intercepted him with another instant message. “Don’t forget that we are meeting up at the Elysium tonight, they are putting Fame up for Trial”. Pedro had already forgotten about that meeting. It was shit like this that was the reason he hated to be on the Camarilla side. They all knew that was not going to be a trial, it was going to be an exhibition for the titled hotshots to show their fangs and power. In the end the Prince would show of some grand performance where he would make an example of what happens if you break the Camarilla code. Wait and see, he thought to himself, that is exactly how it is going to go down. He grabbed his jacket and left the pitch dark apartment, without locking the door. The way he saw it there were no reasons to lock as there was nothing of real value to steal and the only problem would be if some squatters drop by. Not that squatters would be a real problem, Pedro saw it more as a late night snack waiting for him to come home.
Marcus waited for a response from Pedro, but it never came. A message appeared that stated that the other side had logged off. Marcus leaned back in his office chair and rubbed his eyes. “Damn Gangrel, no courtesy anywhere”. The sirens were still screaming throughout the city. The air in the apartment was fouled by the smell of burnt flesh, cloth and hair. As Marcus rubbed his eyes, ash fell into his lap like black snow settling for the first time on bare ground. It hurt to move. Most of his body was severely burnt and his skin was still flaking. Just when you thought you couldn’t look any worse, he had joked with himself. He found a little comfort in it, knowing that his vitae could help him heal the damages and that he would return to his old monstrous self. But healing these wounds was hard. It was not like healing a broken arm or a deep cut. This took a lot effort and time, not to mention blood. He had tried to heal some of it but had drained himself in the process. He had a huge problem hunting in this condition. Staggering around like a half cripple was not an easy way to obtain blood. Even the rats scattered when they smelled the burning decay. The hunger was increasing and he knew he would have to settle for one of the vermin this night to get by. He took a quick look at one of his many opened windows on the computer before supporting himself firmly upon the armrest on his chair and raised himself up. Marcus had set himself up with a complex system with a private fileserver and several proxy servers and some of the most advanced hardware there is. The four monitors on his desk were all filled with windows showing live cam feeds, command screens, documents, photographs, forums, stock exchange and everything else that could be of interest to a Nosferatu. A pain filled groan burst throughout the room as he got to his feet. His wall was covered with documents and files. One wall had a huge map that covered the sewer system of El-Paso, or at least the parts that were official. Marcus knew he had been in places in that sewer that was not on that map. He had marked up with a red pen after memory the places he knew was missing. Bonita had not given him the proper tour yet, and it annoyed him that there were so many places down there he did not know of. Spread out on another table was several documents and bank transaction logs on a certain Lustria. Marcus hadn’t managed to dig up all the info himself, but his fellow clan members seemed more than happy to share. He had found Lustria to be very sketchy the first time they met. Something about him seemed strange. So Marcus started digging, and when Marcus started digging there was always dirt and gold to be found. Lustria sure had dirt, first he was not who he said he was. He was no Toreador, but a Ventrue. Lustria also seemed to have contacts and connections everywhere, and apparently had bribes and a hand down everybody’s pocket. That had led Marcus to the next thing he always found when digging: gold! Apparently Lustria had stacks of it. As a matter of fact, there was so much money connected to this kindred that Marcus wondered if Lustria himself knew how much he had. Marcus had found bank accounts in Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden and Arabia. There was also a bunch corporations and stock bound investments. Lustria’s family had a business in almost every European country and half of Asia. Some of these businesses were just shells or dummy corporations established to launder money or trick the domestic tax system. Everything also pointed to that Lustria had never gotten his hands dirty in anything. He was what you would call a spoiled brat who had gotten everything firmly planted in his hands. Marcus couldn’t help but wonder why Lustria had showed an interest in them in the first place. What would he gain from ganging up with them? Marcus was intrigued. Lustria had something the others didn’t and something he needed; Resources and lots of it. Pedro had nothing and whatever he had was tied up in his car, which by the way was trashed and on the other side of the river. Snow had a little, enough to get by at least. More annoyingly, she did not care for it. He had rarely met anyone with such little interest in wealth and resources. Having an ally like this Ventrue might bring him a step closer to achieve one of his goals. Marcus grabbed his coat and left his apartment after activating the security system and locking the entrance door.
It was a damp, hot evening. Military and police were patrolling the streets and investigating abandoned buildings. Among the worried mortals walked the kindred who tried to meld in and find the perfect time to extinguish their hunger for blood. It was a challenge most kindred were not accustomed to, with eyes and ears everywhere and with everyone one their toes it would only be a matter of time before someone would break the masquerade. In a small café on the eastside of El-Paso; Lady Snow had just received her Latte’ Macchiato. She had no idea what it was, but it was on top of the menu so it was the first thing she could think of to order. Snow picked up the spoon and stirred her coffee gently in half circular motions. In her mortal years she had never really cared for coffee. It had been more of an exotic drink from where she came from but they had always just called it coffee. They could put sugar and milk in it, but it was still coffee. That had changed in recent years. They had all kinds of different names for coffee with milk and sugar these days: Americano, Latté, Frappuccino, Espresso, Coffee Mocha and so forth. It all seemed silly to Snow, giving all these drinks fancy names when all it really was, was coffee with cream or sugar. Maybe both. She lifted the spoon to her mouth and took a sip. Coffee and cream she thought, it tasted a lot like the other coffee drinks she had tasted. Just then Henry stepped thru the door. He looked confused like he was not sure if he had come to the right place. Snow waved him over to her table. As he walked over he noticed her drinking from the cup. He shuddered at the sight. “How can you drink that stuff? It’s vile! And how do you manage to keep it down?” he burst out with a disgusted tone in his voice. Snow put her cup down and smiled. “Just one of many secrets we Tremere share” she replied “Do you want anything?” she asked him. “Unless they serve
a bucket of blood, then no” he replied. Snow quickly skimmed thru the menu. “Well it’s not on the menu, but if you’re lucky it may be part of the Todays Special” Henry gave a sarcastic smile in return. “It’s not like I love the stuff myself” she said as she pushed her cup aside. “..But it does help uphold the masquerade. It would be a little suspicions, if not rude, to come in here and not order anything.” Henry like most vampires couldn’t stand the thought of eating food or drinking anything else but blood. He had tried it in the first nights after his embrace. It had come back up as quickly as it went down. The very smell of it now turned his stomach. He leaned back in his chair. “I am guessing you didn’t call me down her to try the todays special, did you my Lady?” “In that my dear Henry you are correct” she replied. “I called you in to warn you” Henry felt like a cold breeze went down his spine. Snow started to explain how Fame had set him up in the murder of Conway, how he had dressed up like him and beat Conway to death. All the evidence pointed towards Henry and a full investigation would resolve in Henry being the scapegoat. Snow explained how she was led along in the beginning as well, but that something was off with the evidence pointing towards Henry. Fame had been clever in his cover-up and had almost closed all the gaps, but there had been one gap he didn’t recon anyone would find. The one witness he didn’t expect anyone to question. Henry leaned forward and grabbed Snows hand. “Who? Who saw it?” He sounded like a child that had listening to an amazing fairytale and was wondering what would happen next. Lady Snow smiled and squeezed his hand back. “The man with the best seats in the house. Someone who saw it all at first hand.” Henrys pupils widened as the answer sunk in to his mind. “Conway?” Snow acknowledged the name with a smirk. “But how in heavens name did you get him to witness?” Snows face went cold and emotionless. “How is not important, I have my ways. That is all you need to know” she replied in a firm tone. “How many know about this?” his voice was high pitched and nervous. “You, me, Pedro, Marcus and Holger Stein. Holger was your biggest concern, but you are not on his radar anymore. You should probably keep a low profile for a while until all this settles. Stay clear of the Elysium tonight, if anyone think you were involved in this business they will destroy you in a fraction of second. Holger cannot save you in there” She finished the last of her coffee, but two dollars on the table and got up. Henry quickly got to his feet. Snows hand came up to touch Henrys cheek. Her soft warm hand against his cold skin felt soothing for a second, until he remembered some advice he heard once about not letting the twisted hands of the Tremere touch you. Her piercing blue eyes met his. Henry could swear there was compassion in those eyes. He needed there to be at least one person in this city he could really trust. Snow broke the silence. “Do you have anywhere you can stay? Someplace you can go to?” Henry nodded. “I’ll be fine, don’t worry” Snow got up on her toes and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Take care of yourself Henry. I’ll contact you when all of this mess settles down, OK?” She started to head towards the exit. Henry stood still almost paralyzed trying to process the whole conversation. “Snow?” he burst out, without really knowing what his next words were going to be. A part of him didn’t want her to leave. Some part of him wanted her to come with him and watch over him, be his mentor and guide. Protector and Lover. Lady Snow had stopped and was waiting for him to say something. “Thank you” was all he could think of that would be appropriate. Snow smiled as the door closed behind her and she became one with the crowd, smelling like coffee and Dior perfume.
Pedro and Marcus met each other at the entrance of the Elysium. “So you came?” was Marcus first words when he saw Pedro. “Like I had a choice” he had an annoyed undertone to his answer. “Has anybody told you that you look like a burnt turd?” He added as he looked at the coal on Marcus’s skin. Marcus leaned in to deliver his reply “Yeah, the fuckers in the garbage container two blocks up without heads” Pedro started laughing and Marcus joined him soon after. “I have to check that shit out afterwards” Pedro added before they walked inside. The courtroom already had several vampires of different standings spread out in their own little clicks. They noticed Jorge, the Brujah, who they had brought with them from Juarez. He was standing with some of his fellow clan mates making jokes about the other clans in the room. Jorge had a black mesh shirt that revealed a well-trained and muscular body. He had one of those clean cut badass faces, which many women found very attractive. Pedro made a joke about how he must have been a hit back at that Hollywood club. Pure eye candy. Marcus didn’t find it that funny. Mostly because he knew it was true. A lot of men at that place would find someone who took that good care of his body very attractive. “Speaking of eye candy” Pedro added and pointed towards the entrance. “Look who just arrived”. Lady Snow stepped thru the entrance side by side with Elisa Day, the Archon and closely followed by more Tremere. “Yeah” Marcus replied “Eye candy that bites”. Pedro broke out in laughter again. “Amigo, you never been with a Hispanic chica. They all bite. That’s what makes it exiting hermano”. Lady Snow and the rest of the Tremere members separated themselves from the others and made their own little group in the crowd. The next kindred to step thru the door was Lustria who was closely watched by his personal assistant. He respectfully bowed to Snow and Day and smiled at Marcus and Pedro as he passed them. Snow had heard from Marcus about Lustria not being a true Toreador, but in fact a Ventrue. Her first reaction to the news was anger, but she quickly realized that it didn’t really matter that much to her. To her there really wasn’t that much difference between the two clans. They were both pompous assholes in her
eyes that were too stuck up in their own being to realize what was happening around them. At least the Ventrue had goals and ambitions they strived to reach, she respected that. The Prince of El-Paso stepped into the room and revealed Fame staked and tied to a rack. Snows heart fell when she saw the once so bright kindred put on display like a dead animal. She knew she had done what was necessary, but she wished that it didn’t need to come to it. Fame was beyond saving though, she knew that now, but she also knew that Fame hadn’t acted out of pure evil. Snow had seen it before in others. The Malkavians had derangements as a curse and Fame was no exception. Snow recognized the patterns in Fames behavior, the narcissistic elation, the delusions of grandeur and his feeling of superiority. The Germans had called it Größenwahn, but the more known term now was Megalomania. In some strange way she found herself missing him. Seeing him now like this was more painful than she expected, she knew what was in store. The Malkavian prince started with an introduction and went on to explain the crimes for which Fame was accused. The other elders and primogen made sure to share their opinions on what they meant was a breach of the traditions. The hammer fell down hard on poor Fame and there was no one willing to stand up or speak his case in fear of being pulled in to the maelstrom of punishment. In the end the prince declared Fame as guilty and a danger to the masquerade. The sentence was destruction. Bell raised his hand and like a flash Fames body vaporized and vanished into Bells hand. The other kindred were shocked at this alarming display. Snow leaned over to Elisa Days ear. “What the hell was that? Is that one of our powers?” Day shook her head. “No, not that I know of. I’ve heard of Malkavian powers that do similar things, but only Elders know powers of such magnitude”As the kindred started to leave the Elysium Elisa Day took Snows arm to get her attention. “You need to come see me tomorrow first thing at dusk, bring your friends and that new army guy you picked up in Juarez.” Snow nodded and agreed.
