17 - Vampire the Masquerade
DescriptionThe Late Alistair Grout, M. D.
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The Late Alistair Grout, M. D.I spent the day at my Santa Monica Haven and awakened around one in the afternoon. Now, here is another vampire myth blown away. We don"t rest all day. We only rest to fulfill our need. So, I awakened in the middle of a bright, sunny day. But I still had to stay indoors. I logged into my laptop, plugged into the web, and began to do some research. What I researched was the LaCroix Foundation. It turned out that the foundation had been in existence for about five hundred years, and was always headed by a member of the LaCroix family. No doubt it was the prince. It donated money to research for blood diseases and leukemia. It had solid investments in transportation and, believe it or not, firearms and weapons. So that was how the prince got his money. He had to be good at it, and had to be good at covering his tracks. He had been working it for five hundred years. When the sun was just a sliver over the horizon, I headed out. I went to the Asylum and fed. No sign of Jeanette. Next I hooked up with my cabbie and handed him the slip of paper with Grout"s address. He got me there in good time. The mansion was one of the older styled mansions that had been built by the early movie and film executives. It was stone and wood. It was not that big, but no doubt that, at one time, it had a very stately appearance. I would say it was even quite beautiful in its day. I approached the front door, and Nines came out! "Hey! Nines!" I shouted. "You looking for Grout as well? You find him?" "Well, ummm," Nines responded. "You okay, Nines?