Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines
She walked away from the flaming LaCroix building only to be stopped by Nines Rodriguez. "Wait, Kid," The injured anarch called and she stopped, waiting for him to continue, "join us. We could use someone like you."
Can use someone like you, her mad malkavian mind repeated. The fledgling, sireless malk thought back on her recent adventures; being used by Therese and Jeanette, being used by Bertram, being used by Gary golden, being used by Isaac Abrams, and last but not least, being used by the deceased Sebastian LaCroix. Even Nines didn't use her real name. I'm sure you can "use" me, but I'm done being used. Instead of answering, she simply started walking again.
"Hey, kid!" Nines shouted again but his only response was the one finger salute over her shoulder. In her cracked mind's eye she saw Jack sitting on a lawn chair with the dried mummy beside him laughing.
"It is the blood of Cain that makes our fate," she muttered and disappeared into the shadows.
8 years later
A recently turned young man of the Toreador clan paced anxiously outside the white double doors that led to the Prince's office; after the explosion and death of the previous prince almost ten years ago, the LaCroix building was abandoned at the Prince's headquarters. With the prince gone, the city's primogen had to quickly find another that had just as much influence in L.A. Their search ended with a Ventrue named Claude; Sebastian's once rival for the title of "prince". The large oak doors opened and the Prince's sheriff stepped out. The current sheriff was nowhere near as intimidating as the previous one, but was much crueler and took pleasure in the suffering of others. "The Prince will see you now," the blonde Gangrel grinned, pointed canines gleaming.
The young vampire nodded, "thank you, Alois."
The sheriff threw his head back and laughed, "don't thank me, artisan." The Toreador walked in with the sheriff still laughing.
I thought only Malkavians were that insane. He walked up to the Prince's desk. The man had his head down as he wrote something down. He could see his reading glasses pushed into his black hair; an accessory when dealing with Kine but useless otherwise. "You asked to see me, Prince Claude?" He finally asked, he would have gulped had he the saliva to do so.
The Prince finally looked up, amber eyes seemingly staring right through him. "I did. It has come to my attention that you have broken the Masquerade for a third time." The Prince glared mildly at the Toreador, "as you know, the penalty for this crime is death." At this Alois walked in with his sword drawn. "I have already shown you and your maker mercy by allowing you both to live, seeing as how you were embraced while there was no prince," Claude continued, "so your behavior directly affects me." Alois stepped closer and the young vampire edged away from the sheriff. "However, your death would also affect me. So I offer you an opportunity to redeem yourself, Richard." The Toreador, Richard, waited apprehensively to hear the deal. "There is a Kindred out there directly responsible for my predecessor's death. I want you to find her and bring her back here for trial," the Prince explained.
"Forgive me, sir, but wouldn't this be a job for the sheriff?" Richard asked. Alois glared at his back.
"Ordinarily yes, but Alois has had no luck in finding her," Claude explained, "she's proven to be quite difficult."
Richard nodded and another question struck him, "the Nosferatu can't find her?" How was he supposed to find someone even the Nosferatu couldn't find?
"No, she's a Malkavian and her insight has kept her one step ahead of myself and the Nosferatu," Alois growled, "we can't even find her ghoul!"
"Then-," he was cut off by Claude.
"You have your assignment. So speak with Mercurio in Santa Monica to start," the Prince ordered. Richard nodded and left.
"You really think he can find her, sir?" Alois asked, "every other Kindred you've sent after her has either come back empty-handed or not come back at all."
Claude pushed his glasses back on his face and smirked, "does it really matter?"
In Santa Monica
Richard got out of the taxi to see the ghoul Mercurio waiting for him. "You must be the latest grunt Prince du Monde said was coming," Mercurio commented.
Richard just nodded, "I am. Name's Richard." He stuck out his hand and shook it with the ghoul.
"You're here about that Malk, Jess, right?" Mercurio led him to the local diner, "hope you don't mind, I haven't eaten yet. Still gotta eat." Richard shook his head. "Good, I'm surprised you're not a Nosferatu," Mercurio commented, the diner was empty so the vampire didn't bother to correct the ghoul, "guess the Prince got sick of them coming back empty handed or just not coming back."
"Not coming back?" He gasped.
Mercurio took a bite of his greasy cheese burger; just the sight of it turned the toreador's stomach. "No guarantee they're dead. Maybe they just flipped sides. Hard to tell with Malks, especially her," he answered after he swallowed.
Richard mentally sighed. "So how do you know her? I was told she was your original contact here but you talk like there was more," he asked.
The ghoul shrugged, "not like how you're thinking. I messed up on a mission before she arrived and she not only kept it secret but fixed my mistake. I take care of those who do me solids so I got her military-grade weaponry whenever she asked for it. That was pretty much it."
Richard stopped his thoughts on how nasty the burger was when he heard "military-grade". "What would she need those for?" This mission was sounding more and more like a death sentence.
Again Mercurio shrugged, "LaCroix had her doing all sorts of dangerous assignments at the time and it didn't help that the Sabbat wanted to make a trophy of her teeth."
"But there hasn't been a Sabbat sighted in L.A. for-," Richard was interrupted by Mercurio.
"For eight years. I know. Who do you think cleared them out?" Mercurio laughed.
"You can't convince me that a fledgling wiped out all the Sabbat here," the Toreador complained.
The ghoul shrugged, "I was just ordered to tell you what I knew and a ghoul can't disobey its master. Don't believe me? Fine, I don't care."
He sat back down and thought for a second, he knew it was true, ghouls couldn't disobey their masters. "So you don't have any contact with her?"
Mercurio shook his head, "last contact I received from her was two years ago for a new scope for that sniper rifle I got her."
