The Beautiful and the Damned

S2 Chapter One

It was in the latter half of October with midnight fast approaching that the Kindred of Los Angeles (those willing and able to accede to the invitation of the Prince of the city, at any rate) gathered at the Los Angeles Theatre to witness the presentation of a group of fledglings to the court of the local Camarilla. One year earlier, the region had repelled a Sabbat siege at the cost of numerous lives (or unlives, if one prefers), and in order to replenish the Camarilla’s numbers, Prince Garza had invoked his right under the Third Tradition (that of Progeny) to grant leave to each of the seven core clans to sire one new childer. With their presentation, these fledglings were now to graduate to neonates.

Nick McDuff moved through the crowd, accompanied by his mentor, the Nosferatu Evil Eye Richards. In keeping with the refined tone of the gathering, Richards had assumed the image that he’d borne before his Embrace, which Nick hadn’t seen him do before. Nick thought back to a conversation that he’d had with the Nosferatu musician earlier that evening, where they’d discussed how they’d attire themselves, what message their outfits might send, and what the consequences of those messages might be. The outcome of this conversation was a white tee shirt on which Nick has scrawled the words “FUCK VAMPIRES” in black Sharpie.

Strictly speaking, Nick was not one of the fledglings that had been created following the Sabbat attack, but since he’d spent a few decades in torpor, had little direction or training before that, and had not yet been presented to the Prince, Clan Brujah had petitioned to have Nick fill the fledgling spot that had been granted them. As he and Evil Eye Richards approached where the other fledglings had been gathered, they saw that one of the fledglings and his sire were engaged in discussion with Keeper of Elysium Almira Lim.

Toreador Cooper Thorndike had introduced his childe, fledgling Vincent Jimenez to Lim. During their brief interaction, Vincent had notice that Almira seemed to be giving most of the fledglings more regard than she did many of the other Kindred gathered in the room, perhaps owing to the potency (and thereby, class) of their blood. As Nick McDuff and Evil Eye Richards arrived, introductions were made, and the two fledglings spoke to each other regarding their places in the world. Nick told Vincent about his history and renewed interest in musical performance, and Vincent mentioned that he owned a nightclub and gallery space (Les Cinques) where Nick might have the opportunity to perform some time.

Just then, the group was approached by Brujah Primogen Martin Hoults. Hoults and Thorndike greeted one another with the easy familiarity of longtime acquaintances, and as they shook hands Hoults mentioned to Thorndike that, “All this bullshit will pass.” He then told Nick McDuff that he’d see him when it was time for the presentation, and took his leave.

Cooper Thorndike took Vincent and Nick to a private room to explain the comment that Martin Hoults had made to him. When the Prince had granted permission to each of the seven foundational Camarilla clans to Embrace a single fledgling, Thorndike had wanted two fledglings brought into Clan Toreador, so Toreador Primogen Rafael Novelo had paid a “considerable” boon to Ventrue Primogen Muriel Rice for her to transfer Clan Ventrue’s right of progeny to Clan Toreador. It had been expected that the Toreador (and the other clans) would likely choose to create progeny of ninth or tenth generation, in order to be certain of ease of control of the fledglings. Shortly thereafter, however, Clan Brujah had announced the awakening from torpor of Nick McDuff, and when word broke that the newly risen Brujah was eighth generaton, it resulted in something of an arms race of blood potency, with several of the other clans Embracing eighth generation fledglings. Clan Toreador had accordingly Embraced Vincent Jimenez and Helena. There were, Cooper explained, certain members of Clan Ventrue who now believed that the Brujah and Toreador had colluded to grant the Toreador two members of the eighth generation while denying the Ventrue any, thereby putting the Ventrue at a possible disadvantage and upsetting the balance of power in Los Angeles, and making Muriel Rice look like a fool.

There was, Cooper assured the two neonates, no truth to this baseless speculation. With that, he said that it was time for them to be presented to Prince Calisto Garza, and the group moved into the theatre, where the Kindred were seating themselves.

Calisto Garza made his entrance, accompanied by his childe and seneschal, Luisa Garcia Herrara. The Prince remained silent as Herrara announced him and made welcome the fledglings to the court of Los Angeles. In turn, representatives from each of the clans presented their fledglings to Prince Garza for his acknowledgement and approval.

Brujah Primogen Martin Hoults presented Nick McDuff.

Gangrel elder Gertrude Putnam said that Clan Gangrel had Embraced a fledgling, but that the fledgling was not yet suited for presentation, and that the clan would present their fledgling to Prince Garza when the time was right.

Malkavian Molly Oxenfree presented Noah Carver.

Nosferatu Primogen Brennos presented Dahlia Blake.

Toreador Primogen Rafael Novelo presented Vincent Jimenez and Helena.

Tremere Primogen and Regent Wendy Tran stated that Clan Tremere had found a candidate, but that they were waiting until their candidate reached the optimal mortal age before bestowing upon them the Embrace.

The crowd looked with curiosity and expectation towards Ventrue Primogen Muriel Rice, but she remained silent.

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