A Night with Nathaniel
Dox is easily able to arrange a meeting with Nathaniel at his new apartment; he doesn’t leave much anymore. Upon arriving, he buzzes Dox in and leaves his apartment unlocked so he can enter. Reaching, his apartment Dox hears him call from the living room, “Come in my . . . son, how can I help you tonight?”
Entering the living room Dox replies, “Hey, um… I was just hoping to maybe talk to you a little alone. Sire to Child as it were, last time we met things got a little heated with everyone else.” Taking a comfortable seat near his Sire Dox goes on, “I was hoping that maybe you would be able to explain to me better the details on Vampire life, until now I have not had anyone to really ask and those I have spoken with have only given me brief fragments of knowledge. Specifically I would like to learn more about the politics of city, and how someone can move up in those circles. And I was also curious about blood bonds and the exact power of our unique blood.”
Unable to conceal his excitement over having this much influence over his childe, Nathaniel replies, “Whoa, whoa, slow down there kid, that is a whole lot of questions, and dawn is coming in seven or eight hours. Why don’t we take it a step at a time? What would you like to know first?”
“Well I suppose I would first like to know a little more about our bloodline. As far as I know you’re the only other Ventrue I’ve met and I want to know exactly what that means. I’ve also noticed that Vampires seem to have special powers yet not all clans are created equally. To be honest Edward is the only one in my group who I’ve seen use such a power, and it was very different from the ones I’ve experienced in myself.”
“Ventrue? Clans? Powers?” He mutters, still looking a little flustered from this deluge, “Yeah, yeah, lets start there, clans. Oh, and it’s Kindred, not vampires, well it is vampires, but the V-word is kind of a dirty word, you know?” He says, smiling and tapping his nose.
“Now where, ah yeah, thank you, clans, Ventrue.” He makes a gesture like jazz hands and says in deep singsong voice, “The Lords.” Laughing at the pretense he continues, “ If any one clan could claim this city it’s the Ventrue, we hold all, well most, many of the positions of power, starting with the Prince, Vidal. One of the Primogen, you know, like Miss Opal, is a influential Ventrue as well, Gabriel Hurst. And then there is that dick, Pierpont McGinn, that claims the Invictus Inner Circle as his own, or some such like that
“Okay, okay, thats only a few big names,” he says, seeing Dox about to interrupt, “but get this, no agreement about domain, territory, or feeding rights in this city can happen without being witnessed by a Sanctified Priest. Minor as the position is, most Priests in this city are, you guessed it, Ventrue, making us one of the most influential clans in the city.”
Removing his sunglasses Dox leaned back in his chair. In his life he had never aspired for much, being satisfied living on his computer and in his fiction, but since his death a lust for power had grown within him, things started to make some sense at last. “That is a lot of ambition to live up to. How do the politics of the city work anyway? How would one start to climb the kindred ladder?”
“Well, you’ve made a good start. Ingratiate yourself on the right people, make connections, network.” He continues, “Learn what you can about everybody you can. Collect favors, but try not to owe them, they will always cost more than you can imagine, but then again, owing the right kindred a favor maybe just the in you need to catch their attention.
“I’d like to offer some more advice kid, but your Requiem could last a hundred years and you still wouldn’t know all the ins-and-outs of Kindred politics.”
With a flash of anxiety showing across his face at the prospect of Kindred politics, an area Dox suspects this formerly slick business man has found himself less than fully successful, Nathaniel swings the conversation back towards the Ventrue, “So you asked about powers, I’m guessing its not about how tough you’ve become, we Ventrue can truly toughen up, I’m guessing you learned to control minds? Tell me is it just animals or have you been able to affect peoples minds? Me I can take control of a person’s mind for a whole night if I want to. Futs with his memory a little, but nothing like what I’ve seen some Kindred do. . . when you go to see Mr. Matheson you’ll meet his servant James, major mind rewrite, I don’t think he’s the same person he use to be.” wanting to move on from Becky Lynn’s still elusive sire, he continues, “If you’re strong enough, you can possess people’s very bodies. Though I didn’t know it, that was how I would first meet my sire, Lord Ruthven.”
