Disclaimer: None of the Kindred Characters are mine. I'm not doing this for profit but for fun. Comments or questions, E-mail to your host and the author Jade at Julian_25@hotmail.com. WARNING: rated R contains graphic violence, m/f relations and m/f graphic rape. If you are under 18, please do not read!!!!!!!! If you don’t pay attention to this warning, then skip around the starred sections NOTE: Special thanks to Lyndy and Marci for inadvertently giving me ideas. Julian Luna jumped the wall to his mansion, forgoing the troublesome gate, in wolf form. The day had seemed to stretch on for weeks. He had evaded Caitlin’s questions, listened to Sasha complain, stopped Cash from waging war with the Brujah clan, and put up with Cameron’s insults for hours on end. Then finally darkness conquered the sky and the day mercifully ended. After he had ran beyond the boundaries of the suburbs, he stopped. Making sure no humans were around, he resumed his original appearance and began down the long trail leading into the woods. He had traversed this same path hundreds of times before he became Prince. Not even Daedalus followed him here. He walked in his rarely seen casual outfit. *This is the first time I’ve worn jeans in seven years.* he thought to himself. Looking up he watched the moonlight filter through the tree leaves above him. They towered above him as he made his way through the forest. Suddenly his senses flared. A Werewolf was nearby. His muscles tensed from instinct as he continued down the trail. He had traveled the path so many times it didn’t occur to him that he should look down. Then he was falling. The world went black. He woke a few hours later to the smell of Lupine. Julian hauled himself up off the hard stone floor. His eyes adjusting swiftly to the almost pitch black scene before him, he took a brief look at his surroundings. Julian was in a Were den that was a cave that had been dug into from the top. The cave itself was huge. The ceiling curved up sharply and was at least two-hundred feet up from him. He wondered how the lupine got out of the cave. There was no apparent exit. Then he saw it... or her. She was huddled in the corner rocking back and forth, holding her stomach. It dawned on him that the only two reasons that she hadn’t attacked him yet was that she was either stuck or didn’t have the strength to fight him. Moving closer to her, his second theory of why she didn't’ fight him was confirmed. She was starving. It was obvious that she had dug down and unknowingly breached the cave. After falling in, she didn’t have the ability to get out. Werewolves did have the strength to make holes in the rock to climb to the top, but they couldn’t shift to a bird to fly to the top. She had probably been weak to start with... So she was stranded without a source of food. She couldn’t have been here too long. For one, the hole was recently dug. And to add to that, there was no source of water in the cave. But why hadn’t her pack come back to help her? She wouldn’t be in this desperate of a situation if they were close. They would have gotten her food and water at least. She looked up. From the grim expression on her face, Julian could tell that she knew that she was helpless. Not even a healthy lupine could hope to match the reflexes of a Kindred. It was one of the few advantages he had over the majority of their kind. And few around the city could match the strength of a Kindred over a hundred years of age. “Leech!” she growled. “Leave me alone, or I will destroy you!” “We both know that is an empty threat, Were.” Julian countered calmly. He still stayed out of striking distance no matter how weak she was. She glared at him and snarled. “Then why don’t you kill me now, unholy one? You fear the righteous!” The she-wolf struggled to her feet and lashed out angrily. Julian grabbed the hand she attacked with and pinned her against the wall quite easily. The two stared at each other. Julian knew that he wouldn't kill the lupine unless it was to put her out of her misery. *I have killed too many in cold blood already. I will NOT add to that total.* he told himself. He had set his mind to it. He would help this lupine! "Why do you hesitate, leech? Why not kill me now?" Julian let her go. "My name isn't leech, its Julian. And I would call you by a name if I knew yours." She was silent for some time before answering with a mumble. "Mia." "Well, Mia, let's start with why your down here without your pack." Realizing he would get it out of her one way or another she answered, "I was on a vision quest. Every pack leader must go on one every five years. I have been here for five days, but no one will search for me for another month. I was preparing to die when you, lee... uh, Julian, came down here. Now you know why I'm here... You have no reason to stay." "No, I won't leave you here. To many have died because of my negligence. I'll make you a deal. I'll help you get out of here if you tell no one that I was here." Before she could answer, Julian shifted into a falcon and flew off. His talons sank into the dirt and he shifted back, climbing out the rest of the way in human form. Once on the surface, he again shifted to wolf form. Julian knew Mia would have to have some food and water before she would have the energy to climb out of the cave. He ran off into the distance. Food would be easy, but water was a different matter. Sometime later, he returned dragging a deer carcass with on human hand and holding the corners of a water filled hide in the other. But he had to get the water down into the cave without spilling it. Tearing a strip of hide from the deer, he tied the water bag shut. Then he attempted the only other bird form he knew. Soon, a golden eagle lifted the bag to the edge of the hole. It would be a difficult fit for the big bird, but he had to try. Julian launched himself over the edge and folded his wings. He held his breath. Mia feebly looked up as a dark shape blocked out what light there was. Through her haze, she thought she had died and was seeing an angel. Its huge wings opened once past the confines of the entrance and it floated to the ground. Suddenly she felt a cold hand grab her jaw and cool life giving water spilled into her mouth. She was picked up and moved as her hands clasped the hide bag. There was a faint sound of wings and then a few moments later a thud. *Food!* she thought joyously. Julian stayed with her while she ate. But when the sky began to lighten, he had to leave her. “I will come back for you tonight, I swear it.” Daedalus sat heavily in a chair in Julian’s study. He had turned the city inside-out looking for it’s prince. The sky had become too light for his liking. He was far past being worried, he was frantic. Just as the sun was about to show itself over the hills, there was a loud desperate pounding on the main door. He raced down the stairs and opened the door just in time. As the sun shined on the doorstep, a dirt-covered Julian rushed through it. *Slam!