A double Edge


Disclaimer: The characters in the following story, with the exception of 
“Loral Williams” and a few other auxiliary characters, are owned by Spelling 
Television Inc. [A subsidiary of Spelling Entertainment Group Inc.]. Vampire: 
The Masquerade is owned by Mark Rein*Hagan/White Wolf Publishing. My 
use is in no way a challenge to their copyrights.
 
Note to the Reader: The vampire legend is not the creation of anyone 
person, and no one set of rules or myths interprets what a vampire is. Every 
storyteller redefines what is logical and permissible in his or her story’s 
universe. If I stray from the World of Darkness interpretation, it is only 
because I am endeavoring to write a fuller and richer tale. 
 
A Double Edge
Part I
 
The busy life of the mortal city drifted by the windows of Julian Luna’s 
limousine as it glided through the river of living traffic. Inside the car two 
weary men looked forward to a few hours of rest before the night set upon 
them. Since 3am Julian had been doing what he did best, mainly keeping the 
human financial world in accord with Kindred wishes. A job he found much 
easier with Cash at his side. Not only did the young ruffian tend to make a 
rather intimidating impression on the less than obedient investor or C.E.O., 
but he gave Julian the confidence that no matter what was lucking in the 
shadows he wasn’t going to face it alone. Right then though Cash looked like 
a walking corpse. The golden rays of late summer afternoon were adequately 
shut out by the dark tinted limousine windows, but none of them had fed in the 
last twenty-four hours, and needed to get back to the shelter of the Luna 
mansion.
 
The skyscrapers gave way to the apartments, and suburbs, which in turn were 
replaced by the rolling hills, scrub brush and forests of the Californian 
wilderness. The black vehicle traveled up a private avenue several miles from 
town. The trees on either side hid the light of the sun. Cash and Julian both 
sighed with relief; almost home. The limo came to a halt at the compound’s 
huge iron gates. A guard came out, and exchanged a few quick words with 
his boss. Cash let out another sign, and turned around to face his employer 
and friend, a grimace on his face.

“No rest for the weary. You have a visitor.”  
 
*******
 
When Loral had decided to visit Julian Luna she knew that appearances 
would be important. She bought a suit for the occasion, and had thought 
about renting a more presentable ride, but she figured there was no need to 
be that pretentious, and had driven herself, uninvited to the Luna mansion in 
her old pick-up that still had most of her stuff in the truck-bed. As she sat in 
the massive drawing room, she regretted her decision. 
 
To say that the name Luna reeked of power and money was an 
understatement. She could handle the rich, she had before at least, but nothing 
prepared her for what she found when she actually got to the mansion. Truth 
be told, “mansion” didn’t seem to be the right word. “Manor” seemed more 
fitting, with this all-powerful Luna character playing at Lordship. The medieval 
forest on the drive up had been enough to impress her, but what had really 
given her the feeling of a storybook castle were the people.
 
Getting past the gate had been easy enough. She just told the guards that she 
was an associate of Miss Luna, and they had waved her through. The 
housekeeper, Jeffery, had presented a bit more resistance, telling her politely 
enough that Mr. Luna was very busy and that she ought to get the hell off the 
property or he would call security. In her best attempt at maintaining her 
temper she informed him that she was not here to see Mr. Luna, but to inquire 
into the whereabouts of Miss Sasha Luna, his niece, and that if he wanted he 
could call security, but that she was not going to leave the premises until she 
had spoken to Sasha. 
 
Then something strange had happened, Jeffery told her in a calm, almost 
monotone voice to leave, and for some reason, she agreed to go. She was 
almost in her car when her forearm started to throb, painfully, and she 
couldn’t for the life of her remember why she had agreed to go. She had run 
back into the house almost crashing back into Jeffery. Who in exasperation 
had led her to the drawing room and left her. She thought she heard him lock 
the door behind him, but figured it was just her imagination.
 
The room itself was a testament to prestige. It swam before her eyes in 
shades of brown and maroon. The walls were lined with old books on 
mahogany shelves. A massive bay window was draped in deep red curtains, 
and a large fire crackled behind a stately marble mantle. Two plush chairs and 
a velvety sofa were pulled up to the heat of the flames, but her sense of 
apprehension was rising so she choose to stand next to the mantle instead. 
Her arm was still hurting and she rubbed it sympathetically, her fingertips 
grazing the almost nonexistent scar. From somewhere in the recess of the 
building she heard the rhythm of footsteps. 
 
This is it she thought. Time to put on my game face. Instinctively she felt for 
the long knife she held under blazer. Even though she had no use of it here, it 
made her feel better just having it with her. Her eyes fixed themselves on the 
mantle, she hadn’t notice before, but there was some sort of inscription on it. 
The door behind her opened and two men walked in. She did not turn around 
but kept staring at the mantel. 
 
*******
 
From his vantage point at the back of the room Cash could keep an eye on 
the intruder without being in the way. His mind still set in bodyguard mode 
began to evaluate Julian’s visitor. She was well built, if not on the short side, 
looked like she had a lot of fight in her, but not much strength. Blond nearly 
white shoulder length hair was pulled back in a severe no-monkey-business 
ponytail. A tailored black suit held well to her body. Herheart was beating fast 
in anticipation he guess, but there was an air of professionalism about her. 
There was something else, an inappropriate lumpunder her left arm. Cash 
eyed her suspiciously. 
 
She didn’t turn around when they came in but kept her eyes on the mantle. 
Julian walked towards her, and waited incredulously for her to explain why 
she was here.
 
“Tis’ better to be feared than loved” her voice rang out in the silent room as 
she read the inscription. She turned around to face Julian, and both men did a 
double take.
 
She was young, very young, probably not over twenty.
 
“Tis better to be feared than loved, if one can not have both……” Julian 
retorted. “The former owner, did not feel it was necessary to complete the 
quote. I’ve endeavored to have the full inscription made, but haven’t found 
the time.”
 
The “girl” as he now thought of her seemed to contemplate this, and then to 
his astonishment before he sat down or offered her a chair she claimed the 
couch and in a rather hum-drum casual tone said “Well, I’ve never really been 
one for Machiavelli. Every mean has it’s own end, and every end it’s own 
means, if that fact is not respected then, both the prince and the proletariat will 
suffer.” 
 
“Who are you?” Julian asked coldly, not in any mood to trade political 
philosophy with a child. 

Seeing that she wasn’t going to get anywhere fast with pleasantries, Loral 
stood back up, wishing her arm would stop hurting. 
 
“I am……I am a friend of Sasha’s from school. I have reason to believe that 
she is living here with you, and that she is not…..well.” Damn her arm hurt.
 
“I am her uncle and I assure you she is fine. Unfortunately she is not here right 
now, she has gone to visit a friend if you come back la…..are you bleeding? 
Julian’s eyes flashed in hunger as he smelled the sent of young blood.
 
