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Damn. Vampires could smell him? That would have been nice to know beforehand. There was sadly no dignified way to extricate oneself from a closet. He'd known there was a 50-50 chance of The Man being the one to find him, and so spent his fifteen minutes to produce an argument for his survival. It certainly beat any further thought on the poor immigrants' fates...
Andrew was almost relieved at who he saw when he slid out from under the dress rack. Purity was flighty, volatile. She might fancy him now but, six months later, grow bored and throw him in an exhibit. The Man was a pragmatist. It would be easier to convince him than ride the wild wave that was Purity Westbrook. Especially since Andrew knew full well The Man's deepest desire. He wanted power, respect, and, above all, a transcendence of the vapid dilettantism that dominated his world. Andrew could sympathize.
It was all he had ever wanted too.
"You're not like her, are you? Purity - Miss Westbrook - focuses too much on the superficial and the ephemeral." He gestured with the hem of a diaphanous gown to underscore his point. "You want to build a legacy for you and yours, to oust the Ventrue and the Tremere, to win dominance over the Camarilla." Work with enough Eastern European models and you started to develop a knack for pronouncing names. At least, he assumed they were names. "I know how you feel. I'm the same way. This industry doesn't even come close to what I wanted for my career, but it kept me out of my parents' basement and off the ramen diet." Andrew checked the the reaction to his words. The Man looked contemplative. That was a start. "You said I was average before. I admit, I was caught a bit off-guard at first, but I'm not some Bohemian waif who gets by on looks alone. I'm smart, and I know how to work people. I have some rather powerful allies. Knowing the Tribune editor and an Assistant District Attorney can come in especially handy at times. Now, if you let me, I can work those assets on your behalf, rather than say... having them feverishly investigate my disappearance? Sound good?"
Andrew had done his best. Now, he just had to wait... and hope.
The man laughed. He slapped his knee twice. "I can't believe you fell for it! Vampires? Oh surely you must think that Sean's gold teeth, and those gawdy tattoos are real too? Oh yes, and we kidnap immigrants from time to time to do with them as we please!" He literally fell over, rolling on the ground. "Oh, you're not the first to fall for this one, but let's just say you lot who believe in all this superstition are the minority." His laughter turned into close to a squeal, very undignified, but it did make him seem far less intimidating.
He stood up again, and reached his hand out. "Matthew Donaldson. Sorry for all this, but I'm afraid Purity and I have a bit of a competition to see who can pull off the most elaborate pranks. Oh, I don't blame you if you hate us, but I truly hope you don't."
He blinked, then burst out in laughter himself. It had all been an idiotic prank. Thank God. He should have suspected that from the get-go, these damned eccentrics. His pride was a bit wounded, but the three grand would do wonders. "Andrew Vassar," he stated, extending his hand to shake Matthew's. The fellow had awfully cold fingers... "Hate's perhaps too strong a word. Annoyed, maybe." He laughed again, but his thoughts lingered on those terrified eyes. How could that have been a prank? No. Something was wrong here, but Andrew didn't know what. Did he even want to know? "So!" he burst out, attempting to mask his apprehension, "What exactly is it that you folks do here, aside from pranking photographers?"
Perception + Empathy:(5d10)(36)
Damn, who knew getting turned into a vampire was so difficult?
"Oh you know, we try to be patrons of the arts. Trying to get our fingers into the city funds for it too, though so far no luck."
A growing fear was taking over Andrew. Matthew was lying. There was something wrong about it all. Matthew brushed Andrew's arm with a playful, soft hit. The hand was cold. "Come now. Let's go back downstairs and finish the shoot?"
"Ah..." Andrew muttered vacantly. He wanted to believe Matthew, but a plastic smile and a forced laugh weren't enough to fool him. Hopefully, hopefully, talk of all the people he knew had dissuaded them from murder, and Matt was just trying to get rid of him. Andrew jumped at the playful tap on his shoulder. "How can a guy's hands be so frickin' cold? Felt that through my sleeve." The next question was even more of a puzzle. "Finish? I thought we were done..." The ground floor would be a necessary stop on his way out the door. "All right. Lead the way, then." In his haste, Andrew hadn't exactly acquired the lay of the land.
They walked back down, Matthew whistling the phantom of the opera as they walked down. They re-entered the room where the mannequins had been. Hollow shells were strewn about the place, and an equall number fo young people, in their late teens to early twenties were they, all gathered around Purity. It was strange though, they were captivated by her. Many looked to have severe bruising, and all appeared exhausted, but they hung on her every breath.
