The Beautiful and the Damned

Chapter One: Burn Me Up

A pair of fiery murders, an investigation, a party and an offer.

Have a drink from an empty cup
Light a match and burn me up

Gaius Ferrán awoke for the evening to a phone call from Malkavian clanmate Molly Oxenfree, who informed him that the Camarilla sheriff of Los Angeles, Adeline Leclerc had called a meeting of the city’s neonates. Gaius affirmed to Molly that he was interested in attending this meeting, so she picked him up on her way. On the drive downtown, Molly mentioned that she was planning on attending a dance party at Hollywood Forever Cemetery after the meeting was concluded.

Meanwhile, at their respective havens, Alexander Colfax Dolarhyde and Santiago Clemente were amongst the recipients of a mass text sent by Brujah whip Andre Laurent instructing the neonates that attendance at the sheriff’s gathering was strongly encouraged.

As they all arrived downtown, Cole spotted the familiar face of Kim Lyons, a reminder of his mortal days who had been taken by the Embrace shortly after he was. Kim was in conversation with another neonate that Cole didn’t recognize.

Once everyone had gathered, Adeline Leclerc announced that during the daylight hours a pair of neonates (Hector Mendoza of Clan Malkavian and Romina Villagracia of Clan Nosferatu) had been brought to the Final Death as they slumbered during a raid by forces unknown. The sheriff said that until the perpetrators were brought to justice, it was especially important for the city’s neonates to remain discrete in their activities and vigilant towards possible threats.

As the meeting concluded, Cole, Gaius and Santi approached Sheriff Leclerc and made it known that they were interested in offering whatever services they could in the investigation. Adeline replied that although she expected that the neonates would make seeing to their own safety their primary responsibility, any leads that the could dig up without endangering themselves would be appreciated.

With that, Gaius Ferrán told Molly Oxenfree that he would catch up with her later, and he joined Santiago Clemente and Alexander Colfax Dolarhyde as they drove to the Highland Park home of Romina Villagracia. The house had suffered extensive fire damage, and an LAPD arson investigation team was still inside, so Gaius made use of his supernatural Obfuscation to enter and search the house unseen. He found evidence indicating that a small group had hopped the fence in the back yard, kicked open the makeshift plywood defenses that Romina Villagracia had constructed to keep out the sunlight, and thrown a homemade incendiary device into the home before exiting the way that they came.

While Gaius was searching the house, Cole made a phone call to his old friend, Detective C.C. Alvarado. After some light cajoling, Alvarado revealed that the police didn’t currently have any strong leads on the case, but that they thought that it might be an older murder, as Romina Villagracia’s remains appeared to be too decayed to belong to someone murdered that afternoon. Once the call had ended, Cole opined to Santi that it would be best to leave addressing that particular potential breach of the Tradition of the Masquerade to members of the Camarilla more qualified to do so.

When the group reconvened, it was decided that they should join Molly Oxenfree at the Hollywood Forever party in order to provide Gaius the opportunity to hunt. Arriving at the cemetery, they were waved through the line and into the dance event. After Gaius had fed, Molly approached him to let him know that representatives from Clan Giovanni wanted to meet with anyone investigating the Mendoza and Villagracia murders. Gaius gathered Cole and Santi, and the three of them went to meet with Philippa and Mauro Giovanni.

Mauro gave the group space as Philippa explained that the Giovanni talent for summoning and speaking to the dead might be of some use in interrogating the murdered neonates, if they could lay their hands on some personal items belonging to the departed. Time, however, was of the essence, as Kindred often accrue a great many angry spirits who greatly shorten a deceased vampire’s window of opportunity in the spirit world. In exchange for providing the group with whatever the dead vampires could tell, it was understood that the Giovanni might call upon Alexander Colfax Dolarhyde, Gaius Ferrán and Santiago Clemente to do them a similar good turn.

After some discussion, the group agreed.

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