* The door was pushed shut as the Ventrue threw himself into it. “Where have you been?!?” Daedalus demanded turning Julian to face him. “I have been searching for hours!” The Prince brushed his friends hands aside with bloodstained arms. He sighed heavily. “Daedalus, its a long story. Right now, all I want to do is rest.” The old Nosferatu reluctantly let the subject drop. But he didn’t give up. He would ask Marlaina. The wild Ventrue had only recently retuned home to San Fransisco. It had been fifty years since she had been banished by Archon. But after hearing of her sire’s death, she was more than glad to return home to the city that had once been offered to her. She had taken residence in Daedalus’s lair. For some reason, the Ventrue enforcer, twice her brother’s age, wouldn’t set foot in Julian’s mansion. The Prince’s brood sister stayed in the deep corner Daedalus had let her occupy. When he found her, she was practicing a difficult kata. The swift, dance-like movements were blurs. When the exercise drew to a close, she was quivering. Her toned muscles stood out like whip cords in the dim candlelight. Daedalus smiled. *She is beautiful when she does that.* he thought to himself. The Nosferatu Primogen never once regretted saving his love from her sire when Archon discovered Marlaina’s involvement in the fight with Julian. She wasn’t surprised when she returned to find her brother Prince of the city. Then one fateful day after she had returned, the truth had been discovered. They had shocked everyone by falling in love. Marlaina finally noticed Daedalus watching her. Turning, she smiled at him. Catching some of her tank-top with both thumbs and stretching the fabric, until it snapped back into place, she said, “You caught me in fancy clothes this time.” *Maybe we should change that...* he though mischievously. A grin spread across his face as he watched her reaction to the though he had sent across their blood bond. She looked at him and raised her eyebrows. “Don’t you like my little outfit?” “I like you in any outfit. You know that. But I have a question. Will you tell me why Julian was gone tonight?” He knew that she was well aware of what her brother did. It was her job to know. But how she did this was a mystery to even the Nosferatu clan. Marlaina wrote down everything that happened to her siblings for reference just in case. Pulling out a large leather-bound book, she opened it to the latest entry. “Let me see...” she said running her finger quickly over her writing. “He took a walk, fell into a whole and helped a lupine. I would avoid him for a time. He knows what he’s going to do, but he isn’t too incredibly happy about it either.” “You’ve never explained to me me how you know all of this. Even my clan can’t know all the details you know. It puzzles me still...” “I’ve told you before, there is no way you would know this the way I do. To be able to accomplish this, you would have to be our brood brother!” she said clearly frustrated. She calmed herself and continued. “I’m sorry, Daedalus. I’m just tired.” He shook his head. “I shouldn’t have pushed it. you’re right, I have been told before. Here...” he said picking her up off of her feet and laid her down on her bed. “Let me make amends.” he said. Before she could protest, he silenced her with a long kiss. As their tongues explored each other's mouths, clothes piled on the floor. They made love for the first time. This was the first time since becoming Kindred, that he didn’t have to hide his appearance. How she could stand him was beyond his comprehension. Especially when she was to the male population what Julian was to the women. The two Ventrue were among the most sought after residents of California. Not only were the beautiful, but they were filthy rich and *kind*. that was almost unheard of. And now the two heartthrobs were reduced to one. *One is mine.* Daedalus thought triumphantly as he held Marlaina’s shaking form tight in his long arms. That night, Mia woke to the sound of flapping. A falcon shot through the narrow opening and landed on the stone floor. “I didn’t expect you to come back.” she said as the Kindred returned to his original form. “I always keep my promises. Here...” he said tossing the string he had carried down with him to her. “Pull.” She did as she was told and was rewarded with a rope. Eager to escape, she tried to climb up the rope. To her dismay, she didn’t have the strength to climb it. “You give me a rope but no strength to get up it?” she asked weary of a trick. “No need, I’m going to pull you up.” Mia had heard of the fantastic strength of some of her enemies... wherewolf and kindred alike. But this young man, that seemed to be in his mid to late twenties, was going to pull her up the 150 feet to the top? She was skeptical at best. But Julian climbed onto the rope and extended his left hand. She took hold. The Lupine either had to trust him, or succumb to death. She would rather take her chances with the enemy than with starvation. He began to climb... One hand holding onto her as he used his remaining hand and his feet to work his way up. Mia was just deadweight. Still blinking in surprise, Mia scrambled over the rim after around ten minutes of hanging on to the Kindred. Julian had gone slow to make sure he didn’t drop her. She made up her mind, she had to know. “Julian, who are you?” “Me?” he sighed rubbing his sore arm. “Oh, I’m the Prince of the city.” Before she could thank him or even express her amazement, Julian left as a wolf. She returned to her pack after a few days. That swarmed her asking for the advise her visions had given her. Mia finally gave in and told them her story. She slightly changed most of it so that it would seem like a vision. Although, the message was clearly repeated over and over again. “Not all Kindred are evil... The one called Julian, the one who wears the title of Prince of the city, is honorable.” They didn’t believe her at first. But slowly they were won over by the tale. The pack agreed that Julian’s enemies were theirs as well. In the distance, a shadowy figure smiled, turned, and headed off into the darkness. When Julian returned, Daedalus was waiting for him. The Nosferatu towered over his prince and asked in an accusing voice, “Did you succeed in your little escapade with the Werewolf?” Julian froze. “How did you know?” “Its my job to know. How I find out is of no concern.” he said carefully avoiding his lover’s involvement. “This city needs you. You can’t just go off and risk yourself out of stupidity!” “I’m entitled to some free time out of my life. It feels like a god damn prison in here!” Daedalus’ usual reason left him as he raised his hand and struck his friend across the face. Julian staggered but amazingly stayed on his feet. Long scratches marred his face where the Primogen’s claws raked a path down his left cheek. Julian’s eyes turned silver with surprise as he looked back at Daedalus. Cash chose that exact moment to walk through the door. The Gangrel’s face turned far paler than usual as he realized what had taken place. This was the first time he had ever seen Daedalus lose his temper, let alone hit anyone. And never in Cash’s wildest imagination would the elder strike his friend and prince, Julian. He shouted at the pair, desperate to make Daedalus regain his rationality. “Daedalus!” The Nosferatu swallowed hard as he returned to reality. “What have I done?” he breathed as he tried to take a look at the cuts he had inflicted on the Ventrue. “Don’t!” Julian growled backing off. He turned abruptly and jogged up the stairs. He left Daedalus realizing how much stronger the