Loral didn’t miss the slight change that had over come her reluctant host and 
his friend in the shadows. She felt the warm liquid running down her arm and 
absorbing in her jacket. It felt like the fear creeping at the back of her mind.
 
She opened her moth to respond, but just then a loud crash follow by a cry of 
surprise and pain came form the hall. Cash, Julian and Loral ran out of the 
room. They had all recognized the voice. Sasha


Chapter 2
 
 
Sasha was in hysterics on the floor of the corridor, desperately fighting Jeffery 
as her tried to help her to her feet. Sobs racked her body and a large gash on 
her leg was still bleeding red. Her clothes were covered in the crusting brown 
of dried blood.
 
Loral slipped past Julian and Cash and slid to a halt next to her fallen friend. 
She rapped her arms around the flailing women and started rocking backing 
forth.
 
“Everything is fine now Sasha, everything is safe, everything is fine, I’m here 
Cash is here Julian is here. Everything is going to be all right. Everything is 
fine.” Loral kept cooing in her ear.
 
Slowly Sasha began to recover herself.
 
“I’m so afraid.” She finally choked. She turned around so she could see who 
was hugging her.
 
“Loral?” amazement and shock took over her voice.
 
Loral looked back at her friend equally stunned as she watched a steam of 
scarlet tears run down Sasha’s cheek.
 
*******
 
Cash seeing a chance to get his beloved away form the inquisitive mortal, 
quickly moved between them. Neither put up much resistance.
 
Loral’s mind was running a mile a minute, but was only semi-conscious of 
Jeffery’s hand on her shoulders guiding her to an empty room. What was she 
doing here? What was happening? Was Sasha going to be okay? What had 
they done to her? Who were they? What could she do? 
 
Fight or flight?
            
*******
 
Somewhere behind her, down the hall, Cash held Sasha, and Julian tried to 
reassure them both.
 
“Your safe, Sasha. I will never let anyone hurt you. Now tell me what 
happened.”
 
Sasha looked up at her great-great grandfather, Julian Luna, Prince of San 
Francisco. There were times when she would just as willing have spit in his 
face, or run screaming form him, but come hell or high water, Carmon or 
Brujah blood, he was still her only family, and he would always protect her.
 
“Carmon sent us down to the docks to break up the strike demonstrators… 
Jerry, Bill, Erin and I. You know, rough up some people scare the others 
away….”
 
Julian tried to hide the utter disgust he held for Sasha’s Primogen and 
encouraged her to continue.
 
“Jerry and Erin picked this one guy out of the crowd, and started kicking him, 
but he made a run for it. We followed him up to one of the old wear houses 
on pier 8. We followed him, but he was waiting for us.” Her voice cracked, 
and a new wave of bloody tears flowed from her eyes. Cash gently wiped 
them away, but she seemed to flinch at his touch.
 
“He said we were murders, and monsters that our kind was dead and should 
stay that way, and then he shot Bill. He shot him dead Julian, with a 
phosphorus riffle. He was only a man.” She started sobbing again. “He shot 
Erin too, Jerry and I took him down but he cut Jerry’s head off……I’m the 
only one left.”
 
“And the attacker lives?”
 
The hair on the back of Cash’s neck rose at the sound of the newcomer’s 
voice. Carmon, with bodyguard in tow, coolly returned the hateful stares he 
received form the couple until he caught sight of the prince. Suddenly Carmon 
found himself on the floor with a bleeding nose and a broken jaw. Julian’s 
eyes had gone wild, and there was murder in his mouth. The Beast was 
hovering just below the surface of the Venture’s controlled exterior.
 
 “You have brought the hunters down on us. There will be punishment. ” 
Carmon’s guard had a gun trained on him in an instant, and Cash was by 
Julian’s side ready to rip his long time foe to pieces.
 
 “No please uncle. There was only one…..and he isn’t a problem anymore.”
 
Julian whipped around as the full implication of what she was saying hit him. 
Sasha had killed, and she had killed mortal. His heart was breaking for her. 
He wanted to hold her and tell her it was only a dream, he wanted to make 
her forget the pain, he wanted her to be whole, but she never would be again, 
so he just looked at her.
 
“Get out Carmon.”
 
******
 
At dusk, in one of the exclusive private rooms on the second floor of the 
Heaven, a premiere night club in San Francisco, the members of the 
Conclave, sat around a large table with paler than usual expressions. Julian, 
the Prince, Lilly Primogen Toreador, Carmon Primogen Brujah, Daedalus 
Primogen Nosferatu, and Cash Primogen Gangrel, the Venture seat remained 
markedly vacant, waited in a silence, devoid of the usual inter-clan bickering. 
At any moment Sonny and his joint Venture/Brujah clean up crew were to 
return with there evaluation of the situation. A vampire-hunter had been found 
in San Francisco, every Kindred young or old dreaded a night like this. 
 
The fact that  the newest kindred in San Francisco had to be the one to 
dispense of the Hunter weighed heavily on Julian’s face and heart.. Lilly’s 
eyes traveled across the room until they settled on her one time lover. Julian 
appeared much as he had after returning form his final act as the Archon’s 
enforcer. He looked like one who had seen innocents defiled, only this time he 
was not the one whose naivety had been destroyed. She wanted to comfort 
him, but  the gap between them was getting harder and harder to cross. Lilly 
could only wonder at what Sasha was going through.
 
Finally the door to the meeting room opened, and Sonny followed by Jason, 
his Brujah counter part, somberly entered the room. Sonny quickly passed 
out a series of manila folders to his superiors. Each folder held a series of 
photographs; the first was of three corpses. Two were badly burned and had 
gapping holes in their chest the third was missing its head. The next picture 
held the smiling face of a young man in his late twenties. The third was of the 
same man, but it looked like his torso and his rib cage had gone to civil war. 
Carmon grinned at the gruesome scene. It appeared Sasha had little of her 
“Uncle” in her after all.
 
“His name is Cory Tan.” Sonny spoke up breaking the silence. “Officially he 
is…. was a web-designer, but as of last year he lost all gainful employment 
after suffering an emotional breakdown at his workplace, where he began 
raving about how vampires were taking over the world.” 
 
“At this point he basically dropped out of the public eye, and assumed the title 
Hunter Trapper. From what we have been able to gather from his activities in 
other domains, he was responsible for the final deaths of eight neonates and 
one elder, not including his three most resent victims.” Sonny indicated the 
first photograph.
 
“There is no clear evidence that he was ever connected to a larger 
organization, or that any collaborated or knew of his work. It is the opinion of 
this investigator that he was on a one-man revenge mission. He discovered the 
Brujah, and the Brujah only, by their connection to dock workers contract 
negotiations.”
 
A collective sigh of relief could be heard as each Primogen realized that their 
clan was not in any danger. Well, all except the Brujah that is. If it could be 
proven that the Brujah had slaked in their maintenance of the Masquerade, 
there would be hell to pay. The prince could exact any punishment he wished 
and none of the other clans would stand against him.
 