"So you know where she is or was," Richard assumed but Mercurio shook his head, "but you just said-!"
"I said I had contact with her. Never said I met her or even got an address to deliver the new scope," Mercurio corrected.
"How did she get the scope then? Her ghoul?" He asked.
The ghoul shook his head, "naw, she keeps her ghoul close. Hell, I don't even know her name. She either has me give it to Beckett when he's in the area or she goes through the twins. Last time was the twins."
"I thought Therese and Jeanette were loyal to the Camarilla," he asked.
"They were until six or seven years ago. Therese still is diplomatic to the Prince but that's just to keep her position as Baron. Jeanette is quite open about her distrust," he explained, "hate to say it, but you're going to have to talk to Bertram or the twins for more information." Richard nodded and left the man to his meal.
In parts unknown
A red headed woman shot up in bed, startling the black and red headed ghoul currently cleaning the darkened room, dark eyes glowing bright. "Master?" Heather asked hesitantly, "are you alright?"
The wakened Malkavian blinked and looked over at her ghoul, "I'm fine, my pet. Contact the daughters of Janus for me."
Heather nodded and smiled happily that she hadn't disturbed her master, "of course." She immediately got on the phone in one of the sunlit rooms and waited.
The phone was answered with a sharp, "yes?" It was Therese.
"Master wishes to talk to you," Heather answered politely and returned to the dark room and gave the phone to her master.
"It's been a while since I've heard from you, Jessie. To what do I owe the pleasure?" Therese asked, slightly annoyed.
"Dark daughter, be warned the new jester prince is sending the King of Lions to you to find this one," she warned.
"Hmm, so Prince Claude is sending another Nosferatu after you?" Therese sighed.
"No, the nasties remain unseen. The voices say an artist," Jessie answered.
"Very well, I will let Jeanette know. We're both growing weary of this," Therese sighed.
"As do the voices. The new jester prince will move and so will this lunatic," Jessie agreed and hung up.
"What's happening, Master?" Heather asked.
The mad Malkavian shook her head, "nothing yet, my pet. But be careful, pet. We are being searched after by an artist king of lions."
Heather nodded, after spending so much time and drinking her master's insane blood, she could understand what her master was saying. "I'll be careful and watch for him, Master."
"Good girl, the voices clamor for sleep. Good day, pet," and she crawled back under the covers.
Back in Santa Monica
"You wanted to see me, dear sister?" Jeanette asked.
"We have been contacted by Jessie. An artist King of Lions is looking for her and is coming here," Therese informed.
"Oh? Do we get to spoil the Prince's milk again?" Jeanette asked eagerly.
"Not this time. Claude is obviously sending someone expendable. If he's killed this early on we may become suspects of the murders. Best to lead him toward the Nosferatu," Therese strategized.
"How boring," Jeanette pouted.
"Just do it, Jeanette," Therese growled.
Just then the intercom buzzed and the bartender came on, "Therese? Jeanette?"
Jeanette walked over to the speaker, "Jeanette here."
"This guy by the name of Richard is here to see you," the bartender replied.
Richard…King of England, way back. Must be a Toreador too for her to say "artist", Jeanette mused, "send him up." A buzz was heard and the sound of the elevator rumbling to life. Not long after there was a knock on the door. "Come in," she cooed.
Richard walked in and stopped at the sight of Jeanette, "I was told you might have information on Jessie Lavin."
Jeanette smiled and laid on the heart shaped bed, "hmm, that name rings a bell but I haven't heard from her in years."
"Really? I heard two," Richard followed her and stood at the foot of the bed.
"Won't you come join me, little lion?" Jeanette cooed and pouted when Richard just stared at her. "I did talk with her about getting the scope delivered, but her ghoul, Heather, came and got it during the day," Jeanette sighed and rolled onto her stomach, "if you want more information, you're going to have to see Bertram Tung. He was in charge of finding her originally."
I'm being led in circles; Richard mentally grumbled and entered the abandoned oil drum. He looked over at the Nosferatu who seemed to be expecting him.
"News travels fast, Fledgling," Bertram greeted, "so you're after the missing Malkavian; only a matter of time before you were sent my way, if you even got this far."
"Jeanette told me you were in charge of the original investigation," Richard stated.
"I was but it was a year after the incident when everything went up in smoke and a new prince was chosen," Bertram sighed, "plenty of time for the trail to go cold." The Nosferatu grabbed a flash drive from the desk and tossed it to Richard, "everything I know and could find is on that driver. Anything else and you'll have to talk with the Anarchs." Richard was about to leave when the Nosferatu stopped him, "careful how deep you go into this, Fledgling, something is going on and all the Malks are starting to cut their ties to the Camarilla. They know something is up." The young Toreador nodded and left. He returned to his apartment in the Skyline Apartments. It used to belong to a ghoul but now it was his haven.
He shut the heavy curtains to the rising sun and plugged in the drive. Most of the information was useless, leftovers and lies left behind to put everyone on a false trail. Listed in a separate folder were places where she or her ghoul were sighted or just places where contact was lost with those before him who were looking for her. What does Fort Resolution; North West Territories; Canada, Whale Cove; Nunavut; Canada, Mount Lorne; Yukon; Canada, Suez; Egypt, Tete; Mozambique, Eastern Cape; South Africa, and El Mouroy; Tunisia all have in common? I know she's a Malk but there HAS to be some sort of connection. Richard wondered and read the list over and over. Something occurred to him and he emailed Prince du Monde for a copy of a world map showing Sabbat influence; knowing he wouldn't get a response today, he turned in for the day.
After FINALLY being able to get Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines to work, an idea struck me, what happens after the game? No one has posted anything on it so I hope you enjoy.
Also, cake for everyone who guesses what the cities I listed have in common before I put on the next chapter.