(Neither the setting nor anything else is mine, this story is just one fans imagination playing in someone elses wonderful setting.)
The Necessity of Order
It was at times like these he hated his job, hated that he was Prince and hated what he would have to do. Alexandra's face flashed before his mind's eye. He had killed her. His word had killed her just as surely as if he had placed a dragons breath bullet in her heart, and tonight he might have to send another loved one to his death. All Julian wanted to do was leave the Conclave chamber, flee far away, where such decisions no longer rested on his shoulders, but he could not do that: like it or not, he was the Prince, and he had to do his duty.
Cash was already there. The young Kindred sat in his usual chair, leaned a bit forward, his elbows on the Conclave table, his hands supporting his head. Cash had arrived before everyone else, as if to make a statement, as if to say that he would not run, that he would stand up to his actions. There was fear in the young Kindred's eyes; that was natural, any vampire that risked facing Final Death before the sun again rose would have that haunted look in their eyes, and yet, the Gangrel's jaw was firmly set, he looked stubborn, like he could take on the world. But then, that was Cash for you. He was kind to a fault, but stubborn and proud. Julian sighs and walks over to his friend and bodyguard. Gently he places a hand on the Gangrel's shoulder. "Whatever happens tonight Cash... I will still consider you a friend, but you must realize that I must follow our laws, and if the Conclave calls out for your blood, I can not deny them" Julian said bitterly. Cash merely nodded. He understood. With a final pat of encouragement on the young Gangrel's back, Julian walked to his seat. He did not want to do this, but what choice did he have? Cash had broken Kindred law, and being the Prince's friend did not excuse him from judgment for his crimes.
They filed in, one at a time. The Primogen members. Beautiful Lillie, the delicate flower with the cruel heart of a tiger, vise Daedalus with his monstrous face and yet the soul of a poet, the dignified Archon, the former Prince and last the large from of the Brujah, Eddie Fiori. with the arrival of the last Primogen member Julian could see Cash's jaw tighten, he hated Eddie, and with good reason, though it could not be proved, Eddie had brutally murdered the young Gangrel's Sire. Cash's eyes, usually so caring, so soulful turned to ice and he let those cold orbs follow Eddie that stared back at him with just as much contempt. "Why is he not restrained... my Prince?" Eddie begun and indicate Cash with a nod of his massive head. Julian shots Eddie a waring glance. "The Gangrel Primogen have honor, he will stand and accept our judgment as a man, there is no reason to restrain him as if he was a wild Anarch, he came to this table of his own free will, and until he is convicted, he is a primogen of this city and will be treated accordingly, now sit down Eddie." Julian himself was not fond of Eddie Fiori, and his voice showed that, and besides, he did not like someone insulting his friend, and friend that might be dead come morning, especially not when it was his own word that would condemned or save the Gangrel. Eddie understood this obviously, that in this matter it was best to just do as he was told and sit down and he did so with surprisingly little fuss.
"Well then, are we all here? Good, let us begin and get this over with." Julian said from his chair. He watched the faces around him. Beautiful Lillie, always sly, she was pondering, no doubt, how she could best maneuver the situation to serve here and her Toreador clan's needs. Deadalus' face was unreadable, living under the same roof as Cash for quite some time now he probably did not relish the idea of seeing him destroyed, especially not as it would be the Nosferatu Primogen's duty as Sheriff to do the deed. Archon sat leaned back, his eyes went from Cash to Julian, he probably wondered how this night would affect the young Prince's rule. The only one that looked happy about the situation was Eddie, he sat there with a big grin on his face, looking like a kid in a candy store, just waiting for the sound of the axe to fall on Cash's neck. Cash himself looked resigned, angry perhaps, or just scared, or a little mix of all three. He naturally had a little underbite, but when he sat with his jaw clenched like this, his eyes focusing intently forward, it made the underbite stand out more and made him look like a captured wild beast that calmly accepted the zookeeper's administrations just to keep his dignity. Julian draw a deep breath and continue. "We all know why we are here. Cash have broken our laws on to occasions and he must answer for his crimes before this Conclave, we will then decide his fate." Julian said and leaned back, allowing debate around the Gangrel's life or death begin. It was like watching a macabre game, the Primogen played, and the game piece to be saved or tossed of the board was a man's life.