Sonny pressed a button on the side of the wall. The lights dimmed and a panel 
slid back revealing a bright monitor. On it played out in the silent pantomime 
of a security tape a rather interesting meeting between Jerry, Carmon’s 
lieutenant and one of the striking demonstrators. The dockworker was yelling 
at the suited Brujah. Suddenly he fell silent. The Brujah bared his fangs and 
sunk them deep into the mortal’s throat. He fed until the man dropped to the 
ground. Arrogantly the want-to-be mobster swaggered away. The screen 
went dark and the lights came back up.
 
“This recoding was found in Tan’s apartment. No other evidence of Kindred 
existence was found.”
 
The tension in the room was thick as pitch. All eyes fell to Carmon. Carefully 
the Primogen cleared his throat remembering his earlier encounter with the 
Prince. Even though the Prince and his pet mongrel had fed, Julian was still 
very capable of losing control.
 
“The hunter was a Brujah problem, that the we have dealt with it accordingly. 
Is that not so?” He addressed Jason, with ice in his stare.
 
In all of San Francisco there wasn’t a single kindred who wasn’t a little afraid 
of Carmon, not even Julian. Jason squirmed and stuttered under his sire’s 
gaze. “T-the offender has been di-disposed of, no one will follow his work, 
and all trace of him has been removed from the domain. Cory Tan, Hunter 
Trapper not only no longer exists, but as far as the mortal world is concerned, 
never existed.”
 
“It seems,” Carmon addressed the room with an assurance he did not feel, 
“the matter is concluded.” Carmon moved to get up and leave, but the unkind 
hands of two very angry Gangrel guards pushed him back into his seat. 
Carmon’s bodyguard was nowhere to be found. 
 
Cold stares settled on him from every one present. The silence was 
unbearable.
 
Finally Julian turned to his left and addressed Lilly.
 
“How do the Toreador stand?”
 
The time to pass judgment had come.
 
“The imprudent actions of the Brujah have endangered all of the clans, we 
support any corrective action the Prince deems necessary.” Lilly looked sadly 
at the poor idiot who didn’t have then sense to keep his clan in line.
 
“Gangrel?”
 
Cash was livid. “We always knew it would come down to this. The Brujah 
will be the death of us all. Deal with them as you will Prince.”
 
“What do the Nostferatu say?”
 
As was his right as the oldest of the Primogen, Daedalus always had the last 
word in the Prince’s council.
 
“Sonny what makes you so certain that Tan was killing out of personal 
revenge?”
 
Sonny had been prepared for this question, and had already formulated the 
response in his mind.
 
“Cory Tan suffered a history of mental illness stemming from when he was 
orphaned at the age of twelve. His parents owned an eco-tourist company 
that for six months refused a merger offer with Parks and Reserves Eco Corp. 
Then his parent died. A month later Park and Reserves bought out his family’s 
company.”
 
“I don’t see what this has to do with anything.” Cash complained impatiently.
 
Julian shot him a look that could kill.
 
“Please continue.” 
 
“In addition to the Tan’s company, Parks an Reserves, received a few 
hundred acres of undeveloped real-estate in the Dakota Badlands that the 
Tan’s were keeping in trust for one of the local tribal reservations. Parks and 
Reserves as it turns out is a subsidiary of Pentex Corp. The land is now being 
used as a pumping ground for medical waste and by-products.”
 
“Officially Mr. and Mrs. Tan died in a car accident, but when their burned 
bodies were pulled from the remains they had numerous and unexplainable 
injuries, not least of which included crushed backbones and neck support. If 
the Tans had gotten in the way of a Pentex operation, and Cory found out ……..”
 
“He would have been given more than adequate knowledge and hatred of 
Kindred to explain his career choice.” Daedalus finished.
 
Daedalus addressed his old friend.
 
“Julian, the Nosferatu as always are loyal to our prince, but request that your 
judgment be made in light of the facts. The Brujah, have already suffered a 
great loss at the hands of this hunter. They have effectively eradicated the 
problem, and the breach of the Masquerade was not theirs alone. The hunter 
had prior knowledge of our kind before his action in this domain.”
 
Again silence fell as all waited wondering what Julian was thinking. Revenge 
was there for the taking, and the Brujah had given him good cause for 
vengeance, as the empty Venture seat testified to. Still there was Sasha to 
consider. Any harm done to the Brujah was done to her, and she had already 
suffered enough for one night
 
“The Brujah will concede five city blocks in the financial district to the 
Venture, five city blocks to the Toreador along the waterfront, and eight to 
the Gangrel along their boundary. The Brujah will not embrace new clansmen 
to replace the slain, nor will they embrace any mortal for the next three years. 
If the clan does not comply with in the next week, they will lose representation 
at this council, and will be driven form the domain.”
 
******

She knew she was suppose to be sleeping resting, recovering but she seemed 
to be caught in a waking dream, where she was the monster that chased 
around frightened children old and young, where she was the nightmare which 
makes people afraid of the dark. 

“Abomination, demon, vampire, evil, soulless” the world floated about Sash’s 
mind like corpses in stagnant water. Any other time she would have shrugged 
them off as the ravings of the ignorant, but hadn’t she just proven them. She 
was a murderer. 
 
In fear and self-hate she waited with the rest of San Francisco to know the 
Prince’s judgment.


Chapter 3
 
 
Cash found his love curled up on her bed in her old room at the mansion. Her 
eyes vacantly stared at the door. He knelt beside her and stoked her cheek 
gently. Slowly she came out of her trance and searched his face. She was so 
beautiful Cash’s heart wanted to break just under the strain of looking at her. 
He loved her beyond words, and wisdom. They were meant to be together, 
and he would help her through this, he would be her strength. He bent down 
to kiss her lips but found only her cheek.
 
Sasha looked up at the ceiling, she hated doing this too him, but after tonight it 
might be for the best. He didn’t know what she could do, how she could kill. 
 
“So what’s the verdict? Are we condemned?” there was a cruel edge of 
sarcasm in her voice as she looked back at the Prince’s bodyguard.
 
Why did this always have to happen Cash wondered. As soon as who they 
were got close, what they were pulled them apart. They never could escape 
their clans. She was Brujah, and he was Gangrel. Romeo and Juliet had it 
easier.
 
“No, all Julian wants is territory concessions. Look I know you’re still hurting 
from this…. do you want to talk about it?”
 
“What are the concessions?” She asked ignoring his question. 
 
He sighed. “Why do you always do this?”
 
Silence.
 
“Five blocks to Venture, Five to Toreador, Eight to Gangrel” he finally gave 
in.
 
“Hmm lucky you.” She said and turned her back to him.
 
“Please Sasha don’t do this….” And suddenly he was angry with her with the 
Brujah in her. Why was she always so stubborn? Why couldn’t she ever just 
accept help? Why did she have the power to make him plead with her? He 
got up and walked to the door, but before he could go, Sasha turned around.
 
“Did I really see Loral?”
 