A shadow passes across his features, “I have also learned some talents not typically associated with the Ventrue, great speed, and more interestingly, great presence, allowing emotional influence over another. They are talents I learned from a Daeva. If you are interested I could instruct you in their use?”
Dox’s smile widened at the prospect of such potential, the gears of his mind excitedly whirring. “I would love for you to teach me what you know, especially the thing with the great presence. That in particular sounds very useful.” Dox’s paused for a moment and rethought his original plan, it would seem that Nathaniel might be of use. “As for my own power, I feel it growing. I have been able to control minds, I was even able to give Becky Lynn’s parents fake memories. Although I must confess that as my powers have grown I feel like I have been losing touch with who I used to be, I don’t even blink an eye when I kill someone anymore.” Shaking his head Dox pushed away the concerning thought, not for the first time. “One more question, we were given permission to perform diablerie on our Sire’s when we found them. Don’t worry, I’m not asking so I might try on you, I was just interested in what it was, and what exactly it means to perform such an act.”
“Per-permission, eh?” He starts, barely concealing a flash of fear, “Well, it’s just feeding on a Kindred until they’re destroyed. A great sin and taboo, as you can guess, heavily forbidden. I’m glad you’ve enough foresight and control to resist such a temptation. . . no doubt the Prince is testing your character by offer such a temptation for so little reward!”
Hopping up Nathaniel heads to the kitchen and pulls out a cheap looking wine glass from his mostly bare cupboards, “Ba-ba-but you wanted me to teach and enlighten you, yes! Unfortunately the discipline of Majesty is no talent of ours, in order for a Ventrue to learn the mysteries of Majesty you must first experience it as if you were using it.” Switching to an authoritative tone as he returns to the couch, “The downside is you must taste my blood if you wish to learn it. Are you willing to give it a try?
Dox hesitates for a moment. His knowledge of kindred blood and of his own abilities, ones surely Nathaniel shared, warned against tasting his Sire’s blood. The temptation of power however proved to be the stronger. “If that really is necessary then I suppose I shall try but I think it only fair that you also taste some of my own blood.”
“Wha, well that really isn’t necessary, but if you insist I suppose…” He quickly bites his wrist and pours a small draught of vitae into the the wine goblet, “Add yours and then we taste.”
Still feeling doubts about tasting his Sire’s blood, Dox’s mimicked the biting motion and added his own vitae to the goblet. With his addition to the liquid Dox’s looked up to his Sire unsure the next step.
“Okay, now take a good swallow and then give it a moment for the vitae to flow through your system, you will get a sense of my experiences and perceptions wash through you, latch onto those and let them guide you as I begin your lessons.” He elaborates with an expression of anticipation, “it will take time to learn, but this is a necessary first step.”
Dox took the goblet and raised it in the air in toast, then brought the red liquid to his lips. It was still warm and he could feel Nathaniel’s experiences, just as he described, pool within him. He closed his eyes as it washed over him and as he opened them again he felt a strange admiration for his Sire that hadn’t been there previously.
“Alright, now what?”
Given no objections, Nathaniel begins instructing his childe in the use of the Majesty Discipline for the rest of the night, elaborating on its various uses and feelings, and the knowledge that must be unlocked before Dox can utilize it.
As the hours pass, Dox is enraptured by the new knowledge and experiences he has gained. And although his mind drifted away from the half full glass of Vitae cooling on the side table, he never forgot about it.
The Phone Call outside of Corpus Christi Church
Retreating to the shadows Dox flipped open his phone and quickly dialed Nathaniel’s number. His inability to feed was deeply troubling and he only really trusted one confidant for advice. It was not long before Nathaniel answered the phone, but before pleasantries could be exchanged Dox, working hard to keep the concern out of his voice, quickly spoke into the mouth piece.
“I have a very serious problem. I haven’t been able feed properly this night, should I be worried?”
With a note of concern Nathaniel replies, “Can you elaborate on how you’re struggling? Are, are you having trouble finding prey? Are you still struggling not to kill your prey? Ha-have you found some prey . . . unsatisfying, um, ah, unfulfilling?” His voice cracking a little with on the last question.