The next dusk the neonates stood together waiting to speak with Elisa Day Regent of the Chantry and Primogen of El-Paso. Snow had managed to call in Marcus, Pedro, Lustria and Jorge. Elisa Day let them in and asked them how they were coping with the scenario outside with the heavy protection with cops at every corner. The archon had been called in to try and deal with the situation. Apparently a new incident had occurred. This time it was at a school and a janitor had fallen victim to murder and his clothes were removed. As the coterie investigated the area all they could find was the clothes of Samuel Jones. Jones was a soldier who recently had been stationed in the Middle East. The clothes were decayed as if they were aged. Snow immediately started to investigate what sort of power could induce such an effect. While Snow retired to her lab at the chantry the others continued to investigate. The clues were scarce however and every lead proved to be a dead end. The next night Samuel struck again. A commanding officer who recently had been in direct contact with Samuel was found killed at his home. When the coterie arrived to investigate they found a big hole in the wall in the officers home. The wooden wall seemed like it was warped and mangled. Lady Snow started to recognize the markings and understood that whatever this thing was it was escalating in power. The signs also proved that this could be the work of someone who had knowledge of blood magic. The Coterie was still left clueless about how to find Samuel and in their frustration they could not anticipate where he would strike next. As the next day followed the news reported that Samuel Jones had given himself in to the police. When he was apprehended and taken in the police car however he had apparently escaped, killing the two cops in the process. The car was nothing but a pile of dust when they found it. There was still no clue were Samuel Jones had disappeared to, but Snow was starting to think that Samuel was carrying an artifact of some sorts that gave him these powers. The others had also done research and it seemed like Samuel might be possessed by something. However all leads still seemed futile and led them nowhere. Lustria now called in his resources and made them keep an eye open for any report about Samuel Jones. The moment they heard something they were to come to him and inform him. The next night Lustria was awakened early by his retainers. They had acquired information that the library had been ransacked and that a book was stolen. Lustria quickly contacted the others and shortly they all met at the library. Several books were decayed and the signs that Samuel had been there were obvious. The book that was missing was a book about Huenco Tanks, the mountains located outside El-Paso. “That’s it” Pedro yelled. “That’s where we will find the fucker” Lustria called his Limo, but his retainers were too tired to drive after being up all day looking for clues. Jorge however always wanted to drive a limo and offered himself as the designated driver. Driving out to the desert and finding a man among all the mountain rocks did not sound like a god idea to any of them. At this point however they did not have much of a choice, and if they wanted to end this they needed to find him. It seemed like a long drive for them all. The scenery did not seem to change and at times it seemed like they stood perfectly still. Desert and tundra as far as the eye could see. Finally the boulders of Huenco Tanks revealed themselves in the distance. As they came closer they realized how hopeless it would be to find somebody out here, especially if that somebody did not want to be found. Jorge drove up as close as he could to one of the boulders. They all got out of the car. Lustria stopped and looked at all the rocks. “Wow, you know what? That seems like a lot of walking and climbing. I think I’ll just stay here and watch the limo, OK? But you guys have fun out there, and call me if you find something interesting” He got back in the car and poured himself a glass of the classiest blood found around these parts. Marcus shook his head and continued on. Jorge stopped “He is kidding right?” Pedro came up alongside him and tapped him on the shoulder. “I don’t think so amigo” he said with a wide smile on his mouth. “Fucking lazy ass Ventrue” he turned around and followed Pedro up the rocky slopes.
The sand was dry and each step filled the air with red dust. Rock formations made countless caves and hiding spots. Finding someone here could be excruciating and take days. A horrid laugh suddenly filled the air. They turned around and saw Samuel standing on one of the red rocks. He looked at them with blank empty eye and head slightly sloped towards his right shoulder. Lady Snow calmly stepped forward with her hands stretched out as if to cover the other from something. “Whatever happens, don’t let him touch you, OK?” She took another step forward. “Pedro, see if you can move around him while we have his attention.” Pedro moved to the side and carefully left Samuels sight. ”Jorge” She continued. “Ready your guns and wait for my signal” Jorge un-holstered his guns and readied a bullet. Snow used her enchanted sight to read Samuels aura. What she saw immediately made her worried, but it also fascinated her. She had never seen such a beautiful and lively aura. It was as she was looking at pure life. She knew that only fae had such auras, but she had never encountered such an entity before. Samuel smiled. “What are you looking for out here at this holy place?”
“You” Snow quickly replied.
“Well look no further, cause you have found what you seek”
“Who am I speaking to?”
“Samuel Jones, of course”
“I need to know who is using his body. Show me your real face”
“I will show you my real face if you show me yours” Samuels head shifted and leaned towards his other shoulder.
Snow chose her next words carefully. What did he mean? Her real face? Could he…? No, that was impossible she quickly reasoned. “I am not hiding any faces and have only one real face”
“If you say so” he replied with a twitch. Snow realized that there was some sort of internal struggle going on.
“You need to leave this body and go back to your own world”
“I like it this way. Leave me alone and you will not see me again. I will stay here. This is where I belong.”
“That is not going to happen, you have caused too much of an disturbance. Someone has to answer to the crimes you have committed.”
“Those people were in my way, I had no choice…” he stopped as if he sensed something. His eyes suddenly fell on Pedro who was sneaking up alongside him. Pedro started rushing towards him with claws drawn. Samuel immediately turned and met him head on. “Now Jorge!” Snow yelled as she rushed towards Samuel. Jorge vaulted forwards with his guns blazing. Three rapid shots flew across the air. The first bullet hit Samuel in the left shoulder, which spun him around and broke his focus of Pedro. The second bullet hit him on the right side of his nose. It pierced straight thru his cheek but did not seem to exit. The last bullet found its place directly to Samuels left eye. Jorge halted and lowered his guns. No way anything could survive that.
As the third bullet hit, the rest of the Samuel’s head burst open and exploded. Pedro almost expected the man to continue fighting for some strange reason. Samuels body crumbled together like a house of cards. Blood poured and flowed over the sundried rock. Or at least it resembled blood, the smell was different. This was no ordinary vitae, the scent was off. Before Pedro could get a clear scent the dusty ground absorbed the vitae as if it was desperate for any form of liquid. Pedro’s quick steps continued towards Samuels’s dead body. As he approached the lifeless body, the scent of the remaining blood changed into something more familiar. It had turned into the scent of mortal vitae. That is when Pedro noticed something around Samuels neck. A polished stone with some inscribed symbols connected to an ordinary string. One glance at the inscription refreshed a memory Pedro had tried to suppress. He knew those symbols. Not what they meant or resembled, but he had seen it before or something very similar. His previous pack members had died for a similar artifact. He had been spared out of pity, as a warning, as a messenger or just pure luck. Pedro quickly grabbed the stone and ripped it of Samuels neck. The thin string broke easily and Pedro pocketed the stone quickly before the others would notice. He heard light steps quickly approaching behind him. “Pedro! Drop it, don’t touch it!” Snows voice was fierce and commanding. Fuck! That Tremere bitch had noticed his sleight of hand. Her vampire awareness could prove to be a problem for him in the future. He could end her here, right now, before the others could reach them. It would be easy and quick he thought. Had she just commanded him to do something? That’s it, she has to go! Pedro’s vitae purged thru his body, it wanted him to draw out his claws. Then the realization arose that it was his inner beast talking, trying to surface. Snow was his friend; she had been good to him earlier. There was even a slight trust there. He purged his beast to a halt, but it was close now, the slightest tension would release it. His hand squeezed around the rock with a clinched fist. “NO!” The harsh and abrupt statement made Snow see the state Pedro was in. She saw the tension in his face, the protruding fangs and the dark feral eyes. Snow looked deep into his eyes. There was rage in there, but it was concealing something, something deeper. Pain, suffering and possibly fear. It was all there. Snow saw he was on the edge of entering a terrible frenzy. She would have to rethink her approach to the situation. Her voice changed into a softer and calmer tone. “Pedro, please drop the stone” It was a pleading voice that spoke now. “We don’t know what that thing does, it might be dangerous” The Gangrel took his hand out of his pocket and shook his clinched fist towards Snow. “I will not let this fall into Tremere hands and stored in some fucking Chantry”
-“We will figure out what to do with together Pedro. It’s you choice, but for now please let it go. Until we know what it does we have to be careful. It could be dangerous and I don’t want to see you harmed.”
Pedro’s tension loosened a bit and his arm fell down; his fist still clinched around the stone. “This is important and I am not giving it up” His voice was still tense and aggravated.
-“I am not asking you to give it up Pedro, just let it go for now until we know how to deal with it. Look around you, look what this thing is capable of. I am with you on this one. I will help you figure it out, we can work it out together. There is no need for anyone else to be hurt because of this thing. Please Pedro, let it go for now.” Her voice was now filled with worry and concern. She seemed sincere. Pedro looked at her hard, trying to penetrate her fortified personality. He saw nothing. It was like staring into a rock. Her crystal eyes reflected no emotion. Only her voice bore any sign of personality, any sign of her still possessing a soul. It all made him uneasy. He always felt there was something off with Snow, they all did, but he could not put his finger on what it was. However, her words now made sense to him. This thing was dangerous and if any of them would know how to deal with something like this it would be a Tremere. He could always rip her apart if she tried to trick him. The beast inside of him was certain of this, though Pedro had learned a thing or two about not underestimating other kindred. Especially not those that deal with unholy magic. “You have to move fast, before she can react” the beast whispered in his brain.”…and for god’s sake don’t let her touch you. That blood magic will fuck you up!” Pedro clenched his teeth together. The sound of his jaws grinding somehow silenced the beasts constant throbbing. When the time comes, he thought to himself, but it will not be this day. Snow was still standing there with her hand reaching out.