******
 
It was midnight before any of the residents of the Luna compound realized 
that their late afternoon visitor was missing. Despite the increase in security 
since the report of the hunter, no one had seen her on the grounds for hours, 
but her pickup sat idle in the garage. 
 
None of the guards had seen or heard anything, but figuring that he could 
either go on a wild goose chase looking for a girl he had never met, lost in a 
50 acre plot of forest in the dead of night, or go back inside and be within 
200 ft. of Sasha, Cash took to the woods.
 
******
 
Loral’s mind seemed completely fuddled in the seat of luxury that the Luna 
mansion provided. She needed to think things through, come to a conclusion, 
and develop a plan of action. Sitting in a rarely used bathroom, gilded mirrors 
just added to her sense of confusion.
 
Her arm still hurt but only a little. Whatever had happened it seemed the worst 
had passed, even so a large spot of blood had soaked through her suit. She 
took it off and held the sleeve under the facet until the water ran from red to 
clear.
 
She couldn’t shake the image of blood flowing from Sasha’s eyes like tears, 
or the way Luna had looked at her when she had started to bleed. 


Bleed.
 
She looked down at her right arm. The nearly unblemished skin reflected the 
cool light. It was just like last time. Her arm started to hurt and then bleed, but 
she wasn’t cut or even bruised. The only sign of abuse was a small faded scar 
below and right of her wrist. She traced it with her index finger trying to 
remember how she got it. 
 
The flood of memories hit her like a tidal wave.
 
She had to get out of there.
 
*******
 
 
Cash did a wide sweep around the perimeter of the grounds until he picked 
up the sent of lemony hair products.
 
“Bingo.” He headed into the thick brush. It gave easily to him; the forest was 
his second home and the night, a part of his nature. Finding her would be no 
simple task, but he was an accomplished hunter, and she had done nothing to 
cover her tracks.
 
It took him about two hours, but in the end he finally spotted her leaning 
against a tree in a small clearing. She seemed to be tracing a line on her arm in 
the moonlight. Suddenly she glanced his way. Cash froze. Had she known he 
was here? But how?
 
She got up and quickly and retreated to the deeper shadows of the trees, 
finally he lost sight of her all together. Damn!
 
Cash left his hiding place cautiously. He didn’t like this one bit. It felt like he 
was being led, herded. He couldn’t quiet explain why, maybe he was just still 
high strung from the hunter report, but he pulled out his semi-automatic. He 
could always put it away when he found her. Sighing he headed into the 
darkness.
 
******
 
From her vantage point in the lower branches of an old oak Loral watched as 
Cash followed her into the woods. He had his pistol drawn.
 
So they had sent someone to deal with her. She groaned internally. It wasn’t 
that she couldn’t take him. He wasn’t all that big, and was too young to have 
a lot of fighting experience. It just seemed so unfair. Life had been going well, 
she didn’t need this. Pushing her misgiving aside she concentrated on the task 
at hand. It had been too long. She felt for the knife under her arm, and thought 
better of it. He obviously had another weapon under his jacket, probably a 
gun. If she could just get at it……
 
He was right under her trying to figure out where she had gone too. Now was 
her chance. Three Two One, She dropped, snaked her arm into his jacket 
mid-jump, loosened the gun, from its holster, pressed it into his rib, and made 
contact with the ground. But before she could pull the trigger she felt the cool 
round barrel of Cash’s gun on her neck. 
 
With less then a foot between them he could feel her breath. She was good, 
but her timing was off just a little. He had seen her a split second before she 
leapt, and was ready to bring her down, but he hadn’t expected her to be 
able to get at his phosphorus gun. Now they were trapped by each other. 
Someone was going to have to give.
 
“So tell me Cash you always chase around unarmed women in the woods in 
the middle of the night, or is this just something special for friends of Sasha?”
 
“Truthfully, I don’t really want to do this if you don’t.” came Cash’s replay.
 
“Prove it.” Loral couldn’t believe the gull of this guy. Like she was so naïve as 
to fall for that.
 
‘Decision time’ he thought to himself. His choices were few and far between. 
He could attempt to dominate her mind, and disarm her, but that would take 
considerable concentration, and he did know if he could bend her will before 
she let off a round. He could try to manually disarm her, but she was so close 
he probably wouldn’t be able to without getting shot. Only one option left
 
Cash lowered his gun, dislodged the bullet in the chamber and released the 
clip. He led it up to her. 
 
“Your move”

Chapter 4
 
She snatched the clip.
 
Cash didn’t move. 
 
‘Great, what do I do now?’ her brain usually so adept at solving these sorts of 
problems drew a blank. Instinct told her to blow him away and make a run 
for her truck…. she could make it, but the thought of spilling blood curdled 
her thoughts. Maybe just maybe this was real…. maybe this was a way out.
 
Slowly she lowered her gun.
 
Still no sign of aggression, from her opponent.
 
She slid the clip out of the gun and dislodged the round in the chamber.
 
Cash smiled, the gamble had paid off.
 
She pocketed the clips and handed him the gun. Finding a little comfort in the 
thought that if he tried anything she still had her knife. He didn’t seem about to 
jump her, so she looked around, trying to remember how to play this game. 
She used to be so good at it.
 
“How is she?” She asked finally breaking the silence.
 
“Surviving…the mugging really shook her up.”
 
‘Mugging, yeah right’ she thought. 
 
“So why are you out here?”
 
“I came to find you…we have had coyote sightings on the property…thought 
you might not be safe.”
 
‘Coyotes, good one’. 
 
“Oh, I thought that you had come to…”
 
“It’s okay I understand. You’d be surprised how many people think that 
way.”
 
‘Would I?’
 
“Which doesn’t answer what you are doing out here.” Cash concluded.
 
“Felt like a walk.” She answered testily.
 
“So, you ran into the woods in the middle of the night?” He asked 
incredulously.
 
“Yes…. yes I did.” For the life of her she couldn’t quiet explain to herself why 
she hadn’t just left in her pick-up, and blown out of town. It would have been 
the smart thing to do, but she still felt like she needed to be close to Sasha, so 
the woods had presented the only real escape for her.
 
Her attention shifted back to Cash. She needed to keep him on his toes.
 
“Well, while we are being blunt with each other…. maybe you can tell me if 
you love her as much as she loves you.”
 
The question caught him completely off guard.
 
“I-I do love her, but it’s hard. She can be so stubborn….” He hadn’t meant 
to say all that to a total stranger.
 
Loral laughed, breaking the tension. He had given the right answer. Maybe 
there was hope for this guy after all “Yeah, she’s always been like that.”
 
A bit more relaxed now Cash figured he might be able to get some 
information out of the stranger. “You met her at school right?”
 
“Yep, she and I were the terrors of St. Clair’s Preparatory School. Neither of 
us fit in at Rich Girl High. She was a born rebel and I came from the other 
side of the tracks, so we naturally gravitated toward each other.” 
 
Sasha had told him a little bit about her year at St. Clair’s. According to her it 
was the equivalent of “Clueless” meets “Carrie”. She had been sent there on 
her sixteenth birthday a month after her parents had been killed.
 
