fredag 8. september 2017

The only blood that lingers on your hands…

…happens to be the blood you put your hands in. You can either carry that and showing it to all on display, or wash it off.

Whatever you chose, blood remains on your hands – invisible or not.

Don't stick your hands into a pool of blood unless you have to.

mandag 4. september 2017

VtM:B – a story. Not quite what I was expecting.

I’ve always wanted to see St. Petersburg. Not because of my lineage, not because of the Winter Palace, or maybe both of those add up with my want, too. Arriving at the docks, early at night, sneaking ashore was not part of how I imagined it.

Our first order of business was meeting the Prince.

Prince Nikolai of St. Petersburg. Brujah.

We don’t go on a sightseen tour, but head directly to his office. A medium sized, anonymous looking building. Instantly, I wonder if this used to be one retrofitted by the KGB.

The room is bare, if not barren. About ten other vampires are present. Big ones, musclemen, cracking fists and casting long looks at us. I’m suddenly aware on how we must look: a group of four females, all physically small, and one of us all wrapped up in a hood, hiding her face, with only a single male at our backs – and Rhys isn’t particular tall or bulky, either. I scold myself for being intimidated: that’s exactly why they are here, to put unease in us.

I stride forward, coming to a stop before a man that looks like he’s just stepped out of a factory from the 1800 century, and with the muscle to prove it. To his left stands a small woman, the only other woman in the room (besides myself and those of my delegation), observing me. She’s wearing an old army coat, possible one from the Russian Revolution (no red or white, but my gut tells me it would be the former). She must be the Sheriff.

I present a smile before curtsying deeply, and respectfully. Kira steps up to my side, ready to translate. It is time to be the diplomat.

“Mighty Prince Nikolai. I am a stranger to this land, and therefore, I ask forgiveness if I offend you or yours with my words. My name is Ravna, of I am of the Toreador clan. I come on behalf of Prince Jean-Baptist in Copenhagen. These are my companions: Kira, Rhys, Eir, and she whom we call the Lasombra.”

(Oh, gods, please don’t say I’ve made a huge mistake!)

I pause for every sentence, letting Kira translate. When she’s done speaking, I look for a reaction. Prince Nikolai doesn’t even bat an eyelash. Not sure if this is good or bad, I continue.

“We ask permission to hunt within your domain, as we have come a long way, and would appreciate something fresh. You have my word that we will not leave behind a single dead from our slaking of the thirst.”

At this, the female uttered a single word in English, despite the Prince having shown no visible sign: “No.”

It almost surprised me.

“Of course, we will stay on our ship (here I could hear the mental groans of Eir and Rhys – I don’t think the Lasombra really cared about her quarters that much – as I spoke the words), and harm not a hair of a single mortal under your control, should that be your desire. Though, of course, I will have to give a full report back to my Prince, and lack of hospitality can swing both ways.”

At this not so hidden threat, Rhys becomes very still. I could tell he was waiting for weapons to be drawn.

“However, there is no need to be crude, or even inhospitable towards one another. We are but four vampires (and one ghoul, I silently add), seeking only the juices of your great city. I could go on about how I have longed to see St. Petersburg, but I would not – at this point, it seems hardly without a hidden agenda, or even a covered lie.”

I took a step forward. Everybody in the room tensed, except for the Sheriff and Prince Nikolai himself. Boldly I rode the rising courage.

“Prince Nikolai. You are obviously a very powerful Kindred, and by all means, older than I am. Clearly, having achieved the title of Prince within the Camarilla is impressive. Now, I am, according to my Sire, of the twelfth generation – I take the liberty of presuming that you are of one far lower than I am. However, I’ve only been part of Kindred society, and a very secluded part of Kindred society, for three years. You have a domain to run, and thus you have to trust in others. I, have a mere apartment – a single space, a room, not much larger than the one we’re standing in, as my domain. I have a single ghoul. I struggle with languages. I do not know your ways.”

Here I did a dramatic pause.

“But I was chosen for this mission.”

This second dramatic pause I looked around the room, meeting as many eyes as I could. Unsurprisingly, there were only a few pairs that stared back at me.

“Prince Nikolai. I do not hold to your rank, your obligation, and your level of dominance. Therefore, I know not what matters are on your mind. But I know, that we are both of the Camarilla, and that the world is changing – sometimes faster than we would like.”

At this time, I rise my voice, swept into the moment, not pausing for Kira to have the time to translate for me.

