Hartford

Hartford: Thirty-sixth session: Amir

(1)

Mark and I told Rhea about the incident with Tamas and Rebeka, when, as we suspected, Tamas wanted to feed on her. Apparently, it was more than a suspicion; Mark said that Tamas confessed to him of wanting to do just that, although Mark thinks he won’t try it again. Rhea, however, got quite concerned when she heard the news. She was the one who ghouled Rebeka, after all.

I used the opportunity to ask Mark about the topic of his conversation with Tamas. No, i’m not being suspicious. I just thought that maybe Mark had an interesting plan to… Ok, fine, I was totally suspicious; sometimes I surprise even myself with the amounts of distrust I have towards a person who has done so much for me. Mark told us he wanted Tamas to join Ordo Dracul, which seemed like a creative way to make Tamas obey him… I wonder, if he agrees to join, is Mark going to interrogate him right away? Oh yes, that really sounds like Mark.

Also, I brought up the questions of wanting to get some lab equipment. Rhea asked for a list of items I needed, Mark added some things to the list as well, and Rhea told us she’d ask around. Not only can this equipment be useful for the clinic, I might even use it for my research in Ordo Dracul.

Rhea elaborated on the deal with her mafia, erm, friends, saying that they would use some of the facility for their needs, not all of which might be legal. But when you really think about it, is anything we vampires do legal? Sure, keeping the masquerade around mortals will be a bit trickier, but then again, they’ll have their secrets, we’ll have ours, so I’m sure both parties will appreciate the mind-your-own-business policy. Rhea assured us that such a policy was automatically implied, so all we needed to figure out was how prevent any accidental discoveries, a solution to which could be locking our part of the building.

(2)

Mark invited us to see Tamas and once again we found him without Arshad. It’s like the two of them have different agendas. Or one of them is a decoy, while the other is, well, doing whatever they came here to do. Tamas had the Latin book with him and he asked us if we could help him study. Mark and I agreed and we spent some time tutoring our Indian friend. It reminded me of the times when I was studying Latin with Evelina. Or the times I was doing homework with Kate back in highschool. There’s something about studying with someone. It’s fun, useful, but not only that; it can be personal, intimate – a special form of bonding. Until now I only shared this experience with the closest of friends. And now it’s Tamas. It’s just… It feels a little weird. I know we need to befriend him, but teaching Tamas Latin felt like he was invading my privacy.

After the “lesson” Rhea asked Tamas to tell us something about his clan. I asked Tamas what the name of their clan meant, but he said he didn’t know. Maybe it is of Semitic origin after all…

(3)

Today we finally did what we should have a month ago – we familiarized Rebeka with all the vampires in the kiddie pool (or at least the ones we managed to find). Rhea obfuscated Rebeka so that we wouldn’t attract too much attention. During our “tour”, just when I started wondering where Albert had gone to, we saw him walking with Tina. Figures.

The other thing that caught my eye was Barbara talking to Arshad. He didn’t strike me as a chatty type, so he had to be there for a reason…

(4)

Tamas came to the clinic for another Latin lesson and I once again assisted Mark. After the lesson he informed Mark that he had decided to join Ordo Dracul. Looks like Mark’s little pyramid scheme is increasing. Rhea invited Tamas for another friendly spar, and Mark and I watched them fight.

After the fight, Rhea asked more questions about his clan. He described the powers of the clan, one of which was rather curious. The ability to see into the future, he said. That can’t be possible, but then again I’ve seen a lot of impossible things happen in my brief unlife. There’s only one way to find out, I guess. We just need a DeLorean and we’re good to go. If only mom had gotten one instead of that Challenger, who knows how my life would have turned? Speaking seriously though, we don’t know how that power works. Maybe they see one of the possible futures and not a definite one. And for all we knew, he could’ve lied. What if his real power is extraordinary deception skills? Rhea was comparing his powers to her own and she told him about Obfuscate. He found the power to be quite useful (obviously) and they agreed to teach each other in the future.

(5)

I like walking around the city, it helps me think about things, helps me relax. I used to treat myself to a hot bath with bath salts and oils to do just that, but now that it’s out of the question, I have to do with walking. While contemplating my existence, I heard a scream, which was coming from a house nearby. I looked through the window and saw a woman kneeling on the floor, all beaten up. I saw the abuser standing near her. Then he walked towards the fridge and took out a beer. I knocked on the window to get his attention and when he noticed me, I made him believe he was afraid of me so much he didn’t want to disobey me. I told him to let me inside the house, but I didn’t really think that one through. I wanted to say something really smart and meaningful, but I just told him never to do what he did again. Yes, he was scared, but he sure deserved the scare. Besides, a little spook won’t hurt him, plus who know? Maybe being in a position of a victim might make him a bit more humble.

(6)

Mark, Rhea and I were encountered by Katerina. We hadn’t spoken in a while, so it was really nice to see her. She told us she was accepted into the Circle and wanted to invite us to her initiation party. I thought it was the kind of distraction our coterie needed, plus she told us there would be people from the circle, so I might see some familiar faces.

(7)

Tamas visited us once again, this time accompanied by Arshad. I had a hunch they weren’t there for a Latin lesson. They told us they wanted to take the diner away from Daniel and they could use our help. An opportunity to fight Daniel was something I couldn’t just turn down. I hate his pseudo noble attitude against mental powers like dominate, when in reality he himself was nothing but a bully. Plus such alliance would strengthen our ties with Tamas and Arshad, which was necessary to succeed in the task Edmund had given us. The problem was Mark. He had a vinculum for that bastard; I wondered how all that would affect him. He reassured us that he was fine, although I suspected it wasn’t necessarily true. Arshad said he wanted to fight Daniel and Emersonas, and Mark volunteered to take care of Jenny and Kendal leaving Rhea and me with Zacharajus. Rhea and Arshad chose a place for an ambush and it seemed we were all set.

(8)

That evening I felt like visiting Felix. I found him in the usual place. I told Felix about Katerina’s party and he said that I was celebrating my friend’s “loss of freedom”. Although I agreed with him, I told him that I respected my friend’s choice and I was happy for her. What I didn’t tell him was that I myself had joined a covenant. I didn’t know how he’d react to the news, and I didn’t want to ruin his already poor opinion of me (judging from our previous conversations he must think I’m completely stupid by now).

He told me he was unaligned, which didn’t really surprise me. I asked him which covenant he hated the most and he named Lancea et Sanctum and Ordo Dracul. Oh. I asked him why he hated Ordo and he said it was because they experimented on people. Mark didn’t mention that… I wonder what else he decided to conveniently leave out. A part of me didn’t want to believe it (plus, who knows, maybe Felix just heard some rumors spread by fanatics like the Sanctified), but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. I said that maybe only some of the Dragons were doing that, although the answer came to me before he even said it. Why would they risk their own unlife? was Felix’s reply. And he was right – why would they? There aren’t many kindred that I know who genuinely care about the wellbeing of humans.

Despite the soundness of such reasoning, there was a part of me that (for some reason) wanted to defend the covenant (although I suspect it might have been due to a very human trait of not wanting to admit to having made a bad decision). Ordo Dracul (at least as I see it) is about research and self-betterment, yet now it seems that the said self-betterment comes with a price…

(9)

I talked to Rhea about the equipment once again. She made a call and told me that it would be really expensive. I told her the equipment could wait until we got the clinic running.