“You knew her when her parents died?”
 
“Yeah, I think it helped that I had already experienced what she was going 
through. I mean even if your family is as screwed up as Sasha’s was, it’s still 
hard to be that alone”
 
Cash looked at her inquisitively.
 
“My parents died when I was thirteen… got into St. Clair’s on scholarship.” 
She explained.
 
“Oh, I’m sorry.” He wasn’t really, but that was what was expected of him. 
He had never known his own parents, and from what he had heard about 
Sasha’s, he was the lucky one. 
 
“It’s okay, besides Mercy House for Homeless Children was a great place to 
learn how to evade ‘coyote’ hunters.” She smirked at him.
 
“I wondered where you had picked that up.” He laughed.
 
“What about you? You don’t really strike me as the kind of man who makes 
a habit of catering to the rich and famous.” 
 
“I don’t cater. Mr. Luna was a friend of a friend.” He shot her an annoyed 
look.
 
Silence fell between them again, and Cash grew contemplative.
 
“Does she always push people away when she needs help?”
 
“Yes.” She stated frankly. “In fact that’s why I’m here. Four weeks ago I got 
an E-mail from her. Sasha told me a little about you and her uncle but also 
that she was going through somethings and that I shouldn’t come to San 
Francisco.”
 
Cash thought back, it had only been a little over four weeks since Sasha had 
been embraced. He clenched his fists at the memory of the Brujah pinning her 
down and ripping at her neck.
 
“So you came.”
 
“She was raped wasn’t she.”? It was more of a statement than a question. 
She already knew the answer. She knew it four weeks ago when her arm 
bled for the first time.
 
It took him a moment to realize that she was crying. She wore the tears well, 
he mused. She wasn’t slobbering, but letting them fall gently down her face. 
Sasha had cried like that after that Brujah bastard stole her mortality. “Yeah, 
she was.” In truth he wasn’t lying.  
 
“I should have been here. We promised each other that we would always be 
there…We promised…” Her voice was sure but her breathing was ragged. 
 
The moonlight was almost gone, and the darkest hour of the night was upon 
them. The cool bay breeze seemed to animate the forest with a thousand 
whispering voices, each telling the other the that this had been no light 
promise.
 
******
 
Cash woke to the sound of a lone mockingbird’s song echoing in the mist. 
The horizon was a deep gray, as the early twilight waged war with the 
retreating night. Shaking off the morning due, he looked around him. He was 
still under the oak, but Loral was gone. Two ammunition clips lay in her place.
 
By the time he had found Loral it was too dark for him to lead them back to 
the compound without raising her suspicion. He had suggested that they try to 
rest before morning and then make it back when the sky lightened. She had 
agreed and fallen asleep under the oak. He had intended to stay awake, and 
watch her, but with everything that had happened in the past twenty-four 
hours he was dead tired, and drifted from consciousness. 
 
This was all rather disconcerting. He should have heard her leave. Maybe 
another thing she picked up at Mercy House? He knew from experience how 
much a place like that could teach you about the need to be discrete. Sighing, 
he decided to focus on finding her. It wasn’t hard to pick up the trail. She 
must have an impeccable sense of direction because it led straight back to the 
mansion. 
 
He waded through the whirling fog, until in the distance he thought her heard 
the stains of an entirely different song.
 
******
 
When Loral had crashed through the woods the night before, she had chased 
the setting sun. Now she found herself running to meet the dawn. The mansion 
loomed before her between the thinning vegetation. The night had been 
surreal. She had let herself open to a complete stranger. She had chosen 
neither fight nor flight, but friend. Was this possible?
 
Dawn and a new day were awaiting.  She thought of Sasha, and all the pain 
she had gone through. She thought of her own decision not to fight. Today 
would be a day to celebrate, and forget their hurt.
 
She slipped between the guard stations, knowing that her passage would be 
noticed, but only well after the fact. Sticking to the shadows she reached the 
courtyard. Nothing to do now but blatantly announce her presence. She 
walked out on to the lightening brick, past a rather ornate fountain towards 
her truck. She spotted two people at the gates of the house pointing at her, 
but they made no movement to stop her. She smiled and waved, then quickly 
jumped into the bed of the pick-up.
 
******
 
It wasn’t that the music was unpleasant, or that it was to early in the morning, 
honestly all the occupant of the Luna compound had been up since 6 pm the 
day before, it was just that it was entirely out of place. A simple melody 
suspended over a rounded base and a dance-beat-cord-progression hummed 
threw the most prestigious house in San Francisco. 
 
The resident began to collect on the steps of grand entrance to view the 
spectacle unfolding before them. A young women clad in a black suit stood 
silhouetted atop a beaten old pick-up. A microphone hung loose in one of her 
hand, and her body seemed to move as one with the music. 
 
The crowd grew, as more and more Kindred came to see who would dare to 
pull this stunt. Through the collection of gawkers and pointers moved the fiery 
curls of the one person who seemed to understand what was happening. 
Sasha pushed her way to the front lines, and couldn’t help but smile as she 
saw Loral at the apex of the commotion. 
 
From her perch on top of the truck Loral spotted her friend, among the 
strange faces. It was a welcome sight. She raised the mic to her mouth and 
sang out. 
 
“Oh my love its time
You know how it feels
You read between the lines
You know me better than I do
 
I’m lost again my friend
You know I’m not a saint
You’ve known it all this time
So you’ve been waiting for me”
 
Sasha knew what Loral was trying to do. This had been the song, both of 
them had survived school by. It was the song that had told them they weren’t 
alone. It was the song that had given them hope. Slowly she walked toward 
her friend.
 
Loral watched Sasha’s approach and neatly dismounted from the cabin roof. 
The two women met eyes. The last time they had seen each other they had 
been girls…so much had changed. Sasha gently reached for the mic and sang 
the chorus.
 
“No I’m not a saint, not a saint
No I’m not a saint, not a saint.”
 
The guilt was still there, but she had made it through the night.
 
******
 
The spontaneous dance party lasted well into the morning. At first the crowd 
just watched Sasha and Loral dance, but it didn’t take long for a group of 
rather flamboyant artsy types to join them. A few songs later the majority of 
the property’s guards had given into the music. Loral’s prizepossession, a one 
Speaker P.A. system, was set up in the back of her truck, and pounded out 
tunes that pulsed through the bodies of the cavorters below. Everyone it 
seemed could use a release form the stress of the past 12 hours. As the sun 
burned away the remaining bay fog, though the party slowly died. Cash’s had 
finally shown up but at the sight of him Sasha nearly ran for the house. In 
futility Cash followed suit. Ultimately, Loral was left alone in the courtyard, to 
pick up her belongings and muse over the morning.
 
All and all it had gone rather well. 
 