Pedro closed his eyes, then dropped the stone in the blood stained sand as he took a step back. Snow moved like a snake striking its prey and picked up the stone, holding it in its whimsy string. She felt uneasy in its presence, so she held it as far away from her body as possible. I should probably use my… Her thought ended abruptly with the sound of a berretta going off. A tremble in her hand from a shockwave almost made her drop the stone. Was she shot? She felt nothing. Then again she knew she probably wouldn’t. She started to scan herself for an entry wound, but ceased when she noticed the stone pending violently from its string. Someone had shot at the stone. Her eyes instantly fell on Jorge. His berretta was still pointing towards her and the stone, smoke steaming from the barrel. Before she knew it her focus was on his blood, his weak Vitae flowing thru his shell of a body. “Fire” a voice whispered in her mind. “Make him burn, en la sangre fuego!” Then in a flash movement Pedro came rushing forward claws drawn hammering down on Jorge.
At the moment Jorge had fired his berretta and hit the stone, there was nothing left to hold back the beast in Pedro. All the bargaining chips he had used with the beast were spent on Snow. The beast had acted before even Pedro realized what had happened. He was mid-air as his claws extended, and with his right hand drawing power from over his head he landed a blow with all his weight. It hit Jorge at the shoulder and continued down to his chest. The claws dough deep and the smell of vitae filled the air. No matter how much Jorge tried he could not absorb this blow. The pain was excruciating. The whole ordeal snapped Snows focus. She quickly wrapped the stone in a piece of cloth and headed for Lustria and the limo while hitting the speed dial on her phone. Lustria answered on the other end. He was worried, he had heard several gunshots, but had been to unsecure to go check it out. “Snow, what the hell is going on up there? I heard some gun…”
“Shut up and listen Lustria!” He stopped mid-sentence. No one talked to him like that, but he would let it slide for now. Snow continued. “I need you to find some sort of container in your limo. A duffel bag, a suitcase, anything. You need to but it somewhere safe, somewhere where only you can get to it. Do you understand?” “Yes” he quickly replied. I have a stress case and a safe in the back of my limo. Will that do?”
“That’s perfect; meet me with the stress case”
Lustria lifted the seats in the passenger area and pulled out a black heavy stress case. He had it custom made to withstand almost anything. You could literary drive a bulldozer over it without even scratching the surface. The lock was also made near impossible to break or pick. Lustria liked to think of it as potence resistant. He started walking towards Snow, somehow this did not seem like a running matter for him. “Hurry up and open it” she yelled. Lustria obeyed. He noticed the cloth in her hand with a string hanging from it. “What is that?”
“I’ll explain in a minute, but first let us get it someplace safe. Go open the trunk and prepare the safe while I seal it in here”
Lustria turned and moved towards the limo. He still did not feel like running so he walked. “Really?” he could hear Snow yelling behind him. “You can’t get your lazy ass to move any faster?” Lustria chose to ignore it. By the time he had opened the trunk, Snow had caught up with him with the stress case sealed and ready. She gave him the suitcase and so he put in the safe and sealed it shut. “Now listen” Snow told him, as she grabbed him by the shoulders. You have to store this thing somewhere safe, somewhere where nobody can get to it. Is that clear?” Lustria nodded. “I know the perfect place” he smiled. “Now would you be so kind as to tell me what the fuck is going on?” Snow slammed the trunk shut and gave him a nod. “Yes, I’ll fill you in”
Jorge screamed out in pain from the gash that now went from his shoulder blade down to his chest. His senses warned him not to lose focus on his assailant, which saved him from another crucial blow from Pedro’s feral hands. He sidestepped the blow then planted his left foot in between Pedro’s chest pushing him back and giving himself enough space to fire off a few rounds with his Berettas. His dual guns blazed as all the bullets landed in Pedro’s chest. The bullets however had little effect against Pedro’s tanned skin. None of them broke thru his skin and peeled of as if they had hit solid metal. Pedro did not even notice and charged up for another attack. He got ready to pounce, when Marcus came rushing towards him in an attempt to tackle him and pin him down. Even with the tremendous strength of the nosferatu, Marcus did not achieve the momentum he needed to overpower Pedro. As he hit Pedro with his entire body, the loose sand made him lose the proper footing to overpower the frenzied Gangrel, and Pedro merely brushed him aside as the beast focus was on Jorge and saw no immediate threat in Marcus. Seeing what the bullets did to Pedro, Jorge quickly dropped the guns and changed tactics. He knew that he was stronger than Pedro, so he just needed to overpower him, make sure those clawed weren’t pointed in his direction. A few more of those strikes would turn him to ash, he had to be careful. He tried to put his weight on his right leg to give him the momentum he needed to push Pedro back and pin him down. As Pedro lunged forward, Jorge managed to grab his arms and delay the attack, but his footing did not hold on the uneven ground and he fell down to his knee. He was completely open to attack. Pedro’s claws came from underneath and slashed him from his neck up to his right ear. Jorge felt his jaw split in three places. The claws ran thru his body like it was butter. The fear started to overwhelm him. This Gangrel could cut him in pieces in seconds. He needed distance but how? It was too late however, the beast had taken him. All the pain flushed away like a warm shower washing away black mud. Marcus smelled the beast in both of them now, their black eyes and long fangs snarling at each other. All that was once human was now gone, the beast within was in charge now. Marcus knew it was suicide to try and break off two frenzied kindred. It was over, he needed to flee. He tossed his long coat and leaped from the edge of the cliff. In mid-air he lifted his arms over his head and revealed a set of leathery flaps that went from his wrists and ended at his knees. As the wind caught a hold of him the leathery flaps made him glide steadily to the ground. Pedro and Jorge’s eyes stared deep into each other. They were dark now and now longer the eyes of Pedro or Jorge. These eyes belonged to something else, something feral. Pedro claws kept on slashing at Jorge, causing gashes of open wounds, but they did not seem to affect him as much now. The punches Jorge lashed out would have punched hole in a concrete wall, but against Pedro’s resilient skin it did nothing. They were brushed of as water to Teflon. As Pedro was re-balancing himself from another swing; the beast in Jorge found an opportunity to lay a devastating blow that hopefully would end the fight. He raised both his hands over his head and leaned his body in to perform a slam with all his strength. It was however too late. Pedro was already positioned with another strike. As Jorge let his hammering blow fall on Pedro, the Gangrel raised his left arm and blocked it. The crushing impact would easily have shattered mortals bones, but Pedro’s arm withheld. Pedro’s right arm came rushing forward like a torpedo. It hit Jorge in the gut, deep. He could feel Pedro’s entire hand inside him. In a single move; Pedro twisted his hand and spun his upper body as a projection to his arm. His hand slashed thru and exited Jorge’s body at his hip. In that moment Jorge’s mind managed to break thru. He needed to regain control or else he would be destroyed. Guts were falling out of his wound. Only the beast was keeping him on his feet now. Jorge forced his mind past the raging control of the beast. His only mantra now was to take back control; I refuse to die here tonight. The beast tried to hold on with everything it had, but had to let go in the end; Jorge’s will was too strong. The moment he pierced thru the beast and regained control, an excruciating agony overwhelmed his body. His feet immediately gave inn. Jorge’s body collapsed like a balloon that lost all its air. All he could think about was that his only chance now was to lay still and show Pedro’s beast that he was defeated. Maybe Pedro would reason with his beast and quell the rage.
Pedro’s hands where dripping with vitae. The long feral claws were now a deep red. He was breathing heavily and with a deep roaring sound. The beast was unleashed all the way, and Pedro was riding it out. He was weary of the beast, always trying to keep it concealed and use it only when necessary. The Gangrels knew what dangers applied to riding the beast, and what terrible side effect such event bore. There was still no denying the sensation it gave Pedro when the beast was finally released. The rush of blood and power running thru his body. All the pain and all the worries just disappeared. For that moment he felt invincible and he loved it. Something felt wrong this time however, something in the back of his mind spoke to his conscience; telling him that something was not right. He looked down at the mangled corpse laying at his feet, it was motionless. Then he saw the face. He knew that face. That was Jorge laying there on the brink of destruction. He saw his own hand ready to give a final blow to end it all. His beast was about to destroy Jorge and send him to his final death. He remembered now that he had called Jorge for friend once. In three seconds he was about to destroy his friend for good. He could not let that happen. Pedro forced his mind forward to intercept the beasts will to land the final blow. The frenzied beast was at its peak and strong now, but Pedro’s will to save Jorge was stronger. He just needed to subdue it long enough for Jorge to escape. Pedro saw his claws only inches from Jorge’s head when he regained control. To his surprise he felt the beast leave all together. It was done. He could see Lady Snow running up the hill approaching them. She looked worryingly at him, trying to get eye contact and see if the beast was still ravaging. When she saw Pedro’s brown eyes, she sighed in relief. On her way up, she had prepared herself for a ritual that would quell the beast. The problem was that she could only do it to one of them, so if they were both taken by the inner beast she would be in trouble. Therefore her relief to see Pedro calm, was a welcome sight. Her eyes then fell on Jorge’s mangled body. “Jesus Christ!” She screamed out as she covered her mouth as if to gag. She had seen some terrible things in her un-life, some things way worse than this even. There was still something way more grotesque to see a mangled body like this still moving, still alive. Well, sort of alive. It was sights like this that reminded her how unnatural they really were, how misplaced they were in the world of the living. In a way she envied the entity that had possessed Samuels body. When she had seen into its aura, there was so much life there, such bright and vibrant colors. How horrid she must have seemed in its eyes, contrasting her dead and grey aura.