(10)

I went to see Felix again this week and he remarked that my visits had become rather frequent. I told him I liked his company and he said that it was the first time he heard someone say that. I know he’s grumpy and reserved, but surely that couldn’t be right. I asked why and he told me that not many want to talk to the monster who lived in a river. I told him I was a monster who lived in a dungeon, hoping that it would make him at least smile. I know I’m the one to talk (when my own coterie haven’t seen me smile), but for some reason I want to see him happy. My “dungeon confession” got his interest and I told him about the clinic – how Rhea and I took it away from a maniac (and possible cannibal) who chopped people to pieces, and made it our home (which doesn’t sound very homely when I put it that way). He said that the maniac wasn’t very different from us (oh, so he’s better that Ordo, but not better than a sadistic cannibal? Make up your mind, damn you!). I tried to argue that vampires weren’t necessarily violent, but then he brought up the beast and I realized how little control we sometimes have over our own actions… I guess deep down I agreed with him, just didn’t want to admit it.

I decided to change the topic, so I told him that I used to live in a crypt. I asked him where he used to live with his old coterie, and he told me they had a place, but then one of his friends (and I quote) “fucked him over”. I asked him if that was the reason why he was so skeptical of friendship, and he said yes. Ever since we had that first talk about broken up coteries I was worried (almost to the point of paranoia) that my friends will leave me the moment we become citizens, and this story didn’t help either. I asked him if he still kept in touch with the other friend and he said she didn’t care about him. I know it sounds really cheesy, but I care about him. Perhaps too much than I should.

(11)

Another evening, another feeding. I really hate doing this and hate myself even more for enjoying it. It makes no sense when I say it like that, but then again, my life makes no sense. I find a man near a house. He was probably going home from work. I do the usual – create an illusion, scare him towards me, grab him and… This time I was careless. I didn’t notice that the front door was open, and I was so encapsulated by the blood that I almost missed the scream. When I stopped the man was already unconscious. I saw Rhea by the door, motioning me to get in. Then she took the man and dragged him inside. There was a girl sitting on the floor and crying. A family member… a witness. Rhea put the man on the couch and asked me if I could do anything about the girl. I didn’t have much time to think. I made her believe it was all just a dream, no, a nightmare. I remember being quite specific. Rhea bit her and drank her to unconsciousness and then we brought her upstairs. Rhea suggested dressing her into a nightgown, so hopefully, when she woke up the next day, it would all seem like a bad dream.

It wasn’t the first time I hurt someone while feeding, but this time I felt really bad about it. It was like a wave of remorse hit me in the face. A most unpleasant sensation. Oh, no no, unpleasant is having to listen to your grandmother criticize your mother at the dinner table. This? This was devastating.

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Hartford: Thirty-sixth session: Rhea

The weekly mail: As always, had gone to check the mail. I was expecting a letter from Nicolas… I didn’t know if he’d send me a book, or a simple „no“, but I never expected to gain an invitation. The letter I got was a semi-official looking invitation to the black library of Lancea et Sanctum. I was expected to go under the Founder’s bridge in the early morning of a set day, and be ready to spend the night. Needless to say I was quite excited.

The big talk: One day Amir, Mark, Albert and I got to talking, Amir complained about our lack of scientific equipment,to which I said that I’d look into it, If he were to give me a list of the stuff he needs. After Amir‘s list was compiled Mark added a few things of his own. I had to add quite a few explanations to myself on the equipment they requested, but it was finally done. One thing I knew without a doubt, my meager earnings from pickpocketing and burglary won’t cut it any time soon…

When I had a chance, I told them about what kind of deal I offered my mafia contracts… They were acceptant of the loss of space,and the illegal activities of my peers. Their only concern was that our „staff“ may catch us while we slept, but if we make it clear that there should be no entry into the lower rooms I think we’ll continue to co-operate on strict don’t ask don’t tell protocols, and all will be fine.

They also mentioned that they had recently found Tamas talking to Rebeka and that it seemed very likely that she was about to become his lunch… I almost facepalmed myself, how could I be so careless… I told everybody that to prevent at least some of the potential risk to her I should show her around, so she would recognise the local predators at least.

Mark goes teaching: One day Mark invited us to go look for Tamas. We found him reading the book on latin, that apparently Mark and Amir gave him to ease his learning of a new language. He asked Us for help and those of us who knew latin jumped at the chance. Since I knew squat, I decided to listen in and pick up a few pointers myself.

When the lecture was done, we talked a bit about them and their clan. The origin stories they told were far from what I had heard, and somehow they seemed a bit less like my blood brothers…

After all the talking Tamas thanked us for the lecture and talk, and expressed his wish to be taught further. He also mentioned that he wishes to improve his combat abilities, to which I offered my assistance… We agreed that he’d come to the clinic some other day for help with both latin and combat.

Amir’s feeding:Amir asked for my help whilst feeding. I of course accepted… At least this way I can limit the amount of dead bodies to hide and I help my friends not to slip further towards the beast within.

While I was a lookout, Amir scared a guy going towards his house into running towards him and sank his fangs. Before I could even blink we heard a scream from within the house. I instinctively obfuscated myself, and trying not to open the door wider slipped inside. There was a girl, crawling in the back of the corridor… SHIT… I listened in to hear if anyone else is coming and then slipped out. Amir was done with his meal so I dragged him in telling him to do something about the girl, like make her think this was a dream or something… while he spooked the girl, I dragged the father in and dropped him on the couch. Once the girl was shivering next to Amir who told her this was all a nightmare, I snuck up on her and bit down. Once she passed out, į dragged her to what I thought was her room (it’s never too hard to identify the girl’s room in the house…) I changed her into her Pjs and put her to bed… I hated myself for doing this, but I think it was the only way to make this work…

While walking away from the place Amir looked somewhat worried… I’ll have to ask him about that later.

Rebeka gets a tour: As decided we (Amir and I, ‘cause Mark and Albert had better things to do) offered Rebeka a tour of this part of town. When she asked what kind of tour this would be, I told her that for her own safety, she should be able to identify at least the local vampires, and know which of them to fear more than the rest. I also told her that during this tour I’d hide her, so she would be otherwise unidentifiable.

Walking through the kiddiepool we were able to show her almost all the local residence and talk a bit about them. We gave Rebeka the rundown of those who are social and may try to talk their way to her neck, those who could mindfuck her, and those who would simply attack (or at least which was most likely from our experience). We even managed to show her several of the hounds, and inform her of their post…

After the tour, I didn’t know about Rebeka, but at least I felt a little more safe about her.

Tamas comes for round two: Tamas came around one night. He was ready for some lessons… First Amir,Mark and him sat down for some latin. I tried to listen in, but all that seemed rather boring, so I spaced… Somewhere next to an hour later they snapped me out of my day dreaming (or in this case night dreaming I guess), and he invited me to a friendly spar.

We fought for a while, and after that he told me more about his clan. It seems they do not posses the ability to obfuscate, but rather know some strange ability to see the glimpses of the future. I was really intrigued with this strange power of the blood, and he was intrigued with my obfuscation. I offered a trade and he seemed rather interested.

Gone to church: Like every Sunday I went to church. I was there before the sermon, so I took the opportunity to try and convince Giliana to let me out… I told her about how suspicious the clinic looks, with shady characters walking in and out only at night, and how moving out was no better, it would have only moved the problem instead of solving it, and so on… She seemed somewhat convinced, but still not certain. I guessed another push was in order…

Katerina is lost: One night we ran into Katerina. She seemed almost ecstatic, and she told us why… It would seem she has fully joined the circle and wanted to invite us to a party in her honour… She saw the disappointment in my eyes, I had no wish to participate in this, but she was a friend, and even though lost for now I still hoped that wayward daughter would return, so I accepted.