Prince had become since the last time his strength had been tested. Daedalus wonder how much longer he would be able to control the close to 150 year old Ventrue. Daedalus wandered back to his haven to find Marlaina writing in her book. She looked up and saw his glum face. Smiling, she reassured him, “Don’t worry, if I had caught him he would be in worse shape than he is now. He is still your friend... and besides, he has bigger problems. The Sabbat are coming.” “What? The Sabbat... here? When? Why?” he stammered. “Yes, I didn’t believe it at first either. They’ll be in the city by dawn, and their intent is all too clear. The Sabbat are starting a war for complete control of our race. I’ve been drumming up allies. Tour of my other brood siblings are Princes... Cincinnati, the Hawaiian islands, Victoria, and Baton Rouge. Not to mention all the primogens in our brood pulling favors with their princes. And I’m begging some of my contacts. They say they might even be able to get an Antedeluvian to help!” Daedalus just stared at her. She had planned for the city’s defense already. The fact that she had the slightest chance of getting an Antedeluvian was staggering! It was the closest thing to impossible just to find one, let alone get one to do anything. “I’ll talk to Julian.” she said over her shoulder as she left a speechless Daedalus with his thoughts in his haven. Julian glared at the door. “Tap, tap, tap!” There it was again! He hated that knocking. "What?!?” he snapped irritably. “Don’t yell at me, little brother. I didn’t do anything to you. Although I did do something for you. Now, let me in... please?” Still grumbling, he got up and unlocked the door. He soon resumed his spot in his chair by the small table in his room. Marlaina walked in and was her brother brooding.. “I have some bad news, Julian. The Sabbat are coming...” Julain’s eyes flew wide open. “Why?” “They wish to become the sole rulers of our race. We do have allies. All of our brood is sending forces to San Fransisco. The brunt of the attack will hit the west coast... I’m pulling out all my favors. We *will* win this fight.” Julian’s shoulders slumped and began to shake. “First Daedalus and now this.” Marlaina pulled Julian off the chair and cradled him in her arms. “Shh. Daedalus didn’t mean to. Ever since we were embraced, he has mended our wounds, let us stay with him when we were frightened, and comforted us after we had accomplished the unspeakable. And now after death, he feels more responsible for us than ever before. He lost his temper. You can’t say anything about that... you and I have made far too many mistakes because of our temperament.” she whispered. She felt him nod in agreement. “Good... Now if you start complaining, I’ll hit you upside the head.” she joked. He laughed and looked up at her. Spreading his hands in front of his face, he said, “Ok! I surrender! Just be on my side when the sabbat come. I definitely don’t want to fight you of all people. Not only would you scrape me off the pavement, but I don’t think I could bare fighting you.” he paused and considered her defense of Daedalus. “I have heard some rumors about this, but do you love him? And don’t give me that line ‘keep your nose out of my God damn business’ again.” “Oh, I won’t give you that line. And yes, I do love him. I can’t hide anything from you can I?” It was more of a statement than a question. “He has changed since last night.” “Yes.” “I know its none of my business...” “Its not.” she said flatly. But Julian knew what could possibly change his friend that much. Daedalus was less concerned with matters that would usually have made him tell Julian. For the Nosferatu, that was unheard of. The primogen always brought up everything that even interested him... and Daedalus didn’t seem to mind that he didn’t do so in the least. “Well actually it is my business when it involves my primogens. Especially when it effects my two strongest members of the conclave. You two are the only Kindred left in this city that are stronger than me. I make it my business..” She glared at Julian and started to say something, but he cut her off. “You would care if you were in the same position. I know what happened.” “Speak for yourself!” “Stop it, Marlaina! I wasn’t complaining. I just wanted to know what happened from you to make sure I was right. I’m happy for you two. Just please tell me... Its easier for everyone. I won’t tell anybody.” She slumped and then kissed him on the cheek. “Oh, I’m not ashamed that we made love. After all, it was good. But Lillie would make a big deal out of it.” “God only knows what she would say.” Marlaina giggled. “But could you imagine what she would look like when she found out” “I can see it now. Her jaw would drop like a stone.” “Well, I have to go... don’t get yourself in too much trouble little brother.” After she had left, Julian picked himself up and started out on his search for Cash. The Prince could only wonder what his young Primogen was thinking. When he walked around the corner of the mansion, he ran into Cash and Sonny. They shifted nervously under his gaze. Cash was the first to speak. “Are you ok?” he asked. “I’m fine.” Julian assured him. “Ok, what happened to Daedalus?” Sonny questioned, snapping out of his daze. “Nothing. Why, did you hear otherwise?” “No... its just...” Sonny trailed off. “I’m not going to kill my friend.” Julian snapped. “But...” Cash started. “No, Cash. I will do nothing to him. I will listen to no more on the subject.” They walked for some time before Julian finally decided to tell them of the problem at hand. Turning he stopped and faced them, his expression was as hard as stone. “We have a big problem. The Sabbat are here.” “What?!?” they both asked stopping dead in their tracks. “Yes. Get the word out to Cameron and Lillie that we are going to have a Conclave in three hours.” he said sighing heavily. “Ok.” said the Gangrel as he sprinted off in the direction of the Gate dragging Sonny with him. Julian sat down heavily on the ground and set his head in his hands. *Why does this have to happen now?* he thought. *I can’t do this!* He shook his head in despair. *But I have to. They need me to be strong.* the Prince countered himself. Lifting his head and resting his chin on his fists, he sat and thought. Julian stayed there for and hour and a half before rising to his feet. Walking slowly into the house, he waited until the meeting. After a heated debate with Lillie and Cameron, he made his way back to his house and the comforts of his room. No one stopped or questioned him. They had been informed of the Princes predicament. Luna didn’t go to work that day for the first time in seven years. Instead, he slept. Julian woke to the insistent sound of the phone ringing. *Shit!* he thought. *Hang up, hang up, hang up!** he begged silently. After a few more rings, it went silent. “Bring!” it started again. *Damn!* the exhausted Kindred thought before he grabbed the phone and answered irritably. “What?!” he practically snarled into the receiver. “Forgive me for caring that you suddenly dropped off the face of the earth without a trace today.” a woman’s voice filtered through the line. *Caitlin...