Five people sat gathered in an office. The room was dimly lit, and one of the men sat behind the desk with an air of undeniable authority. He was the Elder. His clanmates were watching him carefully, listening to him explain what he wanted to happen.
"Rite of Amaranth is not easily obtained, Henry," a blond man explained when he'd finished.
"Oh, I know. But, my friend, you perhaps overestimate the Prince...he's a Brujah."
"It's not as easy as that. Not all Brujah fit your stereotype." The only female of the group spoke from her seat in the back.
"Alice, you have a lot to learn if you're to be one of this clan," the Elder replied, "we're not supposed to support the rabble."
"Wasn't I just denouncing stereotypes?" The redheaded woman spat out.
The man narrowed his eyes. "You're in no place to speak to me like that, girl...I hold the power within the clan. You might be Primogen, but outside of the Camarilla, the clan follows my advice."
"Right...but still--that doesn't mean that the Brujah Prince will grant you Rite of Destruction, let alone Amaranth...I know the laws of our sect, Henry. I don't want to see you in trouble."
"I appreciate that. I do." His Scottish accent was rich. "But it can't hurt to ask. Besides...you do have some sway over the Brujah."
"I won't use him like that. Not for this. Not for politics. I love him too much to take advantage."
"You're blood bound. Of course you feel that way."
"Blood bond or not, I won't do it."
He met her eyes and spoke in a low, serious tone. "You will."
The Prince was in his office at Elysium, watching the gathering on close-circuit security monitors. The Ventrue were meeting in the conference room. The other Brujah were in the "rant" room. The rest of the Kindred were milling about in the ballroom, with the Toreador spreading the newest gossip. He crossed his arms over his chest, looking up as the door opened. A small redheaded woman stepped in, shutting and locking the door behind her.
"I was beginning to think your clan was more important," he spoke softly as she crossed the room towards him.
"More important than you, Andrew? Never." She smiled sweetly, settling down on his lap, straddling him.
"Well, one can never be sure." He reached a hand up, pulling her head towards his neck.
"You can always be sure with me," she whispered as she placed kisses over the cool skin there.
He moved at an almost inhuman speed, lifting her and turning her around, bending her forwards over the desk. He leaned down and grinned as he whispered in her ear.
"Oh, I know I can, Alice."
His teeth sunk into the soft flesh of her neck, and the pleasure of the Kiss took over her body. She let out a deep, throaty moan as she writhed underneath him, putting up no resistance as he shoved her skirt up to her waist and pulled off her lace underwear, spreading her legs. He unzipped his pants, and with a moment's concentration to ready himself, thrust his cold, hard member into her. She reached around and grabbed one of his wrists, dragging it to her mouth as she bit, being careful not to draw any blood. She felt him stiffen and his moan vibrated against the skin of her neck as he kept the Kiss washing over her. He picked up the speed and put so much force behind his thrusts that the wooden desk began to creak beneath them. He pulled out of her and grabbed her by the hair, throwing her against the wall and continuing the show of passion. He dropped Majesty. With an almost expert ability, he brought her to an orgasm like no other she'd ever had. She dropped his wrist and screamed his name, her nails digging into his back. She felt him reach his own release--a hot stream seared into her. His blood. The only fluid a vampire has within its body. He pulled back and kissed her softly.
"You're mine, you understand that?"
She nodded numbly. "Yes...yours."
"Good. Now fix your skit. There's a Primogen meeting in half an hour."
Alice grinned and adjusted her skirt, smoothing over the wrinkles in the black fabric as it fell back down over her smooth thighs.
"I love you, Andrew."
"I know you do."
"Do you love me? I want to hear you say it."
"Of course I love you, darling."
"Then do me a favor. Do my clan a favor."
"Name it." He looked up, gazing into the eyes of his lover. It was just what she wanted him to do.
"Give us Rite of Amaranth on Lucas Graham."
If she had still been mortal, her heart would have been beating for escape against the confines of her ribcage as she left the Prince's office and made her way to the smaller of the two conference rooms, where the Council was set to meet. She opened the doors and stepped in, taking her place at one of the seats around the table. She was not alone. The Brujah representative was staring at her from the other side of the table.
"You were with him again."
Alice glanced up. "With who, Carrie?"
"You know what I'm talking about, bitch," the younger-looking girl spat out with a glare at the Ventrue.
"Hmm.. let's see now.. I'm Acknowledged, Respected, Loyal, Honorable, and as I'm Primogen, Revered...you don't have the standing to speak to me like that, Carrie."
"Maybe. But Andrew is my brother. I don't like to see him used."
"I don't know what you're talking about. But if you have a problem, I'm sure the Harpy would be glad to help us figure out which of us is being honest."
The two women locked eyes, staring hard at each other. They were in this position when the other Primogen filed into the room.
"Are you two at each other's throats again?" The Nosferatu, Hannah Gruber, asked with an air of boredom.
"Seems like it," Matthew Douglas said with a grin. "Maybe there'll be a cat fight. I'll put money on Alice."
"You'll do no such thing, Primogen Douglas," the Tremere put in, casting a cold look around the room. "If you two are done, we can get to business."
Alice and Carrie gave each other matching sneers before taking their seats again.
"What's on the agenda for tonight?" The former asked.