“St. Petersburg is of the Camarilla. I am of the Camarilla. True, we do not share clans, generation, or respect. You do not know me, and I do not know you. What reason do we have to trust one another? I tell you – for the enemies of the Camarilla would benefit of our mistrust. If you care not for my good will, or the goodwill of my Prince, then care about this: In time, I can become a powerful ally of you and your people, Prince Nikolai. I hold no clan above another, for as long as they are a member of the Camarilla, they are within the power structure.“

I know Rhys is listening intently in the back.

“A strong Camarilla is the only way to keep surviving. If we divide, our enemies will fall upon us like flames."

At long last, the Sheriff finally speaks: “You have permission to use one of our havens. Blood dolls will be provided for you, so there would be no need to hunt. Do you possess other needs?”

Quickly, I think on my feet.

“Yes. I would ask a shooting range, two coffins – fit for a person in power (I deliberately do not use the word “noble” – because Russia and Brujah) – a guide to the city, and rooms enough for each of my team. Also, the nature of the blood dolls would have to be discussed in advance. Are these additions acceptable?”

Nikolai grunts. It is the first sound I have heard him utter. It is deep, and it shocks me to my very core.

The Sheriff folds her arms across her chest.

“You may be a spoiled child, Toreador (not my name, but clan generalization – means I’m not a person, but a typical member of my bloodline), and greedy. You shall have two rooms: one for yourself, and one for your crew. What specifics does your Ventrue acquire?”

The silence goes on for a moment.

“Ah, you do not know. Pity.”

I take a wild chance and speaks up, ignoring the gleeful spite.

“I am not a Ventrue myself, and you know that to offer such information gives away the mysteries of the blood. However, bring your best and noblest of stock to me, and I shall judge them myself.”

The Sheriff snorts.

“You have our permission to depart, once your mission is over. Follow Lev Pavlov (please don’t be a Nosferatu, please don’t be a Nosferatu) to our guest haven. He will answer all your questions and inquiries. Do not consider yourselves unwelcome, child of Arikel (Ishtar! Her name is ISHTHAR!), but be grateful for the time shown to you. As for any requests, Lev will contact us if needed.”

Damn. Stuck in a single place, with little room to maneuver, and no coffins mentioned.

“How many of your team sleep in the old fashion way?”

“Two: myself and one more.”

“Then we will provide proper accommodations to the haven.”

And with that, the audience is over.

I’m left to wonder just exactly what “proper accommodations” means as we’re escorted out. It better be a coffin, or that would be Lev's first order of business.

lørdag 2. september 2017

VtM:B – a story. Never more.

There is trouble in the North. Many vampires with feelers out, either mental, informational, or general, sense and comment upon it. War is coming.

Well, truth to be told, not war – there hasn’t really been a vampire war, ever. Revolts, skirmishes, murders: oh, yes. But all-out war? Not in our lifetime.

I’m bringing this up because it gives me a chance to brag about how much knowledge my Sire possess, and how much he has given me, both in the practical and historical value.

So, there’s been two major revolts, called the Anarch Revolts. The first one ended with the Convention of Thorns in 1493 and the formation of the dreaded Sabbat, the other was a failed American experiment that ended before my undeath – my Sire mentioned it with disgust: apparently, he dislikes Brujah, and has no restraint in showing this resentment in public.

Only this time, there’s not the Brujah that is the source of the problem.

The Tzimisce are digging in deep in their castles across Eastern Europe. Gangrel and werewolves run free across the lands in Scandinavia, and two cults are clashing: the Children of Loki and the Valkyrie, formerly known to belong to the Hall of Jormungandr and Einherjar, respectfully. Cults, unlike the Camarilla, are indoctrinating and actively seeking out new members, without submitting to the Traditions – despite the cults in question do seem to respect the Masquerade, to some degree.

There are several missions that agents of the Camarilla must undertake to bring stability to the region.  Arnulf Jormungandrsson, an Elder that was old long before most of the Copenhagen vampires where even turned, or born, demoted for backing the wrong side in WWII (which instantly makes me hate him with a passion), and whispers speak of suspicion that he might be a Methuselah. He is, however, interested in keeping on the good side of the Camarilla, so that makes him “our” bastard.

I still loathe him.

However, my place isn’t in Scandinavia – no yet, at least. My place is in St. Petersburg.

My team, because it is my team – my Sire has stressed that point repeatedly – consists of a few you already know, and some you don’t.

There’s Kira, my ghoul, mainly because she knows the language, but also frankly refused to be apart from me. I could have ordered her to stay, but, she’s going to become a vampire someday – someday soon – and oh my gosh: I’m going to need another ghoul!

What I mean to say, is that this experience will be good for her. For us both.

Probably.

Then there’s Eir, a Tzimsce. An almost pitiful creature, but with the rare talent of Vicissitude. She carries a hatred of her own clan, determined to take them down by herself if need be. Not one I’d normally pick, but she’s part of the deal. Young looking girl, plain clothes, no jewelry. Her eyes are icy, and her accent thick.

