Owls & Ashes
Third Movement: Concerto Bravura
Halloween Night saw that month’s Elysium at the California Academy of Sciences, where Prince Matthias made an offering to the assembled Kindred: Any willing to take the neonates under their wing to properly mentor them in the night society would be given boons at a future date (and the unspoken corollary that if any of them failed badly, they would pay the consequences). A few volunteered openly: Doctor Kaintz, Prefect Joshua, and Livia of the Circle. Others less openly extended the offer, waiting for the neonates to approach them instead.
The four took it upon themselves to inform Kindred authorities of the attack on their person by Timothy (no mention was made of the ‘vampire hunters’). After serious inquiries, various ghouls and functionaries were dispatched to confirm their stories.
While they waited, at one point, Gabriel, Esteban’s acolyte, saw ‘something’ in a few of the neonates, and called it to his Sire’s attention. Esteban was more forceful in his approach, openly accusing them of Amaranth, the drinking of another Kindred’s soul. Three of them were marked in his sight in a way that implicated them in such a crime, and since Timothy North was missing (and his sire, Ricky O’Neill, increasingly angry at the absence), the three marked as such—Sascha, Mila, and Violet—were forcefully interrogated by Esteban, by means of his command of some unholy magic; and by Matthias, who Dominated several individuals to get the truth from them.
They discovered that Timothy had been away at his backup haven in Richmond district, that he did not recall ever meeting any of the fpour (nor did he recall participating in the attack), and that, aside from Mila tasting Timothy’s blood, thus slightly tying her to him, and Violet and Jan strongly bound to one another (to a few amazed cries of “Perversion!”) . . . none of them could remember committing Diablerie, the act of draining a Kindred to Final Death. (In an amusing ironic moment, they discovered that the Kindred can be beaten into a coma-like state called torpor, and that a stake would do the same instead of killing them outright.) Timothy’s SUV was also still in his possession, with no bodies or sign of them to be found.
With a mystery on his hands, Prince Matthias urged Doctor Kaintz to continue his investigations, and deputized others to examine Timothy’s belongings and his vehicle as well. The neonates remained at the Elysium for the rest of the evening, interacting independently with Timothy (and returning his haven’s keys… but not his money), Livia (who had earlier offered to sponsor Jan and Violet’s wedding if they were part of the Circle), Madame Elena (who was interested in Violet as well), Benjamin… and Miles, one of the city’s best-known Harpies, who harassed and challenged Sascha, as a caitiff, an unknown, to show his worthiness to be part of the city’s society
Despite being covered in foodstuffs for any attendant ghouls, and a heap of dirt and shredded plant matter from the museum’s gardens, and made to dance for the crowd’s amusement, Sascha made good, keeping his poise and resisting the urge to fall into Frenzy, and even rebuffing Miles’ attempts to bully him with his predatory aura. Miles beat a hasty retreat as the crowd turned against him, and even Timothy’s sire O’Neill was impressed enough by his performance to offer a chance to work with him.