The Beautiful and the Damned

S2 Chapter Two

With the presentations made to the Prince, the newly elevated neonates Dahlia Blake, Helena, Nick McDuff, Noah Carver, and Vincent Jimenez accompanied the other members of the Los Angeles Camarilla court to the lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre (that evening’s Elysium). The gathered Kindred socialized, and for the most part the new neonates were welcomed into the society of the undead and kept close by the watchful members of their clans.

Nick noticed that one of the other neonates, the Malkavian Noah appeared not to be experiencing the same welcoming effusiveness from his clan. Nick approached Noah, and the two of them struck up a conversation about their respective experiences as creatures of the night.

The party was interrupted by the sudden arrival of a gang of Anarchs who barged past security. Nick recognized their leader as Maria Conseulo Obregón, who he remembered from his days as an Anarch. By his recollection, she had run in a gang overseen by Anarch leader Salvador Garcia. Obregón loudly demanded that the Prince and Seneschal give her an explanation for footage that she displayed on her phone of what appeared to be a mortal protest rally. Heading the rally was a man that bore an uncanny resemblance to the deposed (and believed long-dead) former Prince of Los Angeles, Don Sebastian Juan Dominguez. This caused a considerable ripple amongst the gathered Kindred. Prince Garza and Luisa Garcia Herrara entered the room and, appearing shocked by the video, agreed to speak privately with Maria Conseulo Obregón. The three departed together to a private room.

Nick recognized one of the Anarchs who had arrived with Obregón as Adam Church, with whom he’d had an acquaintance back in his days as an Anarch. Nick approached Church, who expressed some surprise that Nick was getting his neonate status now, as he’d been Embraced forty years earlier. Nick shot back that he’d spent the overwhelming majority of those forty years in torpor in the basement of what was formerly the nightclub Chummy’s. Church showed further surprise at this, explaining to Nick that most of the Anarchs had believed that Nick had left town with his sire Flint. Nick asked Adam if he could help identify the Anarch that had staked him and left him in torpor, but Church said that he didn’t know who it was.

Maria Conseulo Obregón emerged from her meeting with the Prince and Seneschal, storming out of the building in a foul mood, accompanied by the Anarchs that had arrived with her. As they departed, Evil Eye Richards appeared next to Nick and Noah suggesting that this might be a good time to depart and have a private conversation of their own. The group did so, making their way to a nearby bar, The Varnish.

At the Varnish, Nick expressed his confusion of the significance of the video that Maria Conseulo Obregón had shown. Evil Eye Richards explained how the individual appearing in the video (who Richards said had identified himself as Oliver DeGuzman) had inflamed the Anarchs because he looked so strikingly similar to the presumed-late former Prince of Los Angeles, and that the reported death of that Prince had sparked the Second Anarch Revolt. Richards went on to say that the apparent resurrection of a hated foe of the Anarchs coinciding with the presentation of five Kindred of potent blood to the Prince was viewed by many of the Anarchs as either a provocation or a prelude to particularly oppressive action on the part of the Camarilla of Los Angeles.

Nick said that he was angry that he was being dragged into this, and he wanted to be left alone and out of politics. Looking around the bar, he sought out the loudest group that he could find and aggressively shouted for them to shut up. The group took the goad and it appeared that the situation was escalating into a fight, but when Noah moved to support Nick, the Brujah decided that he didn’t want to get anyone else involved in his attempt to blow off steam. Nick McDuff handily browbeat the group into backing down (and paying for some drinks) before returning with Noah Carver to the table where Evil Eye Richards was waiting.

Richards said that the way that Nick was dealing with stress was a very Brujah way of doing things; the Nosferatu way would be to find out what was going on. With that, he said that Brennos had called a meeting of the Los Angeles Nosferatu to take them to task for being blindsided by the Oliver DeGuzman video, which Richards had to leave to attend immediately.

After Evil Eye Richards departed, Noah Carver and Nick McDuff talked for a while before making their own exit. As they left the building, Carver’s inhuman senses called to his attention a man watching them from a window several floors up across the street. A quick check of the man’s aura revealed him as a ghoul.

Noah covertly pointed out the watcher to Nick, and the pair began cautiously making their way down the street. As the did so, they noticed that a car was trailing them at a distance. A homeless man was sprawled drunkenly across the sidewalk, and Noah spied what he felt certain was a stake hidden in the man’s coat. Noah raised the alarm, and Nick quickly moved to defend them, pressing his boot down hard on the homeless man’s chest. This elicited a panicked response from the homeless man, and as he struggled his coat fell open, revealing that what Noah had believed was a stake was actually a bottle of liquor. The action had, however, spurred the occupants of the car into action, and it sped up to meet the two Kindred, and three knife-wielding men emerged.

Nick McDuff sprung into action immediately, calling on the unnatural physical enhancement of his blood to rapidly disable one of the attackers, leaving the man concussed and splayed across the hood of the car. A second attacker advanced on Noah, but tripped on the curb as he did so, falling and dropping his blade. The Malkavian neonate capitalized on the fumble by grabbing the man’s knife and jumping on his back, holding the pilfered blade to its former owner’s throats and making it clear that any resistance would be met with terrible bloodshed.

The final attacker drove his knife into Nick, but Nick’s supernatural resilience stopped the blade, and the Brujah grappled the man, putting him in a chokehold and threatening to bite his throat out if he didn’t surrender. The threat successful, Nick demanded to know who the attackers were.

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