Blood Under a Full Moon


Spelling Television, Inc. (a subsidiary of Spelling Entertainment group, Inc, owns the 
characters of Julian, Cameron, Daedalus, Lillie, Sasha, Cash, Caitlin Byrne, Frank Kohaneck, 
Eddie Fiori, and Sonny.) Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse are 
owned by White Wolf Publishing. My use is in no way meant to challenge their (or anyone 
elseís) copyrights.

The characters of Jeffrey and Cassandra are someone elseís. She never emailed me back 
when I asked her if it was ok to use the characters, so I assume she doesnít mind.

The character of Looks Within is a creation of Steven Wakefield, and Matt Reimer springs 
from the mind of Eric Bowmaster.

All of the other characters, as well as the story, are mine.

I include this little warning for the benefit of anyone who considers himself to be an overly 
sensitive person. There is violence presented in this story, sometimes graphically, and 
there are a couple of nasty words. If you have a problem with this, donít read it, and donít 
tell me later that you found it offensive because forewarned is forearmed. I would rate this 
story PG-13, maybe R. Who knows, I donít get paid to come up with actual ratings.

Special thanks go to Icy Mike Molson, who helped point out the glaring errors and 
deficiencies in the story, and who also put me in a position to create some of these 
characters, and to have some created by the other people mentioned above. I would also 
be remiss in not mentioning Drahcir, without whose guidance this fairly decent final draft 
would not have been possible (it really needed that much work).

Authorís Note: This fanfic is based loosely on the short-lived Fox series, "Kindred: The 
Embraced." Anyone who knows the White Wolf game "Vampire: The Masquerade" knows 
that the TV series changed some elements of the game in order to make it more 
marketable. I have sort of taken the main elements of the show and placed them (I feel) 
more firmly within White Wolfís World of Darkness. I hope you like the results of my efforts.

by

Nevermore


I

The leaves of the trees covering the street rustled softly as brisk October wind blew across 
the dark road. From his vantage point, the man could see the lights of the city below him Ė 
San Francisco. Had he been blind, however, he would still have been aware of the 
proximity of the urban squalor. Even here, miles outside the city, the scent of countless 
individuals hung in the air, along with the pollution that their civilization inflicted upon the world. 
Perhaps some of the more radical views were correct, he thought. Perhaps humans were 
the cause of the misery in the world. After all, without humans there would be no vampires, 
or any of the violence that they carried with them.

It was because of the violence that he was here. An old friend had appraised him of the 
situation in the city months ago. The mobster Eddie Fiori, a vampire, had been killed as a 
result of an attempted power grab within his organization. From what he had heard of Fiori, 
this was no great loss. However, this led to the inevitable infighting among Eddieís clan-
members within the city. It was to have been expected. After all, the Brujah were never 
known to be the most cohesive lot. This time it was different, however. The violence was 
more brutal and destructive than any recent kindred war, and it had included only the 
members of one clan. The Brujah, in their zealous attempt at finding a leader, had killed not 
only dozens of their own, but also several of humans. Included in this number were 
members of the Gambioni family, which had until recently been a powerful crime family. 
Recently, they had gone legitimate, although they were known to not be above strong-
arming the competition when they felt it necessary.

Unbeknownst to the kindred, the Gambioni family was populated by Glass Walkers, a tribe 
of garou so called for their preference for urban areas and human companionship. It was 
revolting to him that a garou could descend to such pitiful depths. The wilderness was the 
proper environment for his kind, the werewolvesóthe proud defenders of the natural world. 
He brought his mind back into focus almost as quickly as he had let it wander. The twins of 
Anthony Gambioni had been marked for greatness, all had known that. Now they were 
dead. They had been cut down by the new Brujah primogen, Cameron, in his attempt to 
keep the Gambionis out of the cityís underworldís struggle. Cameron had hoped that the 
killing would take the fight out of the family. It had. Sorrow over the loss had been so great it 
blanketed the normally overwhelming impulse for blood that would have followed such an 
act. Now the time for sorrow was over. Now the time for vengeance had come.

He looked up in the sky. The bright spot in the heavens was easy to find, the comet now 
coming closer and closer to the earth. Its tail was a beautiful spectacle in the dark heavens, a 
view that human scientists said would not reappear for another two thousand years. Turning 
the other way, he could now see the moon. Its bright glow had been even more obstructed 
in the few moments he had been standing here. The eclipse was as beautiful as he had 
been expecting. The prophecy was almost complete. The death of the twins, the comet, 
the eclipse, the formation of his pack, all had fallen into place.

His packÖ at the thought of them he climbed back onto the motorcycle. It was getting late, 
and they would be waiting for him in Golden Gate Park. One short meeting, and then the 
killing would begin. He could almost taste vampire blood in his mouth. Yes, he thought, this 
would be an opportunity for great glory.



II

Inside his mansion, Julian Luna sat in front of the fire, bringing warmth to the body that had 
not generated its own heat for well over a hundred years. Something was disturbing him, 
though he could not place what it was. Normally, he would have been on the roof enjoying 
the progressing eclipse, but not tonight. Tonight he had no desire to watch the astral ballet 
that was being performed for humanity. He stood suddenly, and within three rapid strides 
was at the doorway, entering the hall. "Sasha," he questioned into the dark corridor. "Are 
you still around?"

"Yeah, Iím gonna be leaving pretty soon, though, Uncle Julian," Sasha called back from 
behind the heavy oak door of her room. Julian Lunaís tensions eased at the sound of her 
voice. At least Sasha was still safe. Perhaps his feelings were just the product of an 
overactive imagination.

"Where are you going tonight, Sasha?" Julian asked. He knew that she would feel as if she 
was checking up on him, but Julian knew that this was unavoidable. Julian admitted to 
himself that he was, in fact, checking up on his niece, and she was smart enough to see that.

"Iím meeting Rayce at the haven at eleven, and then weíre gonna go hunting," Sasha called 
back. "Maybe weíll see some of the sights. You know, as long as Iíve been here, I still 
havenít seen everything there is to see." Sashaís voice held a tinge of excitement, and 
Julian knew all to well that it had nothing to do with the opportunity to see areas of the city 
that she had not yet been in. Sashaís excitement was related to the man that would be in 
her company that evening.

Rayce. The very mention of his name sent chills up Julianís spine. He was the newest of 
the Brujah, apparently an acquaintance of Cameronís from Seattle. This new Brujah was 
different, though. Many speculated that Cameron requested Rayce come to San Francisco 
in an attempt to create a mediator between himself and the prince Ė someone who could 
simultaneously understand the order that the Ventrue ruler expected, and also what the 
independent-minded Brujah demanded. A noble goal, Julian admitted, if thatís all it had 
been. Julian suspected a second purpose to the presence of Rayce. He was an ill fit to the 
Brujah blood. Much of Rayceís past was shrouded in mystery. Indeed, Julian wondered 
how much even Cameron knew. One thing was certain, however, he greatly disliked Rayce 
being anywhere near his niece.

"Why are you spending time with Rayce again?" Julian asked, knowing that he risked 
causing an argument with his niece. "Whereís Cash?"

Sasha finally emerged from her room, wearing a black leather miniskirt, a black tank-top with 
her black leather jacket, and black leather boots that were up to her knees. Julian shook his 
head, disappointed in the trashy appearance that his niece embraced as being the perfect 
image for her. "Cash is out in the garage, waiting around to see if youíll want to be going out 
tonight," Sasha said, answering Julianís question. "He wasnít willing to make definite plans 
until he heard what you were up to, and Rayce was. Besides, I like Rayce. Heís not really 
like the rest of the Brujah." Sasha stressed Rayceís name as she said it, knowing it irritated 
her uncle a slight bit. She could not understand what Julian had against the newest Brujah in 
the city, but she was certain that it was something unreasonable. In her opinion, 
unreasonableness was a recurring theme in Julianís opinions.

"Yes, Iíve noticed the differences in Rayce," Julian said, noting Sashaís enjoyment in 
irritating him. In the back of his mind, Julian said a quick prayer for the arrival of the day when 
Sasha would finally mature.

"You almost sound like you think being a different sort of Brujahís a bad thing," Sasha shot 
back, some of the playfulness leaving her voice. "Ever since they embraced me, Iíve been 
hearing about how bad the Brujah are. Now I find one thatís different, and you think thatís 
bad, too."

"There are worse things in this world than being Brujah, Sasha," Julian said, trying to calm his 
niece. The prince had become tired of having Sasha leave the mansion angry at him every 
night.

"Iím glad you donít think Iím at the absolute bottom of the barrel then, Uncle Julian," Sasha 
replied, not willing to have an argument but equally unwilling to leave without getting a final 
jab in. Sasha quickly stormed past Julian, only a blur of black leather and hair. She had the 
front door opened and was almost through it when Julian was finally able to respond.

"Thatís not what I meant, Sasha," Julian called out, in vain. He realized she didnít hear him, 
but he felt the need to speak the words anyway, hoping that saying them would make him 
feel better. It was true, after all, that the Brujah were not the worst of the lot in the kindred 
world. While he admittedly held no love for the clan, he did not hate it either. He was actually 
indifferent to the Brujah, with the exception of the realization of what they were able to do to 
the peace he was holding together in the city.

Thinking of his city made him desire to see it. His uneasiness was returning, and he had a 
sudden need to make sure that all was as it should be. Perhaps some conversation with 
Caitlin would help calm his nerves. She had a particular way of looking at the world that 
always seemed to ease him.

Just as Julian was about to pick up the phone to dial, it began to ring. "Hello?í he asked as 
he lifted the phone to his ear.

"Julian, youíre home." It was Caitlin. The coincidence was almost uncanny, Julian thought, 
but he responded without any sign of his uneasiness.

"Hello, Caitlin. What is it?"

"Well, I got my article finished earlier than I figured I would, and I put Robbie in charge for 
the night," Caitlin said cheerily. "I was wondering if youíd like to get together?" Julian had 
noticed how her tone had quickly grown cautious, as if she held no high hopes of actually 
getting to see him. Recently, she had become accustomed to disappointment.

"I have to admit I am a little busy," Julian replied, lying. He figured he didnít want to seem 
too desperate to see her. "Iíll just hurry my work along, though, and Iíll meet you at about 
midnight."

"Youíre sure youíre not too busy?" Caitlin asked, preferring to have him say up front that a 
meeting was out of the question rather than have him cancel a half hour later.

"Absolutely," Julian answered, reassuring her.

"Great," Caitlin responded happily. "How about at the Haven, then?"

"You read my mind," Julian said, a rare smile appearing on his face. "See you in an hour." 
Julianís smile grew as he replaced the phone. Things seemed to be getting better already.

A few minutes later, Julian was in the garage, where he found Cash working on the engine 
to the Mercedes.

"Something wrong with the car, Cash?" Julian asked, knowing that he had not heard of any 
problems.

"No, just making sure it was all ok," Cash replied. "Iíd hate to have the engine fail if we ever 
needed it."

"Well, if itís fine, then letís be going," Julian said. Cash looked at the prince and could see 
the excitement in Julianís eyes. He seemed almost like a child, and the unlikely mood 
surprised the princeís bodyguard.

"Where?" Cash asked, trying to find out what had Julian so happy. Besides the smile, it 
was also unusual, Cash thought, that Julian would just walk out and announce that he was 
leaving. The prince usually gave at least an hourís warning, so Cash would be able to send 
someone ahead to make sure everything was safe.

"We have to be at the Haven at midnight, but I want to see the city before that," Julian 
replied.

"Anywhere in particular?" Cash asked, unaccustomed to the ambiguity of Julianís plans.

"No, I just want to see it," Julian answered.

"All right," Cash replied uncomfortably. The Gangrel held the door open, and Julian got in. 
Cash then went into the trunk, and removed his uzi and shotgun. Being alone guarding 
Julian, going God only knew where made Cash feel the need for the extra weapons.

Getting behind the wheel, he pulled slowly out of the driveway, a little voice inside his head 
nagging at him. Where was Sasha in such a hurry to go? More importantly, who was Sasha 
in such a hurry to go see?



III

The wind blew through Sashaís hair as she rode her motorcycle. Rayce was riding along 
beside her, and their friend Joey was not far behind. Joey was another of the newer Brujah 
that had been embraced to fill the ranks after Cameronís consolidation had left the clan 
decimated. Sasha looked over at Rayce and smiled, and he grinned back. Yes, she 
thought, this is the only time I feel completely free, and he knows it. Finally, she had found a 
kindred spirit within her own clan. What would this do to her relationship with Cash? She 
could only wonder.

The buildings around them started to become more and more decrepit. They had certainly 
entered one of the lower class neighborhoods, where crime was rampant and human life 
was not held in much esteem. This was the perfect place for the hunt, Sasha thought, as she 
guided her bike into an alley and pulled it to a stop. They all dismounted and continued on 
foot, climbing up a fire escape to the roof of an adjacent building. They would travel by way 
of the rooftops, seeking their prey from above, checking each of the alleys that they 
passed over along their way. It was not long before they found what they had been looking 
for Ė four punks, apparently getting ready to shoot up some heroin.

"Perfect," Joey grinned. "When weíre done with them, we can take their drugs. We can 
finance the rest of our night with that stuff."

Rayce and Sasha simply looked at him in response, but nonetheless began to climb down 
the fire escape to the unsuspecting group below. The attack was fast, but efficient. When 
they were done the punks were left unconscious, to have a terrible headache the next day. 
As Joey stood up, wiping the last drops of blood from his lips, he noticed a shadow at the 
end of the alley. A woman ducked back behind the corner, but not quickly enough to 
escape his attention. He began to approach her, swaggering with the confidence he felt 
every time he had just fed.

"Where are you going?" Sasha asked as he walked off.

"I thought I saw something," Joey replied, his voice sounding almost playful. "Wait here, Iíll 
be right back."

Sasha and Rayce again looked at each other as Joey walked off, and then glanced over to 
the needles and drugs lying by their victims. How much Rayce and Cash were alike, Sasha 
thought, continuing the comparisons of the two men that dominated her thoughts. Both were 
strong and independent, but Rayce had none of the responsibility that kept Cash busy and 
away from her. Had she still been mortal, she would have considered Rayce as being 
something more than simply a partner in crime. He stood about six feet, and was fairly well 
muscled, though not overly so. His long brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and he 
seemed to have the same penchant for black leather jackets that Sasha herself enjoyed. 
Kindred spirits, perhaps. The days of needless infatuation were over now, though. Since 
her embrace, there were other desires in her mind, the most important and overwhelming 
being to feed. Sasha released herself from her mental digression and pointed at the heroin.

"So, what do you think we should do with all that?" she asked, already suspecting how 
Rayce would answer.

"Who cares?" Rayce responded. "If he wants to sell it, let him. He still has to find someone 
stupid enough to buy it."

Their conversation was abruptly interrupted by a gunshot, then two more quickly followed. 
As Sasha and Rayce stood up, they heard a scream coming from the alley, a scream that 
was full of the knowledge that certain death had found someone. It was Joeyís death 
scream, they knew, even before they started running down the alley to their friend.

As they turned the corner and viewed the scene, Sasha was forced to cover her eyes. At 
no time in her life, either before or after her embrace, had she set her eyes upon such 
brutality. She instinctively grasped Rayce, and buried her head against his shoulder. He 
stroked her hair to calm her. "Wait here," he said as he broke from her demanding grip and 
advanced toward Joeyís corpse.

He knelt down over the body. From what he could tell, there appeared to be two wounds. 
The major wound was a huge incision in the chest which appeared to have been made by 
a battle-ax or similar large, razor sharp weapon. The cut went from the sternum down to the 
lower abdomen, almost severing the right leg. Cut from nape to neck, Rayce thought, 
recalling Shakespeareís words from "MacBeth." The second wound was the severing of the 
left arm. This was a far less clean wound. It appeared as if the arm had been literally torn 
from its socket, with strands of flesh hanging from the shoulder. Joeyís Glock was still 
gripped in the dead fingers, now attached to an arm with no body. Only once before had 
Rayce seen anything like this, and the memories that were conjured within his mind were not 
pleasant.

Rayce heard a muffled sniffle from behind him and suddenly remembered Sasha. He 
stood up from his examination, and returned to his newest friend. "Letís get out of here, 
ok?" He knew he would get no complaints from the princeís niece.

"Yeah, sure," Sasha replied, her word mumbled.

Rayce hurried them both to their motorcycles, purposely walking along the middle of the 
street. Joeyís attacker could still be around, and if his suspicions were correct, the closer they 
stayed to public view, the safer they would be. They reached the bikes, and took off at 
breakneck speed across the city, never looking behind. There was no longer a feeling of 
freedom, Sasha thought. This was more like the feeling of flight from certain death, a fast ride 
taken in the interest of self-preservation rather than to free the spirit. The feeling was not 
welcome within her, and she tried to concentrate on the mansion, where her uncle could 
protect herÖ where Cash could protect her.



IV

Golden Gate Park was no more or less than he had expected. There were scattered trees, 
and the grass that was present was clipped neatly. Too neatly, he thought. The park 
represented no more than an attempt by humans to remind themselves of the wonderful 
natural world that was around them without having to expose themselves to the wilderness. 
Obviously, it did not remind them of natureís beauty enough to prevent them from 
destroying the world that had given them life. As he approached the designated meeting 
place, he smiled. All but one of his pack were already here. Two humans and two wolves, 
with one more human on her way.

When the pack had formed, it had been out of necessity. Their enemies had been many, 
and there were few garou who did not already run with a pack. His pack comprised 
changers from different tribes. He, of course, felt himself to be of the greatest Ė the Get of 
Fenris. A huge percentage of the greatest garou heroes had been of the Get, and this was 
a tradition he was sure would continue until the arrival of the Apocalypse. He then began to 
look over his pack, his friends.

James was the most imposing of those before him. He stood a tad above six feet and 
weighed a little over 200 lb. His red hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and even now he 
was taking a sip from his trademark flask. Like many of the Fianna, he seemed to have a 
predilection toward drink, a trait that was as commonly ascribed to the tribe as it was toward 
the people from which they sprang Ė the Irish. Still, James was a formidable warrior, and a 
fabulous storyteller. It would be nice having him along on this quest for vengeance. He 
would be able to fight, and then later sing an epic song of their exploits, for all their people 
to hear.

Andrew Thelopolis was the next one he considered. Why had Andrew been so willing to 
launch this assault? No one trusted those of Andrewís tribe, the Shadow Lords. Even their 
name held a connotation of deceit and political maneuvering. However, he had never 
shown himself to be very much like the stereotypical Shadow Lord. He had instead been 
forthright and trustworthy in all things, much as a judge of the garou should be.

Asleep on the grass about ten feet from the two humans was Looks Within, a shaman who 
sprang from the Native Americans that Europeans had displaced so many years ago. 
Rarely would he let his pack mates forget this crime of their forefathers. All in all, however, 
he was a valuable ally. Not only were his claws as sharp as any otherís, and his spirit as 
ferocious as any garou born a wolf, but he was able to summon spirits to come to their aid. 
It was said that Looks Within had actually been born within the spirit world, and that totems 
often offered outrageous boons as a sign of their favor.

Lastly, there was Forgotten Teeth, or Natasha as she was known when she desired to shift 
into her human form. She sprang from the once great and now rapidly declining Silver Fang 
tribe. It was whispered among the garou that many of this clan suffered some form of 
derangement, and from what she had shown, Forgotten Teeth was no exception. In her 
attempt to restore the forgotten glory of her tribe, she had given in to a homicidal madness. 
This made her a somewhat unpredictable, if still ruthlessly efficient, warrior.

Even as he completed his appraisal of his comrades, they were joined by their last 
member. Strutting across the grass was Kristen Genetti, a native of San Francisco and a 
relative of the Gambioni family, which had suffered so greatly at the hands of the leeches. 
The moon goddess Luna had decreed for Kristen a fate as a trickster, one who would bring 
wisdom to her people through deceit and guile. Kristen had had other plans, however. She 
used her gifts for trickery to become more secretive and stealthy than any garou had a right 
to be. She had become a living weapon, an assassin more deadly than most of the 
greatest garou warriors had ever been. To her credit, she had been able to accomplish this 
goal without being a true warrior, but it was only a matter of time before her fate caught up 
with her.

"Greetings, Kristen," he offered cordially as she approached.

"Hello Mark," Kristen replied cordially. She nodded to the others, grateful that they had 
arrived to help her in seeking to avenge the deaths of the Gambioni twins.

"We have come here on a mission of vengeance," Mark began, addressing all of his pack. 
"The leeches have been conducting a war, and this can be tolerated no longer. Not only 
does this risk exposure of their true nature to the populace, and by extension our nature as 
well, but their actions have led to the deaths of two of our youngest."

"They will pay for their crimes!" Kristen screamed. Mark was taken aback by her 
uncharacteristic display of passion. He was not, however, surprised at the howl that rang up 
in approval from Natasha. He let the moment pass, and waited until they were ready for 
him to continue.

"Yes, they will pay for their crimes," Mark agreed, a savage smile spreading his lips, 
exposing razor sharp canines. "We will make them pay. We will hunt every night, and 
sleep during the day as they do. The streets will flow with the blood of vampires, the 
minions of the Wyrm."

The reference to the Wyrm, the equivalent of Satan in the garou spirituality, aroused all 
present into a greater state of excitement. "Let us go!!" Mark shouted, inciting his pack into 
action. The two wolves sprang to their paws, and within moments the humans present had 
transformed into wolves themselves. Together they raced off across the grass, headed 
toward the city proper. Battles would be fought this night, and many kindred would die. Of 
that, Mark Larsson was sure.



V

Caitlin sat back in the booth that was forever reserved for Julian Luna and his guests. She 
had come to identify the club with going out, for it seemed as if whenever she went 
anywhere but work, she ended up there. However, her familiarity with the surroundings had 
never completely eased her mind when she entered. She had never been able to explain 
it, but something instinctual within her shied away from this place. It was almost like the cat 
that found discomfort with there being a large dog in the vicinity. The analogy made little 
sense, she knew, but it was the best she could do.

As her mind continued to wander, she saw Julian come in, accompanied as always by his 
bodyguard, Cash. The two of them were a strange pair, Caitlin thought for the umpteenth 
time. Julian seemed worldly, a man of great sophistication, while Cash appeared to be little 
more than a street punk. Julian smiled as he saw her, and strode over, never diverting his 
eyes from hers. Cash broke away from Julian at the bar, and within moments was nursing a 
beer.

"Hello," Julian said with a hint of a smile. "Itís been awhile."

"The paper keeps me busy," Caitlin replied, surprised that she was making excuses. It had 
been Julian, not her, that had seemed to be the one that had been too busy lately to get 
together. "After all," Caitlin added, "Iím not just an editor. I refuse to give up reporting just 
because I have other responsibilities." Caitlin knew the excuse was valid, but she hoped 
that Julian would at least accept some of the blame for their recent lack of contact.

"You work too hard," Julian replied, declining the opportunity that Caitlin had presented to 
him. "Please allow me to make you forget all that for awhile." Julian slid across the 
semicircular seat to come up next to her. Moments later a waitress came up with two 
glasses of red wine, and set one before each of then. "Thank you, Becca," Julian mumbled, 
without even looking up.

"So is this a business meeting in a very clever disguise?" Julian asked coyly. He could see 
the look in Caitlinís eyes, and knew that although she said she was done for the day, there 
was still something attached to work that she was still pondering.

"Isnít it always about work?" Caitlin responded, laughing inwardly at herself. Julian always 
seemed to know whether their meetings were meant for business or pleasure. "Whatís 
your niece been getting into lately?"

"What?" Julian asked, obviously taken aback. Caitlinís question had been blunt. He had 
expected her to dance around the issue for awhile, enjoying his company before getting 
down to business. "I have no idea what youíre talking about."

"I didnít think you would," Caitlin responded with the air of someone reluctantly bearing bad 
tidings. "Look, Julian, one of my photographers has a picture of her taking place in a liquor 
store holdup."

"Are you sure?" Julian asked. He was already sure that Caitlin knew what she was talking 
about, or she would not have otherwise been there. Still, he needed to hear her 
incriminating words to send home the fact that she had indeed gotten hold of proof of 
Sashaís illicit activities, games she desired to play as a result of her Brujah blood.

"Yes, Iím sure," Caitlin replied. "Sheís wearing a mask, but I know her. Thereís no mistaking 
her." Caitlin produced the picture from a folder and showed it to Julian. "Iím not running the 
picture, it would do no good. Thereís no way to identify Sasha unless you already knew it 
was her. I just thought you should know."

"Thank you, Iíll talk with her," Julian responded, hiding the anger that was building up within 
him. Even as he spoke, he knew speaking with Sasha would do no good. Asking a Brujah 
to refrain from performing chaotic, antisocial acts was like asking an eagle to catch its prey 
without flying. Again Julian found himself thinking of Rayce. The prince was certain that 
Sashaís new acquaintance had been behind Sashaís latest criminal exploits.

At that moment he saw Cameron enter, flanked by two of his bodyguards. This was 
definitely not the best time for the Brujah primogen to start acting up, Julian thought. 
Cameron stopped three steps from the floor, and scanned the room, settling his gaze on 
the bar. He practically lunged off of the steps in the direction of Cash, coming up to him 
almost before the young Gangrel was able to put his beer down.

Cameron grasped Cashís jacket and put his face right in the Gangrelís. "If you think your clan 
is going to get away with this, youíre out of your mind," Cameron said, obviously on the 
border of frenzy. "Iíll bury your clan, and stake you out in the sun." Cash rejected the option 
of responding, and instead went for his Glock, intending to put a bullet in Cameronís skull in 
order to shut him up.

Before Cash could finish drawing his gun, however, Julian was upon them both, his eyes 
seething with anger. "This place is elysium, no violence will be permitted here." He looked 
both kindred over, making sure they both understood how serious he was. Any violence in 
an area considered elysium would be grounds for a death sentence.

Cash replaced his gun, and Cameron released him. "What is it you want here, Cameron?" 
Julian asked. Even speaking the Brujahís name caused the princeís anger to rise, made 
even worse by the recent news about Sasha.

"This bastardís clan has killed one of my own childer," Cameron accused. "I will not tolerate 
such an insult." Cameronís anger seemed to flow off of him in waves. "This is cause for a 
war, whelp. If you wanted one, now youíve got it." Cash simply glared back at Cameron, 
unimpressed with the threats being leveled at him. The Gangrel primogen was as willing as 
Cameron was to get involved in a war.

"Cameron, settle down," Julian ordered. He had had quite enough of the Brujah primogenís 
tirade. "We will discuss this upstairs." As Julian crossed the room, he stopped at Caitlinís 
table. "Iím sorry to cut our meeting short, but urgent business has been brought to my 
attention. I can have someone drive you home."

"No, thatís fine," Caitlin said. "I can take a cab." Caitlin stood up, straightened her new dress, 
and walked toward the exit. Lillie, emerging from a room behind the bar, watched her go, a 
small smile crossing her lips. It was time, she decided, to go upstairs. This could be very 
interesting.

On the second floor the argument began anew as soon as the three kindred were off the 
staircase.

"Julian, I demand this Gangrelís head," Cameron shouted, poorly attempting to make his 
rage sound righteous. "He has violated the Traditions by killing another of our kind. This is a 
crime punishable by death, and you know it. I demand justice."

Cash responded instantly. "Julian, you know neither I nor any member of my clan had 
anything to do with this. If we going to kill a Brujah, it would be him." He raised his finger at 
Cameron, who in his turn seemed rather unimpressed.

"Enough!" Julian shouted. "Who is it that has been killed, Cameron?"

"My latest childer, Joey," Cameron replied. Julian noted that Cameron seemed more intent 
on getting vengeance than he was in grieving for his latest addition to the clan. Julian felt a 
slight feeling of satisfaction, however. It was Joey that had been in the picture with Sasha, 
running from the liquor store. "Do you have the body?" Julian asked, knowing that the first 
responsibility of all was to protect the Masquerade. All other considerations were 
secondary.

"Of course," Cameron answered, seeming offended that Julian would think he could 
overlook such a detail. "It has been disposed of, at least what was left of it."

"What do you mean what was left of it?" Julian asked, his curiosity piqued.