Feeling somewhat embarrassed but still concerned Dox replied. “I haven’t had any problems finding prey or killing. The blood just doesn’t… satisfy as it once did. Even those I’ve drained dry provided little. Have you ever heard of this before?”
“I, ah yes, some Kindred have difficulty feeding from their prey in this way.” He say tentatively, “It, ah, could be that they don’t have what, what it is you need. You have pushed yourself and the curse is pushing back, being Kindred comes with many strengths and boons, but it also comes with banes, else we wouldn’t call it a curse in the first place. Have you found prey that you can feed on since this started happening?”
Dox took a moment and remembered each of the victims he had fed on that night, the hooker, the man in the alley, and the junkie. “Their was this woman, high on cocaine, that I managed to get some vitae from. I had told her that I was going to drink her blood.”
“Well that could be helpful, feeding from the junkie was like feeding before this happened? If so, try to narrow it down, it could be anything that this junkie has that no one else had, it could be women or girls that you need to feed from, drug users, blue eyes, brown hair, hairy palms, anything,” he says incredulously,”something you need, ha, knowing you its probably something silly like knowledge, her knowing what you are or are going to do, but that sounds really esoteric, probably going to be something materialistic like alcohol or drugs…”
“hmm…” Dox poured over the details of the feeding, “I’m going to try and feed again before sunrise. Thanks for the advice.”
“Yeah, no problem kid. Is there anything else I can help with?” He asks with a little more confident now that the subject has shifted away from feeding problems. “Yeah, this should be no biggy, you’ll figure it out.”
“That’s it for now, but I think I’d like to visit you sometime soon. Perhaps you could show me some of those other disciplines you described.”
“Absolutely, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Yup, see you.” Snapping the phone shut Dox shook off his concerns temporarily and followed his coterie inside the church. Hopefully he would still have time later that night to try feeding again.
Feeding After the Death of Lucas Gates and the Few Events Following
The sun was about to rise and the hunger burning in Dox’s veins was becoming unbearable. The most recent evolution of his curse left him desperate in those waning hours. Walking back to his apartment he scanned the streets before him with an ever increasing panic. The streets were nearly empty as early morning approached, and Dox’s had nearly resigned himself to wait for the next night before feeding when finally he spotted a man swaying slightly as he drank from a bottle obscured by a brown paper bag. The beast roared within him, and it took all Dox had to resist its call, he could not afford another failed feeding. He stuffed his shaking hands deep into his pockets and approached him as coolly as he could manage in his near frenzied state. Remembering Nathaniel’s advice Dox decided that perhaps drugs were somehow the key to feeding, Nathaniel himself often fed from drunk individuals without issue. The man looked up from the bottle, one eye closed.
“Hey friend.” the man stumbled against the wall of the alley raising his concealed bottle in greeting.
“Hi.” Dox replied darkly, eyes focused on the throbbing veins beating beneath the drunkard’s exposed skin. “I need to drink some of your blood.”
The man doubled over with laughter for a moment before briefly throwing up. Standing again and clearing the vomit from his lips he looked at Dox whose serious expression had not changed. Stupidly blinking, the man struggled to understand what exactly Dox had said before finally reaching a conclusion. “You want to drink my blood?”
“Yes.” Dox said coldly, his hunger almost getting the better of him.
“No way man, that’s sick!” The drunkard’s expression turned to disgust and he walked deeper into the alley away from Dox.
The hunger was too much now, and with his prey stumbling away Dox let the monster free. Walking fast with determination he approached the man, trench coat billowing around his ankles, and took him hard by the shoulders. Without hesitation Dox’s sunk his fangs deep into the man’s neck and began to drink the alcohol infused blood. He could feel the blood trickle down his throat but the hunger did not subside, frustrated he tore harder at the man’s throat claiming each red drop that spilled from the wound. Finally some vitae was obtained before the man fell limp from Dox’s arms.
“Holy Shit!” A young woman’s voice exclaimed from behind Dox. He turned and saw her sitting crosslegged and wide eyed on a bed of cardboard boxes. Her clothes were punk and her eyes were a startling silver, sitting beside her was an overfilled backpack. Dox sighed, resigned to killing another innocent, but it was then that the alcohol from the drunkard hit him.
