Note: My knowledge of the Masquerade is limited to the episodes of Kindred, and the Gangrel Clan Book. I also would like to thank ROGsvgirl, author of Diaries of a Firebird: Embraced for basically a truly awesome fanfiction. Her story about the love between Cash and Charlie (From Firestarter and Firestarter:Rekindled) is where I draw the biggest inspiration for this story.
Also, to those of my friends who may read this story, I hope you don't think any different of me when you've read this. I know it's not what you've come to expect from me.
This story is loosely based on my own character. A former Kindred Slayer turned Gangrel. I'll have a background story for him soon.
The Primogen's Love
Chapter One: Playing the Devil's Advocate
At first he imagined time passing quickly for immortals. When he was on "the other side" so to speak, he had to admit a fascination with the idea of living forever. Seeing the things one could see in a hundred years, experiencing the changes in history and knowing the people who could become great.
But the corollary of all that was a life of damnation to the shadows, never again meant to walk among men, because he was no longer a man. In fact, he was never really a man to begin with.
Sean's sire, James Reed was sixteen when he was Embraced. And it was James who came across Sean while he was entangled in a fierce battle with a young Anarch. Till that point there had been a price on Sean's head. The law was clear throughout the Masquerade, even in the New England region: Kindred Hunters must die. But James knew Sean well. Sean's hatred for the Kindred came when his friend was murdered by crossfire in a fight with the Brujah and the Gangrel.
The Kindred responsible were sentenced to the Final Death, for endangering the Masquerade in the state of Vermont. But Sean's hatred remained so strong, that even a visit by James, then Primogen of the Gangrel Clan of Vermont couldn't force him to forget.
Sean killed many vampires up and down the New England area. They were mostly Anarchs and natural rebels that were about to be killed anyway. Most of the experienced Kindred had the sense to hide and keep their childer out of harms way. Until his Embrace, Sean was little real threat to Kindred or the Masquerade itself. In fact, when James brought his request to Embrace the young hunter before a meeting of the New England council, the only votes against came from the Brujah, Tzimisce, and the Malkavians.
Five years passed since Sean's first meeting with James. He spent his First Torment with a stake in his hand, and the body of the Anarch he slew, bleeding nearby. His first meal came from the blood of that Anarch, and thus he was forcibly thrown into the world of the Kindred.
His first days as a vampire were spent dangling in a cage from the cavern walls of his Prince's home; A Nosferatu named Zarius. Since that time five years ago, Sean had discovered many things. One,that his friend was not dead, but in fact a childe of the Toreador. In fact, many people he had known in his life were now Kindred, despite the strict rules against embracing children. He spent his unlife training to be an enforcer, a slayer of the renegades who refused to conform to Kindred law.
For only the millionth time in his unlife, Sean contemplated many things. How he was able to accept that he would be sixteen forever. He thought about the irony of being a vampire, and yet he still slew vampires just as he did as a mortal. He recalled the long nights under Zarius' roof, hanging there, feeling the harsh pain of blood thirst like a vice grip on his organs. He remembered the implicit trust Zarius placed in him when he was finally released, and given back his silver knife with the daemon-winged handle.
Time passed quickly since then. Seven years of living on"the other side" as Zarius enforcer brought many strange experiences. James taught him how to use the powers and abilities inherent to all vampires, and the unique gifts privy only to the Gangrel Clan. Sean mediated territorial disputes, played messenger between the Princes of New England, and confronted and dealt with any and all threats to Kindred living in Vermont. Sean even gained permission to Embrace on three occasions, and their contributions to the continuation of the Masquerade were phenomenal.
But as with mortals, time did slow down. And after seven years of unlife, only two of which had been spent as the Gangrel's new primogen, life was becoming tedious.
"This is an outrage!" The Tremere representative shouted, slamming his fists into the table.
Mary tensed slightly and glanced at Sean. Sean smiled and shook his head. There was no danger yet.
"Calm yourself Benjamin," Zarius said, gently. "The sentence still hasn't been carried out. But the Tremere neonates have jeopardized the Masquerade by appearing at the Wiccan ceremony in Barre and displaying their abilities freely. By law I have to punish them."
"Our Prince has made a generous offering for their return," Benjamin argued.
"Considering this is the fifth time this has happened I'm not surprised," Sean spoke up. "But the Prince can't abridge Kindred law and expect to buy his way out of it."
