All That Glistens
A bright coloured mist partially obscured
the flashing neon sign, which was also reflected in the dark mirror like puddle. Breaking up into thousands of brightly coloured
shards as a boot stepped directly into its middle. Disgustedly Kerra leaned down and wiped away some of the muddy water from
the bottom of her purple gown, then she stared up at the sign, seemingly entranced by the ethereal effect of the misty fluorescent
halo, her long purple hair and pale face being illuminated in the sporadic light. A few moments later she felt a rough hand
clap her on the shoulder breaking her concentration, and she turned to see a big hulk of a man standing behind her, the broad,
open face capped off with a small goatee beneath the wide chin.
Her voice was soft, with just a hint of a Southern Irish lilt.
He grinned in response. You Toreador are all the same, all
look and no action. Oh the beauty, the angst! He grinned again, almost mockingly, holding a hand to his forehead as he spoke.
She smiled tiredly, it was an old argument, and she motioned
with her hand for him to carry on in front of her. With long, even, slow paced steps they strode up to the open doorway in
the side of the building, and for a moment they were both highlighted in the long rectangle of golden light that flooded through
the open doorway, warping and twisting their shadows as if reflecting what might be in their souls. Then they were inside,
past the square of light and into the comforting near darkness of the club. Both of them nodding briefly to the slim dark
man in the elegant suit and black glasses as he stepped to one side making room for them to pass through the open portal.
# # #
Inside it was dark and smoky, smooth music filled the room, plush red leather chairs hid behind tables of highly polished
mahogany, and pieces of artwork in gilded frames lined the empty wall spaces between the rich red velvet drapes. The whole
atmosphere was like that of a Gentlemans club, rich and elegant, but all such resemblance ended there. Men in sombre suits
mingled with others who wore tattered jeans and t-shirts, the women too wore varying styles, old and new, revealing and not
so, every so often flashes of silver fire as piercing's caught the light in faces, ears and from other more suggestive locations.
Cut crystal glasses glistened in the soft golden light, as people sipped at the red viscous liquid. Kerra nodded to several
of them as she made her way to the bar on the far wall.
let me, you get us a place to sit.
He nodded, heading towards an empty table in the far corner.
Kerra ordered them two drinks which were quickly placed in front of her picking them up making her way over to Dante where
they sat together in quiet contemplation.
The hubbub of conversation raised an octave or two as two
new figures entered the room, the male was tall and slim, his skin a pale white off set by the charcoal grey of his Victorian
style suit. To some he nodded, others he completely ignored, a physical display of those who where in favour and those who
werent. Kerra took a deep sip of her drink, savouring the rich taste as it spread out across her tongue. The other was almost
ghost like in her appearance, an extremely thin, pale faced girl who walked several paces behind him with an almost predatory
air. Spotting Kerra and Dante almost hidden in the shadows the man beckoned them forward with his middle finger.
Prince? She curtsied as she spoke, her long dress brushing against the floor with a soft whisper.
work for you and your coterie, will you please attend me shortly in the rear room. His voice was soft and melodious yet carried
command not request.
Kerra nodded in assent heading back towards her seat. The
conversation around them grew an octave, and the Prince glared around the room as if challenging the raised noise levels.
Then turning his back on them all he walked across the room, entering a room at the back, the woman shutting the door behind
them with a gentle thud. Again the conversation level rose, several glancing over at Kerra and Dante as they spoke, their
mouths hidden by a raised hand. Kerra and Dante already back at their table swallowed their drinks, draining them down to
the last few dregs.
do you think it is he wants?
Kerra shrugged, dabbing at her lips with a napkin. Guess
we should go and find out. With that she stood, throwing the stained napkin onto the table, they headed towards the closed
door. Knocking at the wooden panels waiting for the Prince to call them before entering.
# # #
The Prince was sat behind a table, his
thin frame supported by a high backed leather chair that creaked as he moved, to his left stood the pale faced woman her hand
resting lightly on the hilt of a Katana.
its good to see you, as I said I have a task for you. He stood as he spoke, indicating towards two empty chairs in front of
him with a sweep of his arm. He waited for them to settle before continuing. This task is of some importance to me. I have
a package that I wish for you to collect.
Kerra leaned forward. An interested look flickering across her sharp, ferret like features.
a new statue designed by one of the greatest sculptors I have seen this age. A man of true talent and genius.
going to embrace him?
year or two perhaps, Ill let his work mature a little, the embrace always seems to add that streak of darkness. Besides there
are so many pretenders these days, so we shall watch and see.
where is it?