While they weren’t busy dancing or DJing the two friends had caught up with 
each other. Sasha had dropped out of St. Clair’s after Loral graduated, and 
roamed the country for almost two full years. Then her grandfather had died 
and she had come to San Francisco to live with Julian. Loral had entered 
college and with the help of summer school had graduated in two and a half 
years with a degree in social work and a minor in music. She figured she 
would settle down in San Fran for a while and see what the city had to offer. 
Sasha didn’t mention the rape, and Loral didn’t mention the promise. 
 
A women in her early thirties, who Sasha introduced as Lilly Langtree had 
come over and just about demanded that Loral DJ at her club, in the near 
future. 
 
Loral had apologized to Jeffery for her rude behavior.
 
 Sasha said she had even spotted Julian at one of the windows giving a 
condescending glance downward at the revelry. Everyone found that rather 
amusing.
 
Loral sighed; it looked like her luck was changing. She picked her body up 
from where she had been sunning on the rim of the fountain, and lazily made 
her way to her truck. For the first time in…well she couldn’t remember the 
last time…but she had actually let her guard down and just lived. It felt so 
good.
 
For some reason she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched. 
‘Old habits die hard’ she reassured herself, but still she gave her surroundings 
a quick scan just in case. The sight that met her eyes made her stop dead in 
her tracks. On the top of the stairs blocking the weak morning light stood the 
visage of Julian Luna glowering down at her. His shadow spilled down the 
steps and seemed to fill the entire courtyard. It threatened to swallow her too. 
In a momentary lapse her mind was seized by fear, but she fought down the 
urge to panic. Defiantly she returned his gaze. 
 
If this was a challenge, she would meet it.
 
If this was a threat, Julian Luna had no idea who he was dealing with.


Chapter 5


Cameron slammed his fist into the wall. Mind you, he didn’t have anything 
against walls, but judging form the pool of blood issuing out of Jason’s 
crumbled body, it didn’t look like the Childe could take much more, and as 
he reminded himself he needed every Brujah he had left.

Anger seethed through him and the whole building trembled with his 
rage. This was not how it was suppose to be. That bastard Prince had 
savagely killed half of his clan, his sire, and all of his brood mates, and 
now Luna had crippled the tribe. The Brujah were a noble clan, the truest 
warriors, the purest minds, and yet here they were, their hunting 
grounds torn from them, their lineage cut off, pandering to a murdering 
coward who hid behind the office of prince. Cameron’s blood was burning.

“You should have his head on a spike.” The verbal echo of Cameron’s 
internal thoughts bounced through the Brujah’s spacious uptown office. 
He shot the far corner a dagger filled glance. A Flash and he was there 
mercilessly pulling the intruder from the shadows and tossing him across 
the room. Cameron’s Dragon Breath sprang into his hand, which took 
steady aim at the sniveling lump before him. 

“No, wait! I can help you!”

The hapless creature squeezed his eyes shut, and Cameron pulled the 
trigger. Nothing happened. Cursing, Cameron remembered he 
hadforgotten to click off the safety. Honestly, gun control was getting out 
of hand these days. As Cameron fettled with the safety release, his 
unwanted guest began to sputter.

“Lo-Look, I know you…”

Cameron didn’t even glance at him.

“You want Julian dead,” he continued to burble. “To serve justice, of 
course…” he quickly added.

“Of course” Cameron mimicked the personification of pathetic as he 
reaimed his weapon.

“Bu- but you have ambi-bitions too, you also want to be a prince, and you 
want to be more powerful than Cyrus.”

At that name Cameron halted in his murderous intentions. It was common 
knowledge that he wanted Luna dead, and that he would sit on the 
throne, but he had never told anyone, what he had only dreamed of 
doing to Cyrus. The Brujah Prince of L.A. was an ignorant bigot of a man 
who had carved out his domain with the same knife he used to kill off his 
opposition. He was Eddie Fiori to the tenth power, and more than 
anything else incredibly successful, for all these reasons Cameron hated 
him.

“I know, my sire did too. He’s dead now. Cyrus killed him. Look, I want 
him hurt the way you want Julian’s head.”  

Cameron considered the creature before him. At the very least this could 
be amusing, and since his previous amusement had managed to scrap 
himself off the floor, the pool of blood in front of his desk had been 
vacated by it’s last swimmer, it looked like he was going to have to hear 
the intruder out.

“How interesting,” sarcasm dripped off his words.

“My brood mates and I escaped L.A. after our sire’s attempt to overthrow 
Cyrus failed.”

“And how exactly is this suppose to make me the prince.”

“The Prince has placed a moratorium on embracing new Brujah, he didn’t 
say anything about adding refugees to your clan. You know how much 
Luna hates Cyrus; he would grant us amnesty without blinking an eye, 
and we could make your clan stronger. We could be the man power 
behind your rise to the throne.” 

“So you and a handful of neonate plan to be the Grand Delivers of the 
San Francisco Brujah?”

“Me and seven neonates, and we aren’t as weak as you might think.”

Cameron raised a doubting eyebrow.

“Well, I got in here didn’t I?”

******

Sasha stared at her hands and tried to erase the image of them 
drenched in blood. It had been a week since she had killed him, a week of 
the people who loved her tiptoeing around her, a week of the people 
who despised her using it to torture her. A week without Cash. A week of 
lying to Loral. The only even conceivably positive aspect of the last seven 
days was that it had been a week without Cameron, but even that hadn’t 
lasted. 

In front of where she sat in a dengy waiting room stood the rather 
imposing double doors to the Brujah Primogen’s office. She had received 
a summons earlier that morning in the form of a large Brujah women 
slamming her against a wall demanding to know why she didn’t mix with 
her own kind. The question posed by the Brujah brute, one of “her own 
kind”, had been just too much for her. Sasha hadn’t wanted to cry again, 
so she laughed, and laughed and laughed, until the heavy was gone and 
she was left clutching a letter tellingher when and where to see her 
Primogen. Then the tears had come. 

The door swung open and Cameron swaggered out, younger Kindred in 
tow. 

“Go introduce yourself to the Prince. If he doesn’t nail you to the wall we’ll 
continue to negotiate.”

“Of course,” the other man said nervously and backed out of the room. 
Cameron shook his head as the young man disappeared. Slowly his eyes 
swept the waiting room until they settled on Sasha’s pale features. 

“Sasha?”

Not surprisingly he seemed to have forgotten the appointment. 

“Sasha. Come into the office.”

An ardent desire to be numb had also made her docile and she quietly 
obeyed. It felt like a dream being back here. She hadn’t visited the Brujah 
headquarters since Eddie had been killed. She closed her eyes as 
unbidden memories flooded her conscious. When she reopened them she 
was sitting on a couch in front of Cameron’s desk.

“Good job with that hunter. You seem to have a real knack for eliminating 
problems…. that is when you aren’t creating them.”