She looked up to see the two walking back.
"I lost again. I was sure you'd run outside, Andrew."
"Not this one, Purity. This one was all for playing the game."
Sean chuckled, the fat around his body shook strangely. "You contradict yourself Purity. He want him to join us, but then you assume the man is a coward." Sean gave a sharp tsk tsk, one that seemed to gut Purity, and for a moment, the people around her looked confused, unti lshe regained her composure. "You." She pointed at Andrew. "Come here."
"Phantom, huh?" Andrew had seen it with his family on Broadway a few years ago. The music was fantastic, but the story had been somewhat lacking. "Great, now I'm gonna have that stuck in my head all...night." His gaze fell upon the shattered mannequins and the gaggle of bruised, exhausted young adults that surrounded Purity. "I wasn't seeing things. Okay. No one looks hurt too bad. Guess there's always someone desperate enough to volunteer for anything. See: my entire career." The game? What sort of game did Matthew mean? It certainly wasn't a photo shoot, given that his camera was nowhere to be found. Andrew's brow furrowed as Sean mocked Purity. Her fanclub took issue as well, judging by the confusion that flitted across their faces.
Decision time. Leaving was one option, but he'd definitely be a coward then. Not to mention, Andrew could wind up blacklisted from every shoot in a ten-mile radius. Besides... curiosity had taken over. With a parting glance at Matthew, Andrew crossed the room in a few quick strides. He looked Purity square in the eye and calmly asked, "Yes, ma'am?"
Glad to see this show back on the road. While I was sick on vacation, I cooked up an idea for a picture and got my friend to draw it for me.
Purity touched Andrew's chin with the tip of her fingernail, and with the slightest bit of pressure, brought him closer to her. "This has been such an... interesting night. I want to see what happens."
She leaned in close, to nuzzle at his neck, then Andrew felt ecstasy fire up his entire body. Something was in his neck. No, he knew what was happening. Fangs. He was growing weak, but it felt so amazing.
If Andrew tries to resist, do a will power roll, difficulty 10.
It's Faruq. I put two and two together about Sasha, and the drawing was inspired by where I hoped the story would go. I was not disappointed.
"Oh... Holy Christ." Superstitious, Matt said. More like 'totally called it...ious.' Comebacks needed work. It was hard to think with teeth sunk into his neck. "I should do something about that, shouldn't I?" Like what? His legs could barely keep him upright, much less take him out the door. Even if he wanted to leave... Andrew pulled Purity tight against him, tracing one shaky hand down her spine.
Then, the blood loss became too much, and all went dark.
Andrew awoke. He was sitting in a chair. As he groggily woke up, he could see two figures in front of him. One was the assistant of Purity, nameless, plain, and standing transfixed in front of him. The other was Sean Loveless, grinning from ear to ear.
"Hungry dear boy. By all means, dinner is served."
Then it hit. Like a train slamming into him, all went red. He was hungry, starving, desperate. He needed to survive, needed to feed. And in front of him...
"I am never drinking again," Andrew thought as he had every other Saturday morning since college. It was Thursday, though. He'd scheduled a major gig. Eyes closed, Andrew massaged his temples with one long-fingered hand. What happened? Purity had taken his picture and, and bitten him? He traced a finger at the nape of his neck. No wounds.
Laughter cut through his thoughts. Oh joy. Sean was here in all his rapey glory. "Hungry, dear boy?" Andrew had eaten before he arrived. Then why was he starving? It felt like he might die if he didn't eat something right now. Andrew nodded weakly. "By all means, dinner is served." He dared to crack an eyelid, and Purity's assistant stood before his chair. They hadn't gotten a chance to talk. Andrew didn't even know her name. It was probably a nice, wholesome one. No weird nouns or I endings that were so damn popular in the fashion industry. Amanda, maybe. There was no food. There was just the assistant who looked hypnotized. A knot twisted in the pit of his stomach. She was dinner.
"Oh God. Please, no..."
I figure it's only human to try, regardless of how futile the effort.
Andrew was in pain, he had never been so hungry, so thirsty in his life, but he retained a sense of himself. Whatever he was on, whatever he had become, he was not going to feast on another human being who’s only sin was being an assistant to Purity, a sin that she seemed to being paying for already. The insanity that gripped him faded away, and though he could barely keep his eyes open the way his whole body seemed to throb in pain, he kept hold of his humanity.