My Sire tells me that she growls, but that she is loyal, once we go over the mission one last time with Prince Jean-Baptiste.

The Lasombra, another Sabbat, or maybe not actually a Sabbat – I don’t know, I haven’t got the time to probe her mind – wears black clothing, a large jacket with a hood, keeping most of her face in shadows, and keeps gloves on all the time.

I’m fairly certain that has nothing to do with the book Fingersmith.

She’s to be kept under surveillance, but being groomed to become an operative of the Camarilla – unless she’s a spy of the Sabbat that will find her Final Death.

The last one is our babysitter. Rhys Christopher Taliesin Collingwood. A Ventrue. Silent, and judging. He’s not in command, despite being older than me, and more powerful. The Prince has trusted this mission to me, and me alone.

I’m 100% sure he’s here to make sure I don’t make any huge mistakes, and 75% sure he’s here to watch Eir and the Lasombra (and end them, if needed).

He’s dressed in polos, jeans and a jacket. Your typical action agent 47 outfit: comfortable, expensive, and practical. He carries an Omega Seamaster. His phone looks expensive, too.

Pieter is our link to the outside world and Prince Jean-Baptiste’s domain. He won’t be coming with us. To tell the truth, I’m glad he isn’t: not only would he slow us down, but he’d question every single order of mine. Probably.

We travel by boat. Not with a private cabin, nor in style, but as cargo. One big shipping container for us each, secured bellow deck. Stocked together. Hardly any room to walk around, so what little common area there is isn't used a lot. A few chairs and a couch. Some trunks with mission related gear - guns, mostly, I suspect - or proper clothing. A fridge full of blood packs - locked, of course - only Rhys and I have keys to it.

Pure privacy seems a luxury.

Rhys has the container closest to the door.

I’m sharing mine with Kira.

I can’t even tell if I’m seasick or just homesick.

So, here I am, in the middle of the Baltic sea, heading North and East. Always to the East.

On the journey, we pass Gdansk, Kaliningrad, Klaipeda, Riga, Tallinn and Helsingfors. Some of them former domains of Camarilla Princes. Now a few belong to the Sabbat. One abandoned for the Gangrel. A few hold on.

Gdansk is a battleground: between the Sabbat and some Sabbat rebels, the Camarilla is making subtle moves of control. More trouble for them means less trouble for us. It's suspected we'll have the city under our control within the decade.

Kaliningrad, Klaipeda and Riga I don't know anything about.

Tallinn is in the hands of a ruthless Ventrue that sits on top of a crime syndicate.

Helsingfors is a mess of a refugee haven for fleeing vampires in the North. It’s a place to stop on the way South, away from the werewolves, the feral Gangrels and the monstrosities preformed in Sweden. 6 Elders, 24 vampires, and 32 ghouls run the show. All Brujah. All females.

They are called the Helsinki girls. A shared fiefdom. Power divided between the Elders, the vampires, and the ghouls. An experiment. Sanctioned by the Camarilla, of course.

No wonder the Northern Europe is in shambles.

Silently, I promise myself to take it back. Make it mine.

We keep to ourselves, mostly. I massage Kira, and she keeps my mind busy.

I miss Pälvi.

I don’t tell Kira that.

I miss my coffin, my Sire, and my haven.

I only tell Kira about missing my coffin( and my haven). It is a beautiful coffin: black wood - oak, painted black - with silver highlight and finish in the metalwork, and deep purple velvet on the inside of it. A luxurious possession of mine. Treasured. Just like Kira. She’s even slept in it a few times, too. Either keeping it warm for me before I rest in it, and sometimes besides me, while I drift off.

Eir speaks a foreign tongue. I don’t know the language. Her broken English makes it hard for us to understand. Only Rhys seems to be able to, but he doesn’t speak much, either. Kira is a much better companion and conversationalist.

The Lasombra remains shut inside her container the entire time. Only person seeing her is Rhys, when he brings her blood. He puts in in small juice boxes, and puts a straw in it. Sometimes the juice boxes comes out untouched.

So much blood wasted.

I don’t share Kira with anyone. She’s mine, and she’s not enough for all of us.

Then the ghoul in control of the ship comes down to us. We have arrived at St. Petersburg.

It is time to go ashore.

It is time to visit Prince Nikolai.

onsdag 30. august 2017

VtM:B – a story. A princely gift.

I didn’t receive an invitation of my own for the next new vampire introduction. Might as well be for the best, as I was out of town, doing the Prince’s bidding. Kira was with me, so it wasn’t as if I was lonely. Still, I’d have liked to see Pälvi and meet her sire, Anges the Huntress. My Sire speaks highly of her and her skills as a werewolf hunter. An Archon, and a powerful Elder. One to watch, and learn from.