A few days ago one of Cash's clan mates, a girl names Joanie had been kidnapped by two local werewolves. their exact intent with the Kindred woman was unknown. But Cash was not about to sit still and let one his his Clan, one of his Brood even be slaughtered by the lupines and he had engaged in a daring rescue. The operation had been successful, the only problem was that he battle between Cash and the werewolves had been seen, and although the human witnesses probably would not remember the event due to the delirium caused by the primal fear Werewolves created in the human mind, a young kid among them had filmed a few scenes of the fight with his mobile phone's camera. This movie had later found its way out unto the web, to a site named YouTube. Millions of people had access to see a near frenzied Cash tear at two wolf-men with fangs and claws. Julian had managed to get the video taken of the website, and few took the few minutes of poor footage seriously, and from the comments he had seen, in the line of cool man, grate costumes, and nice though the fight need more choreography, people took it as an elaborate amateur film maker's joke. But still, it was a close call, and a serious breach of the Masquerade. And if that was not enough, another Crime had be found out as Daedalus and his Nosferatu did investigation around Cash's Masquerade breach. It turned out that one of his brothers had Embraced a girl without Julian's knowing or approval a few years ago. Cash had not reported this, but had instead helped his brood member and the newly created one to escape San Fransisco and find refuge in another city. After this discovery Julian had called an meeting of the Primogen, the crimes of his bodyguard could not be ignored, Julian just hoped another solution than killing his friend would be found.
She was a beautiful woman, mysterious with a sea of red curls surrounding a at life face with small pout y lips and large eyes. People told her she looked like a fantasy sorceress, to night Sasha wish she was. Perhaps magic could have saved her lover. She had heard about Cash's trial from Joanie, the young Gangrel did not trust the Brujah girl, but she knew of the love between her Primogen and Sasha and sort of felt she owed it to him to inform her. Sasha at first had raged, but soon realized that did little good, the problem was she did not really know what would be of any use. Even her, fresh as she was knew enough of Kindred law to know that Cash was in serious trouble, she could loose her lover this night and Sasha could not stand it. She loved Cash with her entire soul, it was a love strong enough to set aside centuries old bad blood over, and she could not stand to see him executed. So what should she do? The only thing she could do, try to plead with her relative, the Prince himself. She was his mortal descendant and after she had been forcefully embraced by the Brujah clan he had taken her in and treaded her like hi own childe. Yes she had considerable leverage with him, perhaps that i influence could save Cash. Sasha could only hope. In one fluid motion she threw herself onto her motorcycle and set her direction for the Elysium, she had to get there in time, she just had to.
The meeting was well underway, the usually arguments and petty politics spewed across the room. Julian sigh as he observe the spectacle. It had begun with a presentation of the charges and Cash that surprisingly clam explained himself, then the remaining four Primogen went at one another like angry bulls. No surprisingly Archon the serious, stern old ventrue and Eddie Fiori waned the young Gangrel dead, while Lillie and Daedalus was more practical. Daedalus pointing out that Cash was very useful for the city, and Lillie giving support where she believed she could gain something. "Of course I am glad the Gangrel girl did not die Lillie, but the fact remains, Cash did brake the Masquerade, not to mention his other crime, we can not accept that kind of behavior." Said Archon in a patient voice like he was talking to a little child. Lillie that despite her youthful appearance was actually his senior just glared at him. "Cash did risk his life an limb to save another member of the city Archon, that have to account for something!" She expressed. The Ventrue wave one of his hands dismissively. "Yes it buy him a quick, painless death where else he would have suffered for his crime before he met his end." At this Daedalus decided to chime in, his voice surprisingly soft and melodious coming from his deformed face. "If I may suggest honored primogen that an alternative may be found. I agree with Archon, we can not condone such behavior, and Cash deserve final death for his crimes, both of them, however, the man have done a lot of good for the city, and in a way he is a hero for saving Joanie, that should be taken into consideration when we met out his punishment." Lillie looked at the Nosferatu. "What do you suggest Daedalus?" The Nosferatu Primogen leaned back and looked at cash for a moment, his eyes full of sympathy. "Staking... for a certain period of time. Most certainly brutal and painful enough to be a powerful punishment, but it will leave Cash alive." Julian noticed one of Cash's hands closing into a fist, he did not like the idea. Julian could understand him, it was a terrible thing that was being suggested, and besides Cash's Sire Stevie had died that way, staked to a rooftop to burn in the sun, Cash was probably not eager to experience the last thing his sire had felt before his final death. "It would be an acceptable alternative to final death." Agreed Archon. Lillie nodded her approval. "If our Prince approve of the suggestion on the table." Julian sigh, he really did not want to do this, Cash was his friend, but at least now he had a chance to save him from final death. "It is approved." he says sadly.