"He was butchered, Julian," Cameron answered, his anger suddenly returning. "He was 
almost cut in half," Cameron added, his glare at Cash again making him seem more 
interested in having an opportunity to kill some Gangrel than in grieving for his dead childe. "I 
would think youíd be more concerned, Julian. Your precious Sasha was with him when he 
was attacked."

"And she saw the Gangrel do it?" Julian asked.

"No, he was around the corner," Cameron answered coolly. "Rayce and Sasha were sitting 
down having a heart to heart at the time." Cameron stressed the last part, knowing it would 
help to unhinge Cash even more. He had suddenly taken a perverse joy in reminding 
Cash that his lover was spending most of her time running around the Bay Area with 
Rayce.

"Is she ok?" Cash asked, showing his concern despite the fact that it was precisely what 
Cameron had been shooting for.

"Yes, theyíre both fine Cash, thank you for your false concern," Cameron replied. Had he 
not have just lost his newest childer, Cameron would have truly started to enjoy this torture 
of Cash.

"Where is she?" Julian asked, wanting to speak with his niece to find out if she had seen 
anything.

"Sheís at your mansion, with Rayce," Cameron said, again pointing out the relationship 
between the two. For the first time he noticed something new. He saw that Julian seemed 
as displeased as Cash that Sasha had been spending time with Rayce. Cameron made a 
mental note of the fact, planning to mention the friendship at every opportunity. "Some of 
my Brujah are hanging around outside the compound, just in case these crazy Gangrel try to 
attack my only witnesses, even on your ground," Cameron added.

"Enough accusations, Cameron," Julian stated flatly. "I will look into the matter, and you will 
receive justice. Do not worry yourself over it." The prince started for the door, motioning for 
Cash to join him.

"I demand justice now, Julian," Cameron said angrily. "My childe was just killed." Cameron 
was seething behind them in the room.

"You have my decision, Cameron," Julian said. "Now donít push it." Julian then left.

Not a second later, Lillie emerged from the back room, looking to see what pleasure she 
could derive from the situation as she searched for information. "What is it, Cameron?" she 
asked coyly. "Did Julian arrange for the hiring of more police in the city?" The Toreador 
primogen delighted in constantly reminding Cameron that he had thus far been unable to 
succeed in any legitimate business venture, and instead got all of his revenue through 
criminal activities.

"Nothing so trite," Cameron replied ruefully. "My childe was killed, and Julian has no interest 
in finding out who did it. He just wants to get home and make sure that bitch Sasha is still 
ok."

"Was she attacked too?" Lillie asked, apparently concerned. Even as the words left her 
mouth, she was applauding herself inwardly, so convincing was the tone of her voice.

"No, that would have been too simple. It would have solved all kinds of problems," 
Cameron answered, seeming to be truly frustrated that Sasha had not been the victim. "Once again, she survived." Cameron started pacing the room, and Lillie just watched for a 
few moments.

"Any idea who killed the childe?" Lillie asked, doubting that the Gangrel had actually been 
behind the attack.

"Obviously, it was Gangrel avenging some imagined insult," Cameron answered, still intent 
on blaming the clan he hated for all bad events in the city.

"Rarely do the Gangrel imagine insults," Lillie replied, deciding to play Devilís Advocate. "If 
it was the Gangrel, Joey probably did something to deserve it. Any idea what that might 
have been?"

"The Gangrel are obviously imagining things," Cameron reiterated. "I havenít had my men 
kill a single one of those savages since I came into control of my clan." Cameron smiled 
when he made the claim, as if he should be awarded a medal for following the edicts of the 
prince, simply because he did not agree with them.

"How gracious of you." Lillieís tone was somewhat condescending, but not enough to truly 
offend. She was getting better at playing the concerned Toreador, she thought.

"Not now, Lillie," Cameron said, not being in the mood for any of the Toreadorís sarcasm. 
With that, Cameron stormed out.



VI

Cash sped up the road approaching Julianís mansion, every passing moment bringing 
new thoughts into his head. He could see Sasha in mortal danger, and could only guess at 
her reaction when Joey had been killed, apparently not far from where she and Rayce had 
been having their "heart to heart," as Cameron had so glibly put it. It wasnít the concern over 
Sashaís well being that caused most of the confusion in Cashís head, however. It was the 
thought of his lover sitting next to Rayce, enjoying his company while she still swore to love 
the Gangrel primogen. Cash couldnít understand why Sasha behaved the way she did. If 
she truly loved him, as she said she did, then she should not have been spending so much 
quality time with Rayce. Cash knew how things happened. Over time, Rayce would slowly 
take up the space in Sashaís heart that Cash presently occupied. Sasha should know 
better, Cash thought. She should realize the possibilities. If she valued her relationship with 
Cash as much as she said, she should refrain from placing herself in situations that could 
tempt her. After all, Cash thought, he was willing to do no less himself. The Gangrel was so 
wrapped up in his thoughts that at first he did not see the dancing lights from the top of the 
hill as he approached Julianís mansion. When he finally realized something was wrong, he 
was dumbstruck. His concern for Sashaís welfare suddenly returned, for the moment 
pushing the jealousy an confusion from his mind. "What the hell is that?" Cash asked, 
hoping Julian would have a better idea than he himself did.

"What?" Julian asked from the back seat, not yet seeing what Cash did. Then his eyes, not 
as sensitive as Cashís, began to make out the reflecting red lights from the hill. "Cash, go 
faster," Julian instructed, a sense of panic starting to rise in Julian just as it had in Cash.

The Gangrel needed little prompting to drive faster, having already increased speed 
before Julianís instructions. As they approached the mansion, they could both see one 
corner of the building ablaze, several fire engines pulled up in front of the building, firemen 
fighting the flames. As Cash pulled into the drive, he was stopped by one of the 
firefighters. "Sorry, pal, canít let you get any closer."

The back window slowly rolled down, and Julian stuck his head out. "This is my property, I 
demand to be let in."

"Your place? Well, I have good news for you, only a couple of rooms on the second floor 
will be burned out," the man replied. "The rest of the building should be ok. Weíll let you in 
as soon as sure itís all safe."

"Itís ok, Fred, let them in," a familiar voice called out from behind the fireman. Julian saw Frank 
Kohaneck approaching the Mercedes, an indifferent look on his face. Cash opened Julianís 
door, and the prince got out, immediately turning to Kohaneck.

"What happened here, Frank?" Julianís agitation was obvious, even to Frankís mortal eyes.

"Looks like somebody youíre competing with decided to remove you from the game," 
Frank replied with a shrug. "Canít say Iím all too happy to see they didnít succeed."

"Your concern is noted," Julian responded, not being in the mood for one of the exchanges 
that characterized his strange relationship with the San Francisco inspector. "My niece was 
inside, is she ok?"

"I donít know, Julian," Frank replied, feeling struck by Julianís concern despite himself. "There 
are a lot of bodies, both inside the building and outside the perimeter. Someone went to a 
lot of trouble to be thorough, thatís for sure. To tell you the truth, Iím surprised someone 
who would have planned and executed this so well would have made the mistake of hitting 
it when you werenít here."

Julian turned to Cash and gave him the command that he had been waiting for, "Cash, 
check the bodies."

"Yes, Julian." The Gangrel immediately raced off toward the line of bodies that had been 
assembled by the police, checking each one to see if it was Sasha. In the back of his mind, 
while he prayed he would not find Sashaís corpse, he hoped that he would find Rayceís. 
That would end his problem quickly.

Julianís head started spinning. His home had never been attacked. No one had ever dared. 
He couldnít believe anyone in the city would have attempted the assault. It was possible, 
he thought, that the Brujah might have considered such an attack, especially during the days 
of Eddie, but half of the dead were Brujah, and not many of them seemed to be inside the 
compound. They seemed mostly to have been killed outside the walls. Perhaps Cyrus 
had been behind it, Julian pondered. He was, by all accounts, trying to consolidate all of 
California under his rule. Los Angeles would also have given him the soldiers he would 
have needed to pull off an attack like this. Julian thought about it more, and decided it was 
not very likely, but it should not be discarded as a theory.

"Julian!" Cash yelled from next to the bodies. The Gangrelís voice brought Julian out of his 
reverie. "Julian, sheís not here."

Julianís fears eased. At least Sasha was probably alive, wherever she was. "Is Rayce 
around anywhere?"

"No." Cashís voice grated as he said the word, unable to hide his disappointment that 
Rayce had appeared to also escape the carnage.

"At least Jeffrey and Cassandra were also out tonight, so they should be ok," Julian said, 
once more looking around his grounds, so cluttered with emergency vehicles. "Get in the 
car, Cash. Weíre going to go tell Cameron heís lost more Brujah tonight.



VII

The motel room was cramped, especially as they all lay there in their wolf-man forms. While 
it was not good for space economy, the crinos form did allow for regeneration of injuries 
more quickly than any of the other forms the garou were capable of taking. By the looks of 
the injuries, Mark thought, it would be a couple of days before they would be able to attack 
again. They had dealt a terrible blow to the cityís kindred that night, however. They had 
killed thirteen leeches at the mansion, plus the other one in the alley that Kristen had 
dispatched earlier in the evening. He had not lost a single garou, either. True, Mark 
acknowledged, Looks Within and James had taken serious injuries, but they had made it out 
to fight another day.

Whatís more, they had dispensed with claws in favor of their fangs and klaives, the knife of 
the garou. Kristen and Andrew even used guns they had taken from slaughtered vampires. 
It was unlikely, he thought, that the kindred would figure out who had hit them, unless they 
could not find the survivors before they spread the word. Likely, the scared vampires 
would go into hiding until this was all over, Mark thought. That was their way. They never 
risked themselves to help their society as a whole, which was why the kindred were weak...

"What are you thinking, Mark?" Kristen asked, obviously not yet ready to go to sleep.

"I was considering how great a victory we have won today." Markís pride was evident in his 
voice, and Kristen knew that Mark was thinking most of the glory that he would receive from 
the members of his tribe. The Get of Fenris valued combat ability above all other things. 
Mark had just done a great deal to increase his own prestige.

"Two of them got away, though, and I donít think the prince was home." Kristen said, 
pointing out the shortcomings of their strike. Her disappointment was evident in her voice.

"What was with those two?" Mark asked, referring to the two kindred that had escaped his 
packís assault. He was obviously confounded by what they had faced. "Was that a mage?"

"No," Andrew answered from across the room, "he was a member of the undead. Mages 
lose magical ability when they are embraced."

"Then what was it?" Kristen asked, her voice now displaying as much confusion as Markís 
had. "It caused the earth to attack us. I didnít know vampires could do that."

"It was a learning experience," Mark answered, pushing all doubt and confusion from his 
mind. "We will be better prepared next time."

"Definitely." Kristen answered. "Next time weíll finish the job."



VIII

Rayce opened the door to his apartment and carried Sasha in. Her body was limp, but she 
was still conscious, moaning lightly.

"You live here?" she asked, surveying the room. Its bare white walls were cracking, and the 
only pieces of furniture were a beaten up armchair, a rusty metal tray stand, and a TV.

"Yes," he answered. "But appropriately, my house is not what it appears to be at first." He 
continued through the room, and opened the door on the far side. On the other side of the 
door lay a plush carpet, and a dark blue wall holding richly decorated tapestries.

"Whoa," Sasha commented, now duly impressed, "nice digs."

"It is simply enough to help me get by," Rayce said, smiling as he lay Sasha down on the 
couch. He had never let anyone in this sanctuary. He considered the apartment his last 
refuge, the one place he could escape from the insanity of the world around him. The jihad 
and all of its political maneuvering and wars could be forgotten here, if only for a short time. I 
will have to erase her memory of this place, he thought. Even with Sasha, a Brujah that 
seemed to share his spirit, he was unwilling to expose his innermost secrets. Of course, 
those secrets only began with the apartment, and became even more concealed from 
there. For one of his ancestry, however, secrecy had become essential.

Sasha opened her eyes and looked at up at him. "What were those things?" she asked, 
referring to the werewolves that had attacked her uncleís mansion. The question brought 
Rayce back to the present problem.

"Lupines, the shape shifters of the supernatural world," Rayce replied, himself just starting to 
calm down from the battle. Rayce walked over toward a cabinet at the far side of the room, 
and pulled out two 10mm Glocks. He then dug past bullets and clips and opened a secret 
compartment at the back of the cabinet, pulling out four different clips of ammunition. "They 
donít care much for kindred," he added as he loaded the two pistols.

"They killed everyone, didnít they?" Sasha asked, a bloody teardrop now forming in the 
corner of her eye.

"Everyone in the building, yes," Rayce replied evenly. The finality in his voice was stunning 
to Sasha, who could only stare at him. "They were all badly injured at the end of it, though, 
and were probably not able to go after anyone else tonight. Your uncle should be safe."

It seemed to Sasha as if Rayceís voice actually carried a slight sense of concern for the 
princeís welfare. Not many Brujah go that route, she thought. It seemed to her that Rayce 
was even more different than she had thought.

"Are you ok to go hunting?" Rayce asked, knowing that Sasha really had no choice in the 
matter. They would both need to feed. "You burned a lot of blood getting yourself out of 
there." Rayce was already getting a trench coat from the closet, knowing he would accept 
nothing but a positive response from her.

"Yeah, I can go. I think I have to goÖ Iím really thirsty." Rayce looked back to her and 
smiled as he grabbed a katana from another secret compartment, this one in the back of the 
closet. Its scabbard seemed intricately decorated in gold, and its hilt decorated with silver.

"Then come here, thereís one thing more that we need to do" Rayce said. He stood waiting 
for Sasha by the door, his hands at his sides. Despite his unthreatening stance, Sasha 
found his appearance to be rather intimidating, and only got off the couch with great effort.

"Sure," Sasha said, managing a smile. She swayed across the room to Rayce slowly. He 
immediately waved a hand in front of her, and she collapsed.

Rayce stood above her for a few moments, and then knelt down beside her, whispering in 
her ear. "Sasha, there was an attack at the mansion. You did not see who it was, as we 
were both able to escape out the back before we were discovered. We went from the 
mansion to my apartment downtown, where we thought weíd be safe until the morning. We 
got hungry, and decided to feed. While we were hunting, you became lightheaded and 
pulled over in front of this brownstone."

Rayce picked Sasha up and carried her to the bottom of the stairs and then onto the street, 
and placed her on the back of her motorcycle just as she started to wake up.

"You ok?" Rayce asked her, false concern in his voice sounding truly genuine.

"What happened?" Sasha asked, looking around in confusion.

"I donít know, you tell me," Rayce responded. "One minute weíre flying down the road at 
breakneck speed, and the next minute youíre pulling over to the side looking all woozy." 
Rayce gazed at her intently, looking for any sign that his alteration of her memory had not 
taken effect.

"Oh yeah. I must have gotten light-headed or something," Sasha replied with an 
embarrassed smile. "That felt really weird." Sasha looked at Rayce, seeing the look of 
concern on his face at he gazed at her. He seemed to be analyzing her extremely closely. 
Heís probably trying to figure out whether or not Iím still ok to ride, Sasha thought to herself. 
Iíll show him. "Come on Rayce, Iím hungry. Keep up if you can."

Sasha started up her bike with a violent kick, and took off down the street. Behind her, 
Rayce waited for a few moments, and finally formed a smile. Yes, his alterations had taken 
completely. Now he needed something to distract the cityís elders even more than the 
lupines could. With all luck, Cameron could be killed years ahead of schedule, and he knew 
just the man to call for help. He started up his bike and took off after Sasha, still basking in 
the success he had achieved thus farÖ with a little unexpected help from a pack of garou.



CHAPTER 2



I

Julian looked around the table at his gathered primogen. The concern and fear was etched 
on the faces of all of them. Never before had an attack like this occurred in San Francisco, 
and they were now dumbstruck as to how to respond. How could they respond? They did 
not even know who it was that had attacked them. The only things they knew for sure were 
that the attackers were skilled in combat, and either did not lose a single one of their number 
during the attack, or took the trouble to conceal their identities by carrying off their casualties.

"Are we just going to sit here all night, Julian, or is there something more constructive we 
could be doing?" Cameron asked, his agitation coming through as irritation.

"What is there we can do?" Lillie questioned. "We donít even know who hit us."

Julian surveyed the table during the moment of silence that followed. "Thatís right, and thatís 
probably where we should start. Does anyone have any ideas?"

"Well, Iím ready to rule out the possibility that last nightís events were the doing of the 
Gangrel," Cameron began, not even looking at the Gangrel primogen as he spoke. "They 
donít have the brains or the initiative to carry out an attack on your mansion that is effective 
as that was." Julian had initially hoped that Cameron might actually apologize for 
immediately accusing the Gangrel of being responsible for Joeyís death, but he chided 
himself for not knowing better. Even when he had been wrong, Cameron would find a way 
to insult the Gangrel.

"Iíll show you initiative, Brujah," Cash returned, glaring at Cameron as he spoke.

"Julian, could you please restrain your bodyguard?" Cameron began, his voice heavy with 
false innocence. "This isnít the time to fight amongst ourselves."

"Cash, please. Cameron is correct," Julian said softly, irritated that reason demanded he 
actually side with Cameron. "Be sure keep your tongue in check, though, Brujah," Julian said 
as he turned to Cameron. He looked from one to the other, making sure that they had both 
understood the intent he held behind his words. Even now, he thought, theyíre at each 
otherís throats. No doubt everyone here is planning just who, or what, they would be willing 
to sacrifice if the situation becomes worse. There was no doubt in Julianís mind that 
Cameron would be working behind the scenes to move himself up in the cityís hierarchy. 
The prince decided that Cameron would have to be watched even more than usual if he 
were to be trusted. How could they effectively field a resistance to this threat under these 
circumstances, Julian wondered. He could not begin to guess.

"Now that we have decided who is not at fault, I think we should figure out who is," Julian 
stated, hoping the primogen could get something constructive done at the meeting. He 
looked around the table at each person, waiting for suggestions.

Lillie finally started them off. "An attack of that violence and magnitude could only be the 
work of the Sabbat," she said. "Many of our dead were riddled with bullets, and the rest 
seemed to have been cut apart by fangs or swords. Itís what I would expect of them." She 
looked to the others, expecting confirmation of her hypothesis. The first reaction she 
received from Julian, however, was surprise. Although he did not say anything, he was 
startled by the unreasoning hatred that Lillie seemed to possess toward the Sabbat. Julian 
decided he would have to ask Lillie what the Sabbat had ever done to her to evoke such a 
reaction. That was a question that could wait, however. The prince looked around to the 
other primogen, wondering what they were thinking.

"I agree with Lillie," Cameron began. "The Sabbat have been found occasionally in the city, 
no doubt doing some reconnaissance. I guess they decided the time was right for an all-out 
attack."

"Where did they all come from?" Daedalus questioned, knowing from his sources that no 
large group of Sabbat vampires had been found in the city at any recent point in time. 
"There would have to be many of them to have launched that assault, at least a dozen. 
Someone would have seen something if that many kindred were to have entered the city."

"What did Sasha say about it?" Cash questioned.

"Not much," Julian answered, disappointed that Sasha had not been of more use in 
answering some of his questions. "She apparently was able to slip out a back window with 
Rayce without being seen."

"There were dead found in the back," Cash stated. "How is it they were able to slip 
through?" The idea of Rayce and Sasha being able to simply escape when so many 
skilled Gangrel guards had been extinguished struck Cash as dubious. "How much do you 
know about your Brujah friend, Cameron?" Cash asked, looking to once again put the 
Brujah primogen on the defensive.

"Enough," Cameron replied, dismissing the question with a wave of his hand. "Donít worry 
about Rayce, heís loyal."

"To who," Cash continued, still hoping to put Cameron on the spot. "Remember Cameron, 
many of your clan are members of the Sabbat."

"Just what are you implying, boy?" Cameron asked threateningly. He lowered his eyes at 
Cash, hurling mental daggers at the Gangrelís skull.

"No more than the obvious, cretin," Cash replied. "I wouldnít expect you to understand any 
more than that."

"Enough, you two," Julian ordered, interjecting in their exchange once again. "While there 
may be suspicion surrounding Rayce, he has not been found guilty of doing anything. For 
now, he is considered innocent, though suspect. Is that clear?" Both primogen nodded their 
grudging approval, and Julian continued. "I think Lillieís hypothesis has merit, and weíll 
proceed as if we are being invaded by the Sabbat. You may all go and discuss matters 
with your clans." Though Julian knew that there was no evidence of the Sabbat being 
present in the city, he also knew that the Sabbat posed perhaps the largest threat to the 
interests of each of the primogen. By acting as if there was a Sabbat siege of the city, Julian 
could expect the highest level of preparedness from San Franciscoís kindred. He had a 
feeling that he might need it.

As they all rose and began to make their way out, Julian stopped Cash. "Iíll be going to the 
Haven at midnight," he said. "Make any arrangements you feel are necessary."

"Thatís completely out of the question," Cash replied. "I canít guarantee your safety out 
there. Youíve got to stay where you can be protected."

"After last night, I donít think weíd be able to find a completely safe place," Julian 
responded. "Besides, I have to speak to Frank and Sonny about anything the police may 
have found during the day." Julian tried to stress the last part. He wanted everyone in the 
room to remember that he had several mortal contacts that could work on the problem while 
the kindred all slept. Julianís contacts were one of the main advantages he held over the 
other primogen.

"OK, Julian," Cash said, relenting. "Iíll come back to get you at 11:45."

Cash walked out, leaving Julian alone with his thoughts. The Sabbat? It was possible, he 
figured. Still, there were nagging doubts about Cyrus in Los Angeles. The idea of Cyrus 
did not make total sense, however. Despite the fact that everyone knew of Cyrusí 
ambition, even Julian doubted that Los Angelesí prince, himself a Brujah, would have 
engaged in the slaughter of members of his own clan.

Of course, there was also the possibility that there were anarchs that had arrived in the city, 
looking to overthrow San Francisco as they had virtually every other city in California. 
However, this would have had the same effect as raising the suspicions of Cyrus. 
Everyone in the state knew that the anarchs that had overthrown the princes of the cities had 
been Brujah. Julian was certain that Cameron had not orchestrated the attack on the 
mansion. As he had with Cyrus, Julian reached the immediate conclusion that Brujah would 
never have taken part in the mass slaughter of other Brujah. Still the question nagged at 
Julian as to who could have been behind the attack. He decided to settle on the same 
explanation that the other primogen had Ė the Sabbat. Preparing for the Sabbat seemed 
the most prudent course of action, for if the Sabbat had laid siege to his city, he would 
indeed be in for the fight of his life.

Julian retired to his study to wait for Cash, sitting in front of the fire. The flames were 
fascinating to him, warming and soothing with their random dance of light. At the same time, 
however, the fire was terrifying on an instinctual level. It had taken years for him to get used 
to once again sitting in front of the fire, a perfectly normal habit during his mortal life. Now, 
though, the flames reminded him of the sun that could destroy him. What a great price 
immortality charged him Ė the inability to ever again be comfortable in daylight, along with 
the constant threat that someone would come along and take immortality from him with a 
swipe of a sword.

Finally, Cash entered. "Itís time, Julian."

"Yes, I guess it is," Julian agreed. He just hoped that he would be able to deal with 
whatever fate had decided to send at him.


II

Cash had done his job, Julian thought approvingly. Two cars, each with four armed Ventrue, 
had accompanied Julianís vehicle to the Haven, along with six Gangrel on motorcycles. 
Now inside the bar, he found himself virtually surrounded by bodyguards. At his usual 
booth he sipped from a glass of red wine. It had taken him nearly a century to be able to 
imbibe any mortal food without regurgitating it up almost instantly. Even now, however, he 
could only stomach a few sips of the red wine that he once loved. He began to wonder 
whether or not his kindred body was relating to him the subtleties of flavor that he had 
known as a mortal, but his question was interrupted by Lillie as she slid into the booth next 
to him.

"Iím surprised to see you out in the open tonight," he commented to her, remembering her 
outburst at the Conclave meeting.

"Well, I heard you and your guards were here, so I figured this would be the safest place in 
the city," Lillie replied, locking her alluring gaze on Julianís eyes. Smiling as she talked, Lillie 
seemed to view the situation as nothing more than a minor inconvenience. However, Julian 
could detect the tinges of fear and discomfort in her voice. She is getting better at hiding it, 
though, he thought. Someday sheíll be able to tell me that night is as dark as day without 
me being able to detect any deception.

At that moment, Julian noticed a slight commotion by the entrance. Some of his guards 
were surrounding another individual, who for his part seemed unimpressed by their 
unsolicited attention. Cash broke off from the group at the door and approached Julian. 
"What is it, Cash?" Julian asked, curious about what was going on.

"New kindred in town," Cash replied. He says heís come to present himself to the prince."

"Let him come over, Cash," Julian said, wondering whether the newcomer would provide 
any insight into recent events within his domain.

"Sure," Cash answered as he readjusted the gun at his waist. He waved the stranger over, 
and the man approached.

The newcomer was only a little over five and a half feet tall, and of moderate build. His 
features showed Japanese and Caucasian descent. His hair was neatly cut, and he was 
wearing black jeans with a black button down shirt. All in all, he appeared respectful and 
harmless. "You ask entrance into my city?" Julian asked him.

"As the Traditions demand," the newcomer replied smoothly. He stood with his hands 
behind his back, very formal in his response. Heís confident, thought Julian, although he was 
unable to decide if that were good or bad.

"What is your name, visitor?" Julian asked, interested in probing the man before him for 
every bit of information that he could get.

"Jonathan Yashida," the man answered evenly, looking directly into the princeís eyes. "But 
you may call me Johnny."

"May I?" Julian asked, almost incredulous at the way Johnny had intoned his response.

"What I meant was, that is what people usually call me," Johnny said, clarifying his response 
to make sure that he had not offended his host. He was still unflappable, even after Julian 
had acted as if he had been offended.

"Where are you from?" Julian asked, once again returning to his interrogation.

"All over," Johnny responded enigmatically, a thin smile appearing on his lips. He seemed 
as though he were enjoying leaving the prince in the dark as much as possible. "I move 
around quite a bit," Johnny added. "I should not be in your city for overly long, if that is what 
you are worried about."

"Thatís not my concern," Julian replied. "I just wish to know your lineage and motives in my 
city Ė no more or less than most princes would ask."

"Surely," Yashida responded, maintaining the thin smile. "I am of Clan Telemon. I come to 
you from New Orleans, originally from Los Angeles, and I simply wish to sit back and watch 
the fireworks in your city."

"What?" Julian asked. Yashidaís answer had produced more questions than Julian had 
expected. "What clan did you say you were a part of?" Julian asked, deciding what 
question he would start with.

"Telemon, a new bloodline from back east," Johnny replied, portraying the slightest hint of 
irritation. Julian assumed that this kindred had been asked that particular question before. 
"We are accepted by the Camarilla, and my sire is prince of his own city," Johnny 
continued, his voice betraying a slight sense of irritation.

His sire is a prince, Julian thought, realizing the newcomer must have influence somewhere, 
and would likely be of somewhat potent blood. "Do you know the original clan you come 
from?" Julian asked, probing more into Johnnyís lineage.

"It is not something I wish to discuss," Johnny replied, his tone betraying his belief that he 
expected the question to be forgotten. While Julian was not willing to forget his question 
immediately, he noted that Yashida did not seem uncomfortable with the question, simply 
annoyed. Johnny had simply portrayed the opinion that the answer to the question was 
none of the princeís business.

"I am forcing you to answer, if you wish entrance," Julian said, making it clear that he, not 
Johnny, was in control of the conversation. The prince did not care for a visitor refusing a 
request in their first conversation, and his voice conveyed this to Yashida.

"I could stay in your city for quite awhile whether you permit it or not," Johnny replied, 
apparently unimpressed with Julianís position. "You seem to be a little busy lately." This 
was more than Julian was willing to take, and he lunged out of his seat and grabbed the 
small, impudent kindred, who didnít even bother to move, and likewise did not seem 
surprised by the action. In fact, Lillie noted, watching the scene, Johnny seemed to be 
trying to push Julianís buttons, seeing how long the prince would restrain himself.

"Situation or not, if you come into my city without my permission, Iíll bury you, neonate," 
Julian growled, making it sure that he would not accept Johnnyís flip demeanor in his 
presence.