But, that comes later. So does why and where I was, as well as what I was doing. Part clan business, part by order of the Prince. It was a night hard to forget…

My sire, Kira and I were the first to arrive: having spent the night before fussing over what to wear, as this was supposed to be a “casual” affair (believe me, nothing is casual to a Toreador – I learned that the hard way). Just a few of the clan, coming together, enjoying a meal, as well as bring your ghoul(s) to the feast, too.

Turns out, it wasn’t ironic.

So, we arrive to a large apartment block - in the fancy part of town - by our personal driver (my Sire's personal driver: Kira doesn't hold a Danish license at present and therefore can't perform that task just yet).

Prince Jean-Baptiste, whom I only knew from the last Elysium, lives on the three top floors, and has his heard and ghouls reside in the rest of the building. Apparently, large gatherings are commonplace; but smaller clan meetings such as this wasn’t.

The building, being quite old, didn’t have an elevator. Not that physical labor taxes me, it is simply just vexing having to walk up a set of seven staircases while wearing high heels and a tight dress. Kira was making a great show of not appearing flustered at all, and my Sire simply enjoyed himself – perhaps a little too much, on my behalf. After knocking on the door, and finding it opened by a beautiful young woman, I had to keep my hunger in check. “Come hungry”, the Prince had instructed, so no unsanctioned drinking before the allotted time. And the greeter girl was not part of that deal.

She guides us into a kitchen. A rather clean and white washed kind of thing, more or less sterile, to my eyes. Kira seems impressed, though: it still might be the passing living room with a Rembrandt, a bust of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (the last Russian Tsar, if you didn’t know), and a hand written declaration, signed by Napoleon: I'm not sure what strikes her fancy the most.

Now, I’m not sure why a French vampire would idolize one Russian Tsar; actually, make that two – there’s a painting of Peter the Great (again an original, I suspect) behind a glass cover, at the far side of the kitchen. Actually, “kitchen” might be too poor a word to describe the room: it’s more like a combined dining room and a large restaurant kitchen, separated only by a small kitchen isle, perfectly fitting to keep plates on.

While the furniture seems practical, it is wood: I’m not sure what kind, but it looks sturdy.

Jean-Baptiste doesn’t greet us: he’s busy at the stove, whipping up a cream of some kind, and humming loudly to a track of classical music. (Is that Chopin, or Debussy, or maybe Bach – I can’t tell – being played on a gramophone?) The greeting lady offer us chairs: well, she offers the ghouls chairs, and Kira accepts a place next to a rather peculiar looking man in his fifties. As she does, a tall vampire throws me a long, hard look: I’m guessing the ghoul belongs to him.

Not wanting any foul memories to sour the evening, I trot up to him, smiling, offering a hand and a smile. He doesn’t accept either. Puzzled, I introduce myself, as if this isn’t phasing me a bit. It does, however: as this is a Toreador only event, I’m not sure what he might have against me.

Rising an eyebrow, he accepts my hand, kissing it in a gentleman manner, his eyes burning at me. Maybe he’s just hungry? I know I am.

I leave him be, for now, and move over to the group of people I can only assume is other vampires.

Another man, dressed all in Prada, pulls me close and kisses my cheek. I’m not entirely displeased by his acceptance, but find his behavior mildly disturbing: he tells me that he is Andrea Grimaldi, an Italian noble from Genoa. Having no idea how that translates into Kindred society, I tell him that I am honored to meet him, and that I don’t know the proper reply in his language. Unfortunately, he takes this as an opportunity to educate me.

Then Prince Jena-Baptiste bangs a soup casserole rather loudly, and all fall silent. We move to the table, or, us vampires moves to stand behind our ghouls: the tall, less spoken vampire stands beside me: I was right in assuming the man besides Kira being his ghoul.

As we await, Jean-Baptiste demands our attention. Nobody is foolish enough to deny him.

He welcomes us to his haven, and talks – at length – about the dishes he’s prepared. I can barely not roll my eyes – cooking is one skill I find to my dislike (meaning I’m terrible at it), and as vampires can’t eat Kine food, this seems a waste. However, he is the Prince, and the performance itself is well done (I do so appreciate acting skills).

The lady who greeted us begins serving the first dish: a small aperitif, neatly placed on a far too large a plate.

We watch as our ghouls eat, all hungry and eager, but not for Kine food.