“Hey Mr. Vampire, your secret is safe with me, don’t need to kill me or anything.” The girl said quickly standing up, slinging the heavy bag onto her shoulders.
“How about you let me have some of your blood.”
The girl looked around Dox at the dead man, “Yeah, how do I know I won’t look like that.”
“You don’t” Dox answered exposing his fangs with a mischievous smile. “But you know I will kill you if you don’t let me have some.”
“Right.” The girl bit her lip and looked Dox up and down, “Um… How do we do this?”
Dox walked up close to the girl and, as gently as he could, let his fangs pierce her neck. The sweet blood that flowed from her was the most satisfying he had had all night, and he struggled to pull away before any real harm came to the girl. With a careful lick of his tongue the small wounds were erased and he pulled away. She looked somewhat startled to find herself still alive and a sassy smile replaced the look of concern he had last seen on her face.
“That wasn’t so bad.” She said with a smile then her eyes grew wide again and she asked gleefully. “Vampire’s are real?”
Dox nodded, “We call ourselves Kindred.”
“Ok, but if that’s the case aren’t you supposed to be more secretive or something? I mean, look at how you’re dressed, you’re definitely a Vampire.”
Dox frowned. “You need to drink my blood.” He cut open his wrist then and offered it to her.
“What? Why? What happens if I drink Vampire blood? Are you making me into a Vampire?”
“No… I just…” Dox paused, unsure how to proceed. He needed to erase her memory, she couldn’t be allowed to know the truth, and enough innocents had been lost that night. “I just want you to experience the power of my vitae, in return for letting me feed on you.” the lie seemed obvious to Dox, but the girl seemed to believe him as she took his arm and with an unsure expression drank some of his blood. The experience was a strange one and as Dox focused on the girl he felt something pass between them, but he was not sure what. As she pulled away the girl gasped from the intensity of the experience a little blood still dripping from her open mouth.
“That was amazing!” She panted still somewhat breathless. “You can feed on me anytime you want as long as I can do that again!”
“Anytime?” Dox asked, he considered the usefulness of the offer, especially if feeding was going to continue to be difficult.
“Oh yeah! Wow, I feel like I can leap tall buildings in a single bound!” She beamed at Dox, then suddenly extended a hand, “I’m Cassy.”
“Dox.” He replied absentmindedly still considering the idea, he could erase her memory should she become a problem. Down he recalled the bed of cardboard he had found her sitting in. “How will I find you again?”
“Oh…” She bit her bottom lip her eyes shot upwards as she thought for a moment. “I don’t really have a place of residence at the moment.”
“No just in the market, I just haven’t found anything that screams me yet.”
“Do you have a cell phone?”
“No…” She said slowly sensing Dox’s disappointment.
Sighing again Dox found himself back at his original conclusion, it would be better to keep her close anyway. “You can stay at my place, for now.”
“But don’t you live in like a crypt or something? Sleep in a coffin, all that jazz?”
“No, pop culture has some things right, but not everything. Follow me.”
Dox’s apartment was not far and soon Cassy found herself looking in at Dox’s home.
“Charming, were you a computer geek or something before?”
“I am a computer hacker.” Dox growled a little, as he sat down on his bed. “Don’t let any sunlight in, or you won’t taste my or any other Kindreds blood again, understand.”
Cassy nodded. “What am I supposed to do while you sleep?”
“I have some books on the shelf you can read and the couch is comfy if you want to sleep. I guess you can leave if you want but if you’re not back here by nightfall I will find you.”
“Got it Master.” Cassy replied sarcastically. “Have a good sleep or whatever. Do you guys dream?”
“Sweet dreams Dox.” She said playfully as she pulled a random book from the shelf and began leafing through it.
The pull of sleep was becoming stronger, but Dox stayed awake as long as he could watching the girl as she looked around his apartment. She could be very useful to him, and if she was also affected by the blood bond as a Kindred would be then he could definitely see the uses in keeping her around. There was not enough time left in the night but tomorrow he would find out exactly what happens when a mortal drinks the vitae of a Kindred.