"So be it, prince," Johnny replied evenly, his voice conveying the impression that he had 
decided to grant Julian an undeserved favor despite the princeís outburst. Yashida looked 
down at Julianís hands, which still clenched the front of his shirt. After a moment, Julian 
released his grip, and Johnny continued. "My bloodline was originally Brujah, but we have 
progressed beyond that. We are now capable of discipline and thought." Although he had 
given in to Julianís wishes, Yashida still seemed unimpressed with his situation, as if he 
were in control of everything that occurred at the table.

Brujah, Julian thoughtÖ and heís originally from Los Angeles. His guard went up as quickly 
as his suspicions. "Do you know Cyrus?" Julian saw a momentary look of surprise in 
Johnnyís face, and suddenly felt as if he once again held a definite advantage in the 
conversation. The newcomer had not expected Julian to already know a bit about him.

"Yes, heís my sire," Yashida replied, quickly regaining his composure. Although he had not 
expected Julian to know of his lineage, Johnny saw no reason to hide anything.

"What are you doing here, then? You should be back in Los Angeles with him," Julian 
replied. The prince felt as if his heart was racing in his chest with excitement. It was 
becoming more and more obvious that Cyrus had indeed had a hand in the events of the 
past few days.

"What are talking about?" Johnny asked. "My sire is in Pennsylvania." Both men stood in 
silence for a few moments, and then Yashida got a look of enlightenment on his face. "Oh, I 
see the mistake. My sire is Siras, S-I-R-A-S. Itís a completely different man. I am only 
distantly related to the prince of LA."

"Oh," Julian responded, sitting back in his seat again. As quickly as Julianís hopes had risen, 
they had come crashing back down. The questions once again had no answers. "You know 
of our war?" Julian asked, remembering that Johnny had mentioned coming to the city to 
watch the fireworks.

"Yes, but I will take no part," Yashida replied, his manner seeming to indicate that this was 
not even a subject open to debate.

"Why not?" Julian asked. "I am the prince. If I command you to fight, then you must obey."

"Word has it youíre fighting the Sabbat," Johnny answered immediately. "Iíve already 
fought my war against them this decade, and I refuse to be the throwaway soldier of the 
elders for at least a few more years." The Telemon seemed to lose interest in his 
conversation with the prince, and began to look around the club, wondering what kind of 
interesting people he would meet in San Francisco.

"You have fought the Sabbat?" Julian asked, forcing Yashida to pay attention once again to 
talk of the cityís war. Perhaps this man could yet be of some use, Julian thought.

"It is how my clan captured its city," Johnny replied. "If you wish advice, call me," Yashida 
suggested. He reached into his pocket, ignoring the fact that Cash immediately went to his 
pistol as Johnny moved to produce a concealed item. Johnny slowed his movements 
somewhat, so that the princeís bodyguard would not feel as if Julian was in danger, and he 
produced a small business card. "Here is my beeper number," Johnny said as he handed 
the card over to the prince. "Do not expect much else besides advice, though. Iíd rather 
leave town than get caught up in another war." The Telemon then departed out through the 
watching bodyguards.

Once he had departed, Julian turned to Lillie. "What do you think?"

"He is a diabolist," she replied, as though no other words were necessary. In most 
respects, no other words were necessary, Julian thought. Johnny Yashida had fed upon 
other kindred, most likely his elders, gaining in power by doing so. He was not to be 
trusted. However, the question remained as to how much power he had gained. Although 
he could not be trusted, could he be challenged? Julian wondered. At that moment, though, 
Sonny and Frank came in and approached the table. At last, Julian thought, maybe now I 
will get some answers.



III

Rayce sat on his Harley, waiting for his friend to show up. He was already twenty minutes 
overdue, and the waiting was beginning to become unbearable, even for one who had 
spent so many years developing patience. So much had happened in Rayceís life, and he 
suddenly felt that it had all simply been preamble to the situation he found himself in. He 
could feel that his destiny had arrived, and he was getting restless having to wait the final 
hours to embrace his future. It was then that he heard the low hum of the Kawasaki 
motorcycle engine.

"Nice hog," Yashida commented, referring to Rayceís motorcycle as he pulled up and got 
off his own bike. Little about Johnny had changed since the last time Rayce had seen him. 
The ripped jeans, the leather jacket, the blue hair. He seemed the perfect image for a 
Brujah. Somewhere along the line, though, he had developed differently, and became part 
of a distinct bloodline apart from his anarchic ancestors. Not far below the rebellious surface, 
Rayce knew, was a disciplined kindred who was more than willing to play by the rules, be 
they the rules of the Camarilla or of someone elseÖ as long as those rules were not the 
making of the Sabbat.

"Thanks," Rayce responded, taking a brief moment to also admire his own bike. "How did 
your meeting with Luna go?" Rayce had coached Johnny on preparing for his meeting with 
Luna, and though Yashida had performed perfectly in his rehearsals, Rayce seriously 
doubted that Johnny had managed to be as polite and respectful as Rayce had advised 
him to be. Rayce had simply wanted to make sure Julian Luna knew as little about Yashida 
as possible, his goal had not been to have Johnny earn the princeís enmity.

"It went very much the way you said it probably would," Johnny responded with a smile. 
"Luna seemed even more confused when I was done than he was before I started, and 
you should have seen him before I even got going. He was absolutely beside himself." 
Johnny laughed to himself as he reached a hand out. "What about my piece? I think Iíll be 
allowed to have it now." Both kindred had known that Yashida would be searched before 
being allowed anywhere near Julian Luna, and so Johnny had left his weapons with Rayce 
before going to his meeting with San Franciscoís prince.

In response to Johnnyís question, Rayce tossed him a 9mm handgun. "Thatís a nice piece 
of hardware," Rayce commented as Johnny caught the weapon and deftly twirled it on his 
index finger. "That military issue?"

"Yeah, built-in silencer," Johnny replied as he gazed at his weapon. "It pays to have a 
childe whoís in Special Forces." Yashida rubbed the weapon on his jeans to remove a 
smudge of dirt, and concealed it by the small of his back. "What about the others?" Johnny 
asked, gesturing quickly to one of the saddlebags on Rayceís motorcycle.

"Hold your horses," Rayce said as he took one of the bags off his bike. "You think you 
have enough weapons here, Johnny?"

"One can only hope so," the Telemon answered with a grin. "Say what you will, but if I run 
out of weapons, I die. Iíd really rather not let that happen." Though he generally disliked 
admitting it, Johnny was under no illusions about his lack of physical strength. He had come 
to rely upon weapons for defense, knowing that strength of arm would never be enough to 
keep him alive in a crunch.

Rayce was increasingly full of disbelief as he dug through the bag. "God damn. What do 
we have here?" the Brujah asked, glancing back at Johnny. "Butterfly knife, Glock 10mm, 
sawed off double barrel shotgun, tanto blade, switchblade, and a silver-coated ninja-to." 
Rather than bothering to hand the weapons to Yashida one at a time, Rayce simply 
handed the entire bag to the Telemon, allowing him to hide the weapons on his person as 
he saw fit. "What do you need three guns for?" Rayce asked sarcastically as Johnny put the 
shotgun in a small leather holster on his back.

Johnny looked at Rayce as though he thought explanation unnecessary, but gave one just 
the same. "The 9 has standard hollow tip bullets, the 10 has silver rounds, and the shotgun 
has phosphorous shells," Johnny replied, attempting a condescending tone. "Different guns 
have different uses, Rayce. Didnít they teach you that in Brujah School?"

"No, they taught us about the treachery of the Ventrue and Toreador," Rayce responded, 
suddenly becoming intense. "Donít mention that again."

"Sure," Johnny replied, trying to cover the awkward moment with a smile.

"So when do I get my payment?" Yashida asked, climbing onto his bike and attaching the 
ninja-to to the left side.

"If I help you steal the diamond tonight, do you promise to stay in town until this all done?" 
Rayce asked. He wanted Yashidaís help in his latest venture, and knew that to get the 
Telemon into the city, he had needed to mention the presence of a rare diamond that was 
on display. From what Rayce had heard, Johnnyís apprentice was not yet up to the task of 
helping with the heist, so he offered to exchange favors with Yashida.

"What the hell else am I gonna do?" Johnny asked in response to Rayceís question. "I sure 
donít want to leave San Francisco until the garou problem is resolved. Theyíll probably be 
waiting on the outskirts of the city for any of us to leave. I should have my head examined 
for even agreeing to come here." Johnny got up on the bike and started it. "Well then, I 
guess itís off to the museum."

"You sure you can get past the security?" Rayce asked once again. The last time Rayce 
had seen Johnny, he had been impressed by the Telemonís skills. From what he had 
heard lately, Yashidaís abilities were now legendary. However, he had not gotten as far as 
he had in life by taking unnecessary chances.

"Are bears bare, do bees be? Of course I can get past security," Johnny returned with a 
smile, impressed with his attempt at poetry. With that the two rode off into the night.



IV

In his mansion, Julian Luna waited for the sun to rise, hoping heíd make it through the dayís 
sleep to see another night. He heard a knock at the door, but decided to let Lillie answer it. 
A couple of minutes later he saw Cameron enter with Rayce, while Lillie and Sonny 
followed closely behind.

"What is it Cameron?" Julian asked, unable to hide his irritation after his eventful evening. He 
had no desire to have to deal with another of the Brujah primogenís tirades.

"I hear you have let a new Brujah enter the city," Cameron said, attempting to sound as 
formal and informed as he could. "Why have you not informed me that there has been an 
addition to my clan?" Julian was surprised with Cameronís serious demeanor, noting how 
he seemed intent on getting his hands on the new kindred. Julian exerted a great deal of 
effort in hiding his glee at having done something that had irked Cameron. The prince then 
chose his words carefully, looking to make himself look as oblivious as possible to 
Cameronís irritation.

"He no longer claims to be Brujah," Julian stated matter-of-factly. "He now claims to be of 
Clan Telemon, and thus does not fall under your jurisdiction." Julian said the words with a 
large measure of pleasure, despite the fact that he needed to keep Cameron happy if the 
clans were to truly unite against their latest threat. Unable to hide his amusement any longer, 
Julian allowed a thin smile to cross his face. This only served to enrage Cameron all the 
more.

"If he was embraced by Brujah, then he is Brujah," Cameron replied angrily. "The matter is 
closed as far as Iím concerned. I expect you to send him to me."

"No," Julian replied smugly. "If you think heís still Brujah, then you find him and try explaining 
to him the theory behind your opinion." Julian then crossed his arms on his chest, more 
satisfied than he had been in a long while.

"Where is he?" Cameron demanded, seeming as if he was fighting as hard as he could to 
restrain himself from physically attacking the prince.

"Probably in the city," Julian responded, only seeming to grow happier with every passing 
moment of Cameronís rage. "Other than that, I donít know," Julian added. "Itís not all that big 
a city, Cameron. How long could it possibly take you to find him? After all, youíre always 
reminding me how large and efficient your clan is."

"What do you know, prince?" Cameron asked, having grown tired of Julianís evasiveness.

"Only that he has been in a war with the Sabbat, and has sat on a conclave himself as 
primogen of his clan," Julian answered, realizing that Cameron would be impressed by 
such credentials as much as Julian himself had been. Julian waited for Cameron to absorb 
what he had told him, and then continued. "He has had positive relations with several 
princes back east, including his own sire. He is, in effect, the ideal that the Camarilla could 
hope for out of a neonate. He is afforded ancilla status. Respect that Cameron." Julian did 
not bother to hold back any of the information he had been able to gather from some 
contacts back east. Indeed, he had been impressed by almost everything he had ever 
heard of Yashida. Of course, though, there was the fact of his diablerie, which would prevent 
him from ever setting up shop in San Francisco, at least as long as Julian was prince.

"Fine," Cameron replied, displeased with the situation but wise enough to realize that he 
could not change anything. The Brujah primogen had gone to the mansion to discuss far 
more crucial matters than another self-important anarch.

"Is there anything else?" Julian asked. Normally, Cameron would have stormed out of the 
mansion after having been treated with disrespect. However, he still stood in the middle of 
the room, and Julian could see Cameron shifting his feet slightly. The Brujah obviously 
wished to ask for a favor, and that fact made him uncomfortable. If nothing else, Cameron 
was proud. He hated to sound as if he needed anyoneís help.

"Can I stay here today?" Cameron asked, not being able to even look at Julian as he made 
his request. The words took a tremendous effort to speak, but his survival could be at stake. 
It was not uncommon for the Sabbat to have ghouls, human thralls empowered and held in 
check by the drinking of kindred blood. Cameron knew that if anyone were to attack during 
the day, while he was at his most vulnerable, he would likely not awaken to see the 
following night.

Julian looked at Cameron for a few moments, appearing to consider the request. 
Underneath his cool facade, however, he was completely shocked that Cameron would 
come to him for protection. This man had, after all, killed his sire, a fact that Julian could not 
possibly be expected to have yet recovered from. The request had merit, though, Julian 
acknowledged. With Cameron would come the defenses the Brujah primogen was able to 
bring with him. More than that, however, was the fact that Cameronís presence in the 
mansion could help solidify the alliance that Julian felt they all needed. "Absolutely, 
Cameron," Julian said after appearing to have given the matter brief consideration. "You 
and any soldiers you wish to bring with you are more than welcome."

"Excellent," Cameron answered. He then turned to Rayce. "Get our stuff out of the car, and 
call up Pat, Ringo, and Cabretti. Tell them theyíre staying here with us until tomorrow night, 
and have them bring some shotguns.

Rayce nodded and headed out the door. In the hall he ran into Sasha, walking along with 
Cash. Rayce and Cash both stopped dead in their tracks, immediately engaging in the 
stare-down that had become second nature to the two. Sasha simply looked from one to 
the other, trying to decide whether she should do anything. Finally she spoke, hoping she 
would be able to break the tension. "So, Rayce, what are you doing here?" Sasha asked 
cheerily, revealing just how little she understood the rivalry that the two kindred felt so 
intensely toward each other.

"Julian said a few of us Brujah could stay here during the day," Rayce replied, never taking 
his eyes from Cash.

"Youíre staying here?" the Gangrel asked, incredulous. "What the hell did you have to 
promise to get Julian to agree to that?" His words were dripping with venom as he flaunted 
the hatred he felt for virtually every Brujah in the city, most especially their new house 
guests, Cameron and Rayce.

"Sasha, could you leave the two of us alone for a second?" Rayce asked. She looked 
dubious for a few moments, and Rayce managed to break his lips into a smile, allowing 
Sasha to forget her concerns. "We just have a couple of issues to resolve," Rayce added, 
his tone playful, conveying none of the menace that Cash was certain he could hear in the 
words.

"Sure," Sasha gladly replied. "Iíll be downstairs shooting some pool when you guys are 
done." Both kindred took a moment to watch Sasha walk down the stairs, each wondering 
how oblivious she would have to be to not understand the tension that existed between 
the two of them.

Once Sasha was out of sight, they again began their stare-down. After a couple of minutes, 
Rayce was the first to speak. "Do you want to move this somewhere else, or do we want 
to settle our differences outside the princeís study?"

"The library would be fine," Cash replied, leading the way down the hall and down the stairs 
to the library.

The room was quiet, unlike the rest of the building. Everywhere else could be heard the 
arming of weapons and the discussions of people planning defenses. I should be having 
some of those discussions, Cash thought, but instead Iím yapping with some arrogant 
Gangrel punk.

"I know why you donít like me, Cash," Rayce began as soon as the two had closed the 
door behind them. "It goes beyond the fact that for some reason the Gangrel have an 
obsessive hatred of Brujah in this city, or that our old primogen killed your sire, or that weíve 
recently been champing at the bit to precipitate a clan war. It has only to do with Sasha, and 
thatís too bad." Rayce leaned back against a bookcase, noting with amusement as he 
looked at the shelves that the first title he noticed was ĎRomeo and Juliet.í "For years 
people like you and me have been able to call each other friends, but only until a woman 
gets in the way."

Cash just rolled his eyes in response. The entire speech reminded him of the lectures his 
father used to give him when he was a boy so many years ago. Rayce, however, ignored 
Cashís indifference and continued.

"The fact of the matter is that Sasha has come to me looking for friendship, due to the fact 
that you are always kept so busy," Rayce said, his tone revealing that he was not looking to 
make excuses for the situation. The Brujah actually seemed to be only stating facts. "If I 
were in your shoes Iíd be happy. After all, I donít take her out robbing liquor stores or doing 
drive-by shootings."

"Yeah, thanks Rayce, Iím sure your influence is really great for her," Cash replied, not 
buying into any of the smooth words that Rayce had hoped would help ease their rivalry. 
Though Cashís sarcasm was impossible to overlook, Rayce made an effort to not respond 
negatively. It was important to his plans that he not have the primogen of the other clans 
holding negative opinions of him.

"Not that itís really any of your business, Cash, but Sasha is only a friend," Rayce added, 
beginning to doubt that he could make a difference in Cashís opinion of him by doing 
anything short of chopping his own head off. "We go out, visit museums, talk philosophyÖ 
you know, all that great Brujah stuff," Rayce said, making one last attempt at convincing 
Cash that he was little like the rest of the Brujah in San Francisco.

"Forgive me if Iím just a little suspicious of what Ďall that great Brujah stuffí includes," Cash 
replied, his sarcasm continuing. "Iíve seen too many of my friends get killed by your damn 
clan when it has fun doing its stuff."

"You have a lot of anger to work out, Cash," Rayce said, realizing that he had made as 
much progress as he could expect to in one night. "If itís any consolation, I donít hate your 
clan the way you seem to unreasonably hate mine. Members of the Gangrel clan helped 
many of the Brujah elders escape the flames of the Inquisition. Some of our clan remember. 
Maybe you should try to remember as well." With that Rayce strode out. He had many 
things to do before the sun came up, and a very short time to do it.



V

It had been twenty-four hours. Twenty-four hours of waiting in some dingy motel room with 
nothing to eat. Mark leaned back against the wall in boredom and frustration for perhaps the 
fiftieth time that hour. Only forty-five minutes to go until the next hour starts, he thought. If 
only he were able to turn on the tv he could have amusement, but he knew Looks Within 
would never allow it. As if in answer to his thoughts, Looks Within opened his eyes.

"Why donít you turn on your devil-box, white man?" the shaman said seriously. He 
gestured to the television as he spoke.

"What?" Mark asked, shocked that Looks Within would want the tv on.

"Your television, turn it on," Looks Within repeated. "There could be important news we 
should know."

"Youíve never wanted the tv before, even for news," Mark replied, suddenly becoming 
suspicious of looks Withinís motives. He began to suspect that the shaman was trying to 
teach him another unsolicited lesson. "Whatís with you?"

"We are not yet ready to leave, so we canít get a newspaper," Looks Within replied 
matter-of-factly. "I want to know what is going on in the city out there. Donít they tell news or 
something on your devil-box?" Looks Within asked, although he was fairly certain that it was 
possible to find out current events on the tv. He remembered hearing about something 
called CNN. The shaman was gradually becoming significantly more animated as he spoke 
and it was obvious to Mark that Looks Within truly didnít want the television on at all. His 
desire to know what was happening around him had overridden his general distaste of 
Western cultureís technology.

Mark began to move toward the tv, but before he could even reach it, James had grabbed 
the remote and tuned in to Sportscenter. "James, this isnít the kind of news that our friend 
had in mind," Mark said, reprimanding his pack mate. James could tell from Markís voice, 
however, that his heart was not into the scolding. James knew that Mark was probably as 
interested as he himself was in getting scores and highlights from the previous night.

"He has news he wants to know, and I have news I want to know," James replied, knowing 
that Mark would understand. James grinned and propped his wounded body up against 
the bed.

Both Looks Within and James were still injured, Mark knew. This was then not the best time 
to push either one of them, as they were more likely to give in to their feral natures. As much 
as Mark would have liked to keep the tv tuned to Sportscenter, he knew that a fight could 
easily result if he did not get James to turn on the local news.

"White man," Looks Within snarled, "get those foolish games off of your devil box. I wish to 
see real news."

"This is real news, savage," James replied, a smile still spread annoyingly on his face. "I 
want to know whether the ĎNiners won last night." To reinforce his claim of the tv, James held 
up the remote and growled at Looks Within.

For his part, Looks Within looked suitably unimpressed. "Donít make me smack you, white 
man," he replied, his voice not strong enough to convey the true threat that he wished to 
convey. "These are not true games. My people have games that would astound you, not 
that you care. You came across our plains with your iron horse and stole our land. At one 
time, you could walk from one horizon to the other on the backs of the mighty buffalo, but 
you destroyed that. Why? You needed leather so you could make sporting goods. Such is 
the legacy of the white man Ė a legacy of lies and waste."

James turned off the television and turned to Looks Within. "If you hate us so much, why do 
you run with us?" the Irishman asked, hoping that the question would stump his pack mate. 
James felt that deep down, looks Within was actually jealous of everything that Western 
Europeans had accomplished. He just knew that the native American would never admit it.

"I do not hate you, devil worshipper," Looks Within replied, his tone becoming more 
sympathetic. "I feel a responsibility to you, to help ensure that you see the errors of your 
past, and lead better lives in the future. It is the red manís burden." Looks Within again 
glared at James, then continued. "If you change, we can defeat the wyrm. Besides, you 
amuse me, white man, what with your machines and silly traditions."

"What silly traditions?" James asked, startled by the accusation by looks Within, of all 
people, that his culture had silly traditions.

"St. Patrickís Day, Fianna," Looks Within replied immediately. The shaman grinned widely 
as he responded, knowing his response would irritate his Irish friend, who saw St. Patrickís 
Day as a holiday of religious significance.

"Iíll let you go on that, Looks Within, but only because I know youíre a bloody savage who 
doesnít understand our culture," James responded. He allowed the insult to pass for no 
reason other than the fact that he realized he was in no condition to try to rip out Looks 
Withinís heart.

Mark finally stood up and interjected. "If you two have enough energy to banter this well, 
you have enough energy to leave this hotel." In response, both garou shifted from their 
crinos, or wolf-man from back into their natural forms, the forms that they had been born in. 
James reverted to human form, and Looks Within to his wolven form.

Kristen and Andrew, who had both purposefully been ignoring the conversation, suddenly 
became alert to what was going on. "Where are we going?" they asked in unison.

"Weíre gonna go somewhere you can get a few pounds of steak," Mark answered. "Iím 
hungry." At that they all got up and left.



CHAPTER 3



I

Julian awoke from his slumber with a start. He was still alive. He had never dealt with this 
kind of uncertainty about whether or not he would survive a crisis. Manzanita came close, he 
thought, but it was still different. That night he had been alone with Caitlin, attacked by three 
Brujah. He had been injured badly, and they had kept coming at him. Suddenly, however, 
he found himself surrounded by enemies, and yet and no one was coming at him. His foes, 
whoever they were, were making him wait. Perhaps the saying was right, he thoughtÖ 
anticipation of death is worse than death itself. Regardless, he had to be ready. He dressed 
quickly, and went to a chest in the corner. He looked at it for a few moments before he 
opened it.

After deciding he was ready, he unlatched the top and slowly lifted the lid, the squeaking of 
the chestís hinges giving testimony to how long it had been since Julian had opened it. 
Inside he found his old weapons, unused for years. Two .45 caliber pistols, his old shotgun, 
countless clips and rounds, grenades, a flack jacket, and a rapier he had used for staking his 
vampiric foes. He had to smile. Humans had their legends that a vampire could only be 
staked with wood. How foolish, he thought, when steel was actually a far superior 
substance. He arranged his weapons on the bed, and started to strap them all on.

It all felt so alien to him. So many years ago he had put these weapons away, swearing not 
to be the enforcer any longer. He had had enough of killing for Archon, but now the situation 
was different. He would be killing for himself. He was the prince, and his territory needed to 
be protected from whatever enemy it was that he was facing.

Downstairs in the library, Rayce was the antithesis of Julianís focused preparation for battle. 
He sat at a table, reading through a book that contained Marloweís collected works. He 
enjoyed reading this particular play, depicting Faustís sale of his soul to the devil. For some 
reason, it reminded him of himself. I did not sell my soul to the devil, he reminded himself. A 
little of my freedom has been compromised, but it is all for the greater good of the Brujah 
clan. If only he could talk about it. He wanted to explain his purpose to Sasha, but she 
would never understand. Of course, Johnny knew a little, and probably suspected a great 
deal more, but he was no longer Brujah, and could not be trusted with the greatest of his 
secrets. Rayce felt alone, despite his conviction that his actions were correct. His mood 
changed, and he closed the book. Given his feelings, Shakespeareís "Julius Caesar" would 
be more appropriate, he thought.

As he sought the book he knew would be there, the collected works of Shakespeare, his 
cellular phone rang. "Johnny?" he asked, opening the phone with a quick flick of his wrist.

"Have you given this number to anyone else?" Johnny asked, knowing Rayceís constant 
desire for privacy.

"Of course not," Rayce answered curtly, knowing that Johnny was well aware of Rayceís 
reluctance to make himself readily available.

"Then who else would it be?" Johnny asked rhetorically. "Listen, where are you?" the 
Telemon asked. Yashidaís voice sounded particularly distant, even for someone on a cell-
phone.

"Lunaís mansion," Rayce replied evenly, as if he would have been anywhere else, 
considering the cityís crisis.

"Well leave," Johnny replied, his voice sounding urgent. "I found the garou," Johnny added.

"How?" Rayce asked doubtfully, knowing garou were virtually undetectable until they 
transformed and attacked, at which time it was often too late to warn others of their presence.

"You know the Darkstars?" Johnny asked.

"Yeah, itís an anarch gang from Oakland," Rayce replied quickly, wondering what an anarch 
gang from across the bay had to do with a pack of garou.

"Right," Johnny said, confirming the identity of the gang. "Well, last night I told them that 
Lunaís in trouble, that they might be able to set up shop in San Francisco, which from what I 
hear is something they desperately want to do."

"Iíve heard that myself," Rayce said evenly, suddenly seeing where Johnny was going.

"So I figured theyíd be the only kindred walking the streets, since they probably donít know 
that Julian has called for us to stay inside in groups somewhere," Johnny said, explaining 
the logic behind his latest plan. "Well, I followed the Darkstars for awhile, and they just got 
eaten by the garou," Johnny said, obviously proud of his success. "Iím following the pack 
right now."

"Are you crazy?" Rayce asked, quickly realizing that he had shouted the question into the 
phone. He made listened for a moment to see if anyone investigated his shouts, and when 
no one came into the library, the Brujah continued. "If they see you -"

"óDonít hassle it," Johnny replied, not sounding overly concerned. Rayce wondered 
whether Johnnyís lack of fear was a sign of bravery of stupidity, and quickly decided on the 
latter. "They probably wonít see me," Johnny assured his friend. "Iím flying above them 
right now. There are six of them. From what I know, I would guess at least three of their 
Ďauspicesí are represented. Theyíre bad ass, Rayce. You gotta see them for yourself."

"So where are you?" Rayce asked, knowing that the best idea would indeed be for him to 
get a first-hand look at their foes.

"Theyíre going into Golden Gate Park," Johnny replied. "Iíll meet you just outside the park, 
on the east side."

"Fine," Rayce answered, closing the phone and putting it back in his pocket. The Brujah 
abandoned his search for the book, opened the window, and slipped out knowing no one 
would see him leave. How did I get myself into this, he wondered. I canít believe Iím going 
out alone to watch garou.



II

Caitlin paced from one side of her office to the other. She had so wanted to talk to Julian 
again since the other night, but he had been impossible to reach. His secretary, Cassandra, 
had informed her countless times that Julian was too busy with important matters to speak 
to anyone, including her. It was understandable, she thought. Someone had tried to kill him 
just a couple of nights ago, and though they missed Julian, the attackers had been able to 
kill off a substantial number of his bodyguards and set fire to his house. That would be 
enough to absorb anyoneís attention. Still, she wished there were some way to find out 
exactly what had happened. Not surprisingly, there had been a massive cover-up of the 
whole story. None of her sources were able to confirm any of the rumors she had heard. 
Officially, all she knew for sure was that there had been a fire. The gunshots and piles of 
bodies constituted no more than extremely unreliable hearsay.