After that she told us she heard rumors about the fight between Theodore and Rosie. She of course blamed the somewhat fanatical Rosie for the whole thing, but I told her we were there and that Theo, with his enchanted knife, was no saint in that situation as well…

She also talked about how she hadn’t yet had the chance to give the book back to Tina (that almost put a smile to my face… I still hoped everything would go smoothly for Katerina, but I still thought that however that goes, I move out the victor…)

The great beatdown (invitation): We received a surprise visit to the clinic this week.Tamas and Arshad knocked on our door and once inside they gave us an offer we could not refuse. They said we were the only real friends they found in the kiddiepool and offered us to join them as they get themselves and us some land from Daniel.

I told them that I am currently feeding off lands that technically belong toDaniel , to which they only said so lets take those too… It seemed we all agreed, but we said that Daniel himself will be Arshad’s responsibility.

We later took time to devise a strategy… I offered an ambush, to which everyone agreed. Arshad and Tamas were to lure Daniel’s group into the open, and we were to attack from behind.

Final push on Giliana: I went out to find Giliana. I thought if I offered her a favour, she would have to get me a permit to leave. Once I found her and told her my offer, she said she’d cash in the favour immediately. She asked me to investigate a disappearance. I did all I could and showed her my findings, she found my help agreeable, and said she would get me the permit. When she asked for a date, I was a little stumped, and asked if I could get back to her on that, since I needed to arrange things with certain people. She agreed that I would tell her when I’d have to leave on Sunday.

Calling Daisuke: Once I was certain I would be allowed out of kiddiepool, I called Daisuke. He was pleased with my call and once we exchanged pleasantries, he told me that mr. Lee is considering my proposal, and it seemed he would decide favorably.

After that I told Daisuke I was coming over and asked what time would do for mr. Lee. He tried to set up something during the day, but I laughed that I needed my beauty sleep, and we agreed to meet after dark.

After the meeting was set, Daisuke invited me out for a drink. Of course he asked me out to drink before my set meeting with mr. Lee… Typical… I told him I was flattered, but asked to move our drinks after our meeting with the big boss. I think he could have concluded that I didn’t want to show up to a meeting with mr. Lee drunk… In any case, that will be my defence.

Amir wants equipment: Amir seemed somewhat out of place that night. He asked me again about the equipment he wanted and if I would really get it. I assured him that I’d take care of everything, and that he needn’t worry. To add to that I called around to see what was available… Seemes some of that equipment was high tech shit… And by some I mean most… And of course it all costs a small fortune… Well, we happen to have a small fortune, but we talked about it with Amir and I agreed that the money should be reserved for clinic reopening for now. Once we have that out of the way, we’d see what we could get with what we have left. I also thought I should ask them to circle the essentials… First to find and all that…

The great library of Lancea et Sanctum:The morning came, when I left to visit the library. I went under the Founder’s bridge, and found a small boat there waiting for me. The man on the boat gestured me to get into a barrel that was provided… I guess I’m sleeping in a barrel today…

Next evening I woke up in an overly decorated sewer room… What is it with elders and decorations… In any case a servant greeted me at the door and lead me to a huge library, and I mean huge. Nicolas was there. I greeted his as elegantly as I could, and he showed me to a section of the library that was dedicated to demons. He told me I had just tonight, and left. I dug in… There were a lot of books… Most in languages I could not even identify, but I found a few in English. Trying not to harm the books I read all I could.

Some dusty old book said a demonic contract can be broken by destroying the contract itself. Another tome verified that and added that killing a demon breaks all contracts most of the time. Some scribbled note stated that demons rarely can be found one by one, and mostly operate in small groups.

I read all I could and did not understand most of it, but what I did understand left me wishing I had more time here… Sadly I started feeling sleepy, as the morning was coming fast. I asked the servants to pass my gratitude to the master of the house, and went to the room I had woken up in. I took a shower there and went to sleep. Next evening I awoke under the bridge…

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Hartford: Thirty-sixth Session: Mark

Tamas #3: Our coterie decided to go to Tamas. He asked if we could help him with his Latin, with which I and Amir agreed, I think we’ll need to teach Rhea Latin as well. Why didn’t I think of this before?? Oh yea… she is Lancea after all on the other hand she is my coterie member… Tamas mentioned that he wants to learn as much as he can and as soon as he can, that’s really a good attitude, while I at least value that. Also, he told us his past, that he was a linguist at his country, that’s why Chaitan chose him as a childe. After he finished telling about him self Rhea offered Tamas’ a friendly spar, knowing that he wants to harness his fighting skills. That’s a great idea, it will help us get the information we need.

Tamas #4: Tamas came to our place, I with Amir helped him learn Latin. Afterwards I offered him to join Ordo once again and he agreed. If he’ll join Ordo I’ll have not only a slave, but I will be able to get the information we need. Soon after Rhea started her spar. After their “show”, Tamas talked about his Akhud clan. Before his explanation, I thought that it was just a different name for mekhets but now I know, this is entirely different clan. But they are somewhat related to the mekhets, at least they have similar powers, except they can see the future. I think Edmund will be pleased with this. I guess none else knows this much about the new comers as we do.

Katerina comes: One night we got a surprise visit from Katerina. She moved from chorus to full pledged member of Circle and wanted to invite Rhea and Amir to her party, it wasn’t made clear if I was invited though. I think she’ll get one signature now from the Circle primogen. I asked her, how do you become one of the Circle members, but her answer was very unclear as she said: “Everybody’s journey is different”. Katerina also said that their will be more people, Tauras invited Daniel… It seems, I am not going there even if I wanted to… Amir wanted to know if Gerardas is coming. How does he know that little prick… How??!! I definitely know that I won’t go to that party or a big scene will be made and Amir along with Rhea will be angry at me.

Daniel fight plan: We got an unexpected visit from Arshad and Tamas. Arshad’s English improved from the last time I saw him, I guess he as practicing. As they explained that we were the friendliest to them, they wanted our help getting one cafe from Daniel’s group. To my surprise Rhea had a deal with Daniel, I don’t know the context of that deal though. She had some land of her own, that was offered to me in last carthian meeting. Daniel that son of a … While Rhea and Tamas were discussing their attack plan, I was quiet. I wanted that bastard to lose those lands and feel the humiliation, but on the other hand, he doesn’t deserve that. Shit.. that must be vincullum talking….. When they decided on their plan they started attacking me with questions. I agreed to help them, I knew my part and I will take care of Jenny and Kendalas, maybe they will listen to reason, not like Daniel.

Ordo meeting and talk with sire: I escorted Tamas to the meeting and again I had to wait outside for their decision. They allowed him to join. I was suppose to tell him more about the Ordo and our mysteries, but before that I wanted to talk with my sire. I went into the room where he was sitting. I wanted to get permission to leave kiddie pool and visit the werewolfs, but Deonas told me a story, that about 23 years ago many of our kind died and some were torpored when the werewolfs attacked Hardford. He was really serious about it. But then, how did Amiras get the adress, if they are so hostile towards us and why would they invite me and tell me how to get to them. There must be something more to this story, something he is not telling me. There should have been some provocation for this war, nobody wants to fight and die in vein. That aside I asked when can I have my coil approved and I was granted that on the next week. Thanking my sire I left the room and went back to Tamas. He was waiting for me in the next room. I told him everything that he needed to know about Ordo: Coils, titles, name’s of the members, rules and ect. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked him what did he had to do during his trial, he mentioned counting, a puzzle and a cube that emitted light. A cube that emitted light… I have never heard of such thing… What was that?? I will have to ask my sire, but I guess he’ll just say: “You don’t need to know”. Now that Tamas was a member of the Dragons, I asked him a question about his sire’s choice of cities and why did he came to this particular town. Tamas explained that Chaitan was looking for some sort of object. It should be a very powerful artifact that he made this kind of trip. Edmund will be most pleased with my findings and maybe we’ll get a new task.