Snows thoughts returned to the situation at hand. She kneeled down next to Jorge and analyzed the wounds. The right side of his face was slashed in three places. Flesh was hanging like sliced ham in a layer of vitae. His jaw was hanging loose, separated in three places. The left side of his shoulder was torn revealing bone and veins all the way down to his chest. Further down, his abdomen was nearly cut in half. Guts and blood was pouring out like thick dark syrup. Snow was glad that she was well fed. The sight and smell of such a scene would easily throw a starving kindred into a wild feeding frenzy. She realized that Jorge could not heal these wounds on his own at this time. Moving him in this state could prove to be fatal. She would have to mend him up before carrying him back to the limo. Snow turned to Pedro. “Go get the car started; we need to get out of here before the sun rises. I’ll take care of Jorge. OK?” Pedro nodded and looked at the horizon. They had only a few hours before twilight. This was the last place they would want to be when the sun would rise. He headed towards the limo readying the car keys. Snow started to pick up Jorge’s guts and placed them neatly back in place. She knew exactly where they went. Her hands then started to run carefully long side the open wounds, pinching them together. As her hands moved down the deep cuts, his flesh mended as if she zipped it together. She knew that it would not heal him, but it would hold him together in one piece so she could carry him back to the limo. He would still have a long healing process ahead of him. His internal wounds were still serious and it would take a great deal of vitae to mend such damage. She took his arm and put it around her shoulder and placed her arms around his shoulder blades and legs. In one gentle move she lifted him from the ground and started to walk towards the limo. In her earlier years she would easily have left a kindred like this to the burning sun. Especially someone who had pulled something like this one had at her. She had not forgotten his treachery, but he deserved better than to be left out for the red death. Pedro had the car ready when Snow and Jorge came down the rock. Marcus ran towards them. “I’ll take it from here Snow” he said as he gently took Jorge in his arms. As Snow got into the limo, Marcus leaned down and whispered something into Jorge’s ear.
Before everything went crazy on top of that rock, Marcus and Jorge had agreed on that the pendant was dangerous and needed to be destroyed. Marcus had suggested that Jorge should fire his gun at the cursed artifact to shatter it. None of them knew what the consequence of that action would be. Now all the blame lay in Jorge’s hands, and Marcus wanted it to stay like that for now. He had no interest on being on Snow and Pedro’s bad side, and would not risk their friendship now. Jorge nodded and agreed to keep their little secret hidden. He would take the blame alone on this one. Marcus placed Jorge in the back seat and went back up the rock to pick up the body of Samuel. He placed his corpse in the trunk, and got in on the passenger side in the front.
Once in the car Pedro turned around and addressed Snow. “The stone, where is it?”
“It’s safe, right Lustria?” Lustria nodded as Snow continued. “Lustria is going to store it somewhere safe until we figure out what to do with it, for now let us get the hell out of here” Pedro but the limo in gear and stepped on the pedal. Red dust from the sand rose as the car drove off. Lady Snow was staring at Jorge as they headed back to the city. She was conflicted as what her next move would be. How should she deal with him? Should she pull strings to make sure he was expelled from El Paso and back to Juarez? Or should she help him, forgive his treachery and help him heal his wounds. Her sire would have chosen the second path. I’ll give it a go, she thought. “Jorge, I can help you recover if you let me. I can help heal your wounds quicker. Know that a blood boon would be involved however. Sort of my way to know that I can trust you.” Jorge looked up at her and shook his head. “Naaawh…” His jaw was still hanging loosely as he tried to speak. Snow got the message. That stubborn mother fucker she thought to herself. Marcus turned around. “You want me to persuade him for you?”
“No, that won’t be necessary Marcus. He has to decide for himself, I will not force him to do anything he does not feel comfortable with.” She leaned back and closed her eyes. “If I didn’t intend to give him a choice, I would not have asked and he would have been none the wiser of what had transpired.” Her fangs revealed themselves as she grinned. “Take us to Elisa, we are going to drop of some dead weight. “ Pedro gave a quick glance in the rear view mirror and then stepped hard on the gas. A line of dust and sand followed the path of the car, carefully settling and covering and the tracks of the limo. In a few hours the easy winds would cover the tracks completely.

Epilogue
The Coterie withheld information about the stone pendant from Elisa Day and her ilk. The primogen then quickly initiated a full investigation and autopsy on Samuels remains. To aid her she contacted her sire who quickly came to El-Paso to assist.
Lustria sealed the case away as he promised and put it under constant surveillance. He then went on with his usual business and distanced himself from the others for a while. This was too much excitement for him and these kindred seemed to find a lot of trouble. He would have to consider how involved he would be with these vampires. There was no doubt that they were valuable allies, and probably the most interesting people in El-Paso. However he needed to be careful not to be dragged into something he could not dig his way out of.
Pedro packed his bags almost immediately as he returned. The revelations of this stone pendant had brought things to his attention that he needed to figure out alone. He needed to leave the others for a while and settle some personal issues. A note on Marcus door informed the others that he would not be reachable for a while and that he would contact them again when he returned.
Even though Jorge had declined the help from Lady Snow, he healed rapidly with the help from his fellow clan members. They kept sending vessels to his apartment as he used his own vitae to heal his wounds. Before the week was over he could stand and act on his own again. He then followed up by further nurturing the relationship with the Brujah clan of El-Paso and joined their Brujah rant.
Snow was surprised with a package at her footstep when she arrived at her apartment. The package included a disc and a doll with a red cloak. She recognized the doll as a symbol for the legend about “The Red Phantom”. This puzzled her, only someone with a lot of information about her would send her something like this. The disc had a recording of the ordeal that transpired the last time they went to Juarez. The most disturbing part was the video recording of her melting a weapon in the hands of one of the thugs. She showed the video to the others and they quickly joined an investigation that led them to Juarez and to a poor minion who had been dominated to deliver the package at her door. The person who had recorded the whole ordeal had given it to a family member and all clues ended there. It proved a dead end as far as the investigation went. Somebody knew what they had done, knew who they were and wanted them to know. They would have to be careful from now on.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Like a glove
It was a cold night, Jorge thought as he entered the club. How anyone wanted to live in this shithole of a town was past his understanding. He had never been particularly bright, but he felt like a regular fucking Einstein in this town. “I guess there’s no need to fear for being left around here”, he said aloud, people looking at him as if he was a crazy person. No wonder, he still couldn’t rid himself with his old army clothes, they felt like compensation for his lacking height and muscles. At first he had thought everything would change after his embrace, but he was still himself. Everything just seemed easier, less strenuous, but still the same boring routine. He had found out that skipping weeks of training did not alter his strength, but his morning workout routine was the only thing he had to hold on to any longer. Yes, familiar routines. There had been a change, he never felt safe any longer, like someone was watching him at all times. Of course, it was nothing like in battle, always feeling like the enemy was just over the barricades, never sleeping more than 5 minutes at a time, but still wrong. Enough of that, he was starting to think like those bloody Malkavians. There were more important matters to see to, he had to stay sharp.
The club was full of low-life human scum. It had taken him months to be accepted in this community of homosexuals and other outcasts, and he had finally gotten a chance to cross over to the right side. The right side… even the Camarilla had some pretty fucked up ideas, but better to dance on the strings of prettyboys and crooked politicians than running with these unconcerted, bloodcrazed Sabbaths, at least for now. He had no misconceptions about the masquerade. It was a vital necessity, and the future leaders would come from the humans, not from our vampire ranks. Strange that the Camarilla would allow a Malkavian prince. After all, they were all mental timebombs with a random trigger. Just take that guy Fame as an example. In just a few weeks he had made himself more popular than an Iraqi with a Seals tattoo. The prince was almost ready to fall, Jorge just prayed he was not too late to position himself. Even in Juares it took time between different reigns, and he had no intention to wait for the long sleep to get him.
Suddenly there was screaming from the toilets.
“Rapist, somebody help her!”
He reacted without thinking, kicking in the door he found a man trying to force himself on a young woman. This was not rape, he assailant retracted his teeth as he whipped his head around.
“Find your own game, soldierboy”, the vampire said. The girl had fainted, lucky, he thought.
“This is not your hunting ground, filth!”
Jorge grabbed the young vampires arm, kicked his leg hard enough to hear the bones break. I might be small, but you’re nothing, Jorge thought. The vampire screamed bloody murder, it felt good to be in control. He dislocated the shoulder and lifted the vamp up by his neck, dragging him out of the room and across the dancefloor.
“You’re one of us, why the hell are you doing this?!”
“Shut your fucking mouth or I’ll tie you up in the street for the workers to find you in the morning”, Jorge said and looked around uneasily. He was not a master of subtlety, but the scene had people too distracted to think clearly. At least anyone who shouldn’t hear.
He dragging him out the back door and threw the vamp into the opposite wall with a satisfying thud.
“I’ll fucking get you for this, I’ll tell them and they’ll fucking hunt you down and kill you”, he screamed loud enough to be heard over the border.
“GOOD! You tell how I treat those who break the Masquerade. I’ll flay him and leave him hanging to dry, be it lowly pieces of shit like you, a sheriff, or even Caine himself!” This was getting dangerous, he was losing his temper.
“Now get the fuck out of here before I break the other one.”
The would-be rapist looked like he was staring death in the eyes, but he shook himself and hurried away as fast as he could with his broken leg. Oh shit, he’d done it again. He still couldn’t control his abilities when he got angry. He couldn’t go back inside now, enough damage done already, he had to come back later or let everyone remember his face.
*************
It was a hot night, Fame thought as he closed the door on his new found haven. He had had trouble sleeping last day, not so much because of the letter Snow had given him, more because of the people hunting him. HAH! They thought they’d had him earlier, but his cunning and eye for detail had saved him. To think that they turn the lock more than he had when he left, that was not the work done by a professional. Luckily for him he’d been in worse situations before, and empty havens could be found everywhere. Too bad the new one already had residents; he had had to sleep in the basement behind the freezer, it was not… favorable. He would probably have to find somewhere new, but first he’d have to find something to eat. He was starving, he hadn’t fed in days, and he had spent too much blood on keeping himself hidden.
You can’t eat now, you have things to prepare.
He was back!
What do you mean, what do I have to prepare?
Lady Snow is one of them, you’ll have to be extra careful not to rouse her suspicion.
HAH! She’s no match for me, I have her on video, and the traces left from the murder all point to Henry, not me.
Be not so sure, you don’t want this to end up like another Berlin.
Fame ignored the voice; Berlin had been… a nuisance. How long did he have to put on this charade; playing the anarchist and fighting against the corporations? True, Snow did give him some useful information at times, but she slowed his plans too much. Oh such plans. The priest would be the first to go. Filthy Christian vermin, he’d show him his rightful place; in a dungeon, trapped forever to be Fame’s personal feedbag. He’d have to wait though, first priority was Snow and her sect. If not for that dog-brained Gangrel with more muscles than wits he could have had her heart by now. He wondered whether anyone else had seen through her plot. Playing the good-guy Tremere asskisser, you’d have to be daft to believe that image. The nossie probably knew, ugly people tend to be smarter than you look. Fame laughed mirthlessly to himself. Playing shadowgames with cameras, he was not good enough for this game, Fame would have to switch him out for somebody else, somebody better.
More to the point, today he’d reveal Snow for who she was, there was no coming back for her after this. She probably knew, hence the letter warning him about keeping a low profile. Of course, they all wanted him to keep a low profile, easier to trap him and keep him down that way. He made his way in the shadows, a neat trick he’d picked up from the nossie. He wondered whether he could learn from the others as well, improving at this rate was unheard of, just more proof that he was meant for greater things. Oh how he wished he could mask his teeth like the others, the disguises did not help much on this major flaw he had. Maybe if he ate Henry… NO! They’ll notice, it’s too early for this! He suddenly realized he had arrived, and the others were with him. You must concentrate, this is a vital moment! He could barely keep from snarling at Snow, she eyed him wearily. Oh the horrors he would show her, once he came to power.