A knock on the glass door of her office brought her back from her frustrating contemplation. 
She turned quickly toward the door, startled. A lone man stood outside, watching her 
intently. He was wearing a black leather trench coat, black jeans, a black silk shirt, black 
boots, and carried a black, highly ornate cane. A wide brimmed hat concealed most of his 
facial features, enhancing the shadow that fell like an eclipse across his face. He stood at 
least 6í4", she figured, and had to weigh over 230 pounds. With all she had seen on the 
streets as a reporter, it was not common for Caitlin to be nervous, but this man sent a shiver 
down her spine.

He continued to watch her, not making a move to actually enter the office. Only with great 
effort was she finally able to speak. "Yes?" she asked, trying not to sound nervous. She 
noticed immediately, however that her attempt failed miserably, as only half of the word 
escaped her dry throat.

The man simply gestured to the doorknob. Caitlin thought there was a questioning look on 
his face, but with the poor lighting she couldnít be sure. "Come on in," she answered. She 
would not have been able to stop him anyway, she figured. As he opened the door and 
entered, she looked desperately around the newsroom. Where was everyone? Even at 
this time of the night there were usually some reporters around. In fact, she couldnít 
remember ever seeing the newsroom empty in all her years at the paper.

"Miss Caitlin Byrne?" the man asked in a thick German accent. He was looking right at her, 
but still shadows somehow seemed to fall over at least half of his face.

"Yes," she answered. "Thatís me." Her confidence was starting to return. Despite his 
menacing appearance, the man seemed to be almost as uncomfortable in the situation as 
he made her feel.

"Ah, good," the man replied, an unsettling smile spreading slowly across his lips. "I was 
hoping I would catch up with you here." He sat down in the chair in front of her desk, and 
gestured for her to also be seated.

Perhaps he isnít as uncomfortable as I figured, she thought, noting the way her visitor 
seemed comfortable giving her commands in her own office. Caitlin took his direction and 
sat down behind her desk.

"Allow me to introduce myself, Miss Byrne," the man said smoothly, allowing a dramatic 
pause before he actually revealed his identity. Caitlin thought she saw his smile broaden, 
but was still unsure, due to the poor lighting. "My name is Heinrich Schacter," the man said in 
a tone that suggested he had already done Caitlin an amazing favor simply by revealing his 
identity. "You, however, may call me Henry. The name seems more familiar to Americans."

Caitlin thought she saw the smile become more congenial. He seemed to be making an 
attempt at being friendly, but every time she began to let her guard down, his tone of voice 
would become slightly more menacing, or a movement of his body, ever so slight, would 
appear threatening. She was being kept completely off guard by her strange visitor.

"I wish this could be considered a social call, as I have long followed your work, and would 
love to speak to you about your inspirations for becoming a writer, but I am afraid that 
business must take precedence," Henry said, appearing sincere in his regret.

"Youíve followed my work?" Caitlin asked, unable to let go what might have been a 
compliment. There was still some part of her, after all these successful years, that loved 
being bathed in praise and recognition.

"For many years," Henry replied. "As I said, however, this is not the time for that discussion. 
I am here to ask you a few questions about some of the people in the city."

"Who did you have in mind?" Caitlin asked, not being accustomed to being used as an 
information source within the city. She started to feel like one of her own informants.

"Julian Luna, for one," Henry answered. Caitlin had expected Julianís name to come up. 
After all, it seemed only natural to her that Julian should somehow be connected with this 
man. Still, the mention of her boss and loverís name set her ill at ease.

"What, exactly would you like to know?" Caitlin asked, already making a mental checklist of 
things she would not divulge to her visitor.

Heinrich looked at her for a few moments before answering, and when he did it was with a 
slight grin played across his face. "I see, he is not only your boss, but your lover as well," 
he said slyly.

Caitlin instinctively let her face go blank, trying not to convey any more thought or emotion 
to this man, who seemed capable of reading her like an open book. "What?" she 
answered, failing to hide in her voice the surprise that she felt she had concealed in her 
expression.

"I have known a great many people in my lifetime, Miss Byrne," Heinrich said, his voice 
sounding somewhat apologetic. "I have been gifted, or cursed, if you will, with ability to 
read a personís true feelings and intentions. I meant no offense, I assure you. Indeed, if my 
words offend you, then perhaps he is not as important to you as I had thought."

Who was this man, she thought. He seemed as if he were playing her like a violin. "You did 
not offend me, Mr. Schacter," Caitlin responded, surprising herself with her willingness to 
make Heinrich feel more comfortable. "Your astuteness simply caught me off-guard. What 
exactly would you like to know about JulianÖ uh, Mr. Luna?" She tried desperately to 
make the conversation swing toward a more formal bent.

"Well, Ms. Byrne, I already know he is a prominent figure in the criminal world of San 
Francisco, and that he has a great many legitimate business interests, as well," Heinrich 
began, keeping a close eye on Caitlin, searching her for reactions to anything he said. He 
noted that she was fairly adept at controlling herself. "I now also know that he is involved 
with you, although I can only imagine why, and I also know that he has recently been 
presented with, shall we say, some significant security problems." He leaned back in his 
seat, his scrutinizing gaze appearing to intensify.

"Thatís a great deal to know about someone whom I would assume youíve never met," 
Caitlin answered coolly, hoping he would inadvertently give away some information as to 
his purpose in San Francisco. Heinrich smiled with her question, seeing her statement for 
what it was. He would not tell her any more than he wished to have her know, however. He 
had been playing such games for far too long to be taken by surprise by this small-time 
newspaper editor.

"I must confess, I follow the lives of many great businessmen, and Mr. Luna is simply one 
of that many," Heinrich answered, knowing that the slight bit of information he gave would 
keep Caitlin happy. "I keep tabs on them, watching to see, among other things, how they 
make and lose their money. It helps me in my own investing, you see. I watch successful 
investors who have gone before me, much as a general studies the exploits of great 
military leaders from history. It is not much different." Caitlin nodded as he spoke, indicating 
that she was thus far keeping up with the conversation. "Anyway, I have extensive files on 
these men, and a flag just appeared next to Julian Lunaís name yesterday morning, so I 
wanted to see firsthand what was occurring."

He presented his story smoothly, Caitlin thought, but it was only a story. She had not 
become a successful journalist without being able to see when someone was holding 
something back. Despite this manís assured and deceptive demeanor, she was able to 
figure out there was something more to this. "Thatís very interesting," she replied. "Iíve 
never been that interested in finance, myself." If she could just get him talking, she thought, 
she might be able to figure out what he was truly after.

"That is unfortunate," he responded. "Why donít you tell me now, Ms. Byrne, everything 
you know about Julian Luna?" His eyes suddenly seemed to be free of the shadows 
around them, and almost seemed to glow with a crystal blue brilliance. She found herself 
unable to turn away, and was suddenly more than willing to share all of her most intimate 
knowledge of Julian with this man.

It felt as if she were talking, she realized, but she was unable to hear the words she was 
uttering. It was almost as if he were draining information directly from her mind without her 
even realizing what it was he was taking. In the back of her mind, she felt a presence in the 
room with her and Heinrich. She could not place it, but she was certain that the two of them 
were not alone. Part of her wanted to warn her visitor, but another part was certain that 
Heinrich knew the situation all too well. Deep within, Caitlin began top panic. She felt 
violated, but she was still uncertain why. Gradually the feeling started to fade, and her 
eyelids began to grow heavy, until the whole room went black.

"Ms. Byrne? Ms. Byrne?" Caitlin heard someone calling her name, as if from far off. She did 
not recognize the voice, though. It was heavy with some kind of foreign accent. What was it, 
German? Yes, she decided, it must be German. Caitlin slowly opened her eyes, and saw 
Heinrich Schacter in the seat before her, leaning towards her. "Ms. Byrne, are you ok? I am 
sorry, I did not mean to put you to sleep with my boring talk of high finance. I find discussion 
of numbers to be quite diverting, and sometimes tend to forget that many do not share my 
passion."

Caitlin simply looked at him. What had he been talking about? Oh yes, his analysis of Julian 
as a businessman, and his concern that Julian may have gotten involved in something that 
could prove to be very costly. Boring conversation, she thought. Itís no wonder I fell 
asleep. There was a nagging feeling in her head though, that they had discussed something 
else, but she was lost as to what it had been. Any other conversation they may have had, 
along with her suspicions of not having been alone with her visitor, faded from her mind like 
a dream when one wakes up in the morning.

"I am sorry to have disturbed you so late at night, Ms. Byrne," Schacter apologized. "You 
must be very tired. I myself am, sadly enough, still set to Berlin time. It is my only excuse." 
Her visitor stood up out of the chair and walked out through her door, seemingly in one fluid 
motion. He walked out through the newsroom and around a corner. Only moments later, 
Fred, one of her reporters, came around the opposite corner toward her office. He walked 
right up to the door and entered.

"Hi Fred. Where is everyone?" Caitlin asked.

"What do you mean, Caitlin, theyíre just letting us back into the building," Fred replied, 
surprised with Caitlinís question.

"What?" Caitlin asked, a puzzled look on her face.

"The fire alarm, Caitlin," Fred commented, as if he doubted that Caitlin could not have heard 
the alarm. "Have you been here the whole time?"

"Yeah, I didnít hear a fire alarm," Caitlin said. She wiped at her eyes, as if there was still 
some sleep that needed to be cleared away from her mind.

"How could you not have heard it?" Fred asked. "The damn thingís deafening." The reporter 
looked at her dubiously.

"I must have fallen asleep," Caitlin answered. That could be the only explanation for not 
hearing the alarm, she thought. Then, was that man really here, she asked herself. "Fred," 
she asked, "you doing anything right now?"

"No. Actually, I was about to head home," he replied. "Why, you need something?"

"If you donít mind, could you just give me a quick hand with something?" Caitlin asked, 
knowing full well that what she made sound like a small favor would likely turn into a all-night 
project.

"Sure, what do you need?" Fred asked, quickly grasping onto the nature of the task he was 
accepting. In the back of his mind, Fred started to sort through menus from restaurants that 
he knew were open late and would deliver.

"I want you to help me see if we can find something about a man named Heinrich Schacter," 
Caitlin said.

"Iíll get on it right now," he answered, heading back out the door. Caitlin watched him go, and 
tried to shake the feeling of confusion from her mind as she watched a few of the other 
reporters come into the newsroom, apparently after being evacuated for the fire. What the 
hell is going on around here, lately, she wondered.



III

The park was always a nice place to go to get away from the bustle of the city, Rayce 
thought. Tonight, however, the chances of getting oneself killed while getting away from the 
bustle were simply too great. He waited around for Johnny anxiously outside the park, too 
wary of the dangers within to enter alone. What the hell was taking him, he wondered. 
Perhaps the garou had discovered the small Telemon. If that had indeed occurred, there 
was little chance of Rayce ever seeing Johnny again. He was certain of that much. Although 
Yashida had been able to survive many battles with kindred, and supposedly an attack by 
a single garou, it was lunacy to even consider any kindred surviving an attack by a whole 
pack of the lupines.

"If you keep standing around like that, youíre liable to get your head ripped off." Johnny 
laughed at Rayce as his friend looked up, seeing Yashida sitting on a tree branch above 
him.

"How long have you been there?" Rayce asked, embarrassed that anyone could have 
gotten so close, especially with him as focused on his surroundings as he had been.

"At least five minutes," Johnny replied, looking around before he continued. "You sure you 
wanna go in there?" he asked, gesturing towards the park. His question made Rayce know 
that Johnny was in no mood to go in himself.

Heís probably looking for me to say we donít have to do this, Rayce thought. Normally I 
would call him a coward, but this time heís probably right. "We donít have much of a choice, 
Johnny. I have to see them."

"Why?" Johnny asked, his tone clearly betraying his reluctance. "I can tell you anything you 
want to know, Iíve been watching them for hours. Like I said, there are six of them. Two are 
still pretty cut up, but the others look like theyíre ready to go anytime."

Rayce pondered for a moment. Perhaps he didnít have to see them after all, he thought. 
Johnny was right. What information could he really glean by watching them from afar? The 
only way to learn a whole lot was to get close, to fight them again. There was no way he 
would do that voluntarily. It didnít matter much what his elders told him, he thought. If they 
want to get close to garou, they can go ahead, but thereís no way Iíll do it. "You saw them 
attack the Darkstars?" Rayce asked, deciding that he would settle for hearing what Johnny 
had to say.

"Yeah, I watched the whole thing," Johnny responded.

"How good are they?" Rayce asked, unable to mask the combination of fear and curiosity in 
his voice. "I mean, I fought a couple of them at the mansion, and was lucky to escape, but 
are there any weaknesses you saw? Is there anything we can use against them?"

"You mean besides silver?" Johnny asked, grinning as he stated the obvious. "I donít see 
what, but then again Iím not trained in seeing obvious weaknesses in battle tactics or 
whatever. Youíd have to ask just about anyone else in my clan. I just gather the info, I donít 
have to make heads or tails of it. I can tell you this, though. There were eight paranoid 
members of the Darkstars in that alley, expecting that an attack could come at any moment 
from Luna. Still, four out of those six garou were able to jump them and finish them off within 
maybe twenty, thirty seconds."

"They didnít even manage to injure the garou?" Rayce asked in disbelief.

"They shot them and stuff," Johnny answered. "But you know the lupines, that only made 
them mad." Yashida laughed to himself as he answered.

As if in response to his chuckle, a loud, drawn-out howl erupted from within the park, soon 
joined by numerous other howls. Rayce and Johnny glanced at each other, each doing a 
poor job of disguising their rising panic. Rayce then looked back into the park, wondering 
what the garou were doing that was getting them so worked up. After a moment he realized 
that discretion was the better part of valor, and decided to leave.

"Letís get the hell out of here," Rayce said looking up toward the tree. "Johnny?" he asked, 
looking for his friend.

"Iím over here!" he heard behind him.

Rayce turned around to see Johnny already at least a hundred feet away, getting on his 
motorcycle.

"You know my number if you need to talk, bud," Yashida yelled, starting up his motorcycle.

Heís got the right idea, Rayce thought, as he also took off across the grass, racing toward his 
bike. Maybe it was possible for him to direct the lupines at Cameron, Julian, and Lillie, but 
would the garou stop there? What was more, what if the werewolves took out a bunch of 
other people that he didnít want to have die. After all, it would be unfortunate to lose Sasha, 
and he felt a debt to Cash and his clan. Daedalus fell into his plans very importantly, too, as 
he seemed to be the only one who could control the damn gossiping Nosferatu. Yes, while 
his plan offered great promise of success, it also contained perhaps far too many risks. The 
time may come, he thought, when Iíll have to turn against the plans of my elders and warn 
Julian about what it is heís facing. After all, if he doesnít prepare properly, everyone in that 
mansion is going to get ripped to shreds. That would pretty much mean no kindred left in 
San Francisco, and there would certainly be no point in ruling over an empty city.



IV

Julian stalked through the halls of his mansion with grim determination. He wanted to finally 
speak to Rayce about what had happened at the mansion those few nights ago, but he 
had been unable to ever get him alone. Now, he was certain that the young Brujah was 
somewhere in the house, and he wanted answers. He went through the building twice, not 
finding any trace of Cameronís enigmatic friend. Finally, Julian went up to Cameron, who 
was sitting in the bar with a couple of his bodyguards, watching a hockey game.

"Cameron, could I speak to you for a moment." The words were spoken as a statement, 
not a question.

Cameron caught the tone of Julianís voice, and cursed the prince mentally. Even when he 
asks for something, the Brujah primogen thought, he speaks as if it were a command. "What 
do you need, Julian?" Cameronís tone, in turn, was rather disinterested in whatever it was 
that Julian wished to discuss.

"In private, please, Cameron," Julian said. The uncompromising authority in his voice 
continued.

"Sure," Cameron replied absently. The Brujah stood up from his barstool and walked off 
with Julian to a table in a corner. "What do you want, Julian?" Cameron asked, his irritation 
seeming to grow. "Youíre making me miss a good game. Vancouver just got a power 
play."

"What do you know about Rayce, Cameron?" Julian asked intensely. "I want the whole 
truth, not just whatever it is you feel like letting me know." Julian looked very serious, 
Cameron thought.

"Perhaps you should just ask him yourself," Cameron suggested, wanting to get back to the 
game.

"I would, but he doesnít seem to be in the mansion," Julian responded. He noticed that 
Cameron did not seem overly surprised at the news. "Did you send him somewhere?"

The question threw Cameron off-balance. He had been sure that Rayce was around 
somewhere, though he had to admit that it had been a couple of hours since he had seen 
his friend. However, he did not want Julian to know that he was also in the dark as to 
Rayceís location. "I didnít send him anywhere, Julian. Heís got to be here somewhere. You 
just missed him, thatís all." Despite his words, Cameron knew that it was very possible that 
Rayce had decided to leave. He had always had an annoying habit of disappearing at 
crucial times.

"I seriously doubt it, Cameron," Julian replied. "So, tell me, what do you know about this 
man you have brought under my roof?" The question was stated almost conversationally, 
leading Cameron to feel as if this was not quite the interrogation that he had initially felt that it 
was going to be.

"Well, Eddie sent me up to Seattle back in Ď91, and it was then that I met Rayce," Cameron 
said, sounding as if he was beginning what would be an incredible story. "At the time, if you 
remember, there was a clan war brought on by the Toreador grabbing control of the city."

"Yes," Julian responded, nodding. "Casper came into control for four years up there. It had 
a strong effect on the entire country, though. Seattle culture seemed to mature overnight, 
leading to the whole grunge craze. The record industry was revitalized for a time. Both Lillie 
and I made small fortunes."

"So I guess you were all broken up when the Ventrue took the city back in í95," Cameron 
said sarcastically.

Julian just stared at Cameron, ignoring his statement. It was not so much the fact that the 
Ventrue had taken control, but that only one month later, Brujah anarchs had overthrown the 
prince and established another one of their free states. Although Cameron hated the 
anarchs as much as anyone else in the city, he was overjoyed to get Julian to think about 
how a Ventrue prince had fallen to the independence and vitality of the Brujah clan.

"Anyway, during this war, it was made clear that outside kindred were not safe in the city," 
Cameron said, continuing with his story. "I had to go to bring a certain important message 
personally to Roger MacGruder, a prominent Brujah. On my way out of the city, I was 
jumped by a bunch of Gangrel, big surprise, and Rayce came to my aid. He helped me 
get out of the city alive."

"So then can it be assumed that Roger knows a little about our guest that I can find out?" 
Julian asked, taking any opportunity to follow up on Cameronís information.

"Probably not," Cameron answered with a look of false disappointment on his face. "Rayce 
claimed to be from New Orleans, which he left soon after being embraced. He said it was 
too chaotic a scene down there. He apparently never notified the prince in Seattle that he 
was living in the city, and wound up coming here as soon as I had control of the Brujah. I 
remembered him, and thought he could probably help me out. Heís lessÖ impulsive than 
most Brujah. He makes a good advisor."

Julian nodded. "He does seem more controlled," Julian agreed. "He might may indeed 
make an excellent advisor, if he can be trusted."

"Donít worry about it Julian," Cameron said with a set face. "I trust him, and you donít 
generally have to deal with him. Itís my problem, not yours." Cameron stood up and 
walked back over to the mahogany bar to join his clanmates.

No, Cameron, with him as close to Sasha as heís been, Rayce is my problem too, Julian 
thought. He got up and walked up the stairs, hoping to find his "niece."

In her room, though, Sasha was in no mood to be spoken to. She paced from one end of 
the small room to the other, her anxiety rising slightly with every step. She heard a knock 
and turned toward the fine oak door, the fifth one she had had since moving in. She had 
destroyed the others during frenzy, and once again the idea of ripping through wood was 
starting to appeal to her.

"Sasha, are you in there?" It was Cashís voice. "Sasha, let me in."

"Go away, Gangrel!" Sasha hissed. The words were spat through the fangs that had 
revealed themselves within her mouth.

The door opened, despite Sashaís apparent desire that it stay closed, and Cash slowly 
stepped in. "Sasha, whatís wrong?" Cash asked, understanding that in her irrational state, 
Sasha could feasibly be raging about anything, from he anxiety over the situation in the city, 
to the fact that Vancouver had just scored another power play goal. He spoke slowly, 
knowing that she was once again on the verge of frenzy. That damn Brujah blood, he 
thought. Sheís always ready to fly off the handle.

"I told you to go away, Cash," Sasha muttered through clenched teeth. The words were 
spoken menacingly, with every syllable pronounced purposefully. She glared at him with 
yellow eyes, her rage becoming more and more apparent.

"I just wanted to see how you were doing, what with everything thatís going on," Cash 
replied slowly, trying to make his voice sound as calming as possible. "Come sit down."

Cash sat down cross-legged on the floor and looked up at Sasha. As she looked at him, 
sitting in a rather immobile position, helpless against any attack she might decide to launch, 
Sasha licked her lips. Her desire to rip his heart out and eat it began to rise within her. Cash 
still sat there, though, appearing harmless and innocent. After a few moments, he smiled, 
and Sasha found herself inexplicably beginning to calm down. She gathered herself, and 
the voice of reason began to once again assert itself within her mind. The rage gradually 
began to recede, though Sasha could feel a dim ember of fury still burning within her, as 
always. Such was the curse of the Brujah blood. A couple of minutes later Sasha had 
calmed to the point where she was able to sit down next to her lover.

"You really should stay away when I get like that," she said, her concern obvious. Cash 
could hear the slight tinge of embarrassment in Sashaís voice, and took it as a good sign. At 
least she understands that her behavior is unacceptable, he thought.

"I can take care of myself," he replied, trying to deflect Sashaís concerns. "So, are you ok?"

"I donít see the sense in staying here," she answered. "From what Iíve heard about the 
Sabbat, theyíre terrible. Why wait for them to show up?"

"This way we can fight them on our terms," he answered smoothly. "Besides," he 
continued, "if we canít beat them when they attack here, we wonít be able to defeat them 
out there."

"Wouldnít it be better to surprise them out there, and not shoot up the mansion in the 
battle?" Sasha asked, a puzzled look on her face.

"Yes, it would," Cash responded, impressed that she seemed to have actually thought the 
whole situation through. "We donít know where they are, though. If we find out, weíll attack 
them."

"Oh." Sasha and Cash sat there for a few moments more, looking at each other, and then 
Sasha continued. "So do you think weíll win?"

"Yeah," Cash answered, nodding. "Weíll win. Julian has a lot of money to buy good 
weapons, and heís a strong prince. Weíll win," he repeated, the confidence evident in his 
voice.

"Iím afraid," Sasha said, moving closer to him, grabbing his arms and wrapping them around 
her. What she was unable to express, however, was that her fear was of more than just the 
enemies that everyone in the mansion was sure they would face. Her fear was also of 
herself. Ever since her embrace, Sasha had been incapable of controlling her emotions. 
The scene of her almost attacking Cash had occurred several times before, and she knew 
that one day she might actually lash out. She allowed herself to relax slightly in his arms, 
trying to find comfort in the moment. For Sasha, the moment was the only time she could 
ever count on having security and peace. Life had become too unpredictable.

"Iíll protect you if you need it, Sasha," Cash said, attempting to reassure his lover. His 
words, although meant to comfort, immediately seemed to have had the opposite effect.

"Protect me? How can you protect me?" Sasha asked, her voice betraying a rich 
combination of panic and fury. The fire was back in her voice, her anger seeming to 
possess a tangible expression in the deep yellow glow of her eyes. "Youíre going to be 
protecting Uncle Julian," Sasha spat, seeming to accuse Cash of some great crime. She felt 
that all of Cashís words had been meaningless, that he had only wanted to play mind 
games with her. She saw no true desire in him to go out of his way to protect her. "Youíre 
the princeís bodyguard, remember? Youíre not going to help me, youíre going to leave 
me to be eaten by the Sabbat!" Sasha screamed, her words dripping with venom and the 
pain of betrayal. She was out of Cashís arms and on her feet before he could react. Sasha 
threw the door open, and bolted out, right into the arms of Julian, who had decided to wait 
outside Sashaís door when he heard the voices in her room.

"Sasha, whatís wrong?" he asked, knowing that she was already well on her way to frenzy.

Her only response was to throw him off of her, into the wall. She raced off down the hall, 
down the stairs, and out the door. Julian raced after her, being joined by Cash. As they 
both reached the door, they saw her tear out on her motorcycle, leaving the estate.

"Sasha!" Julian yelled. "Come back here!"

She continued on, oblivious to the calls of her uncle, the prince. All she knew was that she 
needed to get away. She needed to get out of the prison that she was sure would be the 
place of her death should she stay. Sasha was afraid, and needed the feeling of having 
someone there to protect her. Cash couldnít do it, she knew. His primary responsibility was 
to protect Julian. Rayce could help her, though. She knew that. He had saved her the last 
time the Sabbat had attacked, and he would do it again. She had been coming in the library 
when he had left through the window. She was sure he had not seen her catch him leaving. 
She had to find Rayce, she knew. Only he could help her feel safe.

Behind her, standing at the door, Julian and Cash both felt helpless. There was no way to 
catch up with her, they knew that. They would have to hunt her down and bring her back. 
Julian thought as quickly as he could, seeking a solution to this newest problem. Who could 
he send to bring Sasha back? Anyone he sent was in as much danger as she was. The 
situation was almost impossible to deal with.

As if in answer to his thoughts, Cash spoke up. "Let me go after her Julian. Iíll bring her 
back."

Julian looked at him, the pain evident in his eyes. "No, Cash, let her go," Julian responded, 
defeat evident in his voice.

"What?" Cash asked, incredulous. He could not believe that Julian was willing to throw 
Sashaís life away so freely. "The Sabbat is probably out there somewhere," Cash added, 
reminding Julian of facts he already knew all too well. "Sheís all alone, and too young. Sheís 
a sitting duck if they find her."

"I will not risk anyone else, Cash," Julian muttered. "I canít, there are precious few of us left 
as it is," Julian added, reminding Cash of the slaughter at the mansion only a few nights 
earlier.

Cash nodded, accepting Julianís order, but only with the greatest effort. He knew the 
difficulty of the decision that Julian had just made. He stalked off, though, hoping that Sasha 
would be alright without anyone to protect her. She had never seen battle before, and 
would probably not survive her first unless she had someone to back her up.

"Julian!" Cassandra yelled from inside. He bolted in through the doors and went straight up 
to his office, knowing that is where she would be sitting. Cassandra was holding out the 
phone as the prince ran in. "Julian, thereís a call for you."

"Not now, Cassandra," irritated that he had been brought into the mansion for something so 
trivial. "I told you I wasnít going to take any calls."

"Youíll want to take this one," she replied. Her usually quiet, obedient demeanor was 
completely giving way, and she handed him the phone and left the room, closing the door 
behind her.

"Hello?" Julian asked into the phone, curious as to who had caused that reaction in 
Cassandra.

"Julian," the male voice began. "You probably have no idea who this is, do you?"

The voice slowly started to sound familiar, its formal tone with a slight sense of menace and 
authority becoming unmistakable. "Cyrus," Julian answered. "What do you want?" The 
coincidence was too much for Julian. Why else would Cyrus be calling, he thought, but to 
get me to surrender my city or suffer further attacks from him?

"Letís cut through the bullshit, Julian," Cyrus said. "No formalities are asked for or given. 
Youíve been attacked, apparently by the Sabbat. I have no idea how many you lost, but I 
want to send you some of my people to help."

"What?" Julian asked incredulously. "You expect me to let some of your soldiers into my 
city?" Julian asked. He couldnít believe the nerve of the Brujah prince. True, Cyrus had 
been able to take Los Angeles, but he would not take San Francisco so easily.

"Julian," Cyrus responded, "the Sabbat is as much a threat to me as it is to you. If San 
Francisco falls, theyíll be in my city within two years. Thatís completely unacceptable. We 
have a chance to crush them here and now."

"I donít need your help, Cyrus," Julian reiterated, refusing to even consider Cyrusí offer.

"Youíre too proud to accept it, you mean," Cyrus said. "Or is it that you think Iím behind 
these attacks? Is that it?"

"Would you blame me for suspecting you?" Julian answered. "Youíve already expressed 
an interest in consolidating all of California under your rule. Why not start in San Francisco? It 
has the virtue of being the only city that wonít present you with anarch difficulties."