“Since Jerry is dead and Jason…is out of commission. I want you to take 
over the Gruber project. Phillip has been feeling a bit independent lately, 
started pushing low quality P.C.P. without our go ahead. I want you to 
show him the error of his ways. His son will be at the Candice Hotel as 
usual next Wednesday. Make an example of him, Oh and don’t forget to 
be creative. If your recent performance is any indication of your talent, 
that shouldn’t be too hard. I’m sending Jennifer with you, incase there 
are any unforeseen circumstances.”

Sasha sat and blinked. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. He 
wanted her to kill again. What kind of monster..? The answer to the 
unfinished question flew before her minds eye in reds and violence. She 
had torn that man apart, ripped out his heart, felt the blood run down her 
hands and pool at her feet. The beast that killed Cory Tan, that was the 
kind of monster Cameron was, that was what he wanted her to be. How 
could this be happening?

“Do you understand?”

“No.” 

Cameron considered the women sitting in front of him. She was still a 
fledgling, unable to defend herself, or hunt on her own, and yet even 
without a sire to look after her she had survived the most turbulent 
period of San Francisco Camirille history since the last clan war. Weak, but 
gifted, naïve, but intelligent, innocent, but brutal. Eddie hadn’t done 
Cameron many favors, but granting him Sasha Luna to mold and make 
had been one of them. Inwardly he smiled.

“Sasha, look at me. You did what you had to do. The beast in you would not have let you done other wise.”

He sighed hopping he was getting through to her. 

 “Don’t be afraid of it. The beast makes you strong … it makes you better. 
He was only a human, and a murderer at that. His life was nothing.

You have to move on now. Phillip Gruber is a threat to our business …”

Sasha was shaking. She didn’t want to hear this, she didn’t want to be 
here. Cameron saw that he obviously might as well be talking to awall. 
He took a vanilla envelope form his desks and pulled out the photographs 
it held. He had hoped that Sasha had grown beyond her fears, but since 
she hadn’t he was prepared to force her too.

 He grabbed her chin and made her look at the photos. They were 
horrible. 

“If you care so much about the kine look what Gruber’s drugs are doing 
to them.”

Sasha stopped shaking and took hold of the photos. Cameron backed of 
and let them do their work. One had a group of teenagers thrashing and 
bleeding form the mouth, their eyes turned up in their heads. Another 
showed a street man who had died of a seizure brought on by an over 
dose, and the last was of a smashed body of a young women with curly 
dark hair, who had been run over by a truck. Slowly anger began to seep 
into her heart. She welcomed any emotion that would replace her present 
darkness. Her eyes began to teng with red.

Cameron was well aware of the change.

“Let the beast out, and you could save them.” He smiled and walked her 
over to the exit. 

“Don’t forget. Next Wednesday. I’ll send Jennifer to pick you up…if you 
need me…” he opened the door and gently pushed her through. The door 
closes quietly behind the seemingly shell shocked women.

Her mind felt like a newly drilled cavity, and the effort it would take to 
think through what had just happened, was well past the limits of her will 
power. Autopilot set in and she walked out of the building. Only a pair of 
eyes hidden deep in the recesses of a shadowy corridor saw the trail of 
red footprints she left in her wake.

“Hold on Sasha.” Came an inaudible whisper.

******

The indoor amphitheater echoed with the sounds of heated debate, but 
the arguments that rang out through the San Francisco Historical 
Courthouse were superficial at best. All the real politicking had been 
conducted the previous week, as both candidates had pulled in favors, 
offered boons, made promises, intimidated, and otherwise coerced their 
constituencies. The night’s proceedings were merely the obligatory 
actions of Venture electoral machinery. 

Still, it was a night that never should have come about Julian thought to 
himself as he watched Sonny conclude his closing remarks, and take a 
seat several tiers below him. Although he wasn’t adverse to his Childe 
taking the role of the Venture’s new Primogen, the fact that it was 
vacated in the first place was a source of unending grief. The unsettling 
waves of sorrow and betrayal that had characterized his life these past 
two weeks welled up in his heart. Julian had loved his sire as much as 
any childe ever had, and when he was killed, Julian had mourned with 
passion, but nothing could change the fact that the Archon had used him, 
had lied to him, had made him a killer.

For years he had been haunted by his actions that night at Manzanita. 
Involuntarily the shadows of that nightmare arose around him blocking 
out the debate below. Darkness descended as his mind’s eye brought 
him back to the scene of his worst crime. Even now he could feel the heat 
of the flames, hear the dying screams and pleas for mercy, as his hands 
slick with blood of countless kindred clutched a knife and a gun with all 
their might. His own body ached with wounds long healed, and trembled 
with the power of the beast. Past the fire past the blood at the core of 
his memory there was a presence in his mind, in his soul that had guided 
the berserker slashes he laid into victims, The Archon Rane.

“My Prince?”

Julian snapped back to the present, and turned his full gaze on the young 
man who had interrupted his private pain. What he saw baffled him. 
Jeffery’s eyes widened with terror, and his skin went from pale to white. 
Self-consciously Julian touched his face. The memory had brought on the 
Change unintentionally. Twin orbs of burning blue gold and razor sharp 
fangs looked into the fearful face his most trusted aid. ‘So this is what it is 
to be Julian Luna’ he thought. His eyes returned to their natural deep 
brown, and a mask of superiority covered his inner turmoil.

“Yes, Jeffery?”

Jeffery swallowed hard, hoping that his prince had regained control. “The 
time to cast votes has come, my Prince.”

“Thank you, Jeffery”

Julian rose walked over to the ballot keeper, handed her the ballot, and 
returned to his seat. It had been his wish not to preside over theelection 
of the new Primogen. As the most powerful Venture in the Domain it was 
his right to, but he wanted to insure that the opposition could not contest 
the election of his Childe, so he declined the honor. A silent smile spread 
across his face as he watched the progress of his clan to the ballot box. 
Here in this room was order, peace, and civility. Here he could leave his 
nightmares behind, and concentrate on the health of his subjects. Below 
him representatives of both candidates counted out the number of 
ballots. There seemed to be some commotion surrounding it, but there 
always was in these forms of elections.

The Ballot keeper listened to the reported numbers for each candidate, 
and stood quietly. The entire chamber went silent. 

“After three counts of the vote, the Kindred, united under their loyalty to 
the Venture Clan, have chosen their representative to the Prince’s 
Council. Sonny Toussaint, Childe of Prince Julian Luna of San Francisco 21 
votes. Victoria Miller, Childe of Primogen Samantha Kilgore of 
Providence……..23”


Chapter 6


The ballot keepers voice trailed off as she and all of the Venture watched 
their prince stand, and stare at her with marked intensity. 

“Do you wish a recount my prince…”

To call a recount of a Venture vote was unheard of. It would insinuate 
corruption in the noblest tribe of kindred. The ballot keeper along with the 
candidates' proxies had been picture-perfect Venture ever since they had 
been embraced. He could not question their credibility, and yet he had 
been so sure.

“That will not be necessary. Congratulations Victoria.” He nodded stiffly to 
a small woman who looked to be of South East Asian decent, who 
averted her eyes accordingly.

A stifled sigh of relief escaped the assembled, and Julian returned to his 
seat. 