Benjamin glowered angrily at Sean.
"Kindred law also states that children must never be Embraced…particularly known Kindred slayers." He added. "Zarius has conveniently abridged that law."
"Benjamin, you're out of line." Zarius raised his voice slightly. "Mr. Gardener was Embraced by my consent and the consent of the council. But he has conducted himself according to our laws, protecting the Masquerade. The Tremere childer crossed into my territory and violated my rules. But I will leave their fate in the hands of my primogen, as this is their home as well. " Zarius turned to his council which consisted of nine members. The seating was arranged according each clan's presence in Vermont. "The standard punishment for endangering the Masquerade is Final Death. Are you in favor or against?"
"On behalf of the Gangrel, I vote against. They were out of line, but they didn't resist when I apprehended them and there was no loss of life. The Wiccans aren't likely to chalk up what they saw to much more than mysticism."
Like Sean, the Ventrue primogen was new to her duties, though a much more recent addition. But the half century of unlife reflected as she straightened up and looked confidently at Zarius. "I too vote against. There is nothing to be gained by killing off neonates."
Eric Peterson was the Toreador primogen. In the mortal world he was known for directing and writing many plays, and owning the Old Castle theater company located in Bennington. He also co-taught Theater Arts in many high schools and at the community college. "I vote in favor. Age doesn't excuse them from obeying the law."
"In favor," The Brujah responded. "I agree with Mr. Peterson."
Amanda, the Tremere primogen, was another of Sean's friends, who had also been Embraced around his age. But she had been Kindred for as long as Mary. Unlike Mary, however, Amanda was fully comfortable with her position as Primogen, and didn't see the need to justify her decisions like the others.
Bastian exchanged looks with Eric that seemed to say, "figures". Benjamin seemed relieved, as if there weren't five other primogen to vote either for or against.
The Malkavian blinked twice to indicate her vote against. She never spoke at meetings, and her hair was a mess and her disheveled clothes looked like they belonged to a rehab patient. One would hardly think her the primogen of her clan at a first glance. But her clan trusted her, and while she was typically unstable during her off hours, she did her job well.
The Assamite shrugged.
"It doesn't hurt my clan one way or the other. A conflict only means something for us to do and we are kind of bored…I personally vote in favor."
Benjamin rose from his chair angrily.
"If you want conflict I'll gladly give it to you, but leave our progeny out of your petty bloodlust."
Sean stood up, ready to run interference.
"Enough!" Zarius growled. His eyes took on a fiery glow. "If there are anymore outbursts, the matter will be settled as it stands. Edgar?"
The Tzimicse replied, "Against."
The final vote fell with the Lasomba. Christopher was over three hundred years old, and a known member of the Sabbat. In seven years the only time Sean had ever seen him was at the council meetings. But he knew one thing: If embracing a former Kindred Slayer was breaking the law, siding with a Sabbat follower was practically selling your soul. But Zarius made it clear long ago that Christopher was a member of the council and no more or less deserving of respect than any other primogen. The moment he stepped out of line, however, the position would not be the only thing Zarius removed.
"I am in favor." Christopher briefly addressed Benjamin. "Do not take my vote as a sign of hatred towards your clan. But the Sabbat is in just as much danger as the Camarilla if the Masquerade becomes exposed."
"Slayers and Sabbat," Benjamin muttered. "I don't know which is worse."
Zarius ignored it. Instead he rose to his feet.
"The vote is four in favor and five against. The Tremere neonates will be released into Benjamin's custody, to be immediately returned to their prince in Maine. It is my judgment that the Tremere violators will be banned from entering Vermont for a century, and a violation of that ban will result in Final Death."
Everyone expected Benjamin to speak out. To their surprise he remained silent and bowed.
"I thank the wisdom of you and your council." He responded before backing out.
Sean rolled his eyes.
"Is there any new business?" Zarius asked the council.
"There is a matter of Ventrue concern," Mary answered. "With winter upon us tourist season is going to bring in the most money. My husband's ski resort and hotel has booked over six thousand guests from December through the end of February."
"Ah yes," Zarius said. "I believe among your guests is a good friend of mine. A Ventrue prince if I am correct."
"Yes." Mary nodded. "The Prince of San Francisco to be exact. He is vacationing here with his significant other for the Christmas season, and that's the year when we lose tourists to the Anarchs and rogues."