"I can imagine a similar conversation taking place in New York a while back," Cyrus replied. 
"Afraid of the Philadelphia princeís motivations, the New York prince refuses aid. As a result, 
both cities fall to the Sabbat. That wonít happen here, Julian. Iím offering you twelve of my 
people, six from my clan and six from yours. That should set your mind at ease."

"Youíre serious, arenít you?" Julian asked, completely shocked at the revelation. The man 
who was offering him aid had not long before hired an Assamite to assassinate him. Julian 
had a hard time accepting such things. Julian began to accept that Cyrus may be on the 
level, however, and he was suddenly unable to make a decision as to what to do.

"Yes, Julian, Iím serious," Cyrus replied. "I can have them there by tomorrow night." It was 
only then that Julian began to detect a hint of desperation in Cyrusí voice.

"Ok, Cyrus," Julian relented. "Send them. Only twelve, and they leave when this is all 
over."

"Please, Julian, Iím not going to take your city under the guise of aiding you," Cyrus replied. 
"I would never be able to take any other cities if I did that with you. They should be at your 
place by two a.m. tomorrow."

"Alright" Julian responded. He waited for a few seconds before finishing. "Thank you."

"Donít thank me with words, Julian," Cyrus said, the desperation gone from his voice, 
suddenly replaced by his more characteristic menace. "You simply owe me a favor 
someday."

With that, Julian hung up the phone. What had he come to, accepting help from Cyrus in 
order to hold his city? Cyrus had been right, though. If the Sabbat took San Francisco, it 
would not be long before they were knocking on the doors of Los Angeles.



V

The Streets were surprisingly empty, Sasha thought as she rode her bike at breakneck 
speed. By the time she realized where she was, an hour had gone by. The frenzy now 
fading from her mind, she turned her bike back along the way she had come. She desired 
familiar surroundings, and that meant Chalkers. The pool hall had started to become like a 
second home to her, and there were always people around. She would be safe. In fact, 
she might even be able to feed, if she was very careful.

About five minutes later she arrived, seeing the usual crowd standing outside the place. In 
the late hours, the businessmen that frequented the establishment after a long day of work 
began to mix with the late-night college and high school student crowd, making for a unique 
blend of personalities. No Brujah anywhere to be seen, though, she thought. She hoped to 
find Rayce there, to surprise him by just showing up. While it would be unlike him to be in a 
place like Chalkers, she had gone in there a few times with him, so he at least he knew 
where it was. If heís not here, she thought, I can call his cell-phone. It would ruin the surprise, 
though.

Sasha strode between the tables, catching the eye of many of the teenage boys that hung 
around, acting as if they were tougher and more mature than they actually were. As much as 
their behavior amused her, she had to admit that there was a reason why this was a prime 
Brujah Ďrecruitmentí location. There were more independent-minded youths under this one 
roof than in many other locations in town.

It didnít take Sasha long to realize that Rayce was not there. She gave a quick thought to 
feeding, and just before she officially quit on that idea, she spotted a man standing alone in 
a corner, gazing intently at her. When he realized she had noticed his stare, he quickly 
averted his eyes back to the pool table in front of him, pretending that all of his attention was 
focused on finding a good shot.

She looked him up and down and immediately came to the conclusion that he didnít belong 
there. He was probably about thirty years old, perhaps a little older. He stood a good bit 
over six feet tall, and was extremely well built. She could tell that even under the black 
clothes that he wore. The black ensemble was quite a contrast, she thought, to his blonde 
hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. Sasha started to feel a stronger and stronger desire to go over 
to the man and speak to him.

She slowly walked through the hall, consciously swaying her hips the whole way. As she 
got closer, she began to become more and more uneasy. Something about him was 
significantly not right. She had felt from across the pool hall that he was a little unsure of 
himself, a perfect target for feeding. Now that she was almost next to him, she sensed that it 
was in fact the opposite of her impression Ė that he was in fact terribly sure of himself. She 
was standing against his table, and knew that he could see her. He had to know she was 
there, she thought, but he had not yet looked up to acknowledge her presence. It was 
almost as if he had expected her to walk over to him.

He took a shot, and talked to her without looking up. "So, what is it you saw over here that 
made you come over?" he asked. He spoke with a thick German accent, she noticed. 
Without waiting for an answer, he proceeded to take his next shot. She backed up against a 
wall, suddenly very uncomfortable. From the back of her mind, though, came the words of 
Julian. ĎNever let your prey intimidate you,í he had said. Easier said than done, she thought, 
but she nonetheless committed herself to taking control of the situation.

"I saw you shooting pool all by yourself back here, and figured that I had to come over here 
and get to know you better," she said in a flirtatious tone. She tilted her head and shifted her 
feet underneath her, trying to look both cute and seductive at the same time.

Finally he diverted his attention away from the table and toward her, looking her over head 
to toe. Sasha felt uncomfortable, as if he were undressing her with his eyes. "Yes, you will 
do," he said.

"What?" she answered incredulously.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"Eighteen," she answered, her uneasiness increasing once again. Although he was reacting 
as she had hoped, she was no longer certain she would want to get him alone anymore. 
She wasnít sure it was that important to her to feed.

"Would you like to go somewhere?" he asked.

"Sure," she answered uneasily. As he picked up a trenchcoat, hat, and cane, and 
proceeded to leave the establishment, Sasha decided that this man must have thought she 
was a prostitute. He strode right out, not bothering to pay, she noticed.

He walked out to the sidewalk and a brand new BMW sitting by the curb. He opened the 
passenger-side door, holding it open for her to get in. She smiled as she climbed into the 
car, and he closed the door behind her. Moments later, he was getting in the car, and started 
it up. "Oh, Iím sorry," he said looking somewhat embarrassed. "I never even introduced 
myself. My name is Henry Schacter. Iím here in the city on business."

Like I care what your name is, Sasha thought. Youíre no more than the vessel carrying my 
next meal. She smiled, though, concentrating on acting polite. "Hi, my nameís Sasha." She 
couldnít wait until they were out of direct view, so that she could just feed and leave this 
weird man to the night.

"I was in that pool hall all night," he said. "I thought someone like you would never come in."

"Really," she answered, more than a little disgusted at the manís crudeness. Yes, she 
decided, he thinks that Iím a prostitute.

"So tell me, Sasha, how bad is Julianís situation?" Henry asked, completely catching Sasha 
by surprise.

"What?" she asked, shocked. Suddenly a wave of sickness washed over her.

"Whatís wrong, Sasha, you not feel well?" Heinrich asked. "Perhaps you drank some 
tainted blood of some kind. You should be more careful. Thereís always the chance of that happening, you know."

She had heard stories of alcohol and drugs having an effect on kindred when they fed on 
mortals, and even some poisons that had caused a kindred to suffer when they fed from a 
mortal who had a toxin in his system, but she had never heard of pain that was anything like 
what she was experiencing. Sasha looked at Henry, terrified now, realizing that he may in 
fact be one of the Sabbat. She had been so foolish, she realized. There were enemies of 
Julianís all over the city, and she hadnít even tried to shake hands with this man to see if he 
was warm or cold. This mistake would probably cost her her life, she realized.

"Do not be afraid, Sasha. Iím not going to hurt you, I simply need you to a favor for me," 
Heinrich said, trying to put her at ease. Henry pulled his BMW over to the curb and turned 
to her. "Look at me, Sasha."

She responded to his command by burrowing her face into the car seat, using her hair to 
help conceal her. "Sasha, you can trust me, really." Even as he spoke, she realized, the 
pain was beginning to leave her body. She prepared to lash out at him, but had to stop 
herself for a moment so that she could listen to his voice. She had to admit that it truly was a 
gentle, melodious voice. His accent was almost hypnotic. She looked up at him, and felt as 
if she were held transfixed.

"Look at my eyes, Sasha," Heinrich commanded, and Sasha immediately complied. "What 
do you see there? Do you see menace? Do you think I could possibly hurt you?" She 
looked at him, and had to admit that he looked harmless enough.

"What do you want?" she asked. She felt herself transfixed by his gaze.

"I just want you to tell me everything that has happened so far," he said gently. "Who is 
attacking Julian?" Heinrich asked.

Sashaís eyes glazed over, and she seemed to be gathering all of the information in her 
mind before speaking. "Well, all I know is I was out, and Joey got killed. So Rayce and I 
went home, but the mansion was attacked. We got away, and then he took me home, and 
Iíve been there ever since, like a prisoner, until I left tonight." She spilled out the essence of 
the whole story without a second thought. It seemed perfectly natural to tell this stranger 
everything that had been going on.

"Who attacked the mansion?" Henry asked. "Did you see who they were?"

"No," she answered with conviction. Something in her voice, however, quivered when she 
spoke. Few others would have noticed that, Henry thought. "Sasha, open your mind to me, 
ok?"

"Sure," she answered. They both sat there for a few moments, and then Henry finally 
spoke. "Garou," he muttered.

"What?" Sasha asked.

"Nothing," he responded. He knew that she would still never consciously remember what 
she had seen that night the garou attacked, and he didnít want to let her catch on. This man 
Rayce, though, had taken great pains to ensure that she would never remember their 
attackers. He had been thorough, Henry thought. Itís too bad heíll never be able to be a 
master, like me.

Henry pulled away from the curb, taking Sasha back to the pool hall. "I need you to do one 
more favor for me, Sasha." Henry said.

"What?" she asked, somewhat groggy.

"I need you to call me if you find out anything important, ok?" he asked. "Just keep an eye 
on your uncle, and tell me what happens, ok?"

"Sure," Sasha answered. What a nice guy, she thought. Despite the outrageous favor he 
asked, it all seemed to be so normal to her.

He pulled into the parking lot at Chalkers, and wrote his number on a small card. "Slipping it 
in her pocket, he reminded her, "Remember Sasha, call me if anything major happens."

She nodded her head as she got out of the car and walked over to her motorcycle smiling. 
Henry pulled away from the lot, now having some answers, all of which unfortunately raised 
a very serious question. How was he to find a pack of garou in San Francisco?



VI

Peter Boland walked into the Holiday Inn with an air of comfort around him. Indeed, he had 
been spending most of his adult life in one hotel or another, far from the rectory in Dublin 
which was his official home. He strode over to the check-in desk, seeing the half-asleep 
employee look at him in surprise. No, he thought, they probably donít have priests 
normally check in at 4 oíclock in the morning. It would go against our normally prim and 
proper reputation.

He walked up to the desk. "Iím here to check in," he said evenly. No friendly chatter or 
smiles were offered. Peter had become what he liked to think of as a focused professional, 
and he was in San Francisco on some of the most important business he had seen in over 
ten years. Nothing that did not have a bearing on his mission would receive much of his 
attention.

"Name?" the clerk asked with a big smile. It made sense that the man would smile, Boland 
thought. Iím probably the first person heís seen for a few hours. Bolandís intense demeanor 
softened a bit as he realized he could brighten up the clerkís night a bit. Few people ever 
found any amusement in working the graveyard shift, and Boland imagined that was even 
truer in a hotel. Generally speaking, if the clerk heard from anyone at four in the morning, it 
was probably because the person had a complaint. If all went well, the clerk would not see 
any of the other people in the building.

"Father Peter Boland," the priest replied, giving his name. He allowed a soft smile to cross 
his face.

"Ah, here we go," the man replied, looking over the computer screen. "So what brings you 
to San Francisco?"

"A convention of sorts," Boland replied evenly. Although he was making an effort to be a 
little more congenial than usual, he was in no mood to expound overly much on the nature 
of his business.

"Really?" the clerk continued, as he withdrew a key from the wall behind him. "Any group 
Iíve ever heard of?" he asked, obviously relishing the opportunity to make conversation.

"I doubt it," Boland replied. Given the covert nature of his associates, he would have been 
astounded, and somewhat concerned, if the clerk were to know of Bolandís occupation.

"Oh yeah? Who are they?" the clerk asked, continuing to make small talk as he made sure 
the key was the right one for Bolandís room.

"The Society of Leopold," Boland responded, looking for any reaction in the young man 
across from him. Seeing none, he allowed himself to relax.

"Never heard of them," the clerk said, confirming Bolandís conclusion. Peter simply nodded 
in response. "Enjoy your stay in San Francisco Father," the clerk said with a smile as he 
handed the key to the priest.

"Thank you," Peter muttered under his breath. There would be nothing about this particular 
trip to enjoy.

"Oh, Father Boland," the man called from behind him. "I almost forgot, you have a message 
waiting for you." The clerk dug out a slip of paper and handed it to Boland as he crossed 
back across the room to the desk.

"Thank you," Boland said politely as he took the message and walked back across the 
lobby.

As he got on the elevator, Boland opened the note that had been sent to him. He 
recognized the handwriting immediately, knowing the letter had been sent by Brother 
Venturi. All it said was "Meet for dinner at 9 at The House of Nanking Ė 919 Kearny." 
Excellent, Boland thought Ė Chinatown. The crowds would prevent anyone from picking 
them out.

The elevator stopped and Boland walked down the hallway. The hotel manager had done 
well. He had a room on the top floor, at the end of the hallway, on the west side of the 
building. The sun shining in the window at sunset would help him wake up. As the priest 
walked into the room he placed the ĎDo Not Disturbí sign on the door, which he hoped the 
maid would notice. The last thing he wanted was to be awakened in the middle of the day. 
He would probably need as much sleep as he could get.

He threw his bags on the bed and opened the larger of the two, producing a crossbow, 
followed shortly by a Japanese wakizashi. These were the tools of his trade. He had been 
waging his unofficial war against the enemies of the Church for thirty years now. He looked 
up, catching his reflection in the mirror. Time had been kind to him, he thought. He was still 
large and somewhat muscular, though his age showed in a head of gray hair.

Boland sat down on the bed and opened his Bible, a practice born out of years of habit. 
The words helped him calm down before going to sleep. He looked over the page he had 
randomly opened to. "Though I walk in the valley of darkness I fear no evil." He chuckled at 
the coincidence. Perhaps the boss is trying to tell me something, he thought. Once again he 
felt blessed, as he often did before he went to sleep. Ever since the first time he had 
encountered a vampire and destroyed it, Boland had felt that he was one of Godís chosen 
warriors, a soldier in the fight against the dark forces that would destroy Godís creation. As 
he always did, Boland said a prayer of thanks for the trust that he felt god had placed in him, 
and he asked for the strength to be able to carry on in his vocation.

With that he laid down, hoping to get to sleep before the sun came up and brightened the 
room a slight bit. Over the years, his eyes had become more accustomed to darkness until 
they were slightly light sensitive. I become like that which I hunt, he thought. There was still 
one major difference, though. He took comfort in the thought that he would find a place in 
heaven, while the vampires he dedicated his life to destroying would never find such 
peace.



VII

Julian paced his study, growing as restless as he was sure Sasha had been. Damn that girl, 
he thought. Why couldnít she just simply follow instructions like everyone else? True, she 
had Brujah blood in her and was thus prone to fits of disobedience, but she seemed to take 
it to extremes. Perhaps he just noticed more with her, he thought.

He heard the door open downstairs, and heard Sasha yelling. Julian raced out of the study 
and stood at the top of the stairs, watching as Cash fought once again with Sasha. Actually, 
he thought, she seems to be fighting with him as he once again he bites his tongue. 
Sometimes he marveled at the restraint that the Gangrel primogen was able to show.

"All Iím saying is that you should consider the results of your actions before you just race 
off," Cash said, vainly trying to talk some sense into Sasha.

"Are you saying that Iím stupid?" Sasha screamed. "Are you implying that I never think 
before I do anything?"

"Of course not," Cash continued with a calm voice. "All Iím trying to get you to understand is 
that your uncle has been worried sick. You should have considered his reaction to your 
taking off."

"Oh, fine, dad," she yelled. "I guess Iíll just go to my room now."

Sasha pushed Cash out of the way as she walked toward the stairs. She paused for a 
second when she saw Julian standing at the top, but then continued up, walking past him as 
if he werenít even there. A few of the guests snickered as she strode down the hall and into 
her room.

A few moments later Cash was in her doorway. "Did the night air help you settle down?" he 
asked, hoping he could find out what she had been up to.

"What?" she asked, still obviously angry. Any rage she seemed to have started to control 
had returned.

"You were all nervous before about staying here, but you seem ok now," Cash continued 
in a soft voice. "I figured the night air did you some good."

"Not that itís really any of your business," she answered, "but I only came back because I 
need a place to stay for the day. The sun will be coming up soon, in case you hadnít 
noticed." Cash nodded in response. "I still think itís foolish to stay here, though."

"We should be ok now," Cash answered. "Cyrus is sending help from LA. It seems like 
heís as terrified of the Sabbat taking San Francisco as we are. With another dozen kindred 
we should be able to hold off the Sabbat."

"Really?" Sasha asked, suddenly feeling better about their chances of survival.

"Yeah, really," Cash replied, seeing how happy the news made his lover.

"Could you leave me alone for awhile, Cash?" Sasha asked as she lay back on the bed, 
closing her eyes. "I just want to get myself together, and then Iím going to apologize to my 
uncle."

"Sure," Cash responded. He felt it was good to see her finally act more mature, taking 
responsibility for her actions and the effect that they had on others. He got up and walked 
out. "You want me to close the door?"

"Please," Sasha said. "And tell Julian Iíll talk with him a little before I go to bed."

"Sure thing," Cash replied. He closed the door as he walked out, and Sasha quickly rose 
and rushed to lock it behind him.

There was no telling how long she would have before someone else decided to talk to her. 
She raced over to the phone and started to dial the number that Henry had given her earlier 
in the night, grateful for the separate phone line her uncle had allowed her to have. The 
phone hadnít even finished ringing once when it was answered.

"Hello, Sasha," came Heinrichís voice from the other end of the line, his accent helping to 
calm Sasha even further. "What news do you have for me?" he asked, getting directly to 
the point of the call.

"How did you know it was me?" she asked.

"You are the only one special enough for me to give my number to," he responded 
evenly. The words made Sasha feel important, strengthening the trust that she already had 
placed in her new friend.

"Julian is getting help from Cyrus in LA," Sasha said quickly, hoping that the news was 
important enough to have disturbed her friend. "Heís sending a dozen of his soldiers to 
help out in fighting the Sabbat."

"The Sabbat?" Henry asked, initially surprised to hear them mentioned. He suddenly 
realized the deceptions that were being played out against the prince. "Oh yes, the 
Sabbat," Heinrich said, smoothly covering up his surprise. "Evil bunch. Itís a good thing 
Julian has been able to get help. Do you know when they will arrive?"

"No," Sasha responded with obvious disappointment. She decided she would have to be 
more thorough in gaining knowledge in the future. "When I left earlier, though, there was no 
mention of these guys, so they had to have made the deal while I was out. If theyíre not 
here yet, it probably wonít be until tomorrow night, at the earliest."

"Yes," Henry responded. "Thank you, Sasha. You must go now before you are found out."

"Yeah. Bye, Henry." Sasha hung up the phone, only to have someone knock at the door a 
split second later.

"Who is it?" she asked, thanking the fates that she had gotten off the phone in time.

"Rayce," came the answer from behind the closed door.

"Oh, hold on." Sasha crossed the room and opened the door to see Rayce standing there, 
looking grim.

"Come on in," she offered. Sasha sat on the middle of her bed, and gestured for Rayce to 
join her. He remained standing, however. Rayce viewed his visit as a business matter, and 
not a social call.

"I heard you went out, tonight," he said, his tone revealing his disappointment in Sashaís 
poor judgement.

"Yeah, I needed some air," she answered with a grin, ignoring the fact that she knew Rayce 
was displeased. She hoped that Rayce would be able to understand how she had felt. 
After all, she thought, he seems to understand everything that goes through my mind.

"You shouldnít have left, Sasha," Rayce said, revealing that he would not even try to 
understand. "Itís more dangerous out there than you can understand. Youíre not ready yet 
to do battle with non-humans."

"Listen to you," she said accusingly. "You went out, too. I saw you slip out of the library." 
Rayce cursed himself for having been careless enough to have gotten caught by a 
neonate, but he deftly hid his reaction from Sasha.

"Thatís different," he said, knowing that Sasha would never be able to grasp the difference. 
In her mind, the two of them were incredibly similar. As far as Sasha knew, any risk that 
Rayce could safely take would never have been too dangerous for her.

"How is it different?" Sasha asked, growing more agitated. She felt as if she was being 
reprimanded by her uncle.

"First of all, Iím older than you," Rayce said, deciding that he should at least make an effort at 
explaining the difference, though he doubted it would help any. "Iíve seen battle before 
and I understood the risk I was taking. Second of all, I had somewhere to go."

"Oh, and where the hell did you go?" Sasha asked. "I looked around for you at all the usual 
spots and didnít find you."

"No," Rayce answered. "You probably wouldnít have. You were checking in all the usual 
Brujah spots, I assume." Sasha missed the amusement in Rayceís voice as he spoke.

"Where else would I go?" Sasha answered, almost dumbfounded.

"In case you havenít noticed, I donít frequent those places," Rayce answered, hardly able to 
conceal his distaste for the habits of San Franciscoís Brujah. "Pool halls and biker bars arenít 
exactly my scene. I was at the Minna Street Gallery. A friend of mine had an exhibit 
opening tonight. Heís really talented. I think Iím going to suggest that the Toreador embrace 
him."

"Oh really?" Sasha asked, seeming unimpressed with Rayceís not so wild lifestyle. She 
already seemed to be tiring of the conversation.

Outside the room, Cash came up and heard Rayceís voice. Despite his better judgment, 
he found himself listening to the conversation, a small part of him increasingly jealous that 
Sasha never seemed to yell at Rayce, while every word Cash ever heard seemed to be 
spoken with venom.

"If you wanted to find me, Sasha, you should try calling me," Rayce suggested. "I do have 
a cell-phone," he reminded her, his tone slightly condescending. "It would have been nice to 
have you along."

"It would have ruined the surprise, thoughÖ If I found you, that is," Sasha replied. Had she 
still been mortal, she would have blushed at the way Rayce was looking at her.

"We have to talk seriously Sasha," Rayce said, finally getting to the topic that he had come 
to talk to her about.

Sashaís expression instinctually became revolted when she heard the serious tone of 
Rayceís voice, but quickly turned happy as she considered the possibilities held by his 
words. Outside the door, Cash felt anger rising within him. He hadnít been taken in by 
Rayceís smooth denials, and now he would hear the truth of Rayceís motivations come out.

"There could be an attack here, Sasha," Rayce began, his tone becoming gravely serious. 
"If that happens, you have to promise me something."

"What?" she asked, looking puzzled.

"You have to find Cash and stay with him," Rayce said. He saw the surprised look on 
Sashaís face and almost smiled in amusement. That had been the last thing Sasha had 
expected him to say.

"Cash will be protecting Julian," Sasha pointed out. "I think I should stay with you." She 
grinned, showing her obvious preference of companion in the forthcoming battle.

"Cash wonít have a chance to protect Julian," Rayce replied, knowing that the garou who 
would be attacking would go directly for the prince. The strategy would be that in cutting off 
the head, they would kill the body. "Theyíll make the prince their first target," Rayce said, 
revealing his thoughts to Sasha. Or at least the second, Rayce thought, knowing that the real 
reason the garou had come was to extinguish Cameron. If only they knew that the real villain 
in the killing of the Gambioni children had been Da Costa, one of Cameronís competitors 
during the Brujah war for control. Not that it mattered. Cameron probably would have killed 
the children himself it if it had occurred to him. It had been easy to frame him, Rayce thought, 
and the best thing was that not only did Cameron not know he was considered guilty of the 
crime, he honestly had no idea it had even happened.

Sasha looked at him, obviously in distress. "You think theyíll go after Uncle Julian first?"

"What else do you think theyíre here for, Sasha?" Rayce asked. He continued before she 
had a chance to answer. "The Sabbat know only two things Ė violence and power. One is 
their means of achieving the other. Yes, theyíll probably go after Julian first."

"Oh my God, we have to get him out of here!" Sasha said, starting to panic. Sasha was 
starting to border on hysteria within only a momentís notice.

"Itís not as if he doesnít know, Sasha," Rayce replied. "Julian knows what they will do, and 
he stays in defiance of them." He waited a few moments before continuing. "Just 
remember what I said and go to Cash. Heís the only one who will take good enough care 
of you."

Cash stood outside the room in disbelief as it dawned on him that Rayce had been serious 
the whole time. Cash suddenly had to reevaluate his view of this Brujah, who seemed so 
different and yet in some ways so similar to every other Brujah he had ever known.

"Why canít you watch over me?" Sasha asked, a hurt look on her face.

"Iíll be busy," Rayce answered coolly. Yes, he thought, very busy. He would have to 
make sure that Cameron died in the ensuing conflict, so that he could make his own bid for 
power within the clan. "You promise me youíll stay at Cashís side?"

"Yeah," Sasha replied reluctantly. "I promise."



VIII

Johnny sat outside the Steps of Rome coffeehouse, enjoying the cup of coffee he had just 
made for himself. True, the coffeehouse was closed at five in the morning, but that hadnít 
deterred him. He had simply gone in and brewed a cup of coffee for himself. Yashida knew 
that he would not be hassled by any police. He had many ways of dealing with them.

Yashida looked up at the sky, the slightly perceptible streaks of light beginning to show. 
The sun would be up within a half-hour, he knew, and he would have to go inside. Years 
ago, just being out this close to dawn would have started to put him in a panic, but he had 
grown more and more accustomed to the gray of the approaching day, deriving a 
somewhat morbid fascination with the rising sun which could turn him to ash.

As he sat there, listening to the birds beginning to sing, a black BMW pulled up next to the 
curb in front of him. He watched as Heinrich Schacter stepped out of the vehicle and 
approached him. "State your name and clan," the well dressed man demanded.

"Yashida, Telemon," Johnny answered with a smile. He loved saying the name of his clan. 
The fact that no one had ever heard of Clan Telemon made him feel as if he were a man of 
mystery, an enigma in a world full of people who despised unanswered questions. "So 
who the hell are you?" he asked, impressed with the fine clothes that the man wore. He 
wondered for a moment how much money the man had in his wallet, but decided against 
finding out. The man looked a little formidable.

"My name is Henry Schacter, and I demand some answers." Schacter hovered over the 
smaller kindred.

"Well pull up a chair and letís talk," Johnny suggested. "You better make it quick, though, the 
sunís coming up." Schacter piqued the interest of Yashida, and the Telemon decided that 
he wanted to find out as much as he could about this unknown entity.

"Yes, I noticed," Schacter replied evenly as he glanced up at the sky. He sat down and 
continued. "Do you know Rayce?"

"Sure," Johnny replied. "I guess you want to know something about a piece of information 
that Rayce has been hiding," Yashida suggested. The only reason the Telemon could think 
of for people to be asking about Rayce was that they had figured out that while the Sabbat 
was nowhere near San Francisco, an angry pack of garou was. Despite his calm 
performance, Johnny was becoming more and more nervous. This man was rather 
unsettling, he decided. The sun rising behind Henryís back wasnít helping matters any, 
either. The situation was certainly starting to quickly become uncomfortable.

"Where are the garou?" Schacter asked. He watched for any reaction in the small man sitting 
across from him, but saw none.

"What makes you think I know?" Johnny answered, finishing up his coffee.

"You seem to know about the lupines being in the city, thatís a good start," Schacter 
replied.

"Knowing theyíre in the city and knowing where they are at every moment are two 
completely different things," Yashida answered, pointing out the obvious. As he spoke, 
Johnny wiped out the inside of the mug, and then placed it in on of his pockets.

"I find it unlikely that you would be sitting out in the open unless you knew exactly where the 
garou were," Schacter replied. "You donít strike me as being stupid."

"The garou donít scare me at all," Johnny stated, a small tinge of arrogance in his voice.

"Oh really?" Heinrich asked. "You must be the only vampire in the city that isnít afraid of 
them." Schacter looked the lone vampire up and down before continuing. "Perhaps you are 
not as intelligent as I thought."

"Donít get me wrong, I know thereís not a snowballís chance in hell of me fighting off even a 
single one of them," Johnny conceded. "I can outrun them, though, and thatís even better as 
far as Iím concerned."