Sofija talk: I found Sofija in the park. I wanted to know what is happening in the city at the moment but she was too occupied with her coil approval and didn’t involve her self in politics. Somehow she knew that I had a signature, but that is mekhet for you. I told her that I will get my coil approved soon also, she didn’t care much. Soon her talk turned towards my coterie. She had strange questions, how I felt, how was my coterie holding up. If I wanted a psychologist session, I would ask Uosis not her… After I told her the story how I got the signature, Sofija changed the topic and stated to talk about Rhea and why she wanted to give the Signature to Amir. I wanted to defend Rhea saying that she may be a member of Lancea but she is tolerant and not a fanatic like some people I know. It seems Sofija disagrees with me. I do not concern my self with religious fights, unless they actively try to involve me. This isn’t a big city and you need to be more tolerant.

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Hartford: Thirty-fifth Session: Mark

Feeding: When I woke up I felt malnourished so I ask Rhea’s and Amir’s help. I came up with a good plan. Rhea was suppose to follow the guy and Amir was on guard duty. Rhea started to follow the guy and he noticed her, I was expecting that. I came up to him and I used my new born powers, made him delusional. I suggested the we go behind the corner, but he wanted to go to the point. That was unexpected, but half way through I convinced him that we should go behind a corner and wait for his stalker a.k.a. Rhea. When he wasn’t looking I took a big sip of his blood.

Amir and Ordo: This was the day that Amir was going to meet the elders of Ordo and join us. While I was escorting him to the meeting I tried to use my powers on him, that he would hate god, but they failed. I guess Amir has good mental resolve and didn’t fall for them. He started to ask questions and I tried to divert the conversation, saying that some elders hate god. When we came to the meeting elders asked me to leave, because I could influence Amir’s answers, I wasn’t going to though, I just wanted to hear the questions that Amir awas going to answer. I waited outside the room. Soon after Amir left. He explained that they are going to decide if they will allow him to join. Few moments after they invited me inside and explained that I will have to teach him the rules of the Dragons. I was very relieved that Amir was admitted to the Ordo Dracul. Now he has a rank of a slave, but I think soon he’ll rise above that rank, but before that I need to increase my rank so that every member of Dracul inside of the kiddie pool would listen to me. I can’t complete my slaughterhouse plan before I get that rank. I don’t trust Kendalas that much, I would rather have Tina with that ghoul than him.

Meeting Tamas #1: I got a letter from my sire that if I would invite more members to the Ordo my coils would be acknowledged that means my rank would increase and I would have a firm ground in kiddie pool. The only person that I could think of joining the Ordo is Tamas. First I had to find him. I asked Amir to tag along. We found Tamas near some house with Rebeca, which was a surprise, I think he wanted to drink her. After we talked my suspicions were confirmed, he really wanted to drink her, but I guess he won’t because we know Rebeca. I left Amir with Rebeca while I talked with Tamas. He seems like a nice guy and worthy of joining the Dragons. I tried to convince him, but it didn’t go so well. It’s not like I am going to give up on him, he just needs some more time and a little push.

Meeting Tamas #2: This time Tamas was with Arshad. I was curious, how they got here. They left India, that is a long journey. Tamas told me he whole story. They traveled with ship, fed on people at night and when they reached the shore all people were sick, which is not a surprise. After his story I tried to convince him again. This time with a success. If he joins the Ordo, I will get the info on his sire and that is a step towards leaving the kiddie pool. It seems that I am the only one who tries to get us out of here, I haven’t seen any initiative for other members of the coterie, but hey, I was the one who asked for this opportunity so I must use it.

The talk with Amir: I talked with Amir about the rules and titles of Ordo also I introduced him with the coils and their masters. Amir wasn’t so happy hearing that we have very strict obedience, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking few eggs, can you?? I think Amir will take the path of ascendant, because other paths do not suite him or he will find his own path, I believe he could.

Rosie vs Theodoras and Barbara: It was a quiet night we three we hanging out and we hear some ruckus. As we approached that place we saw Rosie shooting at Theodosius and Barbara standing behind. While my teammate when to stop Theodosius, he was in a frenzy, I rushed to Barbara. I didn’t want to see meaningless bloodshed. As I approached her, I tried to convince her to leave this place, as this wasn’t a place for a lady. She just yelled at me: “Do you know what I have suffered to get here??” and she rushed towards that grapple. I just stood there in case someone showed up. As those 3 tried to calm down Theodosius, Barbara just stood there with a knife. I though she would use this opportunity to strike Rosie, but I was wrong. When Theodosius regained his senses they left. I think Barbara now dislikes me even more. But who needs her, she is just a member of the Circle who worship their stupid pagan gods. When I joined the coterie while they were talking to Rosie. It seems Rhea was giving and advice to Rosie. Not that she wouldn’t attack Theodosius, but that she would be more subtle with mer methods. Rosie replied that she tracked masquerade breaches before you were even turned and she can handle herself.

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Hartford: Thirty-fifth Session: Rhea

Checking the mail: At the beginning of the week I went to the hotel to see if I had received any responses. Surprisingly both Octavia and Samuel have answered me. Octavia had sent me a book about evil spirits… Not exactly what I needed, but maybe the book has useful information I could share with Rebeka, and hey, there may be something about soul selling in there. Samuel only wrote that I should ask him for these things after mass. Well, I guess I’ll have a lot of work in church.

Mark goes feeding: Mark asked me for help while feeding. He also involved Amir, but I have no idea why… He told me to follow a guy, and be obvious about it. Well, I’m not the best actor in our group (best actress by default, but that doesn’t count) but I think I was able to make all the rookie mistakes to be obvious. I led the victim to Mark and then he took him away. Bon appetit….

Gone to church: Before the mass begun I bumped into Giliana. Even if my plan to get mr. Lee’s help with the clinic fails, having a day away from this place will be good. Maybe I’ll visit Octavia and the rest of the family. Also, I’d love to visit the cemetery I played in as a kid…

As I started trying to convince her, we talked about the clinic, how we should actually open it, and how leaving the kiddiepool territory would help us greatly. She didn’t agree, but at least she said she’d think about it. I guess I’ll come back to her about this.

After the chat with Giliana, I turned to Rosie. I still believe I can get her to be at least slightly more tolerant. Our back and forth didn’t go anywhere, and soon the mass begun, so I guess at the moment I was nil of two.

When the mass was done I went to talk with Samuel. He was unimpressed that I’m still on the case of the so called demon… I told him that I needed to do some research to be able to normally present the incident with him to everyone. And since I understood that a lot more is known about demons than willworkers I decided to start there. Samuel told me to contact Nicolas, as he was the librarian of the sanctified. I thanked him for the help and left.

