Owls & Ashes
Interlude: Concerto Grosso alla Marcia
The final night of January 2014 was the evening of the year’s first Grand Elysium, wherein the neonates would be formally presented by their mentors or others who vouched for them. As this was a high formal event, a strict color-based dress code was suggested for any and all attendants.
Violet, working for Madame Kerensky, assisted her in coordinating the details of the Elysium, held at the Legion of Honor, with a ‘Through the Ages’ theme, especially emphasizing the feudal and medieval periods, and a quartet who performed skillful renditions of period music in classical arrangements.
In completing the initial phases of his education into the All Night Society and continued work for O’Neill, Sascha finally was let privy to his clan’s curse: the obsession Daeva could develop toward those they kept as herd or preyed upon. Not only that, but Sascha, during his interaction with O’Neill and Jolene, was able to realize that, to some extent, Jolene was just as addicted, and aware of it . . .
The four neonates still experienced the occasional brief hallucination or change in their senses, but none too overwhelming, and kept the matter mostly to themselves; Doctor Kaintz and Prince Matthias (and precious few others) were aware of their condition.
During the actual Elysium presentation held in the Legion’s theatre, each of the neonates were called for thrice, and delayed twice, before being brought forth, in proper Invictus protocol. They were introduced along with their keepers, and presented formally to the Prince for acknowledgement. The neonates also were allowed to offer gifts to their mentors, in gratitude for the time and effort given them, and other gifts to the Prince, to acknowledge his charity in accepting their presence.
Violet, escorted by Kerensky, was dressed in black and green leather corset and finery, the Invictus colors for the Nosferatu, with purple accenting (Kerensky’s society was given special dispensation to adopt small amounts of gold or purple to denote the bloodline). In being acknowledged, she gave a pair of silver-and-emerald waterfall earrings to Kerensky, and an elegant hand-forged gold-and-amethyst tie tack to Prince Matthias.
Jan, escorted officially by Doctor Kaintz, took it upon himself to follow the color code of the Gangrel by wearing deep red Roman tunic, and dark brown leather and brass-trimmed equipment, complete with sandals, Lorica Segmentata, and helm. Due to his working with both the Carthians and the Ordo Dracul, he presented a book on the history of arcane research to Doctor Kaintz; a pair of pristine engineer’s motorcycle boots to Rickard; and a set of anarchic-democratic-socialist science fiction books in first edition, signed, to Prefect Garrett. To the Prince, he presented a modern-made but very sturdy and functional Swedish saber.
Sascha, following O’Neill, dressed in a sharp black suit with red vest, gold tie and gold accessories. His gift to his mentor: A hand-made Aboriginal spear of fire-hardened wood, with a hand-knapped flint head bound by tanned leather thongs, ‘to represent his power and straightforwardness.’ To the Prince, a restored Swiss Landsknecht’s buckler-shield, for his protection of the domain and those inhabiting it.
Mila dressed in an indigo silk gown, reminiscent of classical Greco-Roman fashion, with silver jewelry. She was escorted by her superior, Adrian Pryor, to whom she presented a hand-crafted set of silver-and-sapphire cufflinks. In gratitude for her acknowledgment by the Prince, she offered a first-edition, signed, leather-bound copy of “The Decline and Fall of Rome, Volume One.”
All gifts were given and accepted with grace, all four neonates acknowledged as proper members of the All Night Society, with small gifts of territory, hunting grounds, and other considerations awarded to their keepers, mentors, and those who had vouched for them.
A brief court was held afterward; During this time, Violet made her formal request to plan for her wedding to Jan, citing its importance in maintaining the Masquerade, and was informed that her plans would be given temporary consideration, but to make alternate plans as a matter of course. As part of an exercise in ‘democracy’ that Prefect Garrett had been requesting of the Prince, Jan discharged part of his obligation to the Carthians by working to take the measure of the crowd in who would be voting for how best to control the construction and use of the upcoming transit hub in downtown San Francisco that was currently being built.
In the hours after, the neonates were once again accosted by Miles Barton, who had fallen a little in the city’s Kindred estimation after his last confrontation with Sascha in October. His attempts to press any of the four into losing control (and losing face) in Elysium was, once more, a failure (albeit a very narrow one) that resulted in him storming out to avoid falling into Frenzy himself.
As the evening wound down, the four also encountered Timothy North, who was acting strangely pleased with himself, despite being ousted by Sascha and falling from his Sire’s graces. While present, he drank from the same containers of blood provided for others low in the City’s estimation (such as the Unbound), lightly and cryptically mocked their status, and tempted Mila with another drink of his Vitae after discovering that she had inadvertently developed an addiction for the stuff by feeding from him when he had apparently attacked their haven.
When pressed as to why he was there and what he wanted, Timothy alluded to wanting to find ‘the other five’ who had ‘broken a bargain’. In exchange for the neonates’ help, which he believed would be instrumental in finding these individuals, he made vague offers to give them greater power—even offering the last drop of his own blood in a bizarre challenge to the Tradition against Amaranth, speaking of himself in third person as if he was not Timothy himself. Before departing, he gladly surrendered the keys to his haven, and a sizable wad of cash, saying that he would be in contact with the neonates.
Left confused by the other Kindred’s appearance and unusual behavior, the neonates made plans to investigate his Haven and speak with Doctor Kaintz about about the matter. Mila also briefly spotted Gabriel, Bishop Esteban’s childe, and attempted to engage him on the subject. He evaded her attention, but not before leaving behind a calling card for a local bar in the Castro district, with a note about a particular time of evening . . .