Schacter smiled as he looked at Yashida. He realized him to be the perfect acquaintance. 
He was unwilling to fight anyone head on, but was more than willing to try to manipulate 
things from behind the scenes. Heinrich pondered whether heíd actually have to bother 
dominating the will of this particular kindred. After all, a willing ally was always so much more 
effective. "Tell me, Yashida, where are the lupines?" Schacter asked again. "The sun is 
coming up, and this banter canít continue much longer. I really need to know."

"Why?" Johnny asked.

"There are a bunch of kindred from LA coming into town tomorrow night," Heinrich said, 
giving Johnny a free piece of information. He hoped that his newest acquaintance would 
see the gift for what it was, and reciprocate. "I would like to have the garou eliminate these 
kindred before they become a threat to my plans."

"And what are your plans?" Johnny asked, moving closer.

"To destroy the Ventrue prince of this city," Schacter replied matter-of-factly. "You see, I 
donít particularly like the Ventrue clan. They cause problems with my own business 
interests." Johnny saw that Heinrich was holding something back, but he did not care much 
what it was. He was willing to act as if he believed the man sitting before him.

"Yeah, they have a habit of being like that," Johnny agreed. He grinned as he spoke, but 
his eyes kept looking up the sky, now beginning to brighten more quickly. He desperately 
wanted to put off telling this man where the garou were until the next night, when they could 
continue their conversation without the threat of being disintegrated by sunlight, but at the 
same time he wanted the question of Schacter resolved now. Well, Johnny thought to 
himself, I never was the most patient person in the world. "Whatís in it for me if I tell you 
where they are?" the Telemon asked, always looking to better his position.

"What do you want?" Schacter asked, now curious about the possible motivations of 
Yashida.

"Simply a phone number where I can reach you in the future, in case I need a favor or two," 
Johnny replied. "Maybe a little information comes your way every now and then." Johnny 
withdrew the sunglasses he had in his pocket and put them on, knowing that limiting the 
growing light around him would help settle his nerves a bit. The sun was still far from being 
over the horizon, though the sky was noticeably gray.

"Fine." Schacter produced a business card from his pocket, and wrote a number on the 
back. "If you need to reach me, call the number that I wrote, not the one printed on the card," 
he instructed. "This is my direct number."

"Thanks," Johnny replied as he took the card. "The garou are in the Lombard Plaza Motel. I 
donít know which room, but they canít be too hard to find."

"Certainly not," Schacter agreed.

"I think its time to get going," Johnny said with a nervous grin. "Gotta get some sleep and all 
with the sun coming up."

"Definitely," Schacter agreed, also casting a quick glance at the sky.

Both men got up, Schacter getting into his vehicle, peeling out down the street. Johnny 
hopped on his bike and revved the engine as far as it would go. It would only take a few 
minutes to get to his place in Chinatown, as he was now in the neighboring section of North 
Beach. However, Johnny still rode like a man possessed, not taking any chances that he 
wouldnít be in before the sun came up. It had, after all, been years since he could consider 
the deadly light of day to be something nice to see in the morning.



CHAPTER 4



I

Mark Larsson looked out the window of the Lombard Plaza Motel, waiting for the sun to 
finally drop completely below the horizon. Kristen came up behind him and gazed out the 
window just as intently. "So do we go back out there tonight?" she asked eagerly. "James 
and Looks Within seem ready to go."

"Theyíre not completely healed yet," Mark answered. While the large Get of Fenris warrior 
was more than willing to go into battle and die in opposing what he viewed as the forces of 
darkness, he would not rush into combat before his people were ready. The kindred of the 
city would be ready for his packís next attack. They would meet far stronger resistance than 
they had the first night they had assaulted Julian Lunaís mansion.

"Theyíre strong enough," Kristen returned, trying to persuade Mark to stop delaying her 
quest for vengeance. "Besides, every day we wait gives our enemy more opportunity to get better prepared."

"Itís already too late to worry about them becoming more prepared," Andrew answered as 
he walked up. "The best thing to do would be to leave the city and come back in a few 
months. By then any alliances they would have made to meet our threat will have broken 
down as a result of the infighting that defines vampire existence. Their new progeny wonít 
be ready to offer resistance yet, so the time will be better."

"No," Kristen hissed. "They will pay for their crimes against my tribe now. There will be no 
waiting."

"What the white man says makes sense," Looks Within chimed in. "Trust a Shadow Lord to 
know how to break down an enemyís alliances." Though the compliment had also served 
as an insult, Andrew did not seem to catch the negative implications.

"Thank you, Looks Within," Andrew answered, apparently proud for having been 
recognized as an excellent schemer.

"That was not a compliment, foolish student of the Euro-wyrm," Looks Within retorted. "Still, 
I follow the decisions of our alpha. What do you think, Mark?" Deep inside, Looks Within 
also hoped that they would enter battle. He had a particular distaste of vampires, a scourge 
that had not existed in the Americaís before European discovery of the continent.

Mark stood a moment in silence. It was true that the kindred would probably become more 
careless over time, but he knew garou politics far too well. Once they left the city, their 
elders would find another task for them to complete, and they would never get back to this 
mission. Besides, he was Get, and he would never allow the destruction of agents of the 
worm to go unfinished. "We stay," he answered, the finality in his voice making it obvious 
that there would be no discussion. "There is no glory in fleeing from this conflict. We will tear 
out the hearts of our enemies and sing praises to Gaia. It is our responsibility as her 
defenders."

Andrew and Looks Within nodded in reaction to his decree, and Kristen beamed with 
pleasure at the thought that her family would have vengeance. James still appeared to be 
asleep, taking up the entire surface of the bed with his crinos form. Natasha, hunched over in 
a corner, appeared indifferent to the entire conversation. That was not unusual, though. She 
had never taken part in the decision-making sessions of the pack. She could be considered 
the omega of the pack, the lowest garou in the packing order. She knew her place and 
never seemed to question it.

"Alright," Mark began, "as long as weíre in this god-forsaken city, we might as well look 
around. We might even find a stray leech to..." A knock at the door cut him off. Mark looked 
around the room quickly, giving orders to his packmates with little more than a nod or a flash 
of a hand signal.

Even as Mark slowly opened the door, James had found his way into the small bathroom, 
Kristen had drawn a gun and stood behind the half-open door, and Natasha, Looks Within, 
and Andrew all sat on the bed with a deck of cards, pretending to be in the middle of a hand 
of poker. Mark looked at them quickly with satisfaction, pleased with their ability to prepare 
with only a momentís notice.

In the doorway Mark faced Heinrich Schacter, who was once again decked out completely in 
black. "Good evening," he said congenially. "I would like to speak to you and your friends 
for a few moments, if you please."

Mark looked him over head to toe, weighing any possible threat the man could present 
against his packís ability to rip his limbs off. It didnít take long to decide that though Heinrich 
was large by human standards, he would be absolutely no match for just one member of 
his pack, let alone the whole group. "Come on in," he answered, "but if youíre here to 
introduce us to some new-fangled religion, I have to tell you that weíre all devout in our 
beliefs already."

"Iíd rather stay out here, if you do not mind," Schacter answered. Although Heinrich knew 
little about the lupines, he did know that they were unwilling to ever reveal their true nature in 
the open, and while he may be able to hold off one or two of them, an entire pack in a 
confined space would certainly spell his doom.

"Suit yourself," Mark answered. "What do you want to talk about stranger? Make it quick, 
though, we want to go out and get something to eat."

Unlike many of the other people that Schacter had spoken to within the last few days, this 
garou seemed completely unintimidated by his presence. As he thought about it, Heinrich 
began to realize that it was indeed he who was becoming anxious. He shook it off as 
quickly as he could, though, deciding it was simply a result of him not knowing much about 
these possible foes.

"So what do you want to talk about?" Mark repeated, noticing Schacterís hesitation. Heinrich 
cursed himself for being so obviously preoccupied. Had this been a room full of vampires 
he would have been completely unperturbed.

"I simply wish to discuss your relationship with Julian Luna," Schacter said, getting right to 
the point.

At the mention of the word, Andrew and Natasha both drew Mac-10ís, leveling them at 
Heinrich through the doorway. Mark reflexively punched Schacter in the gut, doubling him 
over. A moment later, Markís legs seemed to fail him, and he collapsed to the ground. 
Schacter regained his senses, and started to turn to run away, only to have his leg grabbed 
in the jaws of a wolf, which began to pull him strongly into the room. Heinrich, realizing the 
inevitability of his situation, raised his arms over his head. "I surrender," he yelled, his voice 
on the verge of panic. "I only came to talk. I beg you to simply hear me out."

As he was pulled into the room, sitting up as Looks Within dragged him across the 
threshold, he was kicked down to the floor by Kristen, who hovered over him with a dagger 
at his throat. Andrew and Natasha pulled Mark in behind Schacter.

"What the hell happened to you?" Andrew asked Mark calmly.

"I donít know," he responded frantically. "My legsÖ I canít feel my legs!"

"What the hell did you do to him?" Kristen yelled at Schacter.

"NothingÖ really," he answered. Schacter looked around him, realizing just how bad an idea 
this had been. "His legs will be fine, he just pinched a nerve when he moved to hit me so 
quickly. Iíve seen it before."

"You did this to me!" Mark yelled at Heinrich. "Iím going to rip your leg off and beat you to 
death with it." As he spoke his words became less intelligible, his body increasing in size 
until he was over nine feet of heavily muscled werewolf, seething in fury at the disability that 
took from him his ability to fight in the name of Gaia.

"Please, Mark," Andrew said. "Letís at least find out who he is. If he knew where to find us, 
Luna might not be far behind."

"This is not open for discussion," Kristen answered him. "I think our alpha has made it clear 
that this interloper is to die." A murderous glow had appeared in Kristenís eyes, and anyone 
who did not know her might have gotten the impression that perhaps she enjoyed too 
much the thought of killing.

"I outrank you, fostern" Andrew said, reminding Kristen that in the yes of the garou she was 
still an adolescent. "If you wish to challenge me, you may do so. Otherwise, stand down or 
be held in breach of the Litany. I will stand as your judge, and trust me when I say your 
punishment will be severe."

The reminder of Kristenís lower status in garou society convinced her to back off, though she 
did so with obvious reluctance. With Andrew so intent on having his way, everyone else 
also backed down. James came out of the bathroom and dragged Mark in with him, 
keeping him out of reach of their visitor.

"Now that that is all settled, we shall speak like civilized people," Andrew said calmly. He 
glared at each of his packmates one last time, just to make certain that they all understood 
that he would brook no disagreement to his decision. Not that it mattered, he thought. Only 
Mark and Natasha were of his rank. Mark was indisposed, and Natasha feared positions of 
authority, and would not challenge. True, Looks Within was actually of higher rank, and could 
have ended his interrogation then and there, but he knew the Uktena would take the wisest 
course of action, which was to identify this man, his motives, and contacts.

"My name is Andrew Thelopolis," the garou judge said to Schacter as he extended his 
hand.

"Heinrich Schacter," Henry replied in his thick accent, shaking hands with his garou 
interrogator.

"What brings you here, Mr. Schacter?" Andrew asked, drawing what appeared to be a long 
dagger made out of black glass.

"I had hoped to come to terms with you on an alliance, of sorts," Schacter replied hopefully, 
beginning to calm down. Although he was certain he would almost surely die before leaving 
this motel room, he was formulating plans to make his death as difficult a task for the garou to 
achieve as he possibly could.

"What sort of an alliance did you have in mind?" Andrew asked. His statement was followed 
by a bellow of rage emanating from the bathroom, followed shortly by the sound of 
shattering porcelain. Thelopolis could imagine the rage that Mark was feeling if he could hear 
the conversation. Mark would never have approved of his authority being usurped. 
However, that was a problem Andrew knew he could deal with at a later time.

"There are more kindred coming into town tonightÖ help sent by the prince of LA," 
Schacter said. "Everyone thinks the Sabbat is behind the attacks. They have no idea a pack 
of garou is responsible for all the deaths."

"Obviously not everyone thinks itís the Sabbat," Andrew replied with a thin smile. "You 
knew we were here. How did you find us?"

"There are a couple of kindred who apparently found out about you," Heinrich said, feeling 
no impulse to hold back the truth from the garou. He knew that if they suspected him of 
deceit, he would probably die instantly. "Theyíre keeping it a secret, knowing youíd be 
more effective if the kindred donít know enough to load silver shells into their weapons."

"Well that was mighty thoughtful of them," Andrew said with a smile. He found it amusing 
that kindred worked to get each other killed in battle. It was no wonder the garou had always 
found the vampires to be considerably weaker than they themselves were.

"One of themís been following you around, just to see what youíve been up to," Heinrich 
added, referring to Yashida, knowing that the Telemon would probably not be able to 
continue his surveillance if the garou knew about him. Not that it mattered, Schacter thought. 
He would be able to control all of the garouís actions from this point on, he figured.

"Oh really," Andrew responded, surprised that none of his pack had detected the spy. 
Andrew closed his fingers around the hilt of his dagger, his face becoming creased with 
thought.

"State your terms, Mr. Schacter," Andrew said after a few momentís thought.

"You have no authority to make a deal with this man," Kristen snarled. "Only Mark can make 
this call."

"Quiet, whelp!" Andrew shot back. "The terms, Mr. Schacter," he repeated to their visitor.

"Iíll set them up, divert them somehow to a place of your choosing," Schacter said. "I would 
recommend somewhere in the Mission District. You can jump them, and Iíll help put you 
back together. I have limited ability for healing. In fact, as a show of good faith, I will heal 
your alpha before I go, and the other one in there with him. He still appears to have a claw 
wound on his chest."

"What time would this attack take place?" Andrew asked, knowing the pack would need 
time to feed and to prepare mentally before a major assault.

"Iíll call and tell you after I set it up," Schacter answered evenly. "That way you can all 
discuss this, or whatever it is you do to make your decisions. We can finalize the deal then." 
Schacter now started to feel much better about his fate. He hadnít expected to find a garou 
who was so levelheaded and calculating. He had always heard of them being mad, 
ravening monsters. He counted his lucky stars that the one member of the pack that 
seemed to fit that description was lying on the floor of the bathroom, tearing the porcelain off 
the walls.

"I accept your terms," Andrew said, "with the condition that our alpha must approve my 
decision. Do your healing, and call us later." Andrew resheathed his dagger to emphasize 
that the conversation had ended.

Within five minutes Schacter had done all he could to heal his new allies. Mark was walking 
again, and Jamesí wound was all but completely mended. Looks Within was in perfect 
health.

As he walked out into the night, happy to be leaving the room alive, Heinrich thanked the 
fates that everything had gone so well. He had never really expected them to accept his 
offer. Now he had to figure out how to divert the approaching kindred, so he could make 
good on his end of the bargain. It probably would not be wise to make a pack of garou 
think he had deceived them.

Behind him, in the motel room, a debate was beginning between the garou. Mark looked 
over the members of his pack, trying to decide how each of them probably felt about the 
deal that had been offered to them. He decided to start the discussion with Andrew, who he 
felt had greatly exceeded his authority.

"Andrew, do you wish to challenge for alpha?" he asked, grinning widely. Mark knew that if 
Andrew challenged, he would do it knowing that Mark would have the right to decide the 
method of the challenge. It would, of course, be combat, and Andrew stood no chance in 
combat with the larger Get of Fenris ahroun.

"Of course not, I follow your lead, as I have always done," Andrew replied smoothly. He 
stood looking at his leader, seemingly unaware that he had transcended his authority in any 
way.

He knows, Mark thought. He knows that he went too far, and that I need to show him, once 
and for all, what his place is in the pack. "You had no authority to make a deal with our little 
visitor."

"I did not make a deal," Andrew replied, fighting back the smirk that he almost portrayed. "I 
simply listened to his proposal and instructed him to contact us later to hear our decision. 
That is to say," Andrew added, correcting himself, "find out about your decision." Andrew 
simply stood looking at Mark.

"He did it right, Mark," Kristen offered, admitting that she had also been wrong in being in 
such a rush to murder their visitor. "If we had simply killed Schacter we would never have 
known about these new kindred, at least not until we hit the mansion and got cut to pieces."

"We will not be cut to pieces," Mark almost shouted. "They are wyrmspawn, and are 
weaker than us." He stood arrogantly, with his chest out and chin held high.

"They would have defeated us if we had shown up expecting half as many vampires as 
there actually will be," Kristen answered uncomfortably. She sat down as she spoke, 
hoping the truth would sink in to her alphaís head, though she knew he never would 
outwardly admit that they could be defeated.

"The fact remains," Andrew began, "that an offer has been made. Assuming Mr. Schacter 
can uphold his end of the bargain, we must decide whether or not we should accept."

"What do you think, Looks Within?" Mark asked, looking to the oldest member of the pack. 
They all knew that this meant Mark was unable to decide for himself. Too many factors 
needed to be weighed, and when definite action was not an option, Mark was generally 
lost.

"Do not trust the man," Looks Within replied. "The spirits fear him, and thus so do I. I think 
we all should. He could mean the end of the pack." There was a tinge of fear in Looks 
Withinís voice that Mark had never heard before. He had always known the shaman to be 
the epitome of courage, never even giving a thought to the harm that could befall him. The 
packís alpha was suddenly nervous.

"What?" Mark asked. "That pathetic excuse for whatever it is heís supposed to be?"

"My totem has told me this, and I have never known the owl to be wrong," Looks Within 
replied. "He brings wisdom to those who listen to his words." Looks Within closed his eyes 
and began to mumble in a language that was unintelligible to the rest of them, and all knew 
he would have no further participation in this conversation. The only beings that would 
understand their shaman were the spirits that he claimed were all around them.

"Letís hit the mansion now," Natasha said, uncomfortable with voicing an opinion.

"What?" Mark asked, surprised at the fact that the Silver Fang had even offered a 
suggestion as to what action they should take.

"The help from LA is not there yet," Natasha pointed out. "If we hit them now, we can finish 
the leeches before they get any aid. Our problem of reinforcements will be solved." 
Natasha sat back, watching for reactions from her packmates. They all seemed to be 
tossing the idea around in their minds. She saw their reaction, and knew that her suggestion 
had value. She felt a slight euphoria in knowing that she had been taken seriously. For a 
brief moment she felt the desire to continue asserting herself, to perhaps increase her status 
in the pack. It was then that her fear grabbed her again. She became terrified of what would 
happen if she took responsibility and made a mistake. She could not accept the possibility, 
and began to withdraw back into her shell.

"Itís too risky," Andrew finally said. He felt he should discredit this idea immediately, knowing 
Mark would quickly latch on to this strategy, as it presented the most available path to 
battle. "Remember, we donít know when these reinforcements are due to arrive. If they 
show up in the middle of our battle, attacking us from the rear, we will suffer major losses, 
even if we do somehow win the day. I wish the idea could work, but there are too many 
unknown variables."

"If we strike quickly, it could work," Mark said, his reaction showing Andrew that he had not 
spoken quickly enough. Their alpha had not been dissuaded. "You just fear the very thing 
that could bring us greatest glory."

"No, Mark," Kristen said. "Andrew is right. A dozen heavily armed kindred attacking from the 
rear when weíve already taken some injuries is too much. Weíd never make it out. I think we 
should wait for Schacter. If we find out we have a little bit of time before the LA kindred get 
here, then weíll attack the mansion. Otherwise, we canít risk it."

"If we find out we have some time, though, we attack!" Mark shouted. "There will be blood 
tonight, one way or the other. The enemies of Gaia will be punished." All but Andrew 
nodded in agreement.

"However," Andrew added, "if we find that no clear opportunity will present itself, we hit the 
other kindred, and leave the mansion alone."

"Yes," Mark agreed. "Like I said, there will be blood. Whose blood it will be is the only 
question."



II

Caitlin sat in her office, watching the second hand slowly make its way across the face of the 
clock. It was eight thirty, and Frank Kohaneck was supposed to be meeting her at that very 
moment. Almost on cue, Frank walked into the newsroom, passed a few of her reporters 
who stayed late to make deadline, and strode up to her office door. She waved him in, 
barely able to conceal the excitement she was feeling.

"Thanks for coming down here, Frank," she said with a broad smile. Caitlin had rarely gotten 
along with Frank, feeling that he had some unspoken grudge against her boss, Julian Luna. 
However, it was because of Frankís constant attention to Julianís affairs that had led to Caitlin 
asking the San Francisco inspector to visit her office.

"What exactly is it you want, Caitlin," Frank asked asked, taking a seat in the chair in front of 
her desk. He had found her desire to meet with him as strange as she had, and was 
intrigued to hear what she had to say.

"Whatís happening with Julian?" Caitlin asked, the concern obvious in her voice. "I canít get 
in touch with him, he doesnít come out, and I know for a fact that his mansion was attacked 
the other night."

"I donít know what youíre talking about, Caitlin," Frank answered, his tone clearly indicating 
that he knew a lot about the situation, but was unwilling to divulge more. Or is it that heís 
unable to say anything else, Caitlin wondered. From what Caitlin had gathered about 
Julianís influence in the city, it was not out of line to think he could pull strings to keep even 
the police silent.

"Come on, Frank, off the record," Caitlin pleaded. "I just want to know to satisfy my own 
curiosity. This doesnít go in the paper." The way she looked at him helped to lower some 
of Frankís defenses.

"Off the record?" Frank asked, instinctually distrusting the reporter sitting in front of him. Caitlin 
nodded in response. "Ok, there was an attack the other night, and Julian lost virtually all of his 
guards," Frank said, hardly believing he was giving out the information. "No one on the force 
knows who did it, but Julian has a good idea. Heís got all his friends up there with him, 
waiting for these people to try again. Thatís about all I know."

Caitlin seemed to ponder what he said for a couple of minutes, and then continued. "Have 
you ever heard of Heinrich Schacter?" she asked, continuing to dig for information on the 
visitor she was certain that she had had the night before.

"No," Frank answered immediately, not even needing time to think about it. "Never met 
anyone named Heinrich, I think Iíd probably remember."

"Well, he was in my office last night," Caitlin said. "At first I thought I had dreamt the whole 
thing, but I found a few articles on him. Heís some kind of big shot mathematician in 
Germany, a chaos theory expert. He was asking about Julian."

"What did you tell him?" Frank asked curiously.

"Not much," Caitlin answered. "Still, though, I think he got more out of me than I wanted to 
say. He was a little creepy. I just wanted to know if you had heard about him. I guess 
something about him made me think that he belonged hanging around people like you and 
Julian."

"Whatís that supposed to mean?" Frank asked, half-laughing. Indeed, he found the 
comment only half-funny. Sometimes, he mused, Caitlin seemed so close to grasping the 
truth about her boss. It was only a matter of time before Caitlin would figure out what was 
going on, or before someone figured she had gotten too close and needed to be dealt 
with.

"You know," Caitlin replied with a slight smile, "up all night, sleep all day, get involved in 
stuff thatís weird enough to be the running plotline of some Fox television series." Caitlin 
shook her head, as if to clear her thoughts.

"What are you busy with right now Ms. Byrne?" Frank asked, looking to change the topic. 
He wanted to get her thinking about something else, starting to fear a little for her safety. He 
saw Caitlin as being like a deer that wandered into a predatorís territory because it simply 
did not know any better.

"Oh, now Iím Ms. Byrne?" Caitlin asked with a smile, catching Frankís change of tone.

"Well, I was going to ask if you wanted to get some coffee or something," Frank said. 
"When Iím asking out the girlfriend of Julian Luna, you are Ms. Byrne," Frank added with a 
wide grin.

"Coffee would be great," Caitlin said, standing up and grabbing her purse.

As the two of them walked out, Frank allowed himself a sigh of relief. He had feared that 
Caitlin might try to go to Julian Lunaís mansion, and the inspector feared that if she did so, 
she might be caught in the crossfire of the attack that he felt was inevitable. Frank knew that 
Julian did not seem to take any great precautions in protecting Caitlin from his life, so Frank 
took the responsibility upon himself. After all, he thought, my purpose is to serve and 
protect.



III

Johnny Yashida sat in the House of Nanking, talking on his cell-phone as he hungrily tore 
into the chicken that was widely considered the best in San Francisco. Across from him sat a 
large man with close-cropped blonde hair. Johnnyís friend seemed to have a military air 
about him, but despite his intense demeanor he stared in wonder at some of the people 
coming in and out. Although there was a large crowd within the restaurant, the two kindred 
were being given a wide berth. It seemed as if everyone knew on an instinctual level that 
they were in the presence of predators.

"Well yeah, thatís why I called," Johnny said into the phone. On the other end there was 
silence as Schacter considered the words of his newest co-conspirator.

"What makes you think I canít find out some other way when the kindred will be arriving?" 
Schacter inquired in response.

"What makes you think you have time to use your other informants?" Johnny answered. 
"Either give me what I want, or try to beat the clock, itís your choice. If you think about it, my 
price is not all that high, and itís conditional. How can you lose?"

"Very well, I accept your terms," Schacter said after a few moments. Heinrich hated feeling 
as if he was being bent over a barrel, but Johnny was right. He had little choice in the 
matter.

"Good," Johnny replied, satisfied that he would be getting an item he had wanted for quite 
awhile. "Now, youíre going to set up these kindred with the garou, right?" Yashida asked, 
verifying Schacterís plans.

"Thatís the plan." Schacter replied.

"Call me and let me know exactly whatís going on, ok?" Johnny asked. "I have a few 
pawns of my own that I want to move around." Johnny smiled as he spoke, pointing to the 
man across from him, who also began to smile.

"Iíll let you know," Schacter answered.

"Great. Theyíre coming in on 101, and should make it to Lunaís at about three,"	
Johnny offered.

"Thank you," Schacter replied in an irritated voice.

Johnny put the phone back in his pocket, smiling, and looked around the restaurant again. 
"Any sign of him yet?" Yashida asked.

"No, I havenít seen him, but then again I never met the guy, so I donít know who Iím looking 
for," his companion responded.

After a few moments of searching, Johnny saw Rayce scanning the tables along the wall. 
They both set eyes on each other at the same time. "There he is," Johnny said.

Rayce pushed through the crowd and joined the two other kindred. "Sorry Iím late," Rayce 
apologized. "I had to sneak out when Luna wasnít looking."

"Understood," Johnny answered, not needing an explanation. "Rayce, this is Matt Reimer, 
the most successful of my progeny. I called him last night and had him make a flight into 
town. I figured we could use him being around," Johnny said, gesturing to his companion 
sitting across from him. Matt waved a simple hello as he downed some more of the chicken.

"He eats, too?" Rayce asked, incredulous.

"Absolutely," Johnny answered. "Everyone in my clan eats. In fact, we have to eat food as 
well as drink blood. Not that I mind much, the socializing around the dinner table is 
something that I think a lot of our kind really miss, though they donít always realize it." He 
shoved another piece of chicken in his mouth to emphasize the point.

"Thatís disgusting," was the only response Rayce could muster. Averting his eyes from the 
eating kindred, he continued. "So exactly how many progeny have you sired?"

"Two that Iíll speak of, although one is a fairly reclusive hitman," Johnny replied. "Matt here is 
a true team player, the epitome of what we look for in our clan. He was lucky we had 
decided what it was that we wanted in our clan before he came along, or we might have 
passed him over."

Matt ignored the praise and started to leer at a woman in tight jeans and a halter-top. "As 
you can see," Johnny continued, watching his childe, "he hasnít been dead long enough to 
forget some of his mortal desires." Rayce only smiled in response. "Forget it, Matt. I think 
she would qualify as the black jeans crowd."

"The what? Whatís the black jeans crowd?" Matt asked.

"Iíll tell you when I have it figured out myself," Johnny replied. "Thanks for the information on 
the LA kindred, by the way," Johnny said, turning to Rayce.

"Did you get a hold of your accomplice?" Rayce asked his friend.

"Yup," Johnny answered, smiling at the thought of the item he would get from Schacter.

"And?" Rayce asked, trying to enlighten himself as to what was going on.

In response, Johnnyís phone rang. "Maybe Iíll know in a second," he said, answering the 
call. Rayce watched Johnny as he spoke to his anonymous ally, trying to pick out any 
meaning behind the few words that were spoken. All there were were a few Ďyupsí and Ďuh 
huhsí spoken every few seconds with a Ďthanksí at the end.

"Well?" Rayce asked.

"Itís all set up," Johnny answered.