Calling mr. Lee: Since I already told everyone my intentions to share our clinic with the mafia, and everyone to my surprise was on board, I had to contact mr. Lee. If I remember correctly, he was usually looking for semi-legit places to help his partners with work related injuries… So I hoped he would at least consider it. Of course contacting mr. Lee directly is almost impossible so I called the second best – Daisuke. Now Daisuke is mr. Lee’s bodyguard and the best fighter I’ve ever seen (and that includes the vampires I’ve seen fighting). Daisuke seemed glad to hear from me. After exchanging pleasantries I explained my proposition to him. He said he would pass it on to the boss. He also invited me over, so I guess I’ll have to continue with my efforts to convince Giliana to set me free for a night.

Resilience training: After having my ass handed to me by Arshad, I decided to look into protective abilities of vampires. I remembered that some of us had the ability to shrug off even extreme injuries. I had seen that in action, back when Katerina arrowed Daniel, and if he’s a ventrue, I guessed Albert was my best bet on this.

After that morning when we went for the signatures Albert seemed a lot friendlier towards me (side effects of drinking my blood I guess). I asked him about this ability, and he explained it to me and agreed to teach me.

Mail call: As soon as I had the time, I wrote a letter to Nicolas, asking for books about demons and evil ghosts. He wrote back, that the information I seek does indeed exist in the Black library, but he seemed reluctant to share it. Rather he asked why I needed such information. I couldn’t very well just tell him I thought there was a demon in the kiddiepool, I had no idea how he would have reacted, so I gave him a vague answer, how I thirsted for knowledge on this particular subject, and since I knew such entities existed, I wanted to know how I should deal with them. I hope this semi-truth will get me the books I needed.

Out to feed: I asked for Amir’s help while feeding. I know he can be stealthy, which is really necessary in my style of hunting. We found a house, not too secure, two entrances, looks like there are some sleeping people inside… We went in through the back door. Slowly and carefully we creeped forward until I noticed a huge dog sleeping right next to the stairs. I knew that was trouble, so I nudged Amir to show him the dog. As I inched forward I noticed the beast was waking up, in a split second decision I jumped on the dog and sunk my fangs into it. When I let it go, I think it was woozie, but still ok. I left the dog, and Amir and I carried on. We found the occupant of the house sleeping upstairs. Amir stood by and watched my back, while I fed. In cases like this I felt really dependant on the guy, if I lose control, I trust Amir would keep me from killing again.

Knife in a gunfight: We heard a gunshot… A random gunshot in the kiddiepool is bad, always bad. As we ran towards the source I was kind of scared of what we’d find, but also relieved that for once we are reacting to someone else’s mess instead of making our own. As we cut the corner, we saw Rosie holding Barbara and Theodor at gunpoint. Without noticing us, Theodor lunged at Rosie with a knife and she shot him in the head. Now you don’t need to be a genius to know that at this point, the masquerade was thoroughly breached… Barbara screamed at them that random people were watching (which reminded me that we were obfuscated at the time) as I rushed in to stop them.

Of course, as we all know, no good deed ever goes unpunished, so as I got in between them Theodor stabbed me with his knife. The knife, as I soon felt, was enchanted. Their heretical rituals, no doubt. The blasted thing stung like hell… I shouted to all that I needed help, since he was obviously out of his mind at the moment, and tried to tackle him. After a few moments, I was able to take away his knife, and throw it away. Soon after Rosie joined in, and Amir after her, and we managed to immobilize him. After he calmed down I noticed Barbara, near us (actually in the place where I threw the knife) she said we should scatter, and I agreed. I grabbed Rosie by her hand and told her not to play so loosely with the masquerade, or at least invest in a silencer… She said something like it wasn’t her first tango, and something about tracking down breaches herself. She thanked us for the timely intervention and I think I might still get through to her.

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Hartford: Thirty-fifth Session: Amir

(1)

We started our evening by going to the hotel to check our mail. I received a reply from Gerardas, which said that he had knowledge of demons and will workers. That was a pleasant surprise. However, he told me he couldn’t share that knowledge for free even with a friend. Very well, I guess I’ll have to give something in return. I replied by asking what sort of payment was required, hoping it wouldn’t be something too problematic, like a ridiculously large amount of money, or some bizarre quest to the underworld…

The other thing on my to-do list for the night was sending a letter to my mom. Ever since I visited Felix’s place, I was thinking that I should give him something for his collection, but until yesterday I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile. I didn’t have any interesting stuff with me (unless you’re really into orthodontic equipment… or shovels. I think we have some shovels), but then I remembered Mark’s idea of giving the Latin book to Tamas and thought I could do the same for Felix. The first book that came to my mind, for some reason, was Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. It was probably because I’d seen a Virginia Woolf book on Felix’s shelf and Orlando was my favorite work of hers, so I thought it had a nice sentiment attached. I also asked for James Joyce’s Ulysses. I was almost through with Mark’s weird book and I didn’t want to be left bookless (yes, I am aware that bookless is not a real word).

(2)

It was finally the day of my trials, which would determine whether I was fit to join Ordo Dracul. I don’t like to admit it, but I was really nervous about the whole thing, so I was glad that Mark was going with me. On our way there, I kept thinking what those trials might be. It could be research, but it also could be something exasperating, like running the errands for the elder members for a month. Though I suspected that even if the latter wasn’t a part of the trials, I would probably have to do it anyway. This, however, didn’t diminish my resolve, as I was prepared (at least I thought I was) to do what was necessary to join. They have the resources for knowledge and self betterment that I seek and I have patience and scientific expertise to offer in return.

My thoughts were interrupted by Mark, and, I should say, by a really peculiar phrase. He looked at me and said: “You believe in God and you hate him.” Erm… Okay? I asked him what it was about and he looked a bit lost, even nervous (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mark nervous before). He explained that the Dragons believed in God and blamed him for the curse. Was Mark hinting at something? I was confused. Did he want me to lie to the elders and tell them I hated God as well? But they’re scholars, I thought, don’t they value truth and honesty? Mark told me I didn’t have to lie and that he only wanted me to know that as a fact. Well, anything can be useful, I guess.

When we reached the hotel, we went up to one of the rooms. It wasn’t the Victorian salon Cartwright invited us to, but it wasn’t too shabby either. The elders sat there, looking at me with inquiry in their eyes. There were three of them, but I only knew the Sheriff. Mark was asked to leave the room and I was asked to take a seat. They started asking me questions related to my wish to join their covenant, which was something I’d anticipated. I was confident in my answers until they asked me what research on our condition I had done so far, and I had nothing to present but my little “quest” for vampire origin stories. I felt a little embarrassed by it, but at the same time I realized that there wasn’t much I could’ve done. I didn’t have any resources to do any actual research (which is one of the reasons I’m joining Ordo in the first place). Moreover, what’s the point of doing research if you don’t familiarise yourself with any of the previous studies? Re-inventing the bicycle is unproductive at best.

What really got me stumped were the last two questions. First, they asked me why they should accept me. Although a reasonable thing to ask, objective self-evaluation is really difficult, although that’s probably the point. It is difficult enough to be a skill, and it might be something they value. The final question takes the gold, though. Although in retrospect it seems like a natural progression from a previous question, at that time it was completely unexpected. “Why shouldn’t we accept you?”, the Sheriff asked. I don’t know, I roll my eyes too often? And then I remembered what Mark had told me on our way to the hotel. Of course! I told them I was an atheist and therefore didn’t believe in God. That didn’t seem to elicit any reaction from the elders, so I guess it wasn’t a big deal.