* Julian growled mentally. “I’m sick.” he mumbled. “Oh, sorry. You want me to come over?” “No, but I’ll be gone for a while. I’ve got something contagious, so I can’t see anyone until it goes away.” “Well, I don’t care. I want to visit... you push me away too much already...” “No, Please don’t come.” he said regretting his choice of words as soon as he spoke them. “Fine! I can’t take this anymore... If you didn’t want me around, why didn’t you just say so?!” “Caitlin, I didn’t mean...” “Click!” she hung up. “Great, just great.” he grumbled before burying his head back in the pillows. That was the last time he ever heard Caitlin’s voice. Caitlin, steaming, went to an odd club on the south side. It was a popular place for business people trying to unwind. She lost herself in a bottle of whiskey and poured her heart out to a man who was supposedly a lawyer. But this was also a popular place for the Sabbat. Little did Caitlin know that she had told her troubles to her unknown enemies. She realized she was being tapped for information when Sonny started to drag her to the door. Caitlin Bryne never made it out the door. Sonny walked into the same club he had been to every night for the past two years. Not that he liked it, but it was on his beat. His eyes scanned the room. Turning, as he always did, the young Ventrue’s mind suddenly recognized Caitlin’s face. The Prince’s lover was spilling everything she knew about Julian to a strange Kindred. Sonny knew of the Sabbat’s presence and realized that Caitlin’s company wasn’t a resident. For the most part, the Kindred native to the city avoided the editor like the plague... This was no normal Kindred. He acted quickly. Pushing his way through the crowd, he latched on to her shoulder and began to pull. Her company came after them with several others. They surrounded him and closed in like a pack of wolves. In his peripheral vision, a knife flashed... more than once. The Prince’s only remaining childe dragged himself through the main doors into his sire’s house. An extremely confused staff looked on as the Kindred, bleeding profusely, called out in despair. “Sire?!” Upstairs, Julian’s eyes snapped open. *Now what?!* Silently thanking the fates he didn’t undress the night before, he ran down the stairs to find his childe collapsed on the floor. Before he reached Sonny, he slashed his wrist and let the blood well up to the surface for a moment. Sonny tried to say something, but Julian silenced him and pressed his wrist against his battered childe’s lips. “Drink now... You can’t tell me anything if your dead.” he said. As the younger Ventrue drank, the wounds healed on his body. His sire’s potent blood filled his mouth over and over again. He reluctantly relinquished his hold on Julian’s wrist after some time. After a while, he began to explain. “I’m sorry Julian... I couldn’t save her. I tried... there were just too many of them!” he studdered before collapsing and holding his ribcage. “Shh. Take it easy, Sonny. Tell me from the beginning. “I was on patrol the same way I’ve gone for sometime... I popped in on a club to check on things and then I was Caitlin talking to a Sabbat. I tried to drag her out, but they killed her before we got out the door. I killed three before I had to retreat...” Two red tears ran down Julian’s face. “I’m so sorry, sire.” Sonny whispered softly. “You did what you could. I can’t ask for more.” “I know what she meant to you...” “There is nothing we can do now...” Julian’s voice trailed off and he turned away. A half an hour passed before he moved again. Sonny knew this had hit his sire hard. For the first time since he could remember that Julian had actually broken down. When Archon died he had cried, yes... but he hadn’t stopped like this. He wasn’t the statue he was now. A statue that moved only once in an hour. Julian’s eyes blinked once and no more. The pain Sonny had felt subsided after a while, but when he tried to move the pain returned. That is when Julian snapped back into reality and caught Sonny. Something inside of him kept the Prince from letting his childe be hurt further. Sonny looked up in surprise as the former Enforcer caught him with reflexes his childe could hardly hope to ever match. He was hauled up, in a vice, grip to his feet. “Can you walk?” Julian asked. Sonny tried, but he staggered. Without another word, Julian gathered him up and took him up stairs into Sonny’s room. After depositing him gently on his bed, Julian cut off what was left of the young Kindred’s shirt off of him. Then he proceeded to take off Sonny’s shoes and socks leaving him in his jeans. Julian left and soon returned with a damp cloth to clean off what blood had dried on his childe. He left a few more times to rinse out the blood. After the third trip, he came back without the cloth. Pulling up a chair, he sat next to Sonny. When his childe tried to speak, again Julian cut him off. “Don’t talk. Just get some sleep.” Sonny gladly complied, sinking back into the bedding and letting the outside world slip away. When Sonny woke, he panicked as he sensed the other presence in the room. Quickly surveying his surroundings, he saw Julian asleep in the chair. Sonny got up and quietly dressed himself. All the traces of his wounds from the night before were gone. Smiling to himself, he remembered how he had once thought his sire never slept. This was the first time he had ever seen his sire asleep. After he had pulled on a shirt, Daedalus came through the door. Sonny whirled. He remembered the vivid description of what the Nosferatu had done to Julian. Sonny put himself between the sleeping Prince and his oldest Primogen. He stared to speak but he was cut off once again by Daedalus “I understand your anger, Sonny, but if you are going to yell... please let us go outside. Julian has just fallen asleep. He needs rest.” Sonny reluctantly complied and whispered, “Very well, but you come nowhere hear him or I will try my hardest to destroy you.” “Please, I lost my temper... I’m sorry..” “Well, we wouldn’t want you to lose your temper again,” he hissed. Marlaina walked in unnoticed. She heard the last words and spoke up. “If you two won’t stop bickering, he *will* wake, and neither of us will be happy.” she whispered. Sonny blinked and looked up at her. The older Kindred didn’t look happy. Julian’s childe left quietly. Daedalus stayed for only a moment longer. Now it was Marlaina who waited patiently until Julian awoke. He was startled for a few moments until he remembered where he was. Before he could start to search for Sonny, Marlaina explained. “Sonny is fine. I had to kick he and Daedalus out for bickering. I assumed that you wouldn’t be too happy if you woke up to that.” “You assume correctly.” “That isn’t natural... what is wrong?” “What?” “You never agree with me unless something terrible has happened. Now tell me, please.” “Caitlin died, and its my fault... I should have left her alone from the start... Its all my fault!” “No! It isn’t your fault. She could have died in a car crash two years ago... or killed by some stupid robber. And it isn’t your fault that the Sabbat came or that Caitlin got killed by them.” “How did you know she was killed by a Sabbat?” he asked bewildered. “Because, you would torture yourself if a Kindred killed her. None of the resident Kindred would even attempt to do so... that leaves the Sabbat as the only possible suspects.” she said softly, telling the