First Movement: Concerto Lusigando Nuovo

Night Zero

It has been over a year since the events involving the Seven have settled. Prince Matthias, growing thicker in blood, surrenders his position as Prince to his successor, Tiberius, who has been in Torpor for decades, and enters his own slumber as part of their cyclic dynasty with a third, as-yet unknown member of House Lindt. Prince Tiberius’ reign began with strong authority, but has gradually degenerated into outright oppression aside from his favoring of Invictus matters.

His increasingly tyrannical, unstable reign has also displaced various other players: Master Adrian Pryor, formerly Prince Matthias’ Seneschal, has been marginalized to a court functionary position in favor of Tiberius’ chosen right-hand man, a Judex named Atticus, who accompanied him in Torpor; while Gabriel, acting as Sheriff in lieu of his Sire, Esteban—still in Torpor as well—has been renamed Hound, and a woman named Catherine Harmon has been appointed to Sheriff in his place.

Sascha has opted to give up a single Haven, instead moving from hotel to hotel nightly, feeding on random prey in order to avoid being caught out by the Strix or any other antagonists. Violet has continued to cement her position as Keeper of Elysium, as Madame Kerensky has remained in Torpor, occasionally using Violet’s body as her conduit to interact with the outside world. Mila remains an information gatherer and negotiator for the Invictus. Jan’s studies with the Ordo have slackened somewhat, but he has continued to become more talented with his own Disciplines—although his connection with the Beast has begun to strain his relationship with Violet.

Amid their various endeavours, the Coterie each receive a summons from Prince Tiberius. Meanwhile, Doctor Elizabeth Rosa, an Acolyte, participates in a ritual with the rest of the Circle in the Presidio woods where the Sixth massacred the covenant the year before. A vision of a box and mysterious contents arises in Rosa’s mind during the ritual, and she is tasked by Li Nguyen (who has taken over duties as the Circle’s leader while DeWitt is indisposed) to deliver this news to the Prince in the hope that it may be useful and gain them some prestige after their fall.

Upon the arrival of these various parties at the Prince’s mansion in Nob Hill, they discover the house to be entirely empty but for one swiftly departing vehicle, and the Prince himself awaiting them, in an even more unstable mood than usual. He attacks them in a rage after accusing them of hiding something to do with last year’s involvement with the Strix, and when he lays a hand on Violet, Jan—already in an unstable mood after gradually losing some of his control to the Beast in exchange for power—enters a killing Frenzy, baring monstrous talons that rend everything they touch, only stopping when he has literally torn the Prince apart. Mila delivers this news to Master Pryor by FaceTime on her mobile phone; with less than two hours before sunrise, Pryor instructs them to get away from the house quickly.

As each of the Kindred flee to safety before dawn, Doctor Rosa discovers Jan has tracked her back to her Haven, but makes no move to harm her, instead simply promising his own aid to her if she chooses to keep the knowledge of their involvement in the Prince’s demise a secret.

First Movement: Concerto Lusigando Nuovo

Owls & Ashes Zsander