If you think Princes are big-headed, you have obviously never met a Baron. It's funny how Anarchs always shout "freedom" at the top of their lungs, yet they so gladly accept the rule of Barons, who are usually even more pompous than the Princes they so antagonise. I've always compared Anarchs to juvenile delinquents: as long as they can oppose something, anything, they're happy. Makes them feel like revolutionaries. Sad fact that they can't look beyond the lengths of their noses, but they don't seem to mind. If they even realize it at all.

The Baron of Hollywood was a prime example of this hypocritical ideology. Paying my respects to the person in charge of a city has never been a problem for me since, unlike many of my Brujah kin, I did not automatically oppose everything that had a faint whiff of authority clinging to it, but I always found it silly that the freedom-fighters with the loudest mouth and the largest banners for independence always demanded the most deference from others, once they were in power. 'The more things change...', I suppose.

Prince LaCroix had already informed me of Baron Abrams' emphasis on tradition and hierarchy, so when the taxi dropped me off, I was already planning to announce my presence, something I always did, even without being ordered to. But Abrams' fixation on tradition would become obvious right when I first set my boot down on the street of Hollywood.

"Well, well. New dead flesh in town," the voice greeted me. It belonged to someone who was obviously a mindless bootlicker, and proud of it. It seemed Abrams thought showing his dominance could never be done too early. But this greeting left a lot to be desired.

"Look at the manners on you," I replied bluntly. "That the way your Baron welcomes his guests?"

The cronie crossed his arms and sneered. "Depends."

"On?"

"On whether they're one of us, or Camarilla trash."

I sighed. "You Anarchs are all the same." I was getting rather tired of their usual 'us against them'-attitude.

"So are you Cammies."

This dolt was trying my patience. What we had here was the typical example of the Anarch, fitting all the vilest stereotypes of their kind. The tyipcal cool-guy pose was bad enough. Add to that the silly bandana and tank top. The arrogant smirk and the fake-gravelly voice made it even worse. And to make the picture complete: sunglasses. Vampires, by definition, don't need sunglasses. I always hated people who wore sunglasses at night, on cloudy days, or indoors. Nothing screamed, 'Look at me! I want to be cool!' more than sunglasses without sun.

But since I needed Isaac's services, I might as well be a bit diplomatic. "Is there a point to all this?" I sighed.

The flunky jabbed a finger at me. "You bet there is." And then he waited again.

"You're getting on my nerves, Anarch! Get to the point or get lost!"

Another finger-jab. "The point, brat, is that you should have only one destination right now, and that's Isaac's place. You don't go anywhere else until you've seen him. Got that?"

I nodded. "I get what you're saying, yeah. But what if I don't feel like seeing Isaac right now?" I was going to anyway, but that didn't mean I had to let myself get bossed around by this idiot.

The cool-guy stance turned into the threatening-cool-guy pose. "If you don't feel like seeing Isaac, it means you don't show any respect. And if you got no respect, you need to be taught some."

I raised an eyebrow.

"Trust me," he fake-gravelled. "You want to see Isaac."

When he saw I still wasn't impressed, he played what was, in his view at least, his trump card: "and your little boss Prince LaCroix doesn't have jack-shit to say here. This is our city."

"You think I need LaCroix to protect me? There's far more powerful Kindred behind me. Trust me, if you even touch me, LaCroix will be the least of your worries." It might have been a bit of bragging, but this guy clearly needed to be shown that the world was bigger than this little Anarch sandbox. "Besides, you'll find hurting me in the first place will be much more difficult than you think."

I saw him get unsure for a moment, trying to decide what to do.
And he apparently decided to back down, but in order to make it look like he wasn't afraid, he started to laugh, trying to give his retreat a type of "you're-not-worth-it"-aura. Stupid, since we both knew it was simply because he didn't have the guts. As he walked away and laughed his attempt-at-looking-confident laugh, I stood hoping Abrams was at least a bit less of a fool than his peons.

"Hey!" I shouted after him as he walked away, trying to look like the victor leaving the battlefield.

"What?" he barked back. It would seem that his courage increased along with the distance between us.

"How 'bout telling me where Isaac lives, genius?"

"I knew you'd realize what's good for you," he sneered. I rolled my eyes in response. "Jewellery store at the end of the street, sugar," he gravelled and walked off, chest inflated. Let him have his illusions.