"What is?" Rayce inquired further. All he got was a blank look on Johnnyís face in response. 
It was if his eyes were being held transfixed, and a worried look was coming over his face. 
"Johnny?" Rayce asked, as if trying to knock him out of his trance. "Are you ok?"

Matt followed Johnnyís gaze across the room, settling at last on two men standing within a 
small crowd, each eating an egg roll and discussing some unknown matter. "Johnny, is that 
who I think it is?" Matt asked.

"Letís not stick around to find out," Johnny answered, quickly grabbing one last piece of 
chicken and taking off through the crowd. Matt and a confused looking Rayce were not far 
behind.

Once they were outside, Rayce finally got Johnny stopped. "Who the hell was in there?" 
he asked, never before having seen such a reaction in his friend.

"If it was who I think it was, the Inquisition has sent one of their hunters into town," Johnny 
answered, a slight sense of doom evident in his voice.

"What?" Rayce asked, now sounding considerably concerned. The word ĎInquisitioní had a 
terrible, personal meaning to Rayce. Too many of his clanís elders had been wiped out by 
human zealots during that time in history.

"Those two guysÖ one of them Iíve never seen before, but the other one was holding a 
glowing spear the last time I saw him, back in Pennsylvania," Johnny explained, hoping that 
he would not have to elaborate. The memory was not pleasant for him.

"I thought we got the garou to eat those guys," Matt said, recalling the event himself.

"I guess they missed," Johnny replied. The small Telemon got onto his bike, and Matt 
climbed into a Jeep Wrangler that was parked next to him. "Come on Rayce, we have to 
hurry," Johnny said. "We only have a little over an hour."

"Why, whatís in an hour?" Rayce asked.

"The garou are hitting Lunaís at about ten thirty or whatnot," Johnny answered. "If you have 
any preparations to make, youíd better get on it."

"What?" Rayce asked, still surprised at hearing about the impending garou strike.

"Apparently, the garou have someone in their pack with a brain," Johnny said.

"Just what we need," Matt said as he started his Jeep.

"Yeah, well they figure that it would be better just to whack Luna before he has a chance to 
get any help," Johnny explained as he kick-started his bike.

"I thought you said they were going to kill these new kindred first," Rayce said.

"I guess they changed their minds," Johnny shouted over the hum of his bikeís engine. "It 
makes sense to do it this way, though. Like I said, someoneís thinking."

"Where are you going to be during all this, Johnny?" Rayce asked, hoping his friend could 
hear him.

"I figure Iíll be on the grounds somewhere," Yashida said as he put on his helmet. "I 
wouldnít miss this for the world. Well, maybe for the world, but not much else." Johnny 
grinned.

"I was wondering if you could watch over someone for me," Rayce shouted as Johnny 
began to roll away.

"I doubt it," Johnny yelled back. "Whoíd you have in mind?"

"Sasha, Julianís niece," Rayce called out. The motorcycle stopped immediately, and Rayce 
could see that Johnny was thinking.

Johnny thought about the possibilities that could present themselves if Julian were to 
survive this night. He may actually have an opportunity to save the life of the princeís niece. 
An opportunity like this was too good to pass up. At the same time, though, he had to 
remember that he would be protecting her from garou. What good is the thankfulness of a 
prince if youíre not alive to enjoy it, Johnny wondered. "Alright," he answered. "If I see her, 
and sheís in trouble, Iíll help her out as best I can."

"I have your word on it?" Rayce questioned.

"Would you take my word even if I gave it?" Johnny returned.

"Thereís honor among thieves, Johnny," Rayce yelled. "Donít forget it."

Johnny didnít respond as he quickly took off down the street. He and Matt didnít have much 
time to get their stuff together and get in position. He had to wonder how they got into 
these situations.

Back in the House of Nanking, Brother Venturi and Father Boland talked quickly. "What 
exactly is the situation?" Boland asked.

"Apparently, there is a kindred war developing," Venturi replied. "The house of the prince 
was attacked a few days ago, and the survivors have been holed up in there ever since. 
Not much else seems to have happened."

"How many people do you have here?" Boland asked, hoping that there were a number 
of followers significant enough to have an impact in the conflict.

"Including myself, there are five of us in the city," Venturi said, himself not sounding 
impressed. "With you there are six."

"Thatís not bad," Boland replied. Though it did not seem like half a dozen hunters was 
many, he had not worked with such a large group in over twenty years. To Peter Boland, 
the odds seemed good. "Are they experienced?" the priest asked.

"Two of my men are hunters, each with at least two kills," Venturi answered. "Brother Dugan 
has been in battle once, though he did not extinguish his target. Father Nevin is, 
unfortunately, completely inexperienced. He is rather fit, though. He coaches wrestling in his 
spare time."

"Alright," Boland said, considering the situation. "I think we should go up and stake out the 
mansion, no pun intended."

"Agreed," Brother Venturi replied.

"Then letís get going, the sooner the better," Venturi said. "We donít want to miss anything 
just because we were having dinner."

At that the two men quickly finished their food and rushed out the door, unaware that they 
were about to walk right into the middle of a battle that pitted against each other forces which 
had despised each other for millennia.



IV

Mark led his packmates into Lincoln Park, looking at the scenery around him. It was amazing 
how far from the city one could feel once within the confines of a small wooded area. Still, 
the odor of the city could be detected, but it was far from being the overpowering stench 
that it was back out on the streets.

"How much farther?" Mark questioned Kristen. She was the one who had led them out here, 
toward the caern of her Glass Walker family. This particular holy place was said to help 
increase the stamina of those who held their moots there. These gatherings of the garou 
helped connect them to their traditions and history, and were generally an event consisting 
of much formality. For this short pack moot however, there would be little more than the 
statement of their goals and a short period of meditation to focus their wills. Still, the pack 
would become closer as a result, and it was this closeness that gave them an edge over 
the superior numbers of their opponents. Each of the kindred would fight as a single entity, 
hoping to not only help carry the day, but also, more importantly, to save his own skin. The 
garou fought differently, as a single unit. Glory would come equally to all members of the 
pack as a result of their victory, so there was no reason for being a glory hound.

Kristen walked on, ignoring Markís question. Looks Within spoke up, however. "It is not far, 
the spirits are of the wyld are in this area, a small community in a sea of weaver spirits." Mark 
reflected on Looks Withinís words Ė so simple, yet containing so rich a meaning. Their 
mysticism included three godheads Ė the Wyrm, the Weaver, and the Wyld. It was from 
the Wyld that raw creation sprung, and the Weaver then gave this creation shape and 
substance. The Wyrm did the essential task of destroying what was left over.

Tragically, both the Weaver and the Wyrm had gone mad. The Weaver, through its spirits, 
now strove to fashion everything into an increasingly intricate form. The modern cities that 
were scars upon the face of Gaia were the result. The Wyrm, in its own insanity, sought to 
destroy everything. It was the belief of the garou that the kindred they now prepared to do 
battle with were minions of the Wyrm. How could it be otherwise? They were, after all, 
exceptions to the laws of nature. They never died a natural death, and were therefore 
leading an existence outside of the cycle of nature. The kindred, as far as the werewolves 
were concerned, produced nothing and simply aided in rotting the core of civilization. Some 
tribes even felt enmity toward the kindred because of the fact that they were the destroyers 
of humanity, as a human died every time that a kindred was born. These garou felt a 
responsibility toward the humans that they shared the earth with, feeling that all were children 
of Gaia.

Reaching a clearing, Kristen finally spoke. "We are here."

"Close the circle," Looks Within said hurriedly. As he was their theurge, or shaman, he would 
be the one to lead them in the rituals of the moot.

They spoke of the murdered children, and many other crimes committed by the vampires 
within the city. They spoke of their responsibility to defend Gaia, their earth-mother, from the 
rape of the Wyrm. They roused themselves into a blood lust, and then suddenly plunged 
their psyches into meditation. It would have done no good to let their feelings loose then, as 
the enemy was across the city from them. Instead, they bottled their rage up within them, 
knowing it would be there to release against their foes when the time was right. After a little 
while, they stood up in unison, and silently began to stride out of the park.

When they left, they all walked with longer steps, with confidence and purpose. Within each 
head was the yearning for the coming battle, the all-consuming desire to rip their enemies 
apart.



V

Johnny and Matt both pulled up near Lunaís mansion, being greeted almost immediately 
by two Gangrel with uzis. "Who the hell are you?" one of the Gangrel asked the two 
newcomers.

"Yashida, of clan Telemon," Johnny answered formally. "This is my childe. I presented 
myself to the prince a couple of days ago. I simply wish the protection he has offered all of 
the kindred loyal to him within the city."

"Alright," the same Gangrel answered. He motioned for the other to open the gate, and the 
two Telemon drove onto the grounds, pulling right up to the front of the building. Three 
more Gangrel were standing guard outside the front door, along with two Brujah. The sight 
of these Brujah and Gangrel working together struck Johnny as being so odd he wished he 
had a camera.

Johnny got off of his bike, and went to the back of Mattís jeep, pulling out a leather 
overnight bag. Matt joined him a moment later, pulling out a duffel bag large enough to hold 
a German Shepherd. They walked up to the door and were stopped by the guards, 
enforcing another level of security.

"What do you two have in the bags?" one of the Brujah asked.

"Weapons, of course," Johnny answered sarcastically, rolling his eyes. "We are expecting 
to be attacked, arenít we?"

"We have to check them for you," one of the Gangrel piped in. "The prince doesnít want 
any overly destructive weapons in his home."

"Such as?" Matt asked.

"Explosives are the main concern," the Brujah answered.

"So this would be acceptable?" Matt continued, opening the bag enough to expose a 
Barret 82A1 .50 Cal sniper rifle, sitting next to an HK MP5, a Street Sweeper automatic 
shotgun, two Glock 10 mmís, and several magazines of rounds. The five guards just looked 
at the weapons, practically drooling with envy.

"That all looks ok," the Brujah answered.

"Then weíll be going on in," Johnny said as he walked past them into the foyer. They were 
almost immediately greeted by Rayce.

"Nice of you guys to show up," he commented with a quick glance at his watch. The 
Telemon were cutting things closer than he would have liked.

"We need a private room where we can get our stuff together," Johnny replied, ignoring 
any pleasantries. He glanced around, seeing a couple of kindred already noticing their 
arrival. "Now!"

Rayce, seeing Johnnyís obvious urgency, led them off down a hallway and gestured them 
into one of the guest bedrooms. "Sasha happens to have the room across from you," he 
said, reminding Johnny of his promise to watch over the princeís niece.

"Iím not here to protect Sasha," Johnny said, seemingly ignoring his earlier promise. "Iím 
simply here to keep an eye on my childe."

"And what are you here for?" Rayce asked Matt, who was already unloading his bag.

Matt initially ignored the question, pulling a black beret out of the bag and putting it on. "Iím 
here to keep my skills fresh," he finally answered. "A soldier will lose his mettle and become 
complacent with peace if he lives in contentment too long. Besides, I never fought an 
enemy like the one coming after us. A whole pack, that is." He pulled out the Barret and 
looked it over, then went about loading all of his weapons.

Johnny pulled a bandoleer with grenades attached out of his bag, and then pulled out a 
couple of mines, followed by three bricks of C-4 and the attendant detonators. "What the 
hell are you doing with all that?" Rayce asked in shock.

"What do you think?" Johnny answered. "Weíre going into battle, and battle is what clan 
Telemon is best at. We donít do this half-ass."

"How did you get that stuff in here?" Rayce asked in shock, remembering the guards at the 
entrance. "They were checking for explosives at the door."

"Well," Johnny began, "as we had thought, the guards became so enraptured over the 
Barret that they forgot to check my bag. Guess you canít trust Gangrel and Brujah with 
responsibility. Who would have thought?" As he spoke he pulled an H&K grenade 
launcher from his bag, handing it to Matt.

"Yeah, who would have thought," Rayce muttered in agreement. "I guess itís about time for 
me to get ready, myself," he said as he walked toward the door. "Good luck, guys."

"Yeah, you too," Johnny answered absently. Although he knew that this could very well be 
the last time he saw his friend, Yashida had more important things to worry about. His own 
survival figured prominently in his list of duties.

Rayce walked back out of the room, leaving the two to prepare in their own way. Johnny 
looked over his weapons, hoping they were enough. He had only two .45 Cal automatics 
with silver bullets, with two extra clips for each. He also had a Beretta 93R 9mm with 
explosive tips, a 1928A1 Thompson sub-machine gun, a silver-coated ninja-to, four 
phosphorous grenades, two blocks of C-4, and three knives. In most circumstances, I 
would feel like a walking arsenal, he thought to himself. Then he looked over at his childe, 
suddenly feeling under-equipped.

Matt had the MP5 over his left shoulder and the Street Sweeper over the right. He carried 
two Glock 10mm pistols, each with silver rounds, in holsters on his thighs. Strapped to his 
back was the grenade launcher. The bandoleer was across his chest, displaying the 40mm 
grenades that were supposedly prohibited in the mansion, and in his hands was the 
magnificent Barret. Truly, Johnny thought, he is what our clan strives to be. Itís no wonder I 
never seemed to measure up when the chips were down.

"Take this," Matt said, tossing a sub-vocal communicator to his sire. I already set it to the 
frequency of the mansionís guards. We can listen to what theyíre doing. Try not to talk at all, 
unless you really need help."

"Got it," Johnny answered, putting the receiver in his ear. "Iím going outside, Iíll watch things 
from in the trees or something."

"Iíll be on the roof," Matt replied.

"Donít get killed," Johnny added as he slowly opened the door, making sure he could slip 
out without someone seeing him with all of his weapons. "I really donít want to go to the 
trouble of teaching another childe."

"Iíll do my best," Matt answered with a smile, immediately going back to work checking over 
his weapons when Johnny had left.

Julian wandered through his home impatiently, wondering when, if ever, the attack was to 
come. It had been days since the last assault, and the Brujah were already talking like the 
massacre was an isolated incident. Some even spoke of leaving the safety of the mansion, 
as every day away from the streets put their underworld power under more strain. He 
turned the corner into his study, only to run into Lillie.

"Good evening Lillie," he started, not even acknowledging the fact that he had almost run 
her down. "What are you up to?"

"Maybe we should go out on the streets, Julian," she said, mirroring the impatience of the 
Brujah. "We could hunt down our enemies instead of waiting for them to get around to attacking us. This is bad for business."

"Thatís rather direct," Julian replied. "I didnít expect you to be too willing to run out into 
battle."

"Do you forget already that Iíve taken part in clan wars?" Lillie asked, her eyes seeming to 
almost glow with energy. "I figured you of all people would remember just how ruthless I 
can be if pressed."

"Fine," Julian said. He did not have the patience or the time to deal with Lillie. "The kindred 
Cyrus is sending should arrive later this evening," Julian said. "If nothing happens tonight, 
weíll bring the matter before the primogen, and let them decide whether we should be 
more assertive in our treatment of this situation."

"Excellent," Lillie said with a sudden smile. "Then I can get back to living my life."

"Assuming you still have one left to live," Julian replied flatly. He walked past her into the 
library, not even stopping to notice the comfort that the familiarity of the room so often gave 
to him. He picked his shotgun up off the desk, and placed it in his lap as he sat down. He 
was ready, he knew that. He didnít know about many of the others, though. Many of the 
kindred in the city were young, and except for the Brujah, had not seen much battle of any 
kind.

What if they did win? How would the city look in the aftermath of a major kindred battle? It 
had been many years since the clan wars, and the weapons they used now were even 
more destructive. No one, not even the Brujah, had been toting grenade launchers around 
the city during Archonís war with the Brujah. Maintaining the Masquerade was starting to 
become so difficult, Julian thought. The police were better equipped now, too. It was not 
unreasonable to think they may actually be able to apprehend a few of the kindred if the 
battle spilled from his mansion into the streets. What would the humans do if their prisoner 
disintegrated when he was brought to the courthouse in the middle of the afternoon for his 
hearing? Would anyone be able to cover up that great a clue about the existence of 
vampires? At the very least, it would bring the hunters, and that fact alone would cause 
enough problems.

"Julian," Cash said urgently as he stepped into the doorway. "The gate guards didnít check 
in."

"Send out the alarm," Julian replied, slowly getting to his feet. So it began, he thought. Just 
a few hours before they were to get reinforcements. He had always been so lucky in ruling 
the city, but now it seemed as though his luck were going to catch up to him.

Julian walked quickly up to Sashaís door, and looked in. "Sasha, stay in your room. No 
matter what happens," he instructed. Her only response was a puzzled look. Julian then ran 
downstairs to join the defenders of the mansion. The Brujah, Toreador, Ventrue, and 
Gangrel were all there in full force. Apparently, Yashida had also shown up with his childe. 
The only Nosferatu, though, was Daedalus. Normally, not even the primogen of the 
Nosferatu clan would have become involved in the violence that was about to take place, 
but Daedalus had a particular dislike of the Sabbat. He would stand with the others to 
prevent the Sabbat from taking over the city that he had come to call home. The rest of the 
Nosferatu clan took an apathetic view of the Sabbat. Rumor had it that several of the 
Nosferatu in the city had at one time been members of the kindred sect that was regarded 
as the Camarillaís most deadly foe

Rayce ran to the library, once more slipping out the same window he had used previously. 
He had pondered the question of where to fight the garou Ė inside or outside. Inside gave 
him the opportunity of backing into a corner, knowing he wouldnít be attacked from behind. 
However, he had no desire to be cornered by an angry werewolf. He had decided that the 
extra space offered outside the mansion was best, despite the possibility it provided of 
being taken by surprise. Once outside, he looked up at Sashaís window above, checking if 
he could see her there. The room was dark however, leaving him to hope that she had 
been smart enough to not come out.

His thoughts were suddenly silenced by the roars of gunfire from the perimeter, followed 
by screams that ended quite abruptly. The same sound quickly arose from the opposite 
side of the compound, with the same abrupt end. The battle fodder of the Gangrel and 
Brujah on the outer edge of their defenses had not lasted long at all. He hoped that they 
had at least done some damage to the garou. He did have to make it out of here alive to 
be the prince, after all. Rayce slipped into the shadows and moved to his right, toward the 
back of the mansion. His hope was that they would once again attack from the sides, as 
they had before. That would leave the back relatively safe, allowing him to hide until an 
opportunity to enter the conflict presented itself.

From a tree on the outer edge of the security perimeter, Johnny had seen the garou coming 
before the guards had. Two wolves, flanking a woman. The three Gangrel below him heard 
the approach of their attackers, and dropped to the ground, hoping to surprise their prey. 
They were the most bestial and effective of the kindred in anything that passed for a 
wooded setting, but tonight they were up against the true masters of the wild. The woman 
stepped out of the bushes, leveled a HK MP5 at one of the Gangrel, and cut him to pieces 
as her packmates attacked from the flanks, tearing the limbs from the bodies before proper 
resistance could be offered. As a final gesture, the bodies were decapitated.

Johnny stayed perfectly still, and called upon some of the abilities he was able to employ 
with his vampiric blood. While some gained fantastic strength, or the ability to grow claws or 
turn into a wolf, Yashida was able to affect the lighting around him. Shadows seemed to 
stretch out from his black outfit, enveloping him in a shroud of darkness. Any sound made 
by him suddenly fell completely silent, as he used his blood to also cloak the noise of his 
movements. The garou were completely unaware of his presence, and so continued on. 
He heard as the remaining garou attacked the other side of the compound, and slowly 
began to move through the trees, watching the movements and strategies of the lupines. 
Knowing the enemy, he figured, was the best way to escape death at the hands of their 
claws.

On the roof, Matt looked through the night vision scope of his weapon, watching as the 
lupines reached the treeline to the right of Julianís home. There were three of them, each in a 
different form. One was still in the form of a human woman, and seemed to be armed with 
some impressive hardware. Another was in the form of a huge wolf, actually more the size 
of a large pony. The final one was, predictably enough, in the form of the wolf-man, the 
shape that the lupines were most typically thought of as being in when entering combat. 
The guards at the base of Julianís house did not seem aware of their presence.

The three garou scanned the clearing leading to Julianís home, and noticed the half dozen 
heavily armed kindred waiting for them. "Theyíre ready for us this time," James growled 
through his impressive jaws. Only another of his kind could even have understood the 
mishmash of the snarls that constituted a great part of the lupine language, and the semi-
words that were the nearest approximation to human speech that he was able to manage.

"Schacter told us that theyíre expecting to be hit by other vampires," Kristen said. "Maybe 
you two should take the homid form until we get close, and then change once weíre upon 
them."

"You speak with wisdom," Looks Within answered with a growl, now no longer able to 
manage human speech at all in his hispo, or dire wolf, form. "I will take my lupis form, 
though. Vampires can turn into wolves, the kindred will still not suspect anything." With his 
words he shrunk his shape into that of an ordinary wolf. James joined him in shifting forms, 
himself becoming human once again. From under the poncho he wore, he withdrew a wide 
dagger Ė a klaive, the holy weapon of the garou.

"Letís go," he whispered, and ran out into the clearing.

Kristen covered his approach with a spray of gunfire, hitting all of the waiting kindred, 
knocking them off balance for a brief moment. That was all the time Looks Within needed to 
close the gap. He was at the neck of one of the guards before the vampire was even able 
to heal his gunshot wounds. The other five looked in shock at the wolf that was suddenly 
amongst them, their inexperience in combat showing in their delayed reactions. James was 
able to use the advantage presented to him. He reached the group and slashed across the 
throat of one, ducked down, and hamstrung another on the back-swing. The kindred finally 
regained their senses, and began to fight back violently. Looks Within had moved on, 
having bitten the head off of his first opponent, and took a shotgun blast right through his 
ribs. He enlarged his size back into his hispo form and continued the attack, ignoring the pain 
he was feeling. He pounced upon the surprised Gangrel, who had not been expecting the 
significant increase in mass of his opponent. Looks Within bit into the manís chest, removing 
his dead heart from the rest of the body, throwing it against the side of the mansion.

As her packmates fought the healthy kindred, Kristen moved in silently, intent on preventing 
the two injured vampires from healing their wounds and returning to the fight. She drew her 
wakizashi, the traditional head-taker sword of the Japanese samurai, and severed the heads 
from the bodies of her foes, ending any threat they may have presented within only a few 
more seconds.

James, meanwhile, had been surrounded by two of the four remaining kindred. He was 
stabbed from behind, but ignored the wound as he focused on the one in front of him with 
the shotgun. Shifting back into his crinos form, he used the ensuing moment of surprise to lift 
the armed kindred off of the ground, and proceeded to rip his head from the shoulders. He 
then turned quickly to deal with the Brujah who had stabbed him in the back. The lone 
kindred backed up against the building, the fear evident in his eyes. James removed the 
look as he thrust the skull from his first victim through the head of the second.

Matt just watched the whole scene from above, wishing to first gauge the strength of his 
enemy before he attempted to do battle with them. He looked for any sign of weakness in 
body or tactics, and found nothing obvious. His eyes were then drawn to the side of the 
large wolf, which was healing itself before his eyes, as effectively as any kindred wound 
could have been healed. Perhaps even moreso, he thought. Truly, this was a dreadfully 
powerful foe, as he had always been told, and it seemed, he thought, that gunshots truly 
only seemed to make them angrier.

From the other side of the house there was yelling, and the intense gunfire indicative of 
panic-stricken kindred. "Holy shit, garou!" he heard Cash yell out. So, Cash would be the 
first primogen to fall, Matt thought. How ironic, that the garou should first kill the head of the 
one clan that has ever been able to coexist, admittedly on a small scale, with the lupines.

Sasha looked from her window, viewing the battle that took place below Matt. She 
recognized the garou for what they were Ė the hated enemies of all kindred. She opened 
her window and crawled out, intent on joining this conflict, on showing her worth in battle to all 
those that thought she was weak, while at the same time punishing the arrogance of these 
lupines. On the ledge, she reached back in and grabbed her Ruger Blackhawk, looking 
forward to the moment she would kill a werewolf with it.

She waited until the garou below her had turned the corner back to the front of the mansion, 
and then jumped down. When she reached the ground, she circled to the back of the 
mansion and around to the other side. Once there she saw the advance of Mark, Andrew, 
and Forgotten Teeth. Panic stricken, Sasha ran back behind the mansion, and slowly began 
to go back to the front from the right side.

Cash, meanwhile, knew the threat for what it was as soon as the three garou emerged from 
the treeline, all in the crinos form that made them unmistakable as the stuff kindred 
nightmares were made of. He opened up with his uzi as he grabbed Julian, pushing him 
back toward the mansion. Cash watched as his clan mates were ripped to bloody shreds 
by the garou, many of them so overcome by shock that they were unable to even present 
any defense to the onslaught. Though he was close to all of these Gangrel, Cash knew he 
had to protect his prince first, the responsibility depriving him of the chance to die with his 
clan.

Making it to the front door, Cash ran into Cameron, Daedalus, and Lillie coming out. "Go 
back in," he screamed. "Itís not the Sabbat, itís garou!"

As Cameron turned around to reenter the building which would stand as their last line of 
defense, he was tackled to the ground by Looks Within, who howled with satisfaction at 
finding the target of their attack Ė the man who was behind the deaths of the Gambioni 
children. Before he could bite down and deprive the Brujah of his blood, however, he was 
cut into by two pairs of sharp claws which flayed the flesh from upon his bones. He 
screamed out in pain, turning to see Daedalus and Julian digging into him. Before Looks 
Within could even react, James was upon Daedalus, his fangs holding the Nosferatu prone 
two feet off of the ground while he began to rip him apart with his claws. Looks Within 
turned on Julian, who was pushed back by Cash, now standing between the two. Looks 
Within lunged at the Gangrel, knowing it would take mere moments to work his way to the 
prince. His attack was cut off in mid-flight, however, by a .50 caliber round, sending him four 
feet off to Cashís left. Matt looked down at the scene, disappointed that he had had to 
become involved. However, the approaching headlights he had seen told him the tide of 
the battle was about to swing against the garou, and he wished to side with the winner. He 
then let loose with another salvo, making sure that every hit was only a flesh-wound. He 
wanted to make his participation look good, but he did not want to turn the tide of the battle 
by himself. He wanted Julian to earn his victory.

Schacter also noticed the approaching vehicles, and recognized them for what they 
represented. Knowing time was short, he resolved to do what he could to slow down 
anything that could stand in the way of the garou victory that seemed only moments away.

As James ripped into Daedalusí chest, seeking to remove the Nosferatuís heart, he was cut 
down by several shots from an M-16, fired from the front of a Mercedes that was racing up 
the drive. It was followed by two other cars. As the first two pulled up four men poured 
from each one, all armed with military issue weapons. The kindred from LA had arrived 
early, Julian realized. They may live through this night yet.

Within the third car, one of the Ventrue looked down in horror as the pin sprung from one of 
the grenades. It detonated, and the interior of the car, laden with Molotov cocktails, burst into 
flames as it neared the other two vehicles. One of the kindred managed to escape the 
flaming wreckage, but at that moment the gas tank burst, sending flaming gasoline all over 
his body, extinguishing him with fire.

"What would be the chances of that, do you think?" Schacter asked Yashida, who had just 
emerged into the clearing. The vampire started, unaware that the German had been 
standing in his path.

"You did that?" Johnny asked, gesturing to the burning Mercedes.

"Itís what I do," Schacter replied. "I alter the probability of certain events within a complex 
system. Itís a kind of magic. I think my allies have had enough help for now, though. Iím not 
sticking around with the Inquisition walking the grounds." He turned and left, his shadow 
dancing across the lawn as a result of the flames from the flaming wreck in the driveway.

"Damn," Dugan muttered from the shadows of the trees. "That one knows weíre here. Kill 
him, Serge."

"No," Serge responded, leveling his crossbow. "That one is mortal. Iím going to kill the 
other one." He traced Johnnyís silhouette against the fire as he spoke, knowing his aim had 
to be perfect, or at least within an inch of the desired target. Impaling a vampireís heart with 
a crossbow bolt was not the easiest task in the world.

"The Inquisition?" Johnny asked Heinrich as he made his way back into the trees. "Theyíre 
here?" As if in answer, he was struck in the chest with a crossbow bolt, impaling his heart 
and sending him into torpor, vulnerable to any attack the witch hunters felt like inflicting upon 
him.