They told me to wait outside for three minutes, so they could make a decision. I spoke briefly to Mark and soon after we both entered the room. They said I was accepted, and instructed Mark to familiarize me with the rules and regulations of the covenant (which he later did). Although I’m really grateful to Mark for all his help, I can’t help but wonder what he got out of all this.

(3)

Mark wanted to talk to Tamas, so I tagged along and we set off to search for him and Arshad. I wondered if they’d found a permanent residence by now, which would make it easier for us to find them. This time, though, we found Tamas talking to Rebeka, of all people. And that look on his face… He looked so annoyed, like we interrupted something… Was he going to feed on her? Rebeka looked just as surprised to see us. She introduced Tamas to us, but we told her we were already acquainted. Mark invited him to talk in private, leaving me with our dumbfounded friend. I know we didn’t really talk much, and I admit I didn’t like her at first, but over the time I’d gotten used to her bluntness and cocky attitude. Plus, she’s gotten a lot nicer recently. When I saw the look on Tamas’ face, I got worried about her. I know I probably shouldn’t have (she’s pretty strong and resourceful), but I couldn’t help it. I asked her what she was doing with him and she said they were just talking. In turn, she asked me where Mark and I knew him from. I admit I was really careless. I’m usually very cautious not to breach the masquerade, but somehow I assumed that Rebeka had already known Tamas was one of us (which now seems to contradict my suspicion of him wanting to bite her). On the other hand, maybe Rebeka should know who’s a vampire and who’s not. That way it will be easier for her to avoid becoming someone’s dinner…

(4)

Ever since my swim to Felix’s lair, I had been thinking about getting my watch fixed. A lot of time had passed, but I was busy with things, and when I wasn’t, I couldn’t bring myself to take any of the money from the bag without consulting Rhea first. And this I couldn’t do, because I was too embarrassed to tell her I ruined the watch she had given me. So the days went by, while I was contemplating whether taking a banknote from the bag would constitute as stealing or borrowing… Luckily the day had come when I finally made up my mind and decided to go with it. I even found a place where they fix watches, but the problem was that like most shops it closed before sundown. I asked Rebeka for help and she got the watch fixed the next evening. I really appreciate her help.

(5)

Tonight I got the books from mom, one of which I planned to give to Felix. I took Orlando and flipped it to the back cover to read the description. I don’t know why I did that – I’ve read the book many times; I guess it’s sort of a reflex of mine – whenever I get my hands on a book the first thing I do is check out what’s on the back. The blurb said it was “the longest and most charming love letter in literature”. It was, wasn’t it? Virginia Woolf was bisexual and she dedicated the book to her lover Vita Sackville-West. And then the symbolism struck me. Of all the books I have ever read I had to pick this one. It’s either a funny coincidence or my subconscious is working against me…

I went to see Felix and this time I found him by the river. I gave him the book and he seemed to like the gesture, although I don’t expect him to read it. We spent the rest of the evening talking, which lately has gotten easier to do.

(6)

One evening Rhea, Mark and I were walking down a street when we heard a gunshot. Well that can’t be good. We turned around a corner and saw Teodoras with a knife in his hand and Rosie with a gun standing of front of him. Barbara was also there, but she stood further away. And on top of that, there was a hole in Teodoras’ chest. This is definitely not good. There didn’t seem to be any people around, however it didn’t mean it was going to stay that way. We had to do something about it. We came out from the corner, however that didn’t stop the hostile situation. Are these two insane? For all they knew, we could’ve been a bunch of humans… Mark went towards Barbara (for some reason), and Rhea went to Teodoras and tried to calm him down. Meanwhile, I decided to use my powers of delusion on Rosie. I told her that she would burn for this (in all fairness, that wasn’t even a delusion – it was common sense…). By that time I saw Rhea grappling with Teodoras. I don’t know if my little “scare” worked on Rosie or not, but she ran toward them and helped Rhea subdue Teodoras. I tried using Nightmare on him, but it didn’t seem to work, so I joined the grapple party. After a while, Rhea managed to hold Teodoras down. He was already calm, so it was time to ask questions. Rhea asked Rosie what had happened and she replied, and I quote, that “the pagan scum didn’t know his place”. Greaaat, she’s a religious nutjob. No offence to Rhea, but I share my opinion on the Sanctified with Mark… I didn’t want to get into all that, so I just rolled my eyes. Rhea, on the other hand, took Rosie further away and gave her a lecture. Hopefully Rosie isn’t a complete psycho and doesn’t do something like this in the future.

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Hartford: Thirty-fourht Session: Rhea

Woke up in the clinic… It’s been a couple of weeks since I got here, still doesn’t feel as homey as my old crypt. I just don’t know why, but something is missing here… Well, no time to ponder about the essence of home… I heard some noises behind the door, everyone’s up. As I stepped out of my cell, I wondered if I should even try to settle, or should I move back to the crypts… Sure, I loved the atmosphere there, but several locked doors, and a building on top of us seems so much more secure. Right then, the buletholes on the wall reminded me of our fragile security here… I’ll need to work on that. I bumped into Mark, rushing off somewhere. As I was rather busy for the last month, thanks to the tamed dog of the circle, I asked him for the news. He told me about the newcomers, and how me and Rosie should hit it off, since we are both members of the church… I noticed the spiteful way he talks about the sanctified before… I wonder what sparked this hatred… Even though he said it with absurd generalisation, I thought there was some merit to the idea of befriending Rosie, so I asked where I could find her. Mark said I should ask Albert, I asked which. “Tina’s Albert”, he said slightly peeved. As I told him that this doesn’t help, we laughed. “The nosferatu”, was Mark’s clarification, as he closed the door behind him. Amir came to me then, he said he needed to get out of his old rags, and since I wanted a little wardrobe update myself, I agreed to help him. I spent some time to make deals for the clothes. After a while, the beeper rang, but not just for me, for all of us. “Shit” I thought, another one of our fun little meetings by the fire… As we made our calls, it appeared that someone named Edmund Cartwright was there to see us. The name didn’t ring a bell, so I asked Amir and Albert what they knew. Amir said he was his grandsire, to whom he owed a big favour. Albert explained that he was also the notary of the Invictus… So a big fish in our small pond… Albert shared some words of inspiration before we entered the hotel. Don’t know why, but I felt better, more confident as we walked in. Mark was already there. “Shall we go up?” he asked and we went upstairs. Mark was certain Edmund came on his request, but the rest of us were not so sure.

As we entered, we were met by a man with his face falling off… Of course, what did I expect from an elder nosferatu?… Although he wasn’t a looker, I rather liked his personality. He was keen on playing 20 questions, so I was game. He dodged half our questions, and offered us to swear an oath to him for a year, where we are to do as he asks, and be loyal to the team, but he offered us chances at signatures. After a little deliberation we all agreed to take the oath, and we received our first job. We will have to befriend some of the newcomers, namely the hindus.

When we left the hotel, Albert wandered off, and we were off looking for Tamas and Arshad. We found them staring down Daniel and his gang. We ran in and broke them up – the last thing we needed was a fucking bloodbath in the middle of the main street.

After leading them away, we started talking, and apparently they wanted to train a bit by fighting Daniel… Smart… So just to learn what they were capable of, I offered to be their sparring partner. While on the way we asked them about their clans and such. Apparently they were something of a hindu mekhet. When we got to the clinic, Tamas was the first in line, to which I counted my blessings by the way, so he took out a rapier… I was mostly up for a fist fight, but I guess I can deal with it, if I fight a little dirty that is. So after we changed a few blows, I poked him in the eye, then he started doing something I didn’t understand, to which I answered trying to take a defencive position. He lunged forward, he got me in the cheek, the bastard… This I did not forgive… My next groin shot got him to the floor. When he picked himself up, he acknowledged my superiority, and said I should try Arshad for size. To everyones surprise, I accepted. I just needed a little feeding before the fight, and they agreed to wait.