Someone was talking to him, it had to be a primogen, to address him like that with no worry. They want me to keep a low profile? I didn’t even enter the hospital, they must be part of Snow’s gang. He just nodded acceptance, best not to say anything, lest he let something slip. It seemed everyone else had gotten their tasks assigned, they were going out again. Suddenly he was talking with Snow, they were in a car headed south.
WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Am I hallucinating, why am I having these blackouts, is she playing mind-tricks with me?
You have to kill her!
NO I CAN’T! She’s got that muscle with her.
He’s on your side, remember?
I can’t take the chance, he’s too strong. I’ve seen what he can do.
The voice continued while he talked to Snow.
S: “You need to be more subtle, you are attracting far too much attention, and you’ve sunken further in status than I ever have, and in such a short time”.
F: “I think you have it wrong. Why should we, the superior being, bend under for the wants of these filthy people? These degos won’t be missed, they’re no use to anyone in the modern world.”
S: “Let me ask you this, Fame. What are you most afraid of?”
Did she know about his secret? Of course not, he had not told anyone of it. Though, the voice knew.
F: “I’m afraid of being bored. This long existence without anything to do would be worse for me than you could imagine.”
S: “Don’t you fear losing the human part of you? I remember the thing I feared most when I turned was the way I felt more and more like the beast as time passed. We all had that fear implanted in us while we were human, fear of death, fear because of the fact that we all die at some point. When we were embraced that fear disappeared, and humanity started to wane with it.”
F: “I don’t understand what you’re talking about, I told you I fear boredom.”
S: “I think it’s time for you to start doing something good. Pedros, stop the car in front of that woman”, her eyes didn’t leave him for a second.  “I want you to go out and help her, Fame.”
Snow had a dangerous look in her eye, he didn’t like this. The car halted to a stop, there was a pregnant woman, clearly stoned, sitting by the road. Oh, he had fed on junkies before, it was better than sex had used to be. Wait a minute, didn’t she just command him to do something? Oh yes, helping that stoner. Had Pedros just followed her instructions? Why was everyone looking at him? He couldn’t think straight, he needed blood. Should he feed on Snow? Too risky, Pedros could rip his throat out, and who knows where the nossie stood.
Kill her, rip her head off!
What, now?
YES, NOW! Do it before she runs away!
He stepped into the shadows behind the car. Did he just black out again? No matter, the prey was his! He grabbed the head of his victim, ready to tear into her.
Suddenly the Gangrel rammed him headfirst, knocking them both off balance. A growl started in the back of Fame’s throat. This had been her plan all along, how blind he had been! He had to take them down now, he just needed some blood and he could kill all of them.
TAKE HER LIFE, NOW! The voice ringed in his head like church bells at high noon.
YOU WILL NOT COMMAND ME ANY LONGER, IT’S MY MIND, GET OUT OF THERE.
He could smell the blood from her, see the veins throbbing in her neck, and hear the beat of her heart. He roared in frustration. In a flash the nossie was out of the car and pinned him down, the foul nossie was incredibly strong, he couldn’t do anything. Snow took his prey away, cackling like the mad bitch she was, throwing victorious grins back at him. He had to break free, to talk his way out of this, show them how she was manipulating them, to run away, but it was too late. He cried out to let him go, but there was nothing but feral screams in his throat. It was too late, the beast had control now and his thoughts where just white noise in the back of his mind.
BLOOD, FEED!
*********************
 Jorge had done laps for an hour before he went back to meet Toni, he felt restless after that little event earlier. Juarez had turned out to be a fucking rathole; filled with Sabbath scum and filthy drunks. He just hoped Tori was good for her word, there had to be something sensible on the Camarilla side or he’d go crazy. People eyed him wearily as he entered the revenue, but they soon turned back to their drink and dancing, or what passed for dancing in here. It was more like soft porn than dancing. Not that he complained, he enjoyed a nice face and a tight body as much as the other guy, and here they came in pairs. He smiled to himself as he made his way to Toni.
J: “Toni! Have I ever told you you’re too pretty to do carpet service?”
T: “Jorge, charming as never. You’re late, and after that spectacle earlier I’m starting to wonder whether I should pass you off. Dealing with the other side is hard enough with a good reputation.”
J: “Oh give over, Toni. You know better than that. If I hadn’t tossed that shithead out you’d have one less regular, and the mess he’d make would turn this place into a warzone if word got out. The way I see it you owe me one.”
She raised an eyebrow and pouted her lips, cupping his face with her hand as she moved closer.
T: “You’re just so cute when you try to act protective. We ought to find a nice, elder man to take care of you.”
J: “Cut the shit Toni, I’m no fonder of guys than you are.”
He slapped her ass as she turned for her desk, she whipped her head around, if looks could kill he would hit torpor like a brick. Sex might not be as fun as it used to, but he’d take her for a spin any time.
T: “You sit your ass down and wait. They’ll be here momentarily”, she told him with a glare.
He dumped into the chair in the corner, lounging like he didn’t have a care in the world. She rubbed her arms, shivering. Maybe he had some effects on her after all?
***********************
Marcus: “You’ll have to go inside, I can’t show myself here without people noticing.”
Snow: “Fine, what am I looking for?”
Marcus: “Just go inside and ask for Toni, everyone knows here in there.”
What was he up to, trying to order her around? He could damn well meld into shadows, no one would see him lest he fell over a table. She had to try and keep her temper, it had almost gone all nine sorts of hell after Fame lost it, and Marcus had become decidedly more commanding in just a short while. There should be no way he could know, but she had been surprised by the Nosferatus before. Better to go along for now, but she couldn’t let him take control, not when so much was in jeopardy. The place was almost filled with people, maybe he would have a problem getting past that many unnoticed. She headed for the bar and asked for Toni, told the barkeep she was expected. She was led towards a room in the back, she took a quick look over the people before going with him; no vampires around, and the barkeep seemed legit. She followed two steps behind, he would be her shield if there was an ambush.
It was a small room, a simple desk with an office chair, and a pretty girl beside it. She suddenly realized they were not alone, there was a man slacking in a chair in the corner. No, not a man, a vampire! He was calm, with flashes of lust. Was he copulating with these humans? No, Tori was angry, but she calmed as she turned to face Snow.
T: “Who are you, you’re not who I was expecting.”
S: “My name is Lady Snow, I come on behalf of our mutual friend, Marcus, who cannot enter here without raising suspicion.”
T: “We have a back door, bring him around back and I’ll open up for you.”
She knew this would happen, looking like Marcus’ marionette. She should put Toni in her place, but she didn’t want to be alone with this unknown vampire, this side crawled with diablerist Sabbath trash and it’s like. She stalked out of the room as she went to get Marcus and the others.
S: “Marcus, back door, now. You too Pedros”, she added as an afterthought. Safe bet to say that stranger was Brujah, he practically smelled violence, and the best way to stop an unstoppable object was to hit it with a bigger one. Snow entered first, with the others trailing close behind. Marcus seemed excited, he really shouldn’t try to smile.
M: “Toni, how nice to finally meet you, I’m Marcus.”
So that was the reason for his eagerness, they hadn’t actually met before. This scene was going to be fucking great!
T: “Marcus….?”
Toni’s eyes glistened, she started to sob loudly. So much for the entertainment.
S: “Get a hold of yourself, we’re here to help.”
M: “We’re here to find the guy who’s spreading his… illness, you told me you had information about him.”
Marcus was definitely not eager anymore, he seemed shamed, and betrayed? Wasn’t this a gay bar?
T: “Yes, yes, he’s here in Juarez, frequenting all the local pubs. He even comes in here sometimes, forcing himself on some of the girls.” She was sniveling like a child, Snow slapping her to her senses.
M: “You should have told me sooner, I would have come at once. Do you have any information on where he might be?”
T: “I don’t really have track on him at the moment. His victims doesn’t want to talk about the episodes, or they don’t remember much. They just get sick after a while, and culture being what it is around here they’ve usually spread it themselves.” She wiped her eyes dry and visually pulled herself together. “I have a request for you. This is one of my friends, Jorge, he’s been helping out here lately and is looking for a way to the right side, as he calls it. He’s way tougher than his looks, he’s ridden this place of several unsavory persona. He could be of use when you go hunting.”
J: “Fuck you Toni”, he said casually. “I’m the forementioned Jorge and I’d ask for help to get out if this Sabbath infested shithole. As she said I’ll be more than useful if you’re going out hunting for trash. Actually I was planning to hunt down this asshole before she told me you were coming, but I seem to have fallen out of favor with the local brood lately so answers are hard to come by.”
The vampire had a powerful presence that made the room feel even more cramped than it already was.
S: “We already have muscle, I don’t see why we would have a need for you.”
J: “You have muscle, but all brawns and power won’t help you track down people. I’ve served many years in battle, guerilla work was my specialty. I can track down people, and I have contacts that can go wherever they want. Besides, when it comes to muscle I’d be more than a match for either of your friends.”
S: “If your contacts have so much influence, why can’t you use them to get over the bridge?”
J: “I never said they had influence, I said they could go wherever they want. Besides, they’re not the kind that need acceptance from your elders to cross over, they’re still hot on the inside.”
Snow eyed him thoughtfully. Brujahs weren’t known to be particularly stable, but he seemed a lot more resourceful than Pedros, and they certainly could use someone with a contact network. Especially a contact network that didn’t relate to hers.
S: “I can’t promise anything. You can come with us now, and if you prove useful I’ll get you an audience with Bell, but I, we, won’t guarantee for you.”
J: “Fair enough. What do you need me to do?”
S: “Just come along for now, we’ll fill you in in the car.”
J: “Can I drive?”
S: “Don’t push it.”
Pedros didn’t like this situation, Snow was acting more rashly than before, and they didn’t need more heat now. He expected she was in as much shit as he was, if not even more. This guy, Jorge, han an eerie presence about him, and Pedros was not one to be impressed by tough speeches.
Like a fucking glove, Jorge thought to himself. Like a fucking glove.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Part 2

Stick together or die alone


The Tremere had a bad habit of collecting all kinds of obscurities of books. Most of them full of nonsense written by delusional doomsayers. For the Tremere however those books could withhold a secret, however miniscule that secret may be. Most of the time, that secret was nonexistent altogether, but the Tremere would still hold on to it, just in case. Snow had just gone thru 14 of these books in the last weeks. She apparently had a knack for picking these books out. If it was up to her, those books would do better to light the fireplace than dusting away in the library shelves. Only a foolish Malkav would find any pleasure in these books. For all Lady Snow knew, most of them were probably written by a Malkavian. It was getting early and she should have been in her apartment over an hour ago. She hadn’t fed today. In fact she couldn’t remember the last time she did, which was strange for her, since she always kept sure to be well fed. Getting settled in this Chantry had taken all her time, she hadn’t heard or seen the other neonates in weeks. She had of course kept tabs on them so she knew they were still in the city. As she started to pack her stuff and got ready to leave, one of the Chantry servants carefully entered her research room.