Then the main course is served: a red fish (Salmon?) of some fancy French wording; it looks like part soup, part sushi to me. A lovely wine comes with it. Kira drains the glass almost too soon for my taste, and I place a hand on her shoulder, caressing it, half absent minded, half menacing: I get no enjoyment out of watching her eating – well, maybe some, if I hadn’t been wanting to half drain her myself.

My Sire, having brought no ghoul, stands behind one of what I assume is one belonging to our host – I know he keeps several around, both for blood dolls, as well as retainers. I suddenly understand why he owns the entire building.

The dessert arrives, and small talk continues. The vampire beside me keeps silent, only glaring at me from time to time. I try to meet the eyes of my Sire, but he’s too enraptured in a conversation with two other vampires: a woman I only know as Maud and from the sound of it, a Russian noble, whom I can’t place in the Kindred hierarchy.

Then Kira taps her wrist.

It is a preset signal, becoming my attention like a hawk spotting a mouse a thousand meters below.

I lean in close, putting my lips at her left shoulder, touching them to her exposed skin, but without teeth. The trick is to make it seem like I’m having a bite without actually doing it: she whispers that the vampire next to me is Pieter Zederzoon; a voice actor, Dutch, and that his ghoul is his younger brother. Satisfied, I let my tongue roam Kira’s naked shoulder, giving it two quick tabs before I withdraw – that means I’m grateful for the information.

You can see why I adore this girl: dutiful to a fault, and oh so eager to serve me in every way possible (thoughts for later).

But this really doesn’t explain my mission, does it?

It’s only after the feast (of the ghouls) that the Prince takes me aside to a different room, as well as my Sire and Pieter (our ghouls are waiting outside – I hope Kira is okay after the meal). Prince Jean-Baptiste outlines a situation in Russia, and he wants me to take point. My Sire seems hard to agree, but he doesn’t argue. Pieter will be our outside line – ever since the Baba Yaga incident (don’t ask)*, it’s imperative to keep a contact with the outside world.

Pieter is going to be that tech savvy outsider. He doesn’t appear too pleased about the prospect.

I have a fortnight to pick and assemble my team before we'll depart Denmark.

Sadly, Pälvi can’t come along with me – it is my first question – but Kira is vital to the mission (as I don’t know any Russian besides what little she's taught me - she's much more interested in learning Norwegian).

I meet the eyes of my Sire across the table. He nods. I am ready for this. And I hate to disappoint. This will be my moment to prove myself.

I rise, offering to do my best and complete the mission. Pieter snorts. It ruins the seriousness of the moment. I silently vow to have my revenge.

*Picture the most hideous hag imaginable, and you might be able to imagine Baba Yaga. She is an eight-foot-tall monstrosity with four-inch iron (yes, iron) claws, sharklike iron fangs, stringy hair, grey, scarred flesh covered in pustules, rheumy eyes thick with cataracts and a long, crooked nose marred by numerous hairy warts and moles.

tirsdag 29. august 2017

VtM:B – a story. The following night.

When we awake, it is evening. With the villa adjusted to Kindred, we can stride through the entire inside of it without fear of any lingering sunlight. My Sire tells me it once belonged to the Prince, before he became the Prince.

Hunger makes me unable to keep the focus.

My Sire sighs, and walks over to a minibar, but instead of snacks, there are blood packs inside. Taking one out, he tosses one to me. Taking one for himself, he then shows me how to drink from it without making a mess or spilling the blood. I lick my lips in delight once the blood pack is empty, for the blood is strong, and of high quality. It reminds me of the boy.

We exit the room together, and move to a more secluded part of the villa. This is where the introduction will take place: after last night, those in power observed us, and now we’ll be judged based on our actions.

It sounds far too more terrifying than it actually is, my Sire says, as no fledgling yet been granted Final Death because of something done in one of these events, and then starts to list a few examples: draining a blood doll, stealing a car and crashing it, insulting an Elder, and starting a fight. Severe punishment, however, is an entirely different thing. However, he hastily adds when seeing my face, I have nothing to fear after how I behaved.

The introduction is a ritual. We are all to come and stand before the Prince, in a line, while our sires and Elders watch from the back of the room. With all the spectacular robes, dresses and tuxedos being worn, the Prince doesn’t seem to be going for the too lavishly luxurious look: a simple silk shirt with French lilies on them, trousers with press, and leather shoes. All black. All handcrafted and tailored to fit him like a glove. The Prince starts by telling us that he is Jean-Baptiste, a Frenchman and a Toreador (Another Toreador!), and that as long as we are in his city, there are certain rules that we must follow. Asking the fledglings at random, he have us explain the Traditions. When it comes to the fourth, he points at me.