Sean waited, and seeing that Andrew would not budge, stood still, and it seemed he paled a bit more, just ever so slightly. For a few seconds he seemed transfixed, dazed, inspired by what he saw. Then a vicious, golden smile grew from his mouth. He titled his head forward, a dark shadow falling across his face. “Yes. Oh yes, I see it now. You. You are a special boy. You run deeper than your blood, oh yes you do.” He walked towards Andrew, almost playfully, as if he were acting in a scene. When he lifted his arm in a dramatic gesture, Andrew knew that Sean was acting out a scene. “Yes. Yes! This is what we’ve been waiting for!” He spun around, and his fat jiggled around strangely, as if it weren’t really flesh. “You will be my brightest star, Andrew Vassar. Purity! Take this dear child of yours to the Prince. See that the town knows there’s a seventh.”
A light tap on the floor signaled Purity’s entrance. Andrew could feel her presence as she came from behind. She held out a large vase of blood in front of him. “Drink Andrew.” She sounded sad and despondent.
Holy hell. Andrew had surprised Sean frickin' Loveless. Granted, it had taken every last ounce of willpower not to bury his teeth in the assistant (gotta get her name) and drink her dry. Andrew could barely stay conscious, but the girl was alive, and Sean was happy, if his histrionics were any measure. "Purity..." Thank goodness. He wasn't going to be with Sean all night. The mention of a prince piqued his interest. Old-fashioned title, but what other sort of government would ageless terrors of the night have? Purity handed him the container of blood and bade him to drink. Andrew complied. He'd managed to stay sane, but hunger gnawed at him more strongly than ever. While he drank, Andrew wondered what exactly Purity could be so forlorn about. Had he done something wrong? Maybe she was upset to still have an assistant... The question would have to wait until they were alone. The last thing Andrew wanted was to provide Sean with more ammunition.
"Now, if you'll excuse me dear, dear boy. I have other matters to attend to tonight. No rest for the damned after all." As Andrew drank the blood, and his vision began to clear, Sean seemed to get fuzzier until he faded from view.
"Our car is waiting out front. It will take us to see the Prince." Purity whisked past him like a ghost, not even noticing her assistant still frozen in place. "Follow."
Her weery voice echoed across the room.
3 Blood points total now. Started with one from the embrace, the container had two.
Andrew leaped up from his chair, nearly bowling over The Assistant. He glanced her way, realized she was still dazed, then continued out the door until he caught up with his sire. "Purity- Mistress, wait!" Andrew liked how the word rolled off his tongue. "Did- did I do something to upset you?" A thought occurred. "If it was all that star crap, I'm pretty sure Sean only said it because of the rhyme." Andrew scratched nervously behind one ear, still new to the spotlight. "Whatever it is... I want to help."
"It's nothing, Andrews. Simply follow me." She did not respond to anything else he said, until they were outside, and stepping into a car, a black convertable with the top on. Apathetically she stepped into the driver seat, waiting for Andrew. As he stepped in, she began to roll the car forward even before he closed the door.
The car took off.
They drove for about thirty minutes to the outskirts of the city when they arrived at a gate with armed security personal. They gave a quick glance and then let them through. It was the second checkpoint that had the thorough look. Then men had shaved heads, were caucasian, and wore suits.
Camera? When did he... Andrew glanced down at his hands, and, lo and behold, there was his Nikon F-601. He must have reflexively grabbed it while rushing out the door. Years of muscle memory could do that to a man. A scowl flitted across his face. "Of course you need my camera. I love taking pictures of vampires because I'm a suicidal idiot!" Then again, given tonight's events, perhaps the epithet suited him. With a groan, he shrugged off the neck strap and gently surrendered his camera. "Be careful. It's delicate." Not to mention expensive as hell.
The man takes it neither gently, nor roughly. The car continues, and finally stops at the steps of a large manse. It stops by one of the wings. "There's the door you'll enter. You will speak to a woman named Donovon. She is hideous." She closed the door of the car, and drove further along the driveway.
The door in front of him opened. When Andrew walked in there was a single chair, and is was facing... something. It was hunched, and covered in rags. A single, glowing orange eye stared back at him. "Sit down." It rasped.
"Hideous woman. Donovon. Got it." Wait, what kind of name was Donovon? Andrew pushed through the double doors. Beyond them, an overstuffed chair stood before a figure in a tattered robe. "Cherchez la femme... Guess Purity wasn't kidding." He was morbidly curious, how disfigured someone must be to cover their face in the company of monsters, but presumed it would be in poor taste to ask. Andrew took his seat and tried not to stare too much at her luminescent eye.