Hunting was bad, but after a few hours I got my fill, and felt like beating the shit out of someone, and suddenly Arshad didn’t look so scary. As I returned Arshad picked up a few swords that were bigger than me… I remarked to him about a fist fight being more fair. He agreed but as I noticed he wasn’t a fair fighter either. A few moments later he wiped the floor with me, and said I seemed way better when fighting Tamas. After the fights, they asked for shelter for the day, so we agreed.

Next night I needed to feed… Arshad really gave me a beating… But first I needed to pick up the clothes I had ordered for Amir and myself. Amirs were some simple clothing, but they were new, or at least newish, and clean. Mine on the other hand were a bit sturdier than what I was wearing at the moment… Maybe this will help me in the future. With new clothes on my back I felt a little better… Like yesterday was more of a fluke than an actual loss. I broke into a random house, feed…Taking blood from people feels different than simply robbing them. I feel like I started taking peoples live, not just surplus. But you know, we do what we must to survive…

After that, I went to see Tina – maybe she knew a thing or two about demons and ghosts, and Rosie… Walking there, I had a thought, maybe I could contact Mr.Lee about the clinic. As I remember he was usually looking for a place to help guys with “work related” injuries. I think he could set us up with a dentist and a nurse, if we gave him a room downstairs. We will need to change up some securities, but the working clinic cover is far better than a broken down one, which has shady characters going in and out all night.

Pondering such I arrive at Tina’s. She let me in and to my surprise, Rosie was there. She scolded me on my “fading” faith, and rambled on like a fanatic… I wanted to tell her that she is the reason people dislike and distrust the sanctified, but I tried playing nice, saying that all can still be saved, and that we need to show the way to our lost sheep, not slaughter them. I don’t know if I got my point across, but she did say she’ll shoot my friends last, so at least they’ll have a fair warning.

Tina proved to be a dry well on the demon/ghost front, so I decided to visit uncle Sam… Sad to say I saw the church all empty and understood, that father Samuel only graces us with his presence once a week. After that I just went to the hotel and wrote letters toOktavia and Samuel, asking for books on demons and ghosts. To understand whether the poster guy is a demon or not I’ll need to know demons well, and Rebeka’s stories about ghosts made me want to learn more about them.

When I returned to the clinic I didn’t find Tamas nor Arshad there. What I did find was Amir in his new clothes soaked in what was unmistakably suige… “What a child” I thought, but I was not in the mood to scold him, and frankly it’s not my place to lecture a grownup on personal cleanliness…

Next evening Amir asked for my help hunting. I agreed, since we really didn’t need more dead piling up… Before we went though, I asked the others about my idea to contact Mr. Lee and maybe, just maybe, get this clinic up and running. To my surprise they were up for it. When I reminded them it won’t be legal if it works, they remarked that it was to be expected from me… It seems I had developed a bit of a reputation.

I assisted Amir in finding his mark, and hunting. He feed and thankfully stopped all on his own. As the semi-conscious guy sat there on the corner, Amir told me that the man’s blood was strangely filling. This rang a bell, so I told Amir we should learn where the guy lives, at least for future hunting ease. Amir didn’t want to do this, but after a short lecture in “feeding from one rather than several” he agreed.

Following the man around was easy, but as he crossed the kiddiepool border Amir and I stopped where we stood. I didn’t need an extra reason not to leave this place, but Amir said something about not wanting to break this rule two nights in a row… Seriously? I am the criminal here, and the only one who doesn’t occasionally wander off… Then he started rambling about both wanting to tell me something and not… I would have stopped him there, but he started telling me about his best friend, with whom he used to share everything, and how he wanted for me to be like that… I never actually had one of those… Best friends I mean… You know maybe when me and the gang went crypt searching, but back then it was not about friends but rather about the adventures. And after I had run off… Well needless to say all I had was Victor and after him no one… While Amir was telling me about his night, and his new boy-crush, I only listened half-heartedly, my mind wandered towardsVictor and if he was still alive.

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Hartford: Thirty-fourth Session: Amir

I began my evening by asking Rhea if she could get me some new clothes. She’s uncannily resourceful, but I still hoped it wasn’t too much trouble. Our conversation wasn’t long and everyone dispersed with their plans for the night, leaving me alone in the clinic. It was a perfect opportunity to read, but… read what, exactly? All my books are in my old apartment and all I have here are those Latin books. I thought about Mark – he’s a well read individual, isn’t he? I hoped he wouldn’t mind me borrowing one of his books. I took the first one in my sight. Something about spirits. I must admit, I still feel like I’m reading horoscopes in a TV guide every time such topics come up, even though I know I should take these things seriously. I’ve seen enough proof to convince me, yet my mind wants to reject it all anyway.

My reading was interrupted by a beeping pager, so I had to go to the nearest payphone. When I reached the place, I saw that Albert and Rhea were already there. As it turned out, the reason we were summoned was Edmund Cartwright, who, for some reason, wanted to see our coterie. Well, I suspected that I knew the reason. My grandsire probably wanted to collect the debt I owed him. But why would he need all of us? I talked to Albert and Rhea, but they didn’t know anything. I contemplated whether I should tell them about my debt and I decided that they deserved to know the truth. I told them that my mother was badly injured in a car accident and that she needed a donor. I was desperate, so I called Gerardas. He contacted Cartwright, who gave me the money.

I expected Cartwright to summon me sooner or later. The only thing I didn’t expect was for him to drag my coterie into this. It was my mess and I didn’t want them to get involved. I apologized and expected something like a sigh of disappointment, but instead Albert reassured me that they were there for me. His words touched me, but I guess I would’ve said something similar if any of my friends were in a situation like this. We are a team, after all. We’re a family. The more time passes, the more I realize how much Rhea, Albert and Mark mean to me. Speaking of whom…

To our surprise, Mark was already waiting for us in the hotel. I told him about the debt and also asked if he didn’t mind that I borrowed one of his books. He didn’t look too pleased and he told me not to “ruin it”. Seriously? You’re telling me of all people not to damage a book? He has no idea how much I cherish books. There was a time in my life when I cared about books more than people, but I guess there’s no reason to dive into that, since I didn’t tell Mark any of it anyway…

Mark showed us a fancy key and we went upstairs, to (most probably) the best preserved room in the entire building. And “best preserved” is putting it mildly. It was like walking straight into an Oscar Wilde novel, with all the grandeur: the colours, the ornaments, the textures… And there he was, Dorian Gray himself, comfortably positioned on a vintage couch, hiding his true face under a velvet screen. We say hello, he invites us to take a seat, and so it begins.

I was somewhat relieved to find out that Cartwright wasn’t interested in collecting the debt after all, although he did mention it to the others. Instead, he offered us a deal – we complete certain tasks and he helps us get signatures. Sounds like a lucrative deal, I must admit. Although he wasn’t too eager to disclose any details on the matter until we signed a formal agreement – something he referred to as an Oath of Fealty. It was to insure our loyalty to him, but it also implied some benefits to us as well, since he mentioned that we would receive blood. We all agreed with the terms, and after the contract was signed, Cartwright gave us our first assignment. We were to befriend our new Indian neighbours and find out the reason they came to Hartford.