"Well, we set up the feeding territories last week. The Prince gave his blessing for them, so we have to discuss the problems with the Anarchs and Independents. They come to Elysium, taking advantage of our hospitality, only to use that information against us."
"Is there proof of this, Ian? We wouldn't want to make baseless accusations against our allies," Hannah stated.
The Tremere chuckled. "I wouldn't make them if I weren't sure. I have reason to believe the Setites are leaking information to the Sabbat."
"What would they have to gain from that?" The Toreador inquired.
"Well, I'm not sure yet. But we have ways of tracking their movement. Their leader was meeting with the Archbishop."
"And you assume they're leaking information?" Alice raised an eyebrow. "We can't be absolutely sure...but if they're meeting with the Sabbat at all, it calls into question trusting them."
"It does," Hannah began, "but it doesn't mean that they're betraying us."
Carrie leaned back in her chair, letting the arguments and bickering pass around her. She had nothing to say on the issue. Setites were snakes, and shouldn't have been trusted to begin with. The problem she was most concerned with was that Ventrue slut fucking around with her brother. He was the Prince, and that made him vunerable. Besides, Andrew had a tendency to think with the wrong head, as far as she was concerned. And he spent far too much time with Alice. His own clan was the one he should be worrying about; the one he needed to be loyal to.
Lucas Graham was in the warrens. Most of the Nosferatu were at Elysium, so he passed through the tunnels of sewer almost unnoticed. Of course, his ability to hide himself completely was a great help in this. He was on his way to an important meeting. He'd just remembered that he needed to speak with the Ventrue, Henry Blake. His instincts were guiding him to the nightclub that the elder Kindred owned. The fastest way across town was to go underneath the streets.
The Gangrel chuckled. If only they knew...he was thought to be one of the snakes. A Setite. It was easy because his beast manifested itself with reptillian traits--snake eyes, a hiss in his speech. They believed him when he told them he was an independent, when he was really loyal to the Sabbat. It was so easy to pull the wool over the Camarilla's eyes.
Henry was pacing his office. The summon should have brought the Setite already. Rite of Amaranth had been granted. He was anxious to get the deed done with, lest the Prince change his mind.
The room seemed much more constrictive tonight that it had before. The walls seemed closer, and the ceiling lower. Henry shuddered lightly. It reminded him of the unpleasantries of "sleeping" in a coffin. He hadn't done that in almost a century. A bed was so much more comfortable and convenient.
A knock at the door. His secretary opened it and stepped in ever so slightly.
"Mr. Graham is here, sir."
"Show him in."
She nodded and went back out. The traitor stepped in, shutting the door behind him.
"Lucas...so good to see you."
The guest seemed confused for a moment. "Yeah...I jussst remembered the meeting. We did have a meeting, right?"
"Yes, of course. Why else would you come to my office?" Henry offered a friendly smile, knowing that he had actually summoned the man he planned to kill.
The Gangrel moved to a chair opposite the desk the Ventrue still occupied, and took a seat, letting his mask fall to reveal his snake-like eyes.
"The Beast manifests itself in you quite...uniquely, Mr. Graham."
He chuckled. "Yeah...well, we're all different, I guessss."
Henry stood, walking around to stand behind his guest. He placed his hands on Lucas's shoulders, gripping with a commanding strength.
"Yes, well you're a little too different. See, the other allies of the Camarilla are not really Sabbatists."
Shock flared through Graham's mind. He tried to get up, but found he couldn't move. Damn blue-blood must have learned potence.
"I don't know what you're talking about, asshole."
"Of course you do. I can see it in your aura. The deceit, the black veins...did you really think you could fool all of us?"
"Even if you're right...there's nothing you can do about it, huh? If I am an infiltrator, I've already gotten them the information they need to destroy you."
"No, Lucas. That's where you're wrong." The Elder's voice was dangerously low and calm. "We've never trusted you. The Prince never trusted you. We've only been testing you with the information. See...most think you're a Setite. The snake-like features and all. I never believed that. I've known a few Gangrel with similar manifestations of the Beast. But I read your aura that first night. The black veins were a starting point."
"So I diablerized...so what?"
"Did you think my clan wouldn't realize that one of their own went missing so soon before you showed up?"
"One of your own...what?"
"Your aura isn't honest, Lucas. I suggest you change that."
A desire to obey this suggestion surged through the Gangrel. Henry tightened his grip on the shoulders.
"Now...what are you? Tell the truth."
"I'm a vampire."
"Who is your father?"
"What sect holds your alleigance?"
"And who did you diablerize?"
Anger flared inside of Henry's mind. So this was his sire's murderer. No matter now--his revenge would soon be fulfilled. He leaned down towards the Gangrel's neck, letting his fangs appear. Lucas's survival instincts kicked in, and he began to struggle. Fortitude granted him the resilience to break free of the Ventrue's potent hold, and he ran swiftly for the door. He wasn't counting on Henry being fleet of foot. The Ventrue caught up, and with alarming speed, drove a stake into the Gangrel's chest. Lucas fell to the floor, his body still.
"Now...you diablerized my sire, Mr. Graham. You betrayed the trust of the Camarilla. You will face punishment."
The last thing Lucas saw was the ceiling of the office. The last thing he felt was the Kiss as Henry drained away his blood and soul.