complete and obvious truth. They sat for a while saying nothing. Sonny came and went three times uttering a thanks to Julian on his way out. But they all know he needed to say nothing. Julian would do anything for around four people... Daedalus, Sasha, Sonny, and his sister. In return he received the same from everyone except for Sasha on certain occasions. Marlaina and Julian carried out the rest of their day in almost complete silence, except for the occasional word here and there. They shared Julian’s grief through the connection stronger than any blood bond. The house staff shared their silence as they hurriedly went about their chores and left the pair alone. The next night Caitlin was forced form Julian’s mind as the sounds of battle reached his ears. He raced down the stairs and down one of the halls in his house he knew so well. The Prince was searching for something... he found it. A razor-sharp katana rested in its sheath on a mantle. Julian pulled out the glittering blade, stopping briefly to test the edge before he sought out the fight. The situation was perilous for both sides. The Sabbat were at his gates fighting in unfamiliar territory, and the Prince’s forces, for the time being under Marlaina’s command, were outnumbered three to one. But the Camerilla were forcing the Sabbat back. They had taken out a third of the enemy with minimal casualties. Julian’s grief turned to rage within seconds. He added his strength to the defense. The last detail he remembered was one of the guards telling him that reinforcements were on the way for both sides. The world became a whirling blur of steel, blood, and corpses. Cameron had begun working in his office when one of Eddie’s former flunkies pounded on his door. “The fight is startin’!” Cameron knew what he meant. Pullin his weapons on he asked fervently, “Where?” “At the Prince’s house!” He went outside and hopped into his car. Half of him wished the battle was over and Julian’s forces had lost. But then he thought better of it. *No, his broodsister is too good to waste. The beauty of the Toreador and the temper of the Brujah. Oh, if only she were mine...* he thought. The brujah fantasized about Marlaina owing him her life and going away with him to some paradise where he could take her every night. He could smell her on him right then and there in his car. But his fantasizing stopped when the short trip to Julian’s house came to an end. The scene before him brought back his nightmares. Bodies littered the ground. He could barely tell which carcasses were from which side. And then there were some that he couldn’t tell them apart because of their wounds. Blood stained the pavement and saturated the soil as more and more of the liquid spilled onto the ground. Screams of the dying echoed around in the cold night air. But that was not the source of his Cameron’s horror. In the middle of the confusion stood Julian and Marlaina. He only saw Julian. The Prince stood, with his back to his sister, like a pillar of stone. He was covered in blood, though Cameron doubted it was Julian’s. Wielding his gore-covered katana, the Prince roared. The unearthly sound piecer the Brujah’s soul. The air seemed to shake with the vibrations until the roar was reduced to a snarl. Out of the corner of his eye, Cameron suddenly noticed a shady figure sneaking off into the woods. He wasn’t the only one who noticed. Marlaina left Julian’s side and went running off after the deserter. Avoiding the battle, Cameron followed. Soon after, another being entered the forest trailing the trio. Marlaina’s silver eyes glanced up from her latest kill to survey her surroundings. The chaos seemed to stretch on forever. The Sabbat leader was slinking off into the distance. She wouldn’t let him get away that easy! The Ventrue followed. After some time in the forest, she grew nervous. By then Marlaina should have caught him. She heard a sound behind her and whirled to meet it. Something slammed into the back of her head... Her knees buckled as she lost consciousness. ***** Warning!***** Gailen saw the tide turn against his side. Few dared go near the young Ventrue Prince and his sister. It was true the Sabbat had greater numbers, but skill and the strength of desperation was with the defenders. One thing was clear, Gailen’s command wouldn’t win. He had to escape... he looked around. A few of the others had gotten his idea as well. Already thinking of ways to get revenge, the Sabbat snuck into the forest. He soon realized that he was being followed. turning back, he began to follow his shadow. *The Ventrue woman!* he thought. He smiled wickedly to himself. He would have his revenge. Finding two stones, he circled back around and prepared. As she approached, he threw the smaller of two as a distraction. She turned and he struck. She crumpled. Gailen contemplated if he was certain about doing what he had first planned. *My forces are defeated... The least I can do is take one of the leader’s pride in their name.* he thought. He stripped the Ventrue from the waist down and freed his own passion. *Such a waste of beauty.* he sighed silently to himself. Gailen began. The Sabbat sheathed himself in her cool wetness with one thrust. As he settled into a rhythm, he he reached up with one hand and felt the rest of his prize. All too soon, he shut down in ecstasy. Then as he came, the Ventrue woke and snarled. But Gailen had the advantage and he pinned her down with the hand he had on her breast. Twice more he came and the woman too in her own forced passion. He began to pull himself out of her and prepared to kill the firey Ventrue. But then Gailen heard a noise behind him. Too late he felt the hand close over his throat before it was ripped from his body. *****End of Warning ***** Cameron followed far behind the Sabbat and Marlaina. He could hardly keep the later in sight, let alone the Sabbat. Soon he began to suspect a double cross. When he saw the Sabbat appear behind Marlaina and hit her over the head, he was too far away to do anything. By the time he caught up, the brutal rape was already underway. He froze. Cameron wanted to move, but his body wouldn’t comply. He stared at them as it continued. Marlaina couldn’t get up. Her arms were pinned behind her back in such a fashion that she couldn’t extract them from underneath herself unless she was able to sit up. The Sabbat, with his hand on her, would never in his right mind allow that to happen. Then the Brujah felt another presence behind him. The Sabbat was too caught up in one of his throws of passion to notice. But to Cameron, the scene suddenly reeked of blood. In one quick movement, he was shoved out of the way as I swift form passed him. It was caked with blood and dirt... it’s hair was wild and hanging down over it’s forehead. Cameron couldn’t tell what clan the Kindred belonged to for all the different kinds of blood on it. In less time than his eyes could blink, he(presumably a he) was at the Sabbat’s throat. The filth was dead before he knew what happened. The figure helped Marlaina to her feet. The Ventrue stood shakily and pulled on her dirty jeans. She started forward and staggered. Cameron then noticed the gaping wound on her side. The from turned to reveal a dirt covered Julian. The Brujah’s jaw dropped. Marlaina bent over and thrust her