I reply, in a steady voice (while trembling on the inside), that the fourth Tradition is the Tradition of Accounting: and that whenever one creates a new vampire, the sire, held accountable for all actions of the childer, must not only teach the childer, but watch them come into their own in due time. Then I quote the actual Tradition, as if I know it by heart: Those thou create are thine own children. Until thy Progeny shall be released, thou shall command them in all things. Their sins are thine to endure.

I can tell that the Prince is impressed, and that my Sire is making an effort not to outright grin. Olaf just seems confused.

I still don’t understand is how this applies to Gangrels.

Once the ceremony is over, sires and their childer depart. I sit in the back of the car, pondering. My Sire lets me think in silence. At long last, when we approach his haven – our haven, sort of – I speak:

“Why did you choose me?”

My Sire turns to look at me.

“Many reasons. But mostly because I fell in love with your words. I wanted to preserve your talent for the ages.”

He sounds so serious.

When we go inside, passing the locks, the security, the alarms – all measures to keeping and be kept safe – my Sire goes to the large bookshelf he has in the living room. Pulling out a copy, he turns it over, handing it over to me. It is a first addition of my novel.

My Sire ask me if I would sign it. Flattered, honored, and smiling with satisfaction, I find a pen, and dip it in red ink. Then, with a frown, I change my mind, pick another pen, and dip it in purple ink. I write; To he who made my world richer / From a loving child / Silence is gratitude shaped and made flesh.

I can tell that my words affect him deeply.

mandag 28. august 2017

VtM:B – a story. Initiation to society.

The first time I’m introduced to the Kindred society in an Elysim gathering, I wear black velvet. My Sire insists. I find it a bit too traditional, and harbor and unnatural strong fear of not fitting in. My Sire tells me this is natural. I do not believe him. How can I, when so much of my former life was lived in fear and unease?

We travel outside the city limits to a grand, old looking castle, or a villa. It is, I understand, rented by the Prince, and will serve as tonight’s accommodations. There are a lot of private security around; mortals, mostly. I ask my Sire why. At first, he laughs and think I jest. Then he tells me to look beyond mortal eyes and use Auspex. I do, and gasps. What I had thought ample security turns out to be overkill. My Sire says that one can never be too careful.

I find myself wishing for Pälvi, but she hasn’t yet completed her own initiation. Oh, how I long to see her again! Then the car turns a bend I forget about Pälvi.

The villa lies well lit in the darkness. There is a cocktail party with men and women, dressed elegantly in the latest fashion, drinking, laughing and making merry. I later understood that this is just a front, a clever trick, to keep the Masquerade. We stop at a private car park, indoors, underground, and take the elevator up to the elevator itself. The second floor, reserved for the elite. Even without my Sire winking, I understand that means us. I am not entirely wrong.

We present our lavish invitation; Jürgen Adelmann, plus one – until I am properly presented, I will remain my Sire’s plus one – but I intend to secure my own invitation for the next event, based on tonight. We are offered a drink in the form of a young boy, maybe ten or twelve, before we enter. It’s considered rude to show up at an Elysium without having fed. My Sire declines. I do not, and lull the boy in a motherly embrace – quite the sensation – before whispering softly to him that I am a nice lady that won’t harm him. He nods, understanding. I Kiss him gently, drawing enough blood to satisfy my taste, but mindful of the vessel’s small size. I stop myself before I drain him. Too soon, it turns out; I have barely had a sip. But I have never tasted young blood before, and I am roused by it. It is potent, and the boy is of noble stock. I feel lightheaded when we step inside the ballroom; my Sire remarks that I have spoiled my appetite.

I see Tremere, Ventrue, Toreador, Gionvanni, mortals; but also what I suspect is Malkavian, before I step back in light shock: Three Nosferatu lingering in a corner. Despite being warned in advance, I shudder. My Sire takes my arm in his, and draws me near: I realize if I where to stumble, it would reflect poorly on him. So I toss my neck, and put on my confidence: This is where I belong, at the seat of power, along the rest, the heart of the party. The evening has just began, and there is a new player in town.

The party lasts to daybreak; I quickly lose count over whom is who, what titles and positions they hold: but it seems not that important as this is an evening for the fledglings. My Sire explained that to me in advance: every year, the Prince hosts a gathering for the newly made vampires – to meet, to be introduced, and to behave. I sense a tug in my heart as I would not share my presentation to Kindred society with her, before I dream of presenting someone else the next year: there is no rule that says you have to be a sire and a childer. My Sire sees me smiling and asks what I find amusing. I comment on the sight of two beautiful beings, one drinking from the other. He smiles and says that the Prince keeps blood dolls around, to see how the fledglings treat them. He then acquires a specimen himself: a large man with grey eyes and a neatly trimmed beard, dressed in a tuxedo. My Sire introduces us: it is the father of the boy, and he is pleased that I did drink of his child when I mention it. He then offers his own neck, and my Sire shows me how to share him at the same time – a trick I will perform myself with others, later. The vitality and virility of the moment makes me dizzy.