He opened a briefcase that sat on the floor beside him like
a faithful dog, and taking out a slim black folder he slipped it across the desk, Everything you need is in here, his finger
tapped the surface of the leather wallet, collection permits, import licence, everything. Do not fail me in this simple task.
Kerra picked up the leather file, flicking through it quickly,
and then nodding to the Prince she stood up and left, Dante following her.
# # #
Outside of the room she settled back down into a chair, reaching into a pocket of her dress for a small compact mobile
phone, stabbing at the buttons with a finger she hit the send button and held the receiver up to an ear.
get the gang and meet me outside of The Inferno, oh and bring a van. She spoke rapidly into the receiver, pausing for a moment
before closing it shut with a satisfied smile. The rest will be here shortly, excuse me a moment. She got up sliding out of
her chair gracefully, going into one of the private rooms where she made another brief call. That done she headed back to
her place to wait for the others. Dante looked at her quizzically for a moment before settling back in his chair, his hands
held behind his head as if in surrender.
# # #
Almost half an hour passed before an exotic looking woman entered the room, her dusty coloured skin highlighted by
the black leather cat suit that somehow revealed all and yet showed nothing. She stalked over to where Dante and Kerra sat.
all here, so whats the op? She sat in a chair opposite them, draping herself across the table.
tell it to all of you outside, save me saying it twice.
to rescue the Malkavian Primogen from the Sabbat who are intent on breaking the thin
veil of the Masquerade.
Zafirah looked at him disgustedly, before poking her tongue
out at him, then as one they stood up, exiting the building together.
# # #
Zafirah led them to a small beaten up transit van. More rust than paint. As they got closer the side door slid open
and a chubby face peered round the side almost hidden in the shadows she could just make out the dark form of another. Opening
the door she clambered up into the front, sliding over so that Zafirah could slip in behind the steering wheel. She turned to face the others sitting in the back. One almost bestial, his eyes sharp and feral, his clothes
near rags, and here and there was the suspicion of dirt. The other was large and chubby, and wore what could only be described
as an eclectic collection of clothing, a pair of bright orange jeans, white t-shirt and tweed jacket. Kerra waited till they
had eased into the traffic, a grey ghost in the dark night. Then she began to tell the others what was happening.
# # #
They pulled up outside a dilapidated looking building, all crumbling concrete and flaking paint. A single working streetlamp
flickered overhead seemingly out of place with the other silent sentries. The van gave a final shudder as the engine cut out,
Kerra and her party disembarked, spreading out across the area, eyes open and bodies alert for any sign of trouble. Three
green metal roller doors sat squarely in the centre of the building. To the far right a dingy orange light shone through a
dusty window, behind which they could just make out a solitary man in uniform, he was sat behind a desk, apparently engrossed
in a book. She walked towards rapping against the glass sharply, startling the man his book hitting the desk with a hollow
a collection to make, the papers are here. She waved the folder at him.
em through here. He pointed towards a slot in the bottom of the window.
Kerra slipped the papers from their leather folder and poked
them through the gap; the man grabbed them and began studying them. Pushing a button on a computer he quickly punched in a
number and studied the results on the screen, his face turning a sickly green as he did so.
door, Ill get one of the others to bring it over to you. It should just about fit.
Zafirah climbed back into the van, it shook gently as she
turned the engine over a pale grey/blue cloud of smoke rising gently from exhaust as she began backing it up towards the green
shutters. Then something screamed in the darkness, and with a low dull thud the van exploded in a white ball of light, burning
its after image into the eyes of all those stood near it, throwing them to the ground as the shockwave rolled over them caressing
their skin with its warm breath. Kerra hugged the floor slightly blinded as five ghost-like forms entered the arc of light.
One was an image straight out of hell, more than eight feet in height, its skin a sickly greenish-grey, which glistened like
a beetles carapace in the artificial light. The legs and arms were well muscled and ropey, ending in deformed hands and feet
that were tipped with ragged black claws. The face was warped and twisted looking anything but human, all along its back was
a row of bone like spines. The others, three men and two women, at least looked fairly normal, apart from one of the females
who wore two oxygen tanks on her back which were attached to a metal pipe she cradled in her arms. From her position on the
floor Kerra grinned.