hand through the Sabbat's chest with ferocious force. Her arm twisted viciously and she jerked it out of the corpse. In her hand, his heart lay dripping with gore. With an eerie ease, the Prince picked his sister up and began to carry her out of the woods. Cameron followed silently knowing that he wouldn’t have been able to get himself out otherwise. They returned to find the fight over. San Fransisco’s forces had won the defensive battle against the Sabbat. Now the wounded were being taken off the field and the dead were checked... to make sure they actually were dead. With a slight grunt, Julian lowered Marlaina onto the ground. He looked at her momentarily before wandering off towards a group of corpses. Suddenly a commotion broke out to Cameron’s right. One of the Sabbat was not dead enough it seemed. His maddened glowing eyes blazed brightly in in the Primogen’s vision. He realized too late that the intended target was him. None of the other kindred could get to the Sabbat in time and Cameron had nothing to defend against such attack. His weapons all in the car where he had left them. The blood covered knife sliced keenly through the air in the Sabbat’s skilled hand straight towards Cameron’s neck. The blow it would inflict would kill any Kindred. Out of nowhere, Julian loomed in the darkness. He shoved Cameron aside as the knife buried itself in his back between his shoulders. He snarled savagely and turned on the Sabbat. Reaching back, he ripped the blade from his back and used it to hack the head from it's body. The Prince then proceeded to collapse at the Brujah Primogen's feet. The Brujah’s eyes skimmed over the casualties. The Ventrue clan was decimated. Their Prince and Pimogen were both seriously wounded. They were decimated. Over half the Ventrue population was dead. He, for the first time in his life actually felt sorry for them. “Damn you, Julian…” he swore before slitting his wrist and kneeling beside the Ventrue Prince. Pressing his wound to Julian’s lips, he felt them part. Julian swallowed a few times and then bared his fangs. Cameron winced as he bit into his skin. Julian’s wounds began to heal, and he began to return to reality. After a moment, he withdrew his fangs and laid back with his eyes staring at the sky. Daedalus came rushing up to them. The Nosferatu’s gaze quickly shifted from Julian to Cameron silent recognition. Bending down, he gathered the unconscious Marlaina in his arms and left. Julian then stared at Cameron for a long time before speaking. “Why?” he asked. “Why what?” the Brujah retorted. “You could have let me die, made life easier for yourself. Why didn’t you just walk away. No one would have blamed you for me dying…” “No, but I would know the truth. You saved my life. Whether I like it or not, you can’t be punished for something you didn’t know was wrong. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but truce Luna. I’m tired of this war.” Extending his hand, Cameron pulled Julian to his feet. Together, they made their way back to the mansion., pausing once to retrieve the Ventrue’s sword. But Cameron noticed that Julian was in pain. Looking down, he noticed that the Julian never moved his right knee. Once in the house, Julian sat in the nearest chair. Reaching down, he began to dig his claws into his injured joint, exposing the end of a shard of metal. He continued to dig until he could get a halfway decent grip. Snarling, he pulled at it. Cameron bent down, took a hold of Julian’s arm, and added his strength to the wounded Prince. With a sickly popping, the end of a knife pulled from the knee. When Cameron looked up, he saw Julian grit his teeth in pain. After a few minutes, an exhausted, blood-covered Julian fell into a deep sleep. Daedalus swiftly took the older Ventrue to his haven and laid her down gently on his bed. She mumbled softly and began to struggle. “Shh,” he whispered, “It’s alright… you’re safe now.” “Julian…” she mumbled softly. “He’s fine… here, drink this…” he slit his wrist and held it out to her. She fed surprisingly little before curling up and falling asleep where she lay. Daedalus decided to keep his distance, and he rested on the opposite end. After thinking for sometime without any hint of unrest in Marlaina, he drifted into unconsciousness as well. When the Nosferatu opened his eyes sometime later, he was laying stretched out on his side. Daedalus’s bewilderment soon eased as he felt Marlaina’s arm resting on his side.. He moved ever so carefully so as not to wake the light sleeper. Bumping into a misplaced chair, he froze. Marlaina didn’t even twitch. Daedalus sat back down beside her. She was exhausted to the point that she didn’t notice anything. Marlaina’s shirt had slipped up revealing the long, deep scar that caused her pain off and on. He pulled the cloth off the rest of the mark and ran his hand over it. The skin was slightly raised in a straight line from her lower ribs to her hip. It confused the Nosferatu. She could be rid of it with his help, yet she had refused. She claimed it reminded her of the people that she had to deal with. Daedalus shook his head and sighed. She was so strong on the outside but so fragile in her mind. *It’s the same way with Julian… Julian!* Daedalus remembered the Prince with a start. It had been ten years since he had had to help the former enforcer to deal with the horror in his head. Panic struck Daedalus. Julian was alive when he had last seen him, but with Caitlin dead and his clan dwindling, the Nosferatu wouldn’t put suicide past his young friend. Silently cursing himself for allowing hours to pass by with a chance of havoc, he rose quickly and left to find Julian… “Daedalus, my Primogen... thank the fates I found you! Prince Julian... he’s lost control of himself!” came the voice of a young Nosferatu out of nowhere and then right in front of him. Daedalus pushed past his clansman and ran towards the mansion as fast as he could. His worst fear had come true... Julian had finally been pushed over the edge. When he reached his destination, a snarling roar and the breaking of various objects filled his ears. As he made his way through the winding halls, Sonny ran into him. The young Ventrue’s eyes were wide. Fear rolled off of him in sheets... “He’s the worst I’ve ever seen him, Daedalus...” Sonny wasted no time in dragging the Primogen along after him. “Five minutes after he woke up... he was like this!” Daedalus looked around. The room he occupied now was ripped to shreds and those who had tried to restrain Julian watched the corner opposite to them while they licked their wounds. Daedalus’ eyes shifted to the corner in question. There the Prince huddled. He rocked back and forth, whimpering softly. A howl filled the room as Julian voiced his anguish. Daedalus started towards him, but the strangest thing he had ever seen filled his vision. The walls began to shimmer as patches of light and darkness danced around on them. A shrieking wind wound through the maze of passages bringing with it little shining sparkles the size of flies. As the wind filled the mansion, it filled it with the light of these strange things. The winds and the lights converged in the center of the room. The wind died, but the lights continued to swirl madly around like a tornado. Quickly, they bonded together to create