Later, my Sire leaves me to mingle on my own, striking up conversation as I see fit. I know this is a test, so I do it dutiful and proud. I meet the nervous Gangrel Olaf and his mentor – not sire – Louise. I learn that Gangrel tradition doesn’t permit the same kind of sire-childer bond that most other clans share. I don’t comment on the situation further north in Scandinavia.

I also meet Alexandra of clan Tremere – she doesn’t mention a last name. She’s dressed all in red, and wears gold jewelry. She invites me to the High Saturday: a gathering of those interested in Necromancy. Obviously, my fascination of the topic has betrayed me, but to a pleasant surprise. I thank her and move on.

Deciding to prove myself, I seek out the Nosferatu, but find only one of them, deep in conversation with a queer looking girl of barely sixteen, clearly underdressed for the occasion. They stop when I advance, and we share polite words and names: the Nosferatu is Vlad (again, no last name mentioned – this seems to be the norm), a former merchant from the 1700-century, and one with strong ties to the Prince. Erika doesn’t say anything, but keeps on staring at me the for the entire conversation. I tell them about my book, about how I plan to have another one published (under another name, this time – I am, both officially and literally, dead) and that I would be delighted to ask Vlad for firsthand knowledge of the time from when he was alive. He seems surprised, but not entirely unwilling. However, nothing is free in this world, and favors are high currency in Kindred society. I ask him what he would consider a fair price, and find Erika shaking her head viciously. Somehow, this amuses Vlad, and he says he’ll be in touch. Taking his remark on the word, I offer mine. The queer looking girl giggles. Slowly, Vlad takes my hand and we shake on it. He then excuses himself and Erika, and I continue my evening, dressed to impress.

Noticing the time, I went to find my Sire, and secure a place to rest for the day. He take me through a long hallway and to a Spartan looking room with just a bed and a coffin. The drapes are lovely, heavy, and covered the thick and tinted glass. My Sire claims the bed, and I the coffin. As I slide the lid on, I smile of gratefulness: he remembered to ask about one in advance.

søndag 20. august 2017

VtM:B - a story. A memory.

I remember an evening when I brought home a meal, a girl with great looks, mesmerizingly following my steps within a haze of bliss, having already expected Pälvi to be within the apartment. I unlocked the door, opened it wide, and asked the mortal to enter willingly – and she stepped inside as easy as if she was unaware of what awaited her; which, to be fair, she was.

I asked her to make herself comfortable, planting her in the living room, wandering from item to item, admiring my wealth and taste, while I went upstairs to collect Pälvi.
Finding her at the computer, probably writing a report for one of the Elders, I was able to convince her that she looked paler than usual, that she hadn’t fed enough, and that I had found something pretty for her. It took almost no persuasion at all.

As Pälvi and I reentered the living room, the young woman was standing in front of a painting. I can’t recall exactly what had sparked the interest, but I glided over to her, only letting the clicking sound of my heels be heard for mortal ears above the music (I’ve practiced with Kira many times, so I have a fair certainty in how the sound ranges of mortal ears fall – not that I don’t recall it with utter accuracy myself from my own living years), coming closer with assured steps, the one walking with knowledge and want. She turned and smiled towards me, and I in turn gave her a smile that only an angel could present.
Placing my hand at her hip and one at her lower back, looking on in delight as she widened her eyes with an unexpected need, I silenced all her questions with a kiss.

Pälvi moved up next to us, observing, but keeping somewhat distant. I didn’t want her to be distant, I wanted her to share this mortal with me, the mortal I had brought her, brought here, for her, to drink from.
I reached out with a hand, and tried to take Pälvi’s hand, guiding her to the waist of our feast.

The girl didn’t quite seem to be catching on, so I whispered soft reassurances to her, that she would soon experience pleasure above anything she’d ever felt (not really a lie, based on what Kira tells me), drawing a little bit more on my Presence, trying to lull both her and Pälvi into the moment, this beautiful moment.
At what seemed to be forever, Pälvi finally started kissing the girl’s slender neck. Smiling, I joined in on the other side, wanting to taste mortal blood first. Of course, it wasn’t a competition, but I sometimes make one out of nothing – it makes me feel better.

Biting into that soft, succulent flesh, I heard the mortal gasp as I secured my hold on her, waiting only for Pälvi to feast upon her at the same time.
I didn’t want to drain her; I wanted this to draw out, to linger, so I pulled my fangs back from her, licking the puncture wounds, causing her to shiver.