Justin the feral faced kindred leapt up from the floor his
fingers sprouting razor sharp claws, and Dante too rushed into the fray. Markus the chubby kindred who had sat in the back
behind her brushed dirt from his trousers then began staring at one of the kindred who was rushing towards him. Kerra knowing
what was coming allowed the blood to rush to her tongue, transforming it, willing it to change, it became long and forked,
some eighteen inchs in length. She flicked it out towards the unsuspecting Markus, striking him just above the ankle, breaking
the skin, and at the same time she felt a jolt as some of his blood entered her system. Markus looked shocked, as he turned
to face her. Looking her squarely in the eyes, and she felt her mind begin to drift, loose focus. She shook her head, clearing
it, lashing out again. But Markus had already moved and all she tasted was the bitter night air. Off to her left a jet of
flame engulfed Justin, turning him into an orange pillar of flame that blinded her with its brightness. Screams of pain and
terror filled the night; already in the distance she could hear the distant wail of sirens, and glancing round at the warehouse
behind her she could see that it was shut up tight, no doubt it was they who had called the police. A steel shutter now covered
the glass hiding the mortals behind it. Dante was already in close combat with several of the others, she could see several
smoky black tentacles were wrapped around his body. Markus had by now no doubt obfuscated, she stood up, assessing the situation,
a glowing pile of ash represented all that was left Justin, and even Dante was slowly being over whelmed. She beckoned to
the women carrying the flamethrower, explaining about Markus, the toreador grinned allowing the blood to suffuse her senses,
heightening them. There, a shuffling sound, out of place with the rest of the nightly noises. The flamethrower belched out
a stream of liquid fire, lighting up the night around them. The sudden bright orange flare blinding Kerra for a moment or
not there, The nozzle moved a few millimetres to the left and again flame belched out into the night. Not there either. The
action was so quick that Kerras eyes couldnt follow the movement. She guessed that the Toreador was toying with the Malkavian,
and that her blood fuelled speed would soon begin to fade but it would all be over before that happened. Again the flamethrower
spoke out into the darkness of the night, only this time it was followed by a short sharp scream as the flame struck its target.
sure hes dead, you know what to do.
toast. The Toreador grinned, her teeth shining brightly in the near darkness. And again as Kerra walked away there was a bright
flare behind her followed by a long drawn out scream, then silence.
Dante was down, his white t-shirt stained a dark murky black
and she could see the head of the large stake that had been hammered into his heart. She indicated to a tall emancipated man
with pale skin and hair to pick him up. He nodded once and seemingly picked up the larger man without effort. Follow me, Ill
show you where we parked. His accent was thick and heavy, almost a caricature of how one expected a vampire to speak. Together
the bodys feet scraping along the ground they headed out into the darkness, oblivious to the nearing wail of the sirens.
# # #
Dante was neither dead nor asleep, but stuck somewhere in between. He could see even hear, but that was all, he could
feel his thirst raging, a need, want for blood. Around him shadows flickered in the near darkness, he could just see the hand
at his chest. Then there was blinding white pain followed by the welcoming comfort of unconsciousness.
# # #
Kerra slit her wrist allowing the blood to drip into the chalice, gathered around her were her pack, who gazed at it
eagerly, it was passed from member to member who each added a drop of their own vitae, finally ending in the hands of the
tall thin pale man, he too slit his wrists, then made a sign over its surface, muttering some strange and incoherent words,
then drank deeply. Slowly it was passed back around the rest of the group all of them taking a sip until finally it was back
in Kerras hands and she too drank deep. She wandered over to where Dante stood chained to the wall, allowing the bowl to pass
beneath his nose, the delicate coppery scent of the blood titillating his senses and actuating his thirst. Almost without
thinking he drank, two large mouthfuls that seemed to revitalise his system. Already he felt it go to work on his wounds,
repairing the bruised and damaged tissue, and he saw Kerra smiling at him almost paternally.
bitch. He spat at her.
but so are you my friend. Or will be.
you, Ill kill myself first. He lunged forwards to be stopped by the chains at his wrists.
temper, you Brujah are all the same. All action and no thought. He looked at her, the words almost exactly the same as he
had spoken earlier that night.
fucking dead when the Prince finds out, hell stake you out and leave you to greet the fucking sun.
not. We all have our role to play, and youll play yours to perfection. Robert, you know what to do.
A man stepped forward looking directly into Dantes eyes.
# # #
Are you sure the statue is safe? The Prince rubbed at a spot on the table nervously.
we never got a chance to collect it, it was sheer luck that myself and Dante managed to escape. Wasnt it Dante?
He nodded, of course that was exactly as it happened, her
bravery and quickness of action had saved them both of that he was sure.
though that the Sabbat just happened to be there though is it not?
a spy? Dante offered.
well done the both of you, you wont be forgotten you know, perhaps a minor position for you? Maybe even a small favour?
Inside Kerra smiled, the takeover of London had begun.