-“It’s getting late, Miss Snow. Is there anything I can assist you with?-
Snow continued packing her stuff without turning around to look at the servant.
-“I know what time it is, there is a watch right here and the alarm on my phone has been ringing for over an hour…”
The servant drew a nervous breath before apologizing
-“I am so sorry Miss Snow, I was just trying to…”- Snow cut her off before she could finish
-“Did you come here to apologize? Or did you come here to assist me?”-
The servant nervously looked down into the floor, ashamed that she had upset the Tremere.
Snow turned around and looked at the girl standing in front of her. She was a young woman. Snow could see that she had not been doing this for long and that she was uncertain how to address the new Tremere that had occupied the studies.
-“Well?...”.- Snow threw her hands up as she raised her voice.
-“I came to assist… Miss Snow.” The servant replied
-“Then get me a ride to my apartment while I finish up in here”
-“Yes Miss Snow, but all our drivers are currently busy. Is it alright if I arrange with a cab to pick you up?
-“A cab is still a ride last time I checked, so yes that is fine.  Have it here in ten minutes”
-“Yes, of course Miss Sn…” Lady Snow interrupted the young servant again.
-“And another thing. If you intend to keep those beautiful peepers, you will address me as Lady Snow from now on. No more of this Miss bullshit! Are we clear?
-Yes, Mi…” The servant swallowed her words and rephrased herself.
-“As you wish Lady Snow”
-“Good girl! Now scram!”  Snow turned her back on the servant and smiled barring her fangs as she struggled not to giggle.
15 minutes later Snow was standing outside the Chantry. The city was waking up and the smell of dawn was ripping at her nostrils. A small cab with darkened windows was standing there waiting for her. She quickly jumped inn and handed the driver her address. The cab driver was a well groomed older man with a nice suit. Not your typical cab driver in El Paso Snow thought to herself. Peering thru the window she could see the red horizon over the buildings. “The rising of the red destruction” the old ones had called it. She could feel the hunger tearing at her. It was tempting for her to ask the cab driver to stop at the hunting ground, but there was no time. Snow could smell the blood from the driver. It filled the beast with lust and craving. She closed her eyes and focused the sensation away. When Snow reopened her eyes, the cab was pulling into the street of her building. Her eyes fell on his artery pulsating from the drivers’ neck. Fuck it, she thought to herself and reached into her book bag for something. As the driver turned around to inform her that they had arrived, Snow pulled out a steel ball and hit it across his head. If she would have hit him any harder his skull would have cracked open like a melon. Luckily his skull was intact, but he would feel that blow when he woke up. Snow leaned over and pierced her teeth into his neck, feeding on him until it was responsible to let go. She wiped her mouth and licked the wound shut. After a glance at what the meter said, she left the right amount of dollars in his hands and added a good amount of tip. Snow hurried her tiny body to her apartment and sealed the rising sun out from her widows. She dropped on the floor out of sheer exhaustion until her phone woke her the next night.
When Snow woke up the clock was already nine. She had slept too long and she had missed twelve calls, ten of them from Elisa Day and two from an unknown caller. Day was calling for the eleventh time when Snow finally managed to answer. The Primogen was not happy. It had been reported that Fame had been seen dressing as an iconic vampire figure, and obtaining a great amount of attention around himself. As a sponsor for the neonates, this was looking bad for Elisa. Since she had put the responsibility for them on Snow, she would now have to answer for this. Day also informed Snow of a new kindred that the neonates had welcomed into their group. Great, Snow thought to herself. Another whelp to the bizarre entourage.
-“What the hell! Are they picking up any riff raff we bump into now? I refuse to be responsible for another puppy” Snow heard her words came out a bit harsher than she intended. Day was quick to snap back.
-“You will not refuse shit! You will abide with what I tell you to do. I am not comfortable with your position here in El Paso, but I will adjust to the fact that you are. And if I can find a good use for you as long as you are here, I will make you work for your keep. Are we on the same page here Snow?
Snow bit down on her tongue hard and nodded. When she realized that she had not said anything thru the phone she quickly responded
-“Forgive me my Lady. I spoke out of place; it will not become a habit. The Malkavian will be spoken to and I will greet the newcomer as soon as I can find the time.
-“See to it that you do” Elisa said and added
-“But before you do, come down and see me. Your friends have been busy while you have been buried in books.”
Snow agreed and hung up the phone. She was now wondering if her new found friends where worth sticking out her neck for. She knew the Malkavian was trouble and he was stirring up a terrible mess around him that would eventually hurt her badly. The Gangrel was a ticking time bomb waiting to be activated, and when he did she should be miles away. Marcus the Nosferatu had acted as a true camarilla and had some chance to build himself a name in the nossie network. He could on the other hand become a great threat to her if he would turn against her, maybe more of a threat that even she could handle. She had taken precautions to prevent this from hurting her to bad, but it was still at threat.
She would at least head down and hear what Day had to report. Elisa Day updated Snow with what had happened the last couple of days. The reports showed that the entourage had been busy with personal agendas and that Fame was up to his usual menacing and conniving.  Snow felt that something terrible was brewing. They had had gotten themselves into something that was hard to get out of. Somebody had gotten their claw into them and was now playing them like puppets. She had to get a hold of them before it was too late. Who would be leading them now in her place? Oh my god she thought to herself and quickly found her phone. Her fingers ran down the names in her phone list and stopped at Fame. She hoped it was not too late. With Fame at the steering wheel who knows what kind of a mess they would be in.
The last few days had been interesting and eventful for Fame. He sort of liked the feeling of being in charge of the group. It gave him a thrill that even if he was the youngest kindred among them, they still listened to him and followed his lead. He had used the time well; taking advantage of that Snow was busy. She would probably never let this fly if she was around. Fame smiled as he thought of the surprises that were in store for Snow when she would return. He had seen her temper before and knew she would probably fly of the handle when she found out what was going on. It would be hilarious. Pedro had proven to be a valuable ally, while Marcus had listened to his words like a loyal pup. There was still something with Marcus that scared him. He was always lurking in the shadows, talking to his underground contacts. The fact that at any moment Marcus could rip his arms out of his sockets and slap him silly with them was more than a little disturbing. He would have to be careful with him, at least until he knew what he was whispering in the darkness. Fame had also taken in another newcomer to the city; a Toreador who had some rather sketchy company. They had taken him to their little group even if Marcus had questioned it. Snow would probably disagree too, but screw her and her conformist thinking, Fame thought.
They had recently made contact with Eustace; an old Setite who had been in this city longer than most. Eustace had made them an offer. They would do him a favor; in return they would get access to a hunting ground. They desperately needed a hunting ground and would almost do anything to get access to one. Out of all them, only Snow had access to a hunting ground since they came. It was getting hard for the others to stay well fed without one. The favor Eustace had asked of them was a political one. The city had several bridges connecting it to Juarez. These bridges have border control to prevent people and unwanted goods from passing the border. To be able to pass safely, you would either have to be lucky or have political pull thru influence. Vampires don’t usually get far on luck, so they focus more on influence. There was an election coming up, where the president of the board for the border controls would be decided.  The leading candidate was the one who currently had the position. A re-election was eminent the way it seemed now. Eustace plan was to mix it up a little and wanted somebody or anybody else to take that position. He did not care how it was handled; as long as the leading candidate didn’t hold the position. The election was only in a few days, so they had to act quickly if they wanted to please Eustace. The Setite had suggested that they keep the mission under wraps and not tell anybody what they were up to. That way it would be harder to direct any involvement towards them, once the deed was completed. He was interested in seeing how they would handle it, what kind of kindred where they? They decided to accept the offer and made sure not to tell anybody what they were up to. Each of them started researching the candidates and ways for them to deal with it. As they left they were almost relived that Lady Snow was not with them. First of all she would probably not approve of the mission, but more importantly the holy pictures and the fact that Eustace was involved in some holy sect would probably test her temper. They still remember what happened the last time she was confronted with someone with a strong religious belief. It did not end well for the other part.
Fame felt his phone vibrating in his back pocket. He reached for it and tapped the display screen to see who would be calling him. The screen displayed a caller ID picture of the Wicked Witch of the west from “The wizard of Oz” movie. He was wondering when she would call. Fame let the phone ring a while before answering it. His finger hit the answer button and answered with an exaggerated surprised tone.
-“Snow, where have you been? You missed out on all the fun.”
Snow was not happy on the other side of that phone. Fames smile got wider and wider as Snow confronted him with all the things that were reported on him. Lady Snow asked Fame to gather the gang and meet with her. The Malkavian agreed and set up a meeting at a bar hidden away in some remote street.
The bar was a rundown place with a few locals that were already wasted and could hardly keep their heads up. Uneven floors and ripped wallpaper almost seemed deliberately placed as an allover theme. Snow stepped lightly thru thw bar looking for a seat that was a little less stained than the rest of them. She gave Fame a squinted stare.
-“Wow Fame, you really outdid yourself here with finding a classy joint for us to meet up in” she said while wiping off one of the chairs. Fame kicked a stool so it slid nicely in front of one of the tables
-“Hey, you were the one that wanted to meet up. I was perfectly fine with having you on the other side of the phone. The way I see it, it is only fair that I get to choose the place, and I choose a place with soul. It may be some dying souls but still it feels like home. Besides, look around. Nobody here will remember that we were even here. Even the bartender looks out of it. That means you don’t have to brainfuck everybody here to believe we weren’t here. I am saving you a lot of work actually. You should probably be thanking me for being…”
Marcus cut him off before he could finish his monologue. He didn’t know if he was glad or worried that Snow had decided to meet up with them, but he was dying to find out. –“So why are we graced with an audience with the Lady?” His tone was sarcastic, but Snow was willing to ignore the tone and took it as a polite gesture. Fame dropped down on his chair like a sack of dirty laundry. He started to throw some stale peanuts in the air and tried to catch them with his mouth. The peanuts he had swiped from one of the other patrons who had passed out right before they arrived. He would not miss them anyway; they might even have been there from way before. Pedro chose not to sit; he found his place at the end of the table standing with his arms crossed. He gave Snow a welcoming nod, but said nothing. Marcus found the darkest corner near the table and sat down while melding in with the shadows. Snow leaned back, and started to let her guard down. She had carefully analyzed the area to make sure that the place was safe. There were no other kindred here except for them.  More importantly there were no Lupines around, which was her first concern when she saw the place. She had stepped in to a Lupine dive once before and this looked very similar. As she leaned back her eyes fell on her fellow kindred. The quiet little Mexican with the short temper, a pasty British boy with dyed hair and the mysterious beast wrapped in shadows. What a bunch she thought and smiled. Her eyes then fell on another vampire. A young looking man with fair blond hair down to his shoulders was standing behind Pedro.  His emerald green eyes reflected the dim lights from the bar and shined like little lanterns. He had pale smooth skin that gave of a faint glow. Snow could see that he was a man who took very well care of himself and groomed himself thoroughly. Everything from his well combed hair to his perfectly filed long fingernails screamed flamboyance, that or of the Toreador clan. Of course being one usually meant being the other, she thought.