The Ballot keeper slammed down a gavel, and announced the meeting 
adjourned. The Venture quickly filed out of the room keeping a wide 
breadth around the Prince. Finally only Julian and Sonny were left. Julian 
looked at the pin straight back of his Childe. Fear, disappointment and 
anger seemed to radiate off of him.

“Sonny.”

******

Night had already consumed half of the twilight, when Loral finally awoke. 
She pulled her self out of the sleeping bag that served as the bed in her 
new one room temporary residency motel. (The night before she had 
decided not to take her chances with the bed that smelled of some 
unnamable sin.) It was close to the heart of town, had a great view of 
the parking lot, and was priced ridiculously low. Apparently the last 
occupant who no one could seem to remember had left in a hurry, but all 
the paper work was taken care of, so she had signed the lease and 
moved in. Well, moved in was a relative term, besides the P. A. system 
and her bed role, the only personal belongings she had left were a couple 
of clothes, and her foot locker. They were all she needed though.

She stumbled sleepily into the bathroom, and ran some water into the 
sink. The spotted and cracked mirror in front of her didn’t do her 
unremarkable features any favors, but she didn’t care. It felt like the four 
walls were strangling her. She would have much rather been on the road 
heading to parts unknown, but the truth was she needed a place to stay 
a while until she could ……

“Until I what?” she asked herself out loud. It was a question that had 
been nagging at the back of her brain for the last week. “Until I make 
sure Sasha is okay. I promised.” She answered resolutely herself. 

The reflection in the mirror sneered back at her, and seemed to ask 
exactly how she was going to do that with out landing face down in the 
bay. The thought brought a chill to her mind, and demand of her dread. 
Sasha was in some bad juju. A week of officially being avoided and 
unofficially being her shadow had made that perfectly evident to Loral. 
The reflection relaxed its sneer and took on an air of sad resignation. 
Loral looked carefully at herself, summoning up all her strength, but the 
stare of her own dull green eyes was starting to frighten her. They 
seemed to be crying out  ‘Just leave girl! Just walk away. Before its too 
late.’

With white knuckles gripping the sinks edge she thrust her head into the 
slowly filling basin.

Finally the need for oxygen pulled her out of the water, but the face that 
greeted her in the mirror was not the one she had awoken to. Wild eyes 
that didn’t comprehend the reality that surrounded them stared out of a 
panic torn little girl’s face. Blood and soot covered her cheeks and fell 
heavy in her hair, and behind her in a sea of night a huge bonfire lit up 
the sky. Fear grief and anger radiated through the mirror, and the girl 
began to speak. 

“The truth Loral. Why did they do this? Why did this happen? The truth is so 
close. Find it.”

 “NO! I left you behind. Why can’t you just die with them! That’s what you 
wanted.” Loral could feel the heat, hear the fire. The chill in her mind 
blazed and boiled. 

“I wanted to die, but I lived, you lived Loral! Now find out why.”

“You don’t exist anymore. I put you away. Leave!” Loral screamed the 
last word. At the sound the crack gave way and the mirror fell into the 
sink, shattering below the shallow water.  

She was not going to let this happen to her, nothing nobody was going 
to screw with her life anymore. Loral stormed back into the main room, 
threw open the footlocker and grabbed her knife. She ripped it out of the 
sheath. It was a foot long bowie made of Damascus steel. It had a 
serrated back, a razor edge, and a grip of soft leather, soft as skin, worn 
from use. The blade filled her with the need to fight. Her heart was racing, 
her eyes darting looking for anyone anything, that might reach out at her. 
Shadows swarmed in her mind and the dark room, Form somewhere 
above her came thudding and behind her was the sound of water 
running, the pipes belched and groaned. Her breath panted in the warm 
air. She waited in the darkness.

But nothing came.

“What am I doing…?”

Loral’s legs collapsed underneath her. There was no one there but 
herself. The knife slipped form her hands, and lay idle on the floor. Tears 
came to eyes. 

“I’m going crazy.”

Loral shuttered and stood up. The locker across the room was still open. 
Out of it a silvery disk shined on the top of her various belongings. She 
grabbed it and shoved it into the P.A.’s head. The music finally came on, 
flooding the apartment with screaming guitars and reverberating base. 
Loral sighed, letting the music fill her body, waiting for her heart beat to 
synchronize. Her muscles relaxed a bit. She let the music carry her about 
the room, dancing, jumping, thrashing. She found her self in a fighting 
stance. Her own shadow loaming indifferently on the white wall served as 
a sparing partner. For an hour she battled with her dark reflection, 
punching, kicking wrestling. The fight was a dance, and the dance a fight.  
She sighed as the CD came to an end. 

Music was therapy. 

******


Leaning against the wall of the corridor Cash considered the stream of 
Venture that flowed by him. They seemed particularly gossipy today, but 
none of them, not even the ones he was on good terms with would 
venture a glance his way. His status first as a Gangrel and second as a 
Primogen had denied him entrance to the Ventures clan meetings, but 
usually the Harpies would fill him in on all the juicy details, before 
spreading the news to the other clans.

At the very tail end of the procession came the prince. His face was 
ashen, and Cash knew something went horribly wrong at the meeting. 

“Cash, I will be holding court tonight, in tomorrow night’s stead. 
Tomorrow we will be going to Biltmore offices, to pay the new Primogen 
avisit.”

“Understood.” And he meant it in so many ways.

******

From her vantage point on top of the Haven’s roof, Sasha watched as 
Cash and her Uncle got out of the limo. They seemed so small and far 
away, so unreachable. She sighed. The cold bay wind blew through her 
body and out across the city. She wanted to join it, and fly away form the 
nightmare of her life. 

The night she had been embraced Cash had brought her to the city’s 
edge. The bay wind had been to their backs as they had ridden the high 
roads and over passes. By Kindred law she should have been killed 
before sunrise. A mortal embraced against the prince’s will was a threat 
to the masquerade, but Cash had saved her at least until Eddie took her 
under his protection.

Her hair caught a gust and flung itself over the edge of the building. Red 
curls bellowed like a wild fire. Far below her lay the dark street, which 
stood as the new boundary between Gangrel and Brujah hunting 
grounds.   

******

If Sasha hadn’t been on the rooftop, she wouldn’t have seen the fight, 
and her life might have been all together different, but she was. She 
watched the group of five people on the Gangrel side shadow two on the 
Brujah side. She watched as the five darted across the street and 
pounced on the two, She watched as the two were pulled off the street 
into the darkness of a Brujah ally. She watched, and something deep with 
in her understood what was happening. 

Without thinking she abandoned her rooftop, jumping down the fire 
escape two floors at a time. She hit the ground and her body moved with 
impossible speed.  First one block then the next smeared by. The street 
wasn’t used much that’s why it had been chosen as the boundary, but 
she kept to the cold shadowed cement. Building after building passed as 
blood rushed in her useless veins. She gave the wind a run for its money.

The End