Another half an hour passed, the Primogen argued the length of time the Gangrel would be staked and tried to convince Eddie that still wanted Cash dead. Finally a consensus was reached on three months. Cash said nothing during these discussions. At one point Lille stretched out a slender milk white hand to gently squeeze one of Cash's larger rougher hands. The Gangrel looked at her but still said nothing. The voting process was a short one, with everyone save Eddie for the alternative punishment, and he to voted yes after a glare from Lillie, The Brujah Primogen did not want to loose the support he had in the beautiful Toreador so he decided it was best to vote with her on this. Julian looks at Cash and slowly stand, he had to do his duty as Prince now. Right now all the power and privileges his position gave him seemed a poor exchange for the burden put on his shoulders. "Cash childe of Stevie Ray of the Gangrel clan, you have been found guilty in breaking Kindred laws. Your punishment will be three months staked through the heart... the punishment is to be performed immediately." Cash nods that he understood what was being said and slowly stood. Julian tensed up, and he notices Lillie putting a hand to the hidden dagger she kept strapped to her leg. None of them believed Cash wanted them harm, but a upset Kindred could loose control. But Cash showed no signs of frenzy, he simply removed his heavy leather jacket and walked out into the middle of the room. "Who will speak for Gangrel in the time I... am unavailable." Cash asked. It was the first thing he had said for nearly an hour. "That is up to you Primogen." Answered Julian. Cash nods as he slowly unbutton his deep purple shirt, he was obviously not planning to resist. "Let Joanie, she is young, but she is a strong girl, and she will do a good job." Cash says after a few moments silence. Julian walks over to his friend and put a hand on his shoulder. "Very well, do you have anything else to say before... before this thing is done?" Cash look up into Julian's eyes. "Sasha... what will you tell her about this? I don't want her to worry over me."
It was about that time with the doors to the council room swung open. A girl with long red curls and eyes as wild as a cat came swooping into the room. "To late Cash, I already worry about you!" Sasha says as the marches right up to the Prince and her lover. "This is an outrage!" Cried Eddie angry. "The girl have no sense of protocol!" Sasha and about everyone else in the room ignored the Brujah's protests. "Uncle Julian, I have not ever asked you for much, but I am begging you now, don't kill Cash. I need him, don't take him away from me." Sasha pleaded with the Prince, tears threatening to erupt in the corners of her eyes. Cash took a hold of Sasha's wrist and pulled her to him. "They are not killing me Sasha, do not worry. I am going nowhere. I am staying here with you... always." Sasha rested her head against her lover's chest. "So they are letting you go, I can not believe that after how you screwed up." Cash sigh. "No they are not letting me go, I will be punished... but the important thing is I will be left alive." Sasha lifts her head and looks deeply into the eyes of her lover. "What are they going to do with you Cash, I know from the look on your face it is serious, tell me, please, I want to help you." Cash gently strokes the hair of his lover. "They are going to stake me Sasha... for three months. No do not worry it will not kill me... but girl please go, go now, you can not help me, and I don't want you to see this." Sasha shake her head. "If they are going to hurt you Cash, I am staying. I will be by your side, no matter what." Cash grab Sasha by the shoulders. "Sasha... please." But the young Brujah was not listening, she had gotten a stubborn look on her face. "Oh let her stay Cash, you would have done the same for her, let her help you through this." Said Lillie, her voice betraying her Toreador blood was moved by the dedication of the young Brujah woman towards her lover. Cash finally sigh and nods. "Very well... thank you Sasha." Sasha just smiled and kissed Cash passionately.
It was time. Julian hesitantly signal to Daedalus and the Nosferatu rise from his chair and walk up to Cash and Sasha. "Try not to be frightend young Gangrel, and don't fight the effect once the stake is in, that will only make it more painful. You have friends around you Cash, you will be fine." Said the old Nosferatu. Cash looked frightened now, it was all he could do to stand still and keep his dignity. Daedalus looks at Julian and the Prince nods. It was over in seconds. Daedalus had kept the thin stake he was holding hidden from Cash not the frighten the younger Kindred, and in one motion to fast for the eye to see he pulled Cash to him like if to hug him. Using the Gangrel's own weight to drive the stake through. Cash screamed, once then went limp in Daedalus's arms. "Cash!" Sasha yells and looks at the scene terrified. Franticly she looks from the Prince to Daedalus. "He is alive, just paralyzed, here take him, careful now so you don't hurt him more." Said Daedalus and eased Cash into Sasha's arms. Sasha knelt down on the floor and gently held her lover. She gathered her courage and looked down into his face. Cash's eyes was open and watching her, he was alive! Sasha squeeze a limp hand. "Oh...Cash, I will never forgive them for this. "Easy now my love, all will be fine." Cash seemed to struggle for a moment, fighting to speak, it was the only part of him save his eyes he had any control over at all. "No... Sasha, this is right... we need the Masquerade in our society, we need laws or we will die, you would die, and I am willing to suffer for your safety, more than willing. Do not hate them, the necessity of order is paramount to our survival. Be instead thankful to the Prince and Primogen that I was allowed to live... I am." And with that the young Gangrel fainted in his lovers arms. Sasha just sat there, holding her only love in her arms, tears streaming down her face, dripping blood down into Cash's hair, and an eerie silence fell over Prince Julian Luna's council chamber. They all paid a price for the necessity of order.