-“Well, who is this cute little thing?” Snow asked looking at all of them.
-“Is this the stray dog you opened your arm to and accepted into the group, no questions asked?” she continued.
Marcus raised his hands and shook his head, giving her the signal it was not his doing. Fame hadn’t paid attention at all; he was hitting a new personal record in his little peanut trick. Pedros arms uncrossed and reached behind him to grab the newcomer.
-“Introduce yourself so we can get the fuck out of here, it smells like sweaty nutsack in here, and not the good kind.” He said as pulled the boy in front of him.
The young man bowed gracefully and kissed Lady Snows hand as he introduced himself.
-“My lady, I am Lustrie of the Toreador Clan. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I look forward to working with you.” The Toreador leaned back and assumed his graceful stance.
Lady Snow looked around at the others as if she was expecting them to reveal that it was all a prank.
-“Wow, you had the little pup trained. How amusing...” Her eyes shifted towards Lustrie.
-“..Working with us? Is that what you said?” She leaned forward, staring him deeper in the eyes.
-“I didn’t know we were hiring.” She added while skewing at the others.
Pedro crossed his arms again and stared right back at Snow.
-“I didn’t know we were running things like a business now” he replied. “Are we on a payroll that I don’t know off?”
His sarcastic disrespectful tone pissed her off immensely, but she could deal with it later.
-“You are missing the point here. You see Lustrie, everybody here serves a part, a role if you will… Fame here for example serves as the groups’ pain in the ass, but also has the marvelous ability to notice details that the normal eye can’t. That makes him valuable. Marcus here could do well as a scarecrow, but he also seems to be able to stay unseen and dig up a lot of useful information. That makes him valuable. The fresh mouthed little Mexican here, is our cheap labor. He also possesses the ability to scare little children and beat the shit out of snot-nosed fuck-heads. That makes him valuable. I function as the loud mouthed bitch that screams and causes all the drama, but I also make sure that thing get fucking done. That makes me valuable. Now we have you, a pretty boy who can flash his gleaming eyes and do something really artsy. You see Lustrie, we do not need a fiddler on the roof. That makes you…”
-“..A gunslinger!” Fame interrupted. His was still focusing on his little trick.
Lustries face hardened by Fames comment. He was wondering how he could possible know that he was good with guns. The Toreador had never mentioned it to them before and he was not carrying any guns at the moment. He was about to ask how he could possibly know, but Snow beat him to it.
-“What are you talking about? Are you even in this conversation or was that comment meant for somebody else?” Snow was annoyed at the interruption but also curious.
Fames hand pointed loosely toward Lustrie while still looking up while he flickered the peanuts into his mouth. Three of them flew through the air and all landed in his mouth. He started chewing with an open mouth before finally answering.
-“His fingers…  Look at his fingers. He has trigger fingers. He is obviously a gunslinger”
Lustrie nodded with an impressed expression on his face.
Snow had to admit that she was impressed. Impressed and frustrated that she could did not see it. She pointed towards Fame and nodded her head.
-“See…? Valuable, and at the same time annoying. Now that is a god damn gift.” Snows tone got softer.
-“Well…” She continued and turned towards Lustrie “We don’t have a gunslinger. I am not sure if we need one, but we might.”
She leaned back in her chair.
-“I might be a bitch. Any of these men here will tell you that, but I am a reasonable bitch. If you can prove yourself to be half as good as these guys, there might actually be a future for you here.”
“-You will not be disappointed my Lady” Lustrie replied with a smug smile on his face.
Marcus started to get impatient and hinted on that they should move soon. Snow agreed and continued with her real agenda for meeting them; what have they been doing? They told her how Eustace had made them a deal that if they made sure that Conway did not win the election they would get access to a hunting ground. Snow was informed that they still hadn’t acted and was still just investigating and planning what and how they would do it. The neonates had been stealthy in their approach so that no one could tie them to anything that would affect the election. If in fact they had not acted yet, then she was relived. However, she was not certain that everything was as it should be. This whole deal stank. There was something here that they either didn’t know or was not telling her. She understood that they were desperate for a hunting ground, but what they were about to do she could not be a part of. Snow made it clear that whatever they did now could make them very unpopular with certain people in the city. A deal with a Setite usually never ended well for the other part. Sadly Snow realized that if they did anything that went against the Camarilla way, she herself would have to hunt them down and destroy them. She made sure to inform them of that and to be careful with what their next actions were.  The group decided to try and get Conway eliminated from the election and avoid to try and harm him. Snow told them that she would go and talk to Eustace and try to get to the bottom of this and see what his intentions are. She made sure that Lustrie came with her. Lustrie had been there with the others before and knew where to go. As they approached Snow felt uneasy, the Setite was protected by some sort of religious cult. They decided to let them in when they saw Lustrie. They remembered him from earlier and knew that he had dealings with Eustace. They walked thru a corridor with large pictures of Adam and Eve and other religious relics. Snow had heard a about this cult before, it was started somewhere in Europe. Germany to be more precise. She had little patience with fanatic lunatics belonging to some crazed order, but she would have to bite her teeth together and control herself for now. Eustace welcomed them and introduced himself to Snow. Snow did not hesitate to get down to business. She started to interrogate him and what his gain in this was. His coy response worried Snow. Eustace told her that he was interested to see what they would do. She could see now that there was something that he was not telling her. Eustace smiled when he saw her worried expression.
-“They did well” he said with smug smile.”Not very discreet or imaginative, but it did get the job done.”
Her eyes immediately fell on Lustrie. He looked as surprised as she was. Eustace continued with telling them that he saw the news where they had found Conway beaten to death. Snow composed herself as well as she could. She felt worried by this and disappointed. Most of all she felt angry. There had been a lot of that lately. Soon or later she would have to let that anger out, but not here, not now.
-“Any witnesses?” she asked Eustace and bit her under lip. He shook his head and replied that he had not heard of any witnesses yet. Snow knew there was always a witness, no matter what. One would just know where to look. Lady Snow knew where to look. She was only worried if somebody else also knew, had beaten her to it. Snow gave a long hard stare at Lustrie. A million thoughts ran thru her head. The little voice in her head screamed at her to get out while she was still uninvolved, to leave this mess while she still could. She decided to ignore that voice for now, even if every bone in her body told her otherwise. Her head turned towards the Setite again.
-“Excuse me Eustace” she said “Thank you for meeting with me, but I have some urgent matters to attend to.” She bowed gracefully and spun around on her heel. Before she managed to take her first step Eustace intercepted her with a question.
-“Tell me my precious Lady Snow, what do you think of my chambers? Do you like the art?”
Snow froze at the question. She knew where he was going with this, and it worried her that he somehow knew how to agitate her. The Tremere managed to compose herself before she answered.
-“It reminds me of my childhood home” She replied with stone like face. The Setite was smiling as he fired his follow-up question.
-“So does that mean that you are a God fearing woman?” His serpent eyes stared motionless at her, without blinking. It freaked her out. Lustrie was trying not to look at anything in the room and stared endlessly at the floor, making sure not to make eye contact with the serpent eyed kindred. His master had told him enough about the clan of the Followers of Set that he knew what not to do in the presence of one. Snows memory quickly reminded her of the same lesson and her eyes immediately shifted from Eustuces gaze.
-“I never said that I was a God fearing woman or where my beliefs lie. My family was strict catholic, so my upbringing was accordingly.” Her stone like face changed into a flirty smile. –“If you want to discuss religion and talk about that little Jesus club you’re in, I am yours. You will have to make an appointment however, because right now I have pressing matters to attend. Farewell Eustuce” She turned and left with hasty steps. Lustrie bowed before the Setite before following her. Snow grabbed her phone and hit the speed dial. She signaled to the Toreador that it was a private call, so he gave her some space. Lustrie used that time to make a phone call for himself.
They met with each other after a few minutes and continued to meet the others. Suddenly Snow stopped dead in her track as if she sensed something. The Toreador stopped behind her and sharpened his senses to see if there was something he had missed. He felt nothing out of order, but there was something unsettling about Snow. She turned slowly towards him and stared him deep in the eyes.  Her hand lifted slowly and started to caress his face as she started to speak.
-“Listen Lustrie! I don’t know what your intentions are and I don’t trust you for shit” Her fingers moved to his hair as her fingers started to spin the hair around her index finger. “I don’t know where this will end, but I do know that things will start to be complicated from here on.” Her other hand reached for his face and moved to the back of his head caressing him gently as her face moved closer to his.-”So know this my pretty little fiddler. That when the shit hits the fan I better not find out that you are in league with the shit throwers.” Her voice lowered as their faces was inches from touching –“Cause if anything happens to the others, and I find out that you are at fault, nothing in this world will save you from my wrath” Her lips moved towards his lips ready to kiss him, but with a hard pull they moved to his ear as she whispered –“Whatever you do to them, you do to me. If they are harmed in any way, I will rip your throat out and feed it to the dogs.” Her hands let go as she calmly moved away with a smile on her face. Lustrie was unsure what had just transpired. What he did understand was that Lady Snow might be crazier than Fame, which was scary because she seemed normal. The other thing he saw and that surprised him was how protective she was of the others. Why did she care what happened to them? More importantly how would one go about to gain such protection?
Fame and Pedro had gone off together while Marcus had gone to his own contacts. They were all careful not to speak to much about what they were doing, which was a smart move, since this city has ears and eyes in high and low places. They could see that there was some tension in Lustrie and Snows face when they arrived. They informed the rest of the group of what the Setite had told them. They all acted surprised by the news, and started to eye each other out to see if any of them were involved. The tension grew thicker as the air went silent. Snow would get to the bottom of this no matter what. This would come back and kick them in the ass. She knew that whatever the Setite gained from this was lost from somebody else.  Snow asked them all if they were involved in the murder, because if they were, they would have to speak out now. Nobody responded. The Tremere located where the closest morgue was located and had Marcus and Fame find the blueprints of the building. It was no problem for them to get the information needed. Snow wanted to see and inspect the body to find out what had happened and see if he was marked by the Camarilla. Fame drove them all to the morgue, but waited in the car together with Pedro. Marcus, Snow and Lustire walked towards the entrance to the morgue. They had laid a plan that Lustrie and Snow would pose as a pathologist and investigator. If they could not convince the guards then Marcus would slip inside unseen while the others distracted the guard. The guard that met them was a young man with dark perfect skin. Neon lights reflected from the sweat dripping from his forehead. It was a hot night and he was not used to having people coming up to him during the nightshift. Lustrie could see that he was pretty new at this job and did not have a lot of experience. That was something he could use. He was however experienced enough to ask for credentials when they presented themselves. Snow gave Marcus the sign to start sneaking himself inside as she realized that this might not work. That was when Lustrie took control over the conversation. His voice softened and his eyes shimmered with a beautiful glare.
