13 - Vampire the Masquerade
DescriptionA Chat and a Bat
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A Chat and a BatWell, I arrived at Bertram"s oil tank and entered. Bertram was sitting at a laptop. He watched the screen for a few more minutes, and then he turned and looked at me with that grin that he had. "Nice work, Randy," he said. "My guess is pieces of that warehouse landed as far away as Long Beach. You had better get back to the prince and report." "Yeah, no problem, Bertram. Listen, you got some time? I have a few questions." Bertram got up from his laptop and walked to a refrigerator. He opened it, grabbed a blood pack, and tossed it to me. "Better feed. You have some nasty slash wounds on your sides. The blood will help you heal faster. Looks like you ran into some Sabbat vampires on your trip." I drank the blood, and I could feel the healing start. Then I started peppering Bertram Tung with questions. First, I started with the clans, and then I told him of my powers. "The clans first appeared around the time of the death of Christ," he said. "Clans have come and gone over the millennia. Different powers are given to different clans. Now, from what you have told me, you may be Tremere. They are rare, and believed to be in decline. But, as they grow and mature, they become very powerful. But there is something else going on here. Some of the hunches and premonitions that you feel could be either coincidence or Malkavian. For instance, your purchasing of the lock pick, or your loading of the shotgun before you set the timer on the bomb. And then you made the decision to leave the warehouse with the shotgun ready. Those could be Malkavian tendencies. You, Randy, could be a blending of both. That would mean that your sire was ancient, and I mean ancient. Several thousand years old. She may have belonged to an old, extinct clan that was all female and known as the Daughters of Chaos." This gave me pause for thought. I did not want to end up like Jeanette. I told Bertram about that little scene in the Asylum, and he told me he suspected that there was a double personality at work. I also told him that I had spoken with Becket, and he was impressed. Becket evidently had quite a reputation in the vampire community. Next I inquired about the sects. I didn"t ask about the Sabbat. My encounter with two of them at the warehouse had left me no doubt how to deal with them. My concern was with the Camarilla and the Anarchs. I had a ton of questions, and I knew that there was a big hole in my knowledge concerning vampire politics. "The Camarilla works," Bertram said. "It makes sense. You cannot have vampires being sired anywhere and everywhere. The next thing you know is that you have Caitiff running around in the streets, unable to deal with their powers and going crazy. They won"t be getting taught the rules of the Masquerade. Imagine the chaos that would cause. Then you have vampire hunters on the scene and that gets messy. Besides, wherever there is an ounce of power to be gained, someone will screw someone else to get it. You think the Camarilla invented that? No, humans were on the planet first." "Vampire hunters? What in the hell are they?" "The Catholic Church, the Israeli, British, American, and Russian governments have a highly-trained, disciplined, unified military force. It is small, but deadly." Here Bertram paused for a second. "And they are better than Navy SEALS. The major Christian churches and some other governments financially support them as well. Their function is to hunt vampires, and they are good. Very, very good. You want to avoid hunters at all costs. When they detect vampires, they hunt, hunt, and hunt some more. They never quit." "Okay," I said, "so I will do my best to follow the Masquerade to the letter. Now, what of the Anarchs?" "I respect the Anarchs" belief in free will and all of that," Bertram said, "but they chafe at any sort of authority. Over time, an Anarch with a lot of charisma emerges, and he becomes their Prince, effectively making them into an isolated Camarilla. The guy who spoke up for you at the theatre is like that. His name is Nines Rodriguez, and he has a lot of L. A. vampires in the Anarch group. He attracts a lot of them. I tend to be loyal to the Camarilla. But you should play both sides of the street and take your time. You will have to make up your own mind, because you don"t have a Sire to guide you." I thanked Bertram for the information and asked him if I could drop by any time I had more questions. He said yes. I headed to my haven to rest. I decided to see the prince tomorrow night. What I did not know was that I now had made three powerful allies. Jack, of course, was the first. He chose me. Next was Jeanette. And now, Bertram Tung. I was instinctively making some very good choices within the vampire community. After a good day"s rest, I checked my email accounts. Nothing new here. My banker in Malibu was glad I was okay and said that it was good to hear from me. I headed out, fed in an alley, and took my cab to downtown L. A. to see the prince. The cab dropped me in an alley near the LaCroix Towers. I stepped out, and the cab sped off. And then some guy nailed me in the back of the head with a baseball bat. I was completely off guard, and went down. I looked up to see four Sabbat vampires standing over me, and I knew that I was in trouble.