"I can have Gangrel all over the resort," Sean offered. "But we have to keep an eye on the Canadian border. I received an e-mail from a friend in Montana, and they've been having problems with Canadian Sabbat members trying to stir up rebellion in the cities."
"Do not spare more than you can afford to," Zarius said. "The Assamites can secure the visiting prince just as well. Mary, you will have your security, for both the prince and for your human guests."
"Thank you my prince."
Routine business followed. There were requests to embrace, off shore interests, possible investment opportunities. Sean held back a sigh of relief when Zarius finally released the council.
The meeting was held in an old red brick building, located in Old Bennington. The Bennington Monument overlooked the street, and the oak and apple trees that decorated the streets stood tall, and naked. Snow began to cover the street and sidewalks.
"I remember when this was quieter," Mary said with a nostalgic sigh. Sean walked with her to her Buick, which was parked next to the cemetery. "That highway wasn't nearly as loud, and you didn't get quite so many trucks. The trains still ran and they brought in cargo from New York."
"I bet it was nice to see trains. I was still in middle school when they tore up the tracks to build the fire station." Sean said. "Course, I'm not nearly old enough to be nostalgic."
Mary laughed. "I doubt you'll ever truly be nostalgic. You appreciate things when they exist, not afterwards."
An elderly couple walked by, lead by a large black dog. The dog growled at Sean and Mary.
"That's enough Bea," the woman reprimanded.
Sean and Mary were quiet for a while. Across the road a white picket fence separated the sidewalk from the cemetery.
"Were you at his funeral?" He asked, absentmindedly.
"Robert Frost? I mean, you said your husband embraced you in the fifties. I thought maybe you'd have been there when Robert Frost was buried."
"Oh no," Mary replied. "I never really knew him. Vermonters tend to be very private people, you know that."
"I wonder if I'll ever know someone famous."
"You know Ryan McVeigh," Mary pointed out. "I have no doubt his band will be famous."
"But he'll live forever," Sean countered. "He'll have to fake death every ten years or so to keep people from being suspicious, but he'll always have an opportunity to be famous. Humans have a very short time to make their mark on this world, and the rare ones make their mark for centuries after their deaths."
"I agree. Humans rarely do anything with the gift of life. But then most Kindred do even less with the gift of unlife."
Mary's Buick was parked just outside the church. Frost patterns gathered on the windows, illuminated by the electric candles inside. A nativity scene took up the lawn. Mary smiled warmly at the site.
"Pastor Martin Sloan gave a sermon here back in 1948." Mary told him. "I was a teenager then. What I remember most was his love and passion for life. When he wasn't giving sermons in the church he was skiing or rock climbing, or doing something that shocked and amazed us. And he'd always tell us each story, using his experiences as a metaphor for God's lessons. He even went deep sea fishing off the Atlantic one week, and, I remember he brought in a ten pound sword fish that he caught and used it to illustrate the story of Jonah."
Sean giggled at the thought of it.
"It was this church where I met Richard, my husband. He worked with my father at the hotel before we owned it, and he was something of a daredevil. If it weren't for Richard, I never would have learned to ski."
Mary got into her Buick and waved good-bye before backing out and driving off.
The snow became more intense as Sean entered the cemetery. He walked down the stone path. The air smelled of soil and snow, and deep beneath the grass the scent of death was faint but present to his preternatural senses. Sean found himself standing in front of two flat gray stones. He respectfully brushed the snow from Robert Frost's name, etched into the marble on the left stone.
"We had a lover's Quarrel with the World."
Sean looked up, startled as Benjamin approached. Benjamin had to have been closer to thirty when he was embraced. He had short, raven black hair, and flowing black robes. In a belt around his waste, he had a knife in a sheath, which Sean recognized as an athame.
"Shouldn't you be on your way out of here?" Sean asked, pointedly. He felt more than a little violated that someone would bother him while he was standing at the Robert Frost grave.
"We will be gone before sunrise," Benjamin promised, holding his hands out in a gesture of peace. "But I have had time to think about my words earlier. It occurred to me that you are not as much our enemy as I accused you of."
"Would you be feeling the same way if I had ruled in favor of killing the prisoners?"
Benjamin seemed to shrug the question off. "Thank you for your help to my clan. This will not be forgotten."
With that, Benjamin melted into the shadows, possibly to return to his territory. But Sean had a feeling he'd see Benjamin again very soon.