-“Listen..” he started and looked quicly at the nametag on the guards chest. It said Lawrence on it with big blue letters.
-“…Lawrence, we just got called in the middle of the night to come look at this body. Dr. Monroe here had to travel from across the state to get here. Neither of us had time to pack anything. Now my boss said he would call you and inform you, but if I know him right he is probably leaning over an empty bottle of Jack Daniels about now. I see you are a man that knows his job well. The thing is that if you don’t let us in you are actually obstructing an investigation and a man of the law. If my boss finds out that we did not get to do our job, because you denied us access… Well, you get the picture don’t you Lawrence? I would hate to see a bright young man ruining his career because a stupid mishap like that.”
Lawrence look into Lustries eyes. He could not tear himself from looking at Lustrie. His words sounded so reasonable and he felt an urge to do as the man had said. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to please him. Lawrence reached for his walkie-talkie
“I am sorry sir, I will let you inn, but I just need to check with my supervisor. Just to make sure” His voice was nervous and unsecure. Lustrie caught the signs and acted immediately.
“Lawrence, look at me. Can you picture yourself one day being where I am today?” Lustries voice was still soft and gentle. Lawrence nodded carefully.
“Do you think I got where I am today by second guessing myself and my decisions? If you don’t trust your own choices, why should anybody else trust them? Do really need to check with somebody else to do your job?
Lawrence finger moved away from the call button on the radio. The words from the investigator seemed reasonable to him.
-“No, I guess not” he finally replied. -“But, I have to ask you to sign in here. Everybody has to…”
-“No problem Lawrence” Snow interrupted and signed in together with Lustrie.
Lawrence showed them where Conways body was lying and left them alone. Snow gave Lustrie a look the moment Lawrence closed the door and left.
-“That was some impressive display of bullshitting back there. Bullshitting of that caliber could prove useful.” She said while smiling at him.
-“Would you say bullshitting of that caliber is VALUABLE?” he quickly responded. Snow started to laugh before she controlled herself and replied.
-“If you are as quick with your guns as you are with your tongue, you just might be, Fiddler. You just might be.” She could not hide her smile from him, and Lustrie returned it with a smirk. He had found a way bypass her hardened personal wall. That could be useful later.
Snow and Lustrie proceeded with their mission and performed an autopsy. The result showed little, but it was clear that he was beaten to death and had suffered heavy trauma to the head. There were no punctures on his skin and he wore no markings of the Camarilla. At least he was no retainer, but he could still be paid for by one of the Primogen. Lustrie could see that Lady Snow knew what she was doing, she had skill with this sort of thing. He watched her as she flipped the body with ease over on his stomach, and then to his back again. She was a lot stronger than her petite body showed. They were getting ready to leave, when Snow froze. It was as if she realized something that had spooked her. She leaned over Conways head and opened his eyelids to reveal his eyes. Lustrie observed as Snow stared deep into his dead eyes. He felt a weird discomfort as he saw Snows face freeze while staring at Conways eyes. What did she see there that had made her so uneasy? Snow snapped out of it quickly sealed Conways eyes and covered the body.
-“Come on Lustrie, we have to move” she said and they left the morgue with hasty steps. The sun was a few hours away from rising. Snow told them to all go to their haven and get some rest before the next night. They would need it when they would meet with Eustuce and claim their reward.
Marcus was restless. He was uncertain what would happen the next night. Had they acted to quickly and taken the mission from Eustace without considering the consequences? What were Snows true intentions? Had Fame mislead them? If this would blow up in their face would Lady Snow leave them and turn on them, or would she back them up? The questions looped thru his head as the rising sun forced him into slumber.
When the sun disappeared behind the horizon the air was still thick and hot. It had been an extremely hot day and the pavement was still burning hot. Pedro woke up with a great hunger for blood. It was hard to find nourishments in the city without a hunting ground. He had not been well fed in months, and he could feel the beast scratching underneath his skin. The beasts’ strength was getting stronger and stronger for each day. Pedro embraced the beast when it came, but knew that if this continued this way, he would lose control, become feeble and an easy prey. That was something he would not allow. He looked himself hard in the mirror. His face was paler than usual and his skin was stretched and worn out. Pedro started to think what this day had in store and how it could end. If Snow was right and Eustace had set them up, the Setite would pay dearly. There was also an issue with his group. He knew that things would change soon. It would only be a matter of time until she found out what was going on, and all hell would break loose. The question he was asking himself was now was: where would he be when it happened? Would he idly stand by and watch, or would he intervene and stop it. If anybody had the pure force to do it, it would be him.
Snow was in the middle of one of her rituals when somebody knocked on her door. She ignored it and continued her ritual, if she stopped now she would have to start all over. The knocking continued, harder and harder.
–“Puta de Hijo” she cried out and got up, making sure to put a robe on her naked body before approaching the door.
-“Who is it?” Snow enquired
-UPS Miss” It was the voice of a young man “I have a package here for a Miss Marceline Arroyo, but I couldn’t find any name on the door. The number seems correct, is that you miss?” Snow stepped back from the door. Who would call her Marceline she thought. She was looking for the quickest escape route in case this was what she thought it was. Then she remembered something, someone who would call her by that name.
“Where is the package from?”
-“It’s an international package miss… from Europe I think” She could hear in his voice that he was annoyed that she hadn’t opened the door yet. Snow lowered her shoulders and moved towards the door again. She thought she knew what this was if it came from Europe. The Tremere made a sign with her hand and waved it in a circle. It would be a bad idea to open that door with her security ward still active. As the door unlocked she saw a short stumpy man with glasses holding a rather big package.
-“Please sign here miss” She quickly signed the tablet he was holding, grabbed the package and closed the door behind her. The package fell heavy on her ritual table. She grabbed her ritual dagger and sliced the top of the box open. Under all the wrapping she found what she was looking for. “Espina” Her trusted blade. She picked it up and unsheathed it. It felt great to hold it again. The handle was made of bone and looked like a piece of a spine. The blade was thin and light. A perfect katana blade made specifically for her by her sire. The blade was pure white and looked liked it was carved from bone.
-“Soon, my dear Espina, you will taste the blood of kindred again” she spoke to like it was a child, like the blade was alive. –“For now however, you must rest and let me deal with something and prepare for your bloodshed.”
She put Espina aside and looked further down in her package. There where books on cults and religious inquisitions, several talismans and some dark red beads the size of golf balls. In the bottom was another box. It was a beautiful dark wooden box with wolfs howling at two moons carved into it. Snow carefully opened it. Two silver daggers revealed themselves under a cover of a red velvet cloth. –“My dear Luna Gemelos, I really hope I don’t have to use you girls anytime soon.” She said and closed the box again, as if she was frightened of them. Her alarm on the phone went off. It was late and she was supposed to meet the others to go see Eustace.
Marcus looked at the clock when Snow finally arrived, shaking his head. He had been the first one there and was getting tired of waiting around. They did not say much to each other on their way to Eustace. Something dawned on Snow as they quietly walked towards the Setite. They were slipping apart as a group, if they ever were one from the start. Something was dividing them. It could be her fault. She could be making them paranoid and unsecure with her outburst and behavior. Before she could give it more thought, they arrived at their destination. They were quickly led into Eustace quarters. He was smiling when he saw them, clapping his hands as they approached. Snow walked in the background and held herself in the back, distancing herself from others. Eustace gave her a victorious smile as if she had just lost a contest with him. His eyes then moved back to the others as he spoke
-“Congratulations, you came thru and solved the task. You held your part, no I will hold my part. Feel free to use my hunting grounds….”
His words where silenced by a loud spectacle in the corridors. The doors burst open and a well dressed man stormed into the room. He was followed by a group of other men with guns.
-“Eustuce, you little fucker” he yelled “I know you are behind this”
Eustuce opened his arms as if to greet him. –“Holger, please sit down and relax…” The man interrupted him and pointet towards Marcus and the others.
-“let me guess, you used these goons to do it?” He gave his armed men a signal and they moved towards the group. They pointed their guns towards their heads and surrounded them. Snow, who was standing in the background, readied herself, analyzing the armed men and focused hard on their blood. This was what she feared would happened. This was the place and situation she did not want to be in. She knew who the well-dressed man was. Holger Stein, a Primogen of the Ventrue bloodline. A man of influence and power.
Holger Stein looked at Fame as continued to yell –“Big mistake guys. You have fucked with the wrong person this time. Prepare to be seriously….”
Eustace interrupted him before he could finish. -“Holger, take it easy. They work for me now, I made them do it. It’s not a big deal, I reimburse your loss. Conway was done regardless, he can easily be replaced by someone else. Someone better.” He smiled at Holger barring his fangs. “Tell  your dogs to back down and we will settle this later” he continued.
Holger gave the men a signal to back down. He gave Lustrie a harsh look. –“You guys better step very carefully from now on, because if I get my hands on you, you will be sorry.” He turned towards Eustace –“You owe me big for this Eustace, remember that!”
-“Actually, I believe this makes us even” The Setite replied coy.
Holger rushed out cursing under his breath. Eustace suggested that the others probably should leave as well. Snow stayed behind waiting until everybody left and only her and Eustace was left.
-“Lady Snow, consider yourself relieved of duty. From now on they will work for me. You may leave. Unless you also want to work for me?”
“You couldn’t handle me Eustace, trust me.” She replied as she moved towards the door. “You may think that you are done with me, but I am not done with you”
The others were waiting outside. Marcus looked at her with those dark beady eyes. He was not happy with the situation. Fame did not seem to care much at all, or maybe he had a plan laid out already. Pedro was looking at Fame waiting for him to say something, but no words came. Snow had no words either, she was to far inside her own mind. What should she do now? Should she back out now, while she could? Leave them to themselves, let the night of El Paso deal with them as it seemed fit and let them be torn apart by the political struggle of bureaucratic kindred fighting for power? Or should she stand her ground together with them, jeopardize everything she had been fighting so hard to achieve, and help them survive the mess they had started? The smart choice was obvious. She knew what her Sire would do, if he was still around. The reason that he was no longer there with her was because he did not make the smart choice, but the moral one. It would take a lot of resources to keep Holger away from them now, a lot of effort and a lot of goodwill. Where these neonates really worth it? How did she know they would not turn on her? Some of them where well on their way already. The temptation to vanish from the face of the earth, like she had done so many times before, grew stronger. The easy way out that had made her loose so much. It had been years since she had fought for someone, fought for anything except herself. She gave them one last look before she made up her mind. Before she turned her back to them and walked away she told them that no matter what happened now, they would have two choices: Stick together or die alone.