a dark shape... a very old kindred. Daedalus extended his senses to identify the kindred before the wave hit. The stranger turned and looked at him with piercing black eyes. Daedalus felt the power of this kindred flow through his mind. The Primogen sank to his knees as the ancient’s will overpowered him. As the man’s attention focused elsewhere, the power lifted and withdrew from his head. For the first time in his life, Daedalus was terrified. “Who... who are you? What are you?” Daedalus asked in a hushed voice. Without turning, the stranger answered in a soft but deep voice, “My name is Kuros. I am what you call an Antedeluvian... One of Caine’s thirteen grandchilder. Mikar, the Prince of Zedonia, asked me to come here upon request of the lady Marlaina.” Kuros smiled and turned. “And now, Prince Julian... the dark Prince of peace... you have seen too much for someone so young, black knight. Now, where is the lady who begged my presence?” “Right here, ancient.” said Marlaina suddenly walking in. Bowing her head, she continued, “My lord, whatever help you give is appreciated.” Kuros frowned. “Too many bow to me, lady. After all, those of my clan aren’t meant to bow down to others.” Cash, who had been laying on the floor, spoke. “And what clan is your clan, Kuros?” “Why, can’t you guess, Gangrel? These two...” he nodded to Julian and Marlaina, “are my descendants. I am Ventrue.” He turned back to Daedalus once again. “I hope I didn’t hurt you...” he smiled slightly. “I am not used to dealing with the younger generations.” “May I request something?” asked Marlaina ever so humbly. As Kuros’ black eyes turned to her, she felt a wave of heat surge over her. “Of course... since you are the one that brought me here...” “Will you help my brother?” The ancient moved over to the hysterical prince and placed his dark hand on Julian’s pale forehead. “There was a fight...” Marlaina started. “Hush childe... no one tells their own story better than them self.” “But he doesn’t remember...” she said, but her words went unnoticed as Kuros concentrated on the trembling Ventrue in the corner. After a few tense moment, the ancient murmured softly, “Forget your wounds but not what inflicted them.” he paused. “Sleep now, Prince.” Julian slowly sank back and went limp. The Antedeluvian removed his hand. “No pain...” he whispered slowly, “No more will come to you this night.” Kuros searched the room, looking into all the eyes of the Kindred surrounding him. After a moment, he nodded. “Much pain is in this room... Especially in four of you. Cash, the Gangrel Primogen. You are torn between the love of a Brujah and the responsibility towards your clan. Sasha, your mind is controlled by both blood and feelings. One is always telling you to hate the other. Daedalus, the Nosferatu Primogen. You are confused. Is it hard for you to believe that one so beautiful could love one such as yourself? And you, Marlaina. The hate your sire had for you is gone and you must realize that. And the ones who had violated you, the ones who raped you, are dead. Forget them and get on with your existence..” Sasha and Cash stared at the ancient in awe. How he could read their thoughts was amazing to them. Daedalus and Marlaina knew better, but the Ventrue began to cry. Daedalus’ eyes went wide and anger flashed through them. Moving swiftly over to her, he cradled her shaking form in his arms. She sobbed openly and then reached down and squeezed his hands. “I want him out of me! I don’t want to feel him!” Marlaina cried as she moved his hands to her waist. He understood. Sasha swallowed hard as she watched the ventrue, twice as old as her uncle, cry. She moved over to Cash and hugged him tight. Shuddering at the unwanted picture presented to her, she closed her eyes. “I must go, I am tired. May you rest well.” Kuros pronounced. The wind came again. It was even stronger than before as it tore through the room. The ancient’s form seemed to shatter and a bright light shined through countless of thousands of pinholes in his figure. He broke like glass as the wind reduced Kuros to the tiny pieces he first came as. As suddenly as the wind and the ancient had come, the wind stopped. The kindred, who had sought shelter from the wind, stood up. To their surprise, not one thing was knocked over. All the assorted paintings, vases, and priceless furniture were all intact and in place. The only thing out of place was Julian, still crumpled in the corner. Marlaina dried her tears, moved over to her brother, and cradled him in her arms like a broken doll. Gently, she rocked him back and forth, smoothing his hair back from his forehead. Behind them, Cash picked up Sasha and moved quickly out of the room. Daedalus sighed, shook his head, and started walking back to his haven for the day. Marlaina picked Julian up and took him to his room. That night, Julian awoke. Immediately, he tried to remember what had happened. What he could remember was sketchy at best. *Yelling... and then Cameron?* he thought to himself. Somehow, he remembered Cameron saving his life. The Prince groaned. Wondering silently what else he had done, Julian got to his feet and looked around. Marlaina was fast asleep. He smiled. She had always been there for him. She had made it clear after the first fight they had had that she would go to hell and back for him. No one ever asked Julian what had been wrong with him. And absolutely no one ever asked what had happened for the short time that Julian, Marlaina, Cameron, and the Sabbat had been in the woods. Several days later, Julian was running the various accounts of the battle through his head while taking a walk through the Golden Gate Park. A few of the onlookers had recalled seeing a small band of Sabbat running away from the battle No one had seen anyone matching their description since. He paused briefly before sitting down wearily on a bench. The events of the past few weeks flashed through his mind. Julian still wished Archon was there to guide him... Even though he was still crushed about his Sire’s betrayal. *When will this end?* he asked himself wearily. Julian’s eyes wondered up to the sky above. The full moon shown brightly upon him. He wished he could be as calm as the moon. Peace. That is what he would wish for if he had a genie. Marlaina had been there when he had woke up after two days. She had told him what had happened when his vision had turned red in the grip of Frenzy. He shook his head in amazement when she had told him of the Antedeluvian. Julian wondered how she had gotten him there... Movement. Some sixth sense in him told him it was not some wild animal. No... this was calculated. Julian got onto his feet in an instant. Out of nowhere came a Kindred who not only matched the description of the Sabbat exactly, he had all the symbols on him like bright neon paint. Turning quickly, the Prince soon realized he was hopelessly surrounded. In the distance, a wolf howled. He still fought. If he was going to die he might as well lessen their numbers. He had destroyed four and then, something slammed into Julian’s temple and he was forced to his knees with a knife at his throat. Mia paced restlessly and then walked outside her house to her pack. They had looked all over the city for Julian Luna, but to no avail. And now their leader would take