Lifting my head to mentally roll my eyes at my dear partner, whom I loved in life and forever will in undeath, despite her flaws and my own faults and failings, being so stubborn to refuse what I offered her. Taking the hint – she reads me so well – she held my eyes as she put her mouth to the white skin, fangs bared, and bit. The mortal moaned, now not only expecting and experiencing the sensation anew, but also the memories of my teeth, making the delight stronger.
Then the moment changed in the snap of the fraction of a second.

Pälvi pulled back, disgust on her face. Perplexed, I looked at her, not knowing what was wrong.
“This female isn’t fitting.”
“I’m sorry?”
“You heard me.”

Pälvi wiped the trace of spilled blood from her mouth, making a face. I was at a complete loss: here I, knowing that she’d not want to go hungry upon coming back home, had presented her with the finest of beverages, the most exclusive of the evening, and she not only refused, but found it revolting?
“Get rid of her.”

Pälvi turned and marched away, actually MARCHED! She only does that when she’s all business and no fun. Clearly, this was my mistake, and I had to set things right.

I was furious. Or, not actually furious, but scorned, and far more than mildly miffed.

Having lost the moment, the enjoyment, I grabbed the girl’s hair and pulled it back, not too much – I didn’t want to snap her neck, and bit down into her again, drinking deeply from her. Her surprised and feeble efforts of resisting soon stopped, her heart slowed down, dangerously so.

Carrying her in my arms, I carried her down, setting her on her feet, and played the part of two girls who had simply been out on the town and had far too much to drink.
Dumping her in a safe enough distance to a nearby hospital, but far enough away from my place, I melted into the night as she fell over, face first, not getting up. She was someone else’s problem now; I had Pälvi to worry about.

lørdag 19. august 2017

VtM:B - a story. Introductions.

It was late. I was sitting on the couch, a glass of blood – tall, crystal, stemmed – in the grasp of my slender fingers, while my ghoul was licking my naked feet. Normally not a setting or situation you’d consider a vampire in power to be in. Though, I knew that my partner was watching and that she’d be either be enticed about the vista, or experiencing cold fury of not doing the deed herself.

I could even see her, feel her, standing on the balcony, overlooking the living room from the next floor, keeping to the semi-shadows, hands gripping the banister, just not hard enough to leave any marks on it. I do adore my formal partnership and her ways of not damaging anything without a proper reason given, and the railing hadn’t been bad to her. I, however, was.

Allow me to introduce myself.

I’m a vampire.

More specific, I’m of clan Toreador, 32 years of age – human years – and barely out of the butterfly transformation when I was bitten. My Sire said that I had been on his list for some time. Why, I’m not sure, but to keep in touch with the humanity is part of what my clan does – that, and we’re artists. My book had triggered the urge of my Sire. He said it was too much of a coincidence not to make me his.

Of course, becoming a vampire means leaving behind your normal life, the one from before.

Being in two loving relationships already, I begged my Sire for having any other of his vampire friends bestow the same honor upon them. Unfortunately, only one of them was picked – and by another clan.

While she was undergoing her own transformation and became acquainted to life as a vampire – not to mention her own clan’s special rituals and what not – I went to Russia to pick up my other beloved one – a girl with long, golden hair, a pale skin and a willingness to serve me that transcendent her own life.

And so, there we were. A Norwegian male-to-female Toreador, a Finnish female Ventrue, and the Russian female ghoul of the first one. We all spoke English to one another, of course – only learning our mothers tongues over time.

We’re currently in a Danish apartment, top floor, large and sophisticated. One of my selections, actually, on the advice from my Sire. Never having liked either Denmark or Copenhagen, it made for a perfect place to create a lair, complete with coffins and everything.

Normally, vampires could just rest in a bed, as long as the sunlight was out of the equation. Me? I preferred a coffin. For traditional and dramatic reasons.

Vampires slept in coffins. It was really that simple.

Pälvi was back from Sweden, doing something there for her clan, having only returned the night before. Although we lived together, shared a home, the difference in clan set us somewhat apart. Somewhat, but that just made our relationship even stronger.

I didn’t have to call out to her. I knew she was there, and I’d felt her presence. She knew that I knew, but didn’t want to disturb either me or my ghoul.

Kira, my ghoul, was at the floor – well, carpet, I didn’t want her to be cold – licking my feet. I felt Pälvi’s eyes staring at me from above and in the shadow, observing and enjoying. I don’t think Kira knew she was there. Or if she did, she didn’t seem to mind. The cute ghoul, MY cute ghoul, so focused on her task of pleasing me. So dutiful. I smiled at her.

It may of course just be the blood binding us together, but I hoped that it was love on some other level, too.