Degenerate, huh? He'd been called worse, but her tone held no malice. Weird. Andrew had more trouble with her question. "Well, Purity an' Sean an' Matt are all vampires, and then she bit me, and..." Come on. Say it. "Now I'm a vampire too." There we go. He sounded like a complete prat, but Andrew had gotten the words out. He'd accepted his fate. "I know that I have to drink blood to survive, but, beyond that, I have no clue about vampires." He'd bought a second-hand copy of Dracula once, but sold it back a day later. Book was boring as all get out.
A noise came from Donovon, and Andrew couldn't tell whether it was a sigh, a hiss, or something else entirely. "A vampire? You are a dead thing Andrew Vassar. Your life was taken from you tonight. You have no warmth in your body, your heart does not beat. You will never stand understand the sun again, you will be tormented on the inside by an inner monster that wishes to feed and destroy only, and yes, you must feed on the blood of humans to survive."
She turned her back to him, shaking her head. "There are Clans, and you have been embraced to the clan of degenerates, the Toreador wwho spend more time amusing themselves with false beauty. You will be presented in front of the Prince, a kindred who have survived for over five hundred years. He will tell you the laws we follow, and if you show hi respect you will be allowed to stay in Havensworth."
She turned around again, her eyes glowing even brighter. "Do you understand better now?"
Donovon seemed annoyed. She probably thought Andrew wasn't taking this seriously enough, but after the night of terror with Purity and her crew, he was emotionally drained. The chill had been obvious, but no heartbeat... Andrew rubbed his shoulder, trying to covertly feel for a pulse. Nothing. Well, damn. Andrew hadn't seen much of the sun to begin with since he started in fashion photography. The monster, however, was extremely worrisome. That certainly would explain why Andrew had nearly murdered an innocent woman for sustenance. He would need to look into it later.
Vampires had clans, and Andrew was a Toreador. Probably everyone he'd met at Le Beast was too, and, going by what Matt had said, the Ventrue and the Tremere were rival clans. False beauty? Andrew fought down the urge to protest. After all, Donovon was 'hideous,' so naturally, she would think little of superficial art or the superficial people who peddled it. "Five hundred years old? Damn, that's like, Hundred Years War era... We can survive that long?" It was definitely an accomplishment, one worthy of respect. Besides, finding a place to live was difficult enough with all twenty-four hours in the day to do it. Andrew met Donovon's gaze and nodded. "Yes, ma'am. I do."
"At least you're obedient. More than I could say for others. Follow." She shuffled along, leading Andrew around what seemed to be circles. Finally they went through side doors. To his left was Purity sitting alone amongst an array of tables. To his right, at the head table overlooking the rest were three individuals. The closest was a creepy looking man. His black hair was greasy and covered much of his face, though eyes stared unblinking at Andrew. In the middle was a goblin like thing from a fantasy movie. It had bat like ears, and a crooked nose, and beedy eyes. Furthest was an attracctive woman with ice blue eyes, and short blonde hair. He could see she had toned arms, like a yoga instructor or personal trainer.
It was the funny looking moster that spoke. "Are you ready to begin?"
Donovon didn't lead Andrew to a chair, so he remained standing. Two of the Kindred were trying to stare to him to death. Fortunately, that made the goblin (Prince?) much more palatable. In the calmest voice he could muster, Andrew replied, "Yes, sir."
With the basics of the vampire legal code in hand, Andrew knelt before the Prince. "I, Andrew Vassar, hereby swear to obey and uphold the Six Traditions of the Camarilla." He pressed his lips to Jean's ring for an instant, then rose to his feet and awaited further instructions.
The hand had a stale fishy taste to it. However, his lips didn't melt off at least. "Now then, time for introductions. Unfortunately, six others were embraced last night and most the kindred attended the event. As such your own welcoming is rather... small in comparison. No, kindred being embraced is not so common. Pretty much all the kindred of my city cashed in at the same time. Troubling, really." He smiled and pointed to the woman.
"This is Hayden Cross, Primogen, leader of Clan Brujah. The gentleman who never blinks is Cassidy, Primogen of Clan Malkavian, and my Scourge."
"Hey." Cassidy continued to stare.
"You've already met Sean Loveless, your own Primogen. The other three are busy attending to the newly embraced I would imagine." His smile deepened. "It looks like your sire has abandoned you. The Toreador are known to be fickle after all. Still, stay, have some drinks with us, we were discussing the affairs of the city before you arrived."
If Andrew looked around, he would see that Purity was nowhere in sight.