them on one last search... Golden Gate Park. Once in familiar territory, they split into three different groups. They scoured the empty woods in the midst of the bustling city... Still nothing. The search went on. Surprisingly, it was a young one who found the Prince of San Fransisco surrounded by others of his kind that didn’t look to friendly. They had the look of a predator about to eat... A look the wolves knew all too well. He bayed and the others converged quickly. The pack took out the sentries that the small group had posted. The original eighteen had been cut to twelve. The Weres were all too eager to jump on their long-time enemies. And then Mia saw, to her horror, that the circled around Julian. The kindred who had befriended her was on his knees and a blade dug into the flash on his neck. Mia was there. The Lupine dragged the Sabbat down and ripped at his throat. Soon others won their battles and joined in... literally ripping him apart. It was over quickly. A badly shaken Julian stood up to be staring into Mia’s large brown eyes. “So we meet again, Julian.” “I thank you, Mia... I must admit it is an unexpected shock to see you here.” “We are even. You save me and now I have returned the favor.” “How did you know to look for me?” “Someone... something told me. We will meet again, Prince of the City.” With that, she turned and headed back into the woods. The rest of the pack followed, dissolving into the darkness. The message was clear to them... and now the lone kindred. Mia was now Julian’s ally. The dark figure that had been watching the proceedings smiled once more and receded into the trees. Julian had the strange sensation that he was being followed the entire way back to the mansion... but every time he looked, nothing was there. He shrugged and wrote it off as a figment of his colorful imagination. From then on, things almost returned to normal. The mood had lightened and things had gone back to the usual routine. Much to Cameron and Cash’s discomfort, Julian had laughed the first time they started arguing. He was all too happy to deal with the easy problems. Marlaina returned to her usual, bad-tempered self. Always under the watchful eye of her, now adopted sire, Daedalus, she got herself into less trouble. She spent more of her time underground with him than wandering around the local bars. Julian wasn’t all that surprised she had give up her favorite habit. It had been a unanimous vote that now bound both the Prince and his sister to Daedalus. They didn’t know about the idea let alone the secret meeting that had taken place without them until Sonny came wandering down the stairs of the Haven one night. He told them and cringed expecting anger. Instead he looked up to see blank faces on both the older Ventrue. “Is that a lame attempt at humor?” asked the ever skeptical Marlaina. “No... I really am telling the truth. Lillie was all too happy to vote yes. Cash and I had to think it over a little... You can’t often rely on Toreador decisions...” “And Cameron?” quested Julian. “He thought you didn’t need it, but he was persuaded otherwise after being given several examples...” Marlaina started backing away when she said, “I really don’t want to know why you think we’re incompetent...” And at Julian’s exasperated look, Sonny started to back away. But then Daedalus himself saved Sonny from the inevitable barrage of questions form his sire. He took hold of both of the siblings and ushered the hapless Ventrue out the door. This was the first time they had ever seen him in the Haven. Hidden by a cloak, only the kindred knew who he was. Marlaina set herself against a wall as Julian quirked a questioning eyebrow. “Ok, you have an explanation that we want to hear.” she stated. “Agreed...” muttered Julian. Daedalus held up his hands defensively. “Hear me out... You two have been getting worse ever since Archon died. I have the feeling that you don’t want complete control over your lives. You have lived with orders for too long. I tried to find another way, but nothing else would have worked. I hope you accept... I know this is very unusual..” Marlaina smiled. “Why yes it is. Do you realize that no Ventrue has been adopted out of clan in over a thousand years? If anything, I’m glad it’s you!” Daedalus looked at Julian... waiting for his Prince’s response. “Maybe it is for the best...” he mumbled. Cameron looked up from his paperwork. *He’s here.* he thought sourly. “What do you want? Our deal is over. I don’t want any part in what you’re going to do next.” “I know... I just wanted to know why you changed the plan... It worked anyway... I was just wondering...” stated a voice from the corner. “Because... Some Brujah have hearts and know that it isn’t fair for Julian to kill himself over this deal of ours anymore. He killed my sire for me... and in turn you had me hate him. Why?” “Because, Cameron... he needed an enemy.” said Archon stepping out of the shadows. Everything had gone according to plan. Julian and Marlaina now had someone to protect them and look out for them like he did. Cameron no longer needed to be the enemy that they strove to defeat. And now he could do anything. Although it was nice being a wraith... a ghost that could become part of the world of the living, he still longed to speak with his childer again. *Oh well,* he thought as he disappeared, *That will just have to come later...* Everything was fine now... For the time being. No peace lasted forever. As someone had once said that Peace is only the time in which one gets ready to defend himself... or attack. Julian and Marlaina walked through the halls of the mansion. They had lapsed into an unusually long silence after discussing the previous weeks. Suddenly, Marlaina turned to him. “Well, brother... it seems you hard day’s night has come to an end.” “Thank God for that..” the Prince said softly... meaning every syllable of what he had said. “Although I’m confused about something...” “And what would that be?” asked Julian. “What exactly is our clan now? I mean, our blood is Ventrue... but we have an adopted sire. Which clan do we belong to? If its Nosferatu, they’ll have to give us maps of the underground... that won’t be too hard considering they would now be the wealthiest clan in San Fransisco. And if we’re still Ventrue... who knows!” “You’re right... I never thought of that. What do you think we should be?” “I say we just be mutts. Its a whole lot easier that way. No affiliation to anyone!” Julian nodded silently. “But I wonder what happened to Frank during all of this...” “He is fine.” “Well then why didn’t I see him?” “Do you think he makes a habit of seeing you? His supposed worst enemy that he tried to work for years to bring you down?” “Good point... And was it just me, or did that name of the city the ancient was sent from sound incredibly fake?” “But of course! It isn’t like he’s going to ruin a perfectly good hiding place by giving away who he is and who was able to find him... I mean come on!” Marlaina’s laughter filled the halls as Julian shook his head trying to think of what clan they would actually be... *After all,* he thought, *Our sire is supposedly our clan... but then our blood determines that too... Oh no...* He smacked his head. *Well, maybe this so-called ‘hard day’s night’ isn’t over yet...* The End?