There was one thing that kept my mind occupied the whole time. It wasn’t the contract that bothered me, nor was it the task ahead. It was Edmund’s face (talk about taking the masquerade too literally). I tried not to imagine what he was hiding under all the layers of deceit, but I guess I didn’t even have to. I was disgusted enough by the fact that there was something to hide. And he’s not the only one – most of the members of our clan are hideous. And it makes me think – am I going to turn into one of them? If so, how much time do I have left? I try not to think about it, but each time I see one of those vile faces, I can’t help but see my future in them. I don’t want that, I don’t want to lose my beauty to the curse. Of all the clans it had to be the Monsters… Well, all vampires are monsters, one would say, the Nosferatu are just the ugly ones…

Sure, I try to be optimistic. Mark is older than me and he’s good-looking. Nadija is much older than Mark and she’s beautiful. Well, more like pretty, not beautiful. Beautiful is something I’d say about Amelija Cook or Evelina. Whatever the case, I might have many years ahead of me, before I stop getting out of my obfuscate. But then there’s Tina’s Albert. He can’t be much older than Mark and I, yet the only difference between him and Giliana is the hair (which he should really take a better care of). Everytime I look in a mirror, I start scanning for any changes, any worrying signs. I need to occupy my mind with something…


Mark had a good idea on how to befriend [[: tamas | Tamas]]. He was learning Latin, so Mark decided to give him one of my Latin books. I thought that was a well-thought friendly gesture, especially knowing that such books aren’t easy to come by. We went looking for them and finally found them quarrelling with Daniel and his gang. Apparently they wanted to claim Daniel’s territory as their own. Mark wanted to prevent a fight, so he got them away from Daniel. He gave Tamas the book and we started talking. They said they came with another vampire, named Chaitan. What, seriously? His name is Devil? I’m guessing it’s not his given name… We also found out that their clan was called Akhud. Maybe it’s an Indian name for one of the clans? But it sounds so Semitic. Could be Arabic or Hebrew. It sounds like a derivative of the word “brother” in Arabic. Or maybe the archaic word for “brotherhood”. But if they’re from India why would they use an Arabic word? Unless it has a different meaning in Indian, which is also quite likely. Now that I think about it, we could’ve asked them what it means in their language. Instead, Rhea described them the five clans and Tamas said that Mekhet sounded like the closest match.

Tamas told us that the reason they picked on Daniel was because Arshad wanted to fight someone. Someone strong, preferably. To my surprise, Rhea invited them to our clinic for a friendly spar. Rhea once again proved that she was quite good at fighting. She fought with Tamas for a while, but then he cut her face and she kicked him between the legs… Not the most graceful way to end a fight. Tamas was eager for Rhea to fight Arshad afterwards. I’d say a little bit too eager. Maybe his pride was hurt and he wanted retaliation. Although Rhea was exhausted after the fight with Tamas, she still agreed, but she needed to feed. While she was gone, I was thinking about the relationship of our two guests. Were they just travel companions? Well, they were probably in a coterie. Maybe brothers? It’s a possibility – they’re both from the same clan. They could be friends, or even…

Rhea returned and the fight with Arshad began. However, he was too strong for her to defeat, so the fight didn’t last long before she gave up. The night was coming to an end, so we offered our guests to spend the day at the clinic, to which they agreed. Wow, we are really nice and hospitable. I’d like us if I were them.


The next evening Mark offered them to stay with us until they could find a more permanent residence, but they declined the offer. Rhea gave me new clothes and then everyone left the clinic. I was left alone once again, but this time I decided to do something useful and went to the hotel to send Gerardas a letter. I asked him the same question we’ve been asking everyone for the past month or so – do you know anything about demons or will workers? Soon, the only people left unasked will be my mom and the “Devil” himself.

Soon after, I called my mom and then decided to go look for Felix. I haven’t talked to him in a while and I wasn’t doing anything… I waited by the river bank for a while, but he didn’t come. When I thought he wouldn’t show up, I saw him on the other side of the river, dragging someone… He finally noticed me and came closer. I expected him to react in his usual grumpy manner, but this time he didn’t seem annoyed. I must admit, when I’m around him, I start saying nonsense, and I’m still not sure if it’s his beast that intimidates me, or I have a more serious problem… Plain sexual attraction is something I can handle, but I’m not in any way prepared for a crush…

I asked him a question which has been bothering me since I was turned. “Are you happy?” He looked at me and said he had everything he needed in life. I asked him what he did for entertainment (and secretly hoped he wouldn’t say “murder people”, although I strongly suspect that’s what he does anyway…) and he said he collected things. Even river monsters have hobbies, it seems. He told me that he had a necklace in his collection, which he took from a couple. As he told me, the woman fell into the river and they never found her body again. That was creepy. No, that’s not the right word. Ventriloquist puppets are creepy, that story was outright disturbing, especially since he told it like it was a joke. But then he asked me if I wanted to see his collection, which was really nice of him, and I have to admit, I was excited. It was a sign of trust and I really appreciated it. He warned me the place was outside kiddie pool, but at that moment I couldn’t care less.

We swam through the river and emerged in a cave, covered in concrete. There were piles of various things lying around and I was really glad there were no bones or corpses in sight. The first thing that caught my attention was a sword. And then I saw a few shelves with books. They were really random, didn’t seem like there was a common theme. There were some old fairytales and… Virginia Woolf? Didn’t expect to find one of my favorite authors here. Let’s see, A Widow and the Parrot. Oh, I vaguely remember reading this one in high school. It’s one of those less remarkable posthumously published obscure short stories of hers. I asked Felix whether he read any of the books and he said he just collected them. Alright, that was a bit disappointing, since reading was one of my passions. No, no, no, Amir, don’t do this, don’t get yourself into this, I thought, but then I looked at Felix again and realized it was already too late.

We spent the rest of the evening chatting. I looked at my watch to check the time only to realize that my watch wasn’t working. That was the watch Rhea gave me… I was disappointed with myself for being so reckless, but I guess there was nothing I could do about it.When I got back to the clinic I realized I smelled like the sewer. And I was wearing the new clothes Rhea gave me earlier this evening. Mark noticed the stench immediately and Rhea gave me a disapproving look. I changed to my old clothes (at least they were dry) and Mark gave me a letter. It said that the Dragons wanted to see me on Sunday and that I was going to undergo some trials. I had suspected that I would be tested when I made the decision to join. However, I was worried that I will fail and they will not accept me. Well, I’ll find out soon enough.


The next evening I wanted to feed, so I asked Rhea if she wanted to accompany me. At first it seemed like a typical hunt, but when I drank the blood of the man I caught, it tasted different. It was strangely satisfying. I told Rhea about it and she said we should follow him to his home, so we could feed from him in the future. Now that I think about it, it seems really selfish, but I guess it’s something we vampires can’t help… We followed him, but he soon left kiddie pool and turned to another street, right out of our sight. I told Rhea I didn’t want to leave kiddie pool the second time in two nights, which a) was really reckless of me and b) obviously got her attention. It was a weird feeling. I wanted to talk about last night with someone, but at the same time I didn’t. I had a friend in high school, Kate Harper, whom I’d talk about everything. I guess I really missed having a close friend, and in a way I hoped that Rhea could be that person for me. I told her about my last night’s “adventure”, although I decided not to get into too much detail. I also apologized for getting the new clothes dirty, but she told me not to worry about it.

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