Brother Dugan began to run across the grass toward the fallen kindred, knowing he would 
be able to finish it off before help could arrive. Serge and Father Nevin ran along behind 
him, Serge reloading the crossbow he had used to stake Yashida from a distance.

"We only have to cut off his head now, right?" Father Nevin asked as the closed the gap 
between themselves and Johnny.

"Yes," Dugan responded as he drew a cutlass from its scabbard on his hip.

"We could also set the body on fire," Serge added in a thick Italian accent. "But I guess 
thereís no time for that."

Sasha sneaked around the side of the mansion, hoping to not get caught unaware by any 
stray garou. She heard talking from the lawn, and saw three men approaching a fallen figure, 
a crossbow bolt protruding from his chest. She realized immediately that the garou 
probably had help form these mortals, who appeared to be hunters. Brother Dugan was 
suddenly thrown to the ground in a spray of blood as a bullet tore through his chest. A split 
second later, Father Nevinís head was a mist, as Matt also dispatched of him from his perch 
on the roof. He counted his lucky stars for having realized in time that members of the 
Inquisition were attacking his sire. Sasha ran out to face Serge, who leveled his crossbow to 
dispatch of the Brujah. He never got a chance, though, as Matt decided to shoot him with 
the grenade launcher, ending the manís life in a blaze of light.

Sasha looked up toward the roof, to see who had helped her from above, and only caught 
the slight movement of a shadow carrying what appeared to be a large rifle across to the 
other side of the roof. She knelt down and removed the bolt from Yashidaís heart, instantly 
bringing him back out of torpor. He looked up at Sasha and laughed. "I thought I was the 
one who was supposed to watching over you," he said with a smile. He looked at the 
bodies around him, and nodded. "Thanks Matt, I owe you one."

"I know," the response came through the receiver in his ear from the roof. "Get to the front of 
the building. Luna might make it out, after all."

"Understood," Johnny responded as he began to race across the lawn, propelled by the 
strength in his blood faster than any mortal would have been able move. Sasha raced off 
behind him, curious as to what exactly was going on in the front of the building, hoping she 
could help her uncle survive the night.

Just as Julian thought victory was assured with the arrival of the LA kindred, a thin garou 
jumped down from the roof right beside him, thrusting a wakizashi through Lillieís heart, 
sending her into torpor and taking her out of the fight. Mark had also arrived with Andrew and 
Forgotten Teeth, all three of them full of fight after dispatching the remaining Gangrel and 
Brujah guards. They ran headlong into the LA kindred, aiming to stop them from being a 
part in the battle.

All three rushed headlong into a barrage of phosphorous shotgun rounds from Cyrusí 
enforcers, the shells burning their flesh, preventing regeneration any time in the near future. 
The three lupines fell back as quickly as they had initially attacked, racing around the corner of 
the mansion, being pursued by the eight kindred who now sensed victory.

In the front, Julian reacted to Kristenís attack quickly, blasting her through the stomach with a 
phosphorous round, exposing her vital organs to the outside world. She knocked the 
weapon from his hands, and he attacked her instead with his claws. Daedalus crawled over 
toward Jamesí body, hoping to finish him off before the garou was able to regenerate from 
the damage done by the LA kindred with the M-16. As he got within armís reach, however, 
Daedalus felt an intense chill on his back. He turned and saw Brother Venturi standing 
above him with a spear in his hands. It seemed to the Nosferatu that the mortal before him 
was glowing with an inner, holy light, although it seemed to cast no shadow. Daedalus felt a 
strange sensation Ė fear. He had heard of the effects of true faith upon the kindred, but he 
had never experienced it before. He was held transfixed, petrified by his terror. Brother 
Venturi raised the spear and impaled the Nosferatu through the heart, sending him into 
torpor, the death-like sleep of the kindred. He took a quick glance toward James, but the 
hunter ignored the garou for the time being and pulled a hatchet out from beneath the white 
cloak he was wearing, preparing to take Daedalusí head.

As he began to strike he was tackled by Johnny, who succeeded in knocking the hunter to 
the ground. Boland and Max moved to help their comrade from the Society of Leopold, 
but were set upon by Sasha. Neither of the men seemed too concerned with the approach 
of a single kindred, but their smug looks were erased with a pair of shots from the roof as 
Matt wounded each of the hunters. In response to the horror of seeing Daedalus apparently 
dead, and the thrill of knowing that the Nosferatuís attackers were vulnerable, Sasha 
released the beast within her, allowing herself to frenzy. She tore into the men with a dagger 
wielded by supernatural strength, cutting through bone, muscle, and sinew with the greatest 
of ease.

Venturi had been able to escape from underneath the smaller kindred, and rose to his feet, 
wielding his hatchet menacingly. Johnny pulled out his ninja-to in time to deflect the hatchet 
as it was swung expertly in his direction.

"Do you remember me, as I remember you, hunter?" Yashida began to taunt, shadows 
billowing out from his body. He knew full well that the last time he had encountered Venturi, 
he had been able to distract him through the manipulation of shadows. The priest had 
recognized the dark occult power for what it was Ė something that demonstrated the 
presence of pure evil.

"Devil kin!" Brother Venturi screamed in response, swinging the hatchet. While the attack 
was successfully parried, the force of the swing knocked the ninja-to from Johnnyís hands, 
leaving him vulnerable to the next swing, which was cut off by a katana, wielded by Rayce.

"I told you to keep an eye on her, not bring her into battle," Rayce shouted as he nodded 
towards Sasha, still raking at the bodies of the now long-dead Inquisitors. Rayce parried the 
next attack, and another, and seemed to gain speed as he fought. Johnny moved over to 
Sasha, trying to calm her out of her frenzy, but had little success. In the battle behind Johnny 
and Sasha, Rayce managed to find an opening, and slashed across the chest of his 
opponent, dropping him to the ground. He realized that Johnny would need time to calm 
Sasha down, and decided that he didnít have any time to offer to help. Instead, Rayce 
turned and headed back toward the front of the mansion.

"Oh, I donít have time for this," Johnny muttered as he turned away from Sasha. He could 
think of only one way to deal with the situation quickly. A few moments later, he was racing 
off across the lawn with Sasha over his shoulder running toward the garage. Johnny hoped 
to be able to hide until the battle was over. Any onlooker would have seen no further 
resistance being offered by the Brujah held over the Telmonís shoulder as he fled.

Julian, however, had no such luxury of having a hiding place. He felt his chest open up as 
Kristen slashed though the kevlar vest he was wearing, the body armor offering virtually no 
protection against her attack. Cash was busy with Looks Within, who was trying to get 
through the Gangrelís formidable melee defenses. Julian had paid top dollar to have his 
personal bodyguard trained in hand to hand combat, and that investment was now paying 
off. Cameron stood up, shaking off Looks Withinís original attack, and struck at the Uktena 
from behind with a dagger, hoping to decrease the number of garou so that he could at 
least slip out of their view long enough to flee the battle. Despite his misgivings, he could 
not shake the feeling that the garou who had him had actually picked him out, as if it were the 
Brujah primogen that was the main target, rather than the prince. His thoughts were cut short, 
though, as James returned to the battle and knocked Cameron to the ground, intent on 
finishing off the reviled Brujah primogen

On the left side of the building, Mark, Andrew, and Natasha were cornered, backs against 
the wall of the mansion, surrounded by eight kindred, and bleeding profusely from the 
shotgun wounds. If left alone, they would most probably all die from the wounds they had 
already received, Mark knew that much. He also knew, however, that these kindred werenít 
going to just leave them to die. They would attack, and try to defeat these foes with the 
hand weapons they now wielded Ė baseball bats, swords, and knives. Mark growled, then 
roared. He knew his time had come, but he would never surrender to these agents of the 
Wyrm. He would resist to his last breath. The kindred attacked, one of them still holding a 
shotgun. Natasha was on the receiving end of the blast, and crumpled to the ground. 
"Retreat, Tasha," Andrew roared. "Retreat, I order you!" Despite the fact that Andrew was 
not old enough to order her, Natasha took off, knowing that she would not survive if she 
stayed. She was unwilling to throw her life away so freely.

Mark half-turned to Andrew, meaning to tear the Shadow Lordís throat out for calling a 
retreat. Instead he grinned as he saw the Shadow Lord continue the fight against the 
kindred, now moving toward Mark to go back to back with his alpha. It was then that it all 
made sense to Mark. His own clan had praised itself for its strength, greatness born from a 
superior work ethic and constant trials. Here, though, was a Shadow Lord, the most 
untrusted of all the tribes, and he seemed unbothered that he would die here at the hands 
of the Wyrm along with this Get of Fenris warrior. Mark grinned as a sword slashed through 
his heart. He gripped the arm of the wielder and wrenched it out of the shoulder, killing one 
last foe. He heard Andrew howl behind him and knew that he was dead, but Mark was still 
happy. He knew then that when the Apocalypse finally arrived, all the tribes would rush into 
battle, just as Andrew had, and they would die in opposition to the Wyrm. As everything 
went black, Markís final thought was that though the Wyrm won this round, he would be 
born again to defend Gaia, and next time he would kill even more of his enemies.

At the front door, Kristen finally collapsed as a result of Julianís attack, unable to take the 
punishment any longer. She turned her neck toward the prince, a sign of submission, and 
Julian simply collapsed next to her, unable to take the final swing that would have deprived 
her of her life. Cash was extremely bloodied, as was Looks Within. Cameron had been 
beaten down by James within a matter of seconds after the Fianna had regained his feet, 
but the garou was now facing off against Rayce, who had arrived to defend his primogen 
after realizing the fatal flaw with his plan. He now fought to maintain the status quo, to assure 
that the primogen who sat on the conclave at the beginning of the night would sit there still 
after this battle. No longer did he count on Julian dying, as he realized he had simply been overly ambitious. If he were lucky, the garou would still bury Cameron. However, Rayce 
decided that he would have to defend Luna, at least for the time being.

Rayce cut into his wolven opponent with his silver katana, causing James to howl in agony. 
Had the blade consisted of pure flame it would not have hurt as much, such was the 
strength of silver as a bane against the garou, akin to sunlightís effect on vampires. James 
rushed the Brujah, accepting another slash across the chest in exchange for the opportunity 
to overbear him, pinning him to the ground. Rayce realized almost immediately that he 
would not escape, and so diverted his attention to an alternate means of diverting his 
opponentís attention. Behind the garou the earth swelled up into a vaguely humanoid form 
which beset the garou before he could decapitate Rayce. Realizing that an elemental had 
been summoned once again, he released the vampire, hoping to find an alternate means of 
attack. From far off he heard the howl of Forgotten Teeth, the howl for a retreat. He saw the 
kindred come from around the side of the building, and knew that their alpha was dead. Mark 
would never have retreated or let an enemy survive a battle.

James darted away from Rayce as quickly as possible, up towards the front door of the 
mansion. Rayce, realizing Julianís vulnerability, gave chase. Despite the opportunity to kill 
the prince, though, James simply scooped up Kristen and began to run off as quickly as he 
could. Seeing his packmate flee, Looks Within broke off from Cash and also retreated, 
leaving the kindred for another day, another battle.

Rayce let his elemental fall back into the earth, knowing no one had even seen him work 
one of his more powerful abilities. He removed the spear from Daedalusí back, and 
removed the sword from Lillieís chest. They all then got the survivors of the night back into 
the mansion. Jeffrey and Cassandra, both of whom had stayed inside, were alive. Julian 
and Sonny were the only other two Ventrue remaining in the city, as Sonny had not even 
been on the grounds for the battle. Cameron was still intact, as was Rayce, but no other 
Brujah were to be accounted for. Lillie and Shane, a blood brother to her, were the only 
Toreador left alive, and Cash constituted the entire population of the Gangrel. Of course, the 
Nosferatu had all survived, being unwilling to ever engage in a war. As Julian looked 
around, he felt an extreme emptiness. A week ago this had been a city supporting over 
sixty of his kind, not including the countless Nosferatu underneath in the sewers. Now there 
were only nine, plus the pacifist Nosferatu.

"Where is Sasha?" Julian gasped, realizing that his niece was not in the mansion. "Has 
anyone seen her? I thought I saw her fighting one of the hunters."

"Sheís with Yashida," Rayce answered. "He took her someplace safe."

Almost on cue, a bloody Johnny and Sasha walked into the doorway. Sasha ran into 
Julianís arms, and wound up supporting a great portion of his weight, as he was unable to 
even stand. Matt appeared in the doorway behind Johnny, and Yashida spoke up. "Julian, 
this is my childe, Matt. He aided me in saving Sasha from the garou. He wishes to present 
himself."

"You are welcome in my city," Julian gasped, irritated that Yashida had undertaken the 
presentation at that inopportune moment. Julian would have like to have learned more, but 
didnít have the strength for interrogations at the time.

The sirens could be heard from far off, and Jeffrey went outside with Rayce, to aid the LA 
kindred in cleaning up the mess left by the battle. Regardless of anything else, the 
Masquerade would have to be maintained.



VI

Why did we run?" Looks Within demanded. Natasha just glared at him in response.

"Yeah, Tasha," James questioned. "We could still have won."

Natasha brought James into her vision along with Looks Within. Only Kristen did not speak 
against her, not that that fact said a great deal. The Glass Walker was hovering on deathís 
doorstep. Natasha let Kristen sit there for the time being. Though the wounds would have 
killed a human, they did no more than incapacitate their packmate, and that condition would 
be temporary. She would be able to fight again in a few days.

"You will not question me, James," Natasha answered angrily, speaking up for the second 
time that night. "I am your elder, and you will accept my command, unless, of course, you 
wish to challenge." The words took James completely by surprise. None had ever known 
Natasha to be assertive in any way. The word Ďchallengeí had never even been spoken in 
the same sentence as her name. Suddenly, however, she seemed willing to do whatever it 
took to justify her actions.

"No, I will not challenge you," James replied. He was afraid of what the challenge would be. 
He was certain that combat would not be chosen, as he was relatively healthy, while 
Natasha was still bleeding from a shotgun wound to her side. Even so, he doubted she 
could defeat him even if she were healthy. He decided that a games challenge would 
probably follow, and he had no desire to try to match wits with an insane Silver Fang.

"Since you do not challenge, I need only justify my actions to Looks Within," Natasha said, 
turning to the packís shaman. "I was ordered by Andrew to retreat."

"His commands were not binding on you," Looks Within replied, stating what he realized 
Natasha already knew. "Only Mark and I had authority in this pack to give you an order."

"I know, but I chose to obey, all the same," Natasha shot back, not liking the tone in Looks 
Withinís voice. She did not feel he was accusing her of anything. He almost sounded as if 
he already understood her reasons, and that fact made the Silver Fang feel creepy. She did 
not like the apparent omniscience of Looks Within.

"Coward!" James interjected. "A song of your cowardice shall be sung along with any dirge 
that praises the bravery of Mark and Andrew as they fell to the Wyrm."

"I told you to be quiet, whelp!" Tasha shot back venomously. "The order was the correct 
one," she stated, addressing everyone in the room. "As James said, we could have won, 
but we would probably have all been killed in the process. Perhaps one or two of us would 
have survived. That is unacceptable."

"Why?" Looks Within asked. His tone had become inquisitive, and Natasha felt as though 
she were being tested. She knew that Looks Within was searching for a particular answer, 
and she had no idea what it was. She decided to simply answer with her heart, feeling that if 
she were to be damned, it would be because of something she truly felt.

"If just one of the kindred in the city survived, and one always does, they would have had 
the entire city repopulated within a year," Natasha said, beginning her explanation. 
"Meanwhile, it would take us years to train a new pack of garou to face this threat. They 
need only one night to select a neonate, while we need to rely on an extremely recessive 
gene to create a garou. We are far rarer than they are, and therefore we can no longer throw 
our lives away in fighting the Wyrm."

"So what do you suggest?" Looks Within asked, looking pleased with Natashaís line of 
logic.

"Only that we think when we act, or risk going extinct," Forgotten Teeth answered, no longer 
seeming shy about being in a position of power. "Too much depends on us winning our 
war."

"Absolutely," Looks Within answered. "I will follow you."

"What?" Natasha asked.

"Our alpha is dead, we need another," Looks Within replied, stating the facts. "Besides, it is 
the prophecy." Everyone in the room turned to the old shaman, expecting an immediate 
explanation of what prophecy he was referring to.

"Mark said something about a prophecy back when we were planning this whole thing, but 
never explained what he meant," Natasha retorted. "What is it youíre talking about?"

Looks Within looked at Natasha for a moment, then diverted his attention to his other two 
surviving packmates. He then decided to speak. "There was a prophecy that on a night of 
an eclipse, with a shooting star held still in the sky, a pack of garou representing six different 
tribes would go on a quest for vengeance. From that pack would emerge an alpha that 
would change the way many garou would view the war against the Wyrm, and these 
alternative methods will meet with success."

"And you think thatís me?" Natasha asked, almost incredulous. She had suddenly lost the 
glow of confidence that she had had only moments earlier. There was, after all, a huge 
difference between taking temporary control of the pack, and actually becoming its new 
alpha. She could not even consider being some great leader of all the garou. Everything 
was coming at her too quickly. "Looks Within, Iím no leader," Forgotten Teeth continued. "I 
never wanted to be a leader. Hell, until tonight I never even said more than a sentence at a 
time." Natasha began to get more and more excited.

"Many say that the Silver Fang have descended into madness, and I used to think that you 
fit this stereotype," Looks Within stated, not caring that he offended his new alpha. "Now I 
see that that you are not mad, but only enlightened. Some say there is little difference 
between the two, but I believe that one exists within you. You should lead us."

"What if the prophecy is wrong?" she asked, trying to prevent herself from having to take 
responsibility for the lives of her packmates. Her fear of failure began to grow within her 
once again.

"The prophecy is not wrong, Mark was wrong," Looks Within replied flatly. "He thought he 
was the leader that would emerge, and that we would take a more militant view towards the 
Wyrm, but that was obviously not meant to be. You are to lead this pack, and later, by 
example, many other garou."

"You sound like weíre going to become peaceniks," James said in disgust. "How am I 
supposed to write epic songs of the great garou pacifists?"

"No," Looks Within responded, looking up to the sky as if the stars themselves could lend 
to him the wisdom of the ages. "We will not become pacifists, we will become strategists. 
No longer will we rush mindlessly into battle, destroying all we can. We will be calculating, 
as our enemy is. If we use our brains, our brawn will undoubtedly win out."

"Ok," Natasha answered. "I can see where this is going." Natasha felt the glow of confidence 
return to her once again, as suddenly as it had disappeared only moments earlier. She was 
as sure as Looks Within was that it was her destiny to lead her pack. "I accept leadership of 
the pack," she said with a grim look on her face. "Let it be known that I am no longer 
Forgotten Teeth. I will now be called Claws of Wisdom, and I will use the wisdom passed 
on to me by the Uktena to lead this pack to new levels of glory. Do any wish to challenge 
my claim?" She looked at James as she spoke, but he did not respond.

Natasha led them to the edge of Golden Gate Park, where they had been having their 
meeting, and got into her car. As she did so, James looked at her, and wondered at the 
songs that would one day be sung about her. He had no doubt that Looks Within would 
prove to be correct, that the garou would come to a new understanding of warfare, led by 
Claws of Wisdom. One question remained, though Ė would Natasha live long enough to 
see them come to this new way of thought, leaving behind the old ways of unplanned 
mayhem? James was unsure. The changing of the ways of the garou was a long process, 
and carried with it dangers of its own.



VI

Johnny sat in his apartment, downing the last of a bucket of KFC when he heard a knock at 
the door. Going over, he found Rayce standing outside. "Can I come in?" the Brujah asked.

"Absolutely," Johnny answered. "There are some things I canít wait to find out."

"Such as?" Rayce asked, a broad smile on his face. Johnny could see that many things had 
worked out for his friend, though they did not all go exactly as planned.

"Why did you change your mind in the middle of the battle?" Johnny asked quickly. Before 
Rayce could answer, though, he had proceeded on to the matter that confused him most. 
"Why side with the prince?" Yashida inquired. "You could have had them all wiped out if 
you hadnít fought off that garou. The battle hinged on your decision, and you went the 
opposite way from what you said you were going to." Johnny sat back on the couch, 
opening the Styrofoam container holding the mashed potatoes.

Rayce simply looked in disgust at his friend eating, then began. "I saw the kindred that 
Cyrus sent, and realized that they were well trained in combat. If Julian ever fell, Cyrus 
would probably come looking to replace him. I wouldnít have been able to hold him off by 
myself. Besides, even if Cyrus didnít show up, there are anarchs in Oakland who would 
have. Come on, you were able to get a gang of them over here with just a few words 
about Julian being weakened. If Julian died, this city would become an anarch haven. It 
would be like New Orleans Ė completely out of control.

"This way I at least will definitely be the number two man in the Brujah, and Iíll be able to 
help repopulate the clan. Cameron is smarter than Fiori, but heíll still push Julian too far 
someday. Then Iíll get to take over. From there itís only one step to being prince."

"Thatís a long step," Johnny answered. "Besides, youíll have some competition."

"What do you mean? You?" Rayce looked at Johnny in disbelief.

"No, not me," Yashida replied, seeming relieved. "I hate this politics stuff," Johnny added 
with a sheepish grin. Rayce, of all people, knew exactly how much of a manipulator Johnny 
Yashida could be. He simply figured that Johnny was not yet willing to settle down in any 
one place for very long. "Besides," Johnny continued, "I have a Gangrel friend in New 
Orleans thatís gonna be pretty pissed that I just ran off, and I have to get back to her. Matt is 
gonna be staying, though."

"Matt?" Rayce asked, surprised. "Heís just a childe."

"No, I have officially released him," Johnny replied. Julian heard about Matt whacking the 
Inquisition guys, and knows that Matt probably saved all the primogen when he started 
pumping bullets into the garou from his spot on the roof. He was impressed, and grateful. 
Julian gave him a seat on the conclave, to sit as primogen of clan Telemon. He actually 
received permission to embrace two childer. Julian even has him taking over as his 
personal bodyguard, giving Cash a chance to repopulate his clan." Johnny shook his head 
in apparent disbelief, wondering how hard Julian had been hit during the fight to let an 
unknown entity get close to him.

"Wow, lotís of changes," Rayce commented. "I have a question for you, though."

"What is it?" Johnny asked.

"How did you calm Sasha down?" Rayce asked. "She was in a fit of frenzy, completely out 
of control, and she wonít tell anyone what you did."

"Yeah, I bet she wonít," Johnny replied with a sly grin. "It would suck for her if other people 
started doing the same thing."

"What?" Rayce asked, unable to hide his curiosity.

"I staked her with my ninja-to," Johnny replied with a shrug.

"You did what?" Rayce asked, a shocked look on his face.

"Well, I had to get out of there, the garou was getting up," Johnny replied, trying to get his 
friend to remember the situation. "Besides, she didnít resist much when she was in torpor. It 
worked like a charm."

"Youíre a sick man, Johnny, and youíre lucky she didnít tell anyone. Julian would have had 
our head," Rayce said only half-seriously. He figured it was actually more likely that the 
prince would have had paid Johnny to teach the mansionís staff exectly where to stab 
Sasha in the future to calm her down.

"Julian would have to catch me before he could hurt me," Johnny responded, "and Iím 
leaving town in just a few minutes. You were actually lucky to catch me." He threw the 
empty styrofoam container into the trash can, and then looked at Rayce with an inquisitive 
eye. "One more question, though."

"Shoot."

"Who are you, really, Rayce?" Johnny asked. "Youíre not like any damn Brujah I ever met."

"No, I guess not," Rayce replied proudly. "But that, my friend, is a question for another 
day."



VII

Caitlin sat in the Haven, sipping her customary red wine. As she looked around she realized 
that many of the usual customers were not present, and wondered if that had any 
connection to the fact that both Lillie and Julian had seen so much trouble lately. After a 
couple of minutes of more waiting, she saw Julian finally enter, conspicuously without Cash, 
the bodyguard that Caitlin had become somewhat acquainted with. In his stead there was 
now a rather large man with a military haircut, wearing a jacket that only partially concealed the 
MP5 underneath.

"Good evening, Caitlin," Julian said as smoothly as ever.

"Itís nice to see you out again," she responded, thinking how little he seemed affected by 
what had apparently been going on around him for the past week.

"I wasnít going to stay inside while you were out here," he responded coyly. Matt, satisfied 
that Caitlin posed no threat, grabbed a waitress and ordered some beer and nachos, and 
sat down in a booth a few feet away from Julian.

"Whoís the new guy?" Caitlin asked once Matt had walked away. "Nothing happened to 
Cash, did it?" Her concern was so sincere that Julian was surprised.

"No, Cash is fine," Julian said with a smile. "He just needs time to look into some business 
matters of his own. Matt there has been promoted to head of security for me, at least for the 
time being." Julian gave a quick look at the Telemon, and hoped that his decision had been 
wise. With the decimation of the cityís kindred, there would be a need for enforcers of the 
princeís edicts. The Telemon seemed perfect for the job. Giving Matt Reimer the added 
responsibility of security for the prince would keep him busy enough to not scheme behind 
Julianís back, and would also keep him close enough for Julian to see what the Telemon 
were really like. Luna had heard several positive things about the clan from back east, but 
he needed to decide for himself. Well, the prince thought, as the saying says, keep your 
friends close, but your enemies closer.

"Whereíd you meet him?" Caitlin asked.

"Why do you keep avoiding the questions you want to ask?" Julian countered, not wanting 
to have to get into details about his new bodyguard. There were far more pleasurable 
topics of conversations as far as he was concerned.

"Ok," she answered. "What exactly has been going on, Julian? Iíve heard some crazy 
stories."

"I can imagine," he answered. "You should hear some of the stories that I heard." He smiled, 
trying to lighten the mood. "You remember Cameron, right?"

"How could I forget?" Caitlin asked. Indeed, lately Cameronís name seemed to keep 
popping up in places that her contacts had once reserved for the mobster Eddie Fiori.

"From what weíve been able to figure out, a competitor of Cameronís once did something 
extremely vile, and people close to the event wrongly concluded it had been Cameron 
that had ordered this particular act." Julian thought about the letter that he had received, from 
an anonymous source, which explained why the garou had been coming after Cameron. 
Unfortunately, there had been no way to relay the facts supporting Cameronís innocence, 
and Julian knew that one day the garou may return to finish the job they had begun.

"What exactly was this vile act?" Caitlin asked, her curiosity evident in her expression.

"I do not like to speak of crimes of this magnitude," Julian responded. "Just understand that it 
was particularly wicked. Cameron and I share a few isolated business interests, and he 
came to me for help. I guess it was perceived that I was actively aiding him, and I became 
involved in the crossfire. Unfortunately, many people I know were killed as a result, and a lot 
of my property was damaged."

"So Iíve heard," Caitlin said, nodding. "Itís all over now?" she asked, already knowing that 
Julian would lie to reassure her if he thought it would help the situation, but she still needed 
to hear him say it. She had to hear the words so that she could sleep better that night. She 
also needed to know whether she could permit herself to keep getting closer to this man 
that seemed to attract so much violence and intrigue.

"I wouldnít have come anywhere near you unless I knew for sure that it was safe," Julian 
answered. Deep down, he hoped that indeed it was all over. The garou had been 
expelled from the city, but there was always the threat of a return, and there were 
weakened defenses within San Francisco. Beyond the threat of the garou, there was 
always the possibility that the Sabbat truly would show up, trying to take advantage of the 
opening that was made for them as a result of the recent conflict. There were also the ever-
present anarch gangs of California. Not to be forgotten, Julian thought, was also the 
possibility of another prince trying to add San Francisco to his territory. While it was doubtful 
that Cyrus would try, having already lost several of his best soldiers, there were others who 
might make a move. Only time will tell, Julian pondered as he gazed into Caitlinís eyes, whether or not we have truly won this particular war.

Fin

(For now)

Additional Note: This is where I request that you, the reader, review this fic (so I know if it 
has any value at all). It was originally filed in the White Wolf section (under Games), but I 
recently moved it here, since it may be more appropriate in this section. Anyway, this is 
episode 1 of a series. If you liked what you saw here, I would suggest you check out the 
next installment, ĎFriends and Foes,í which is still in the Games/White Wolf section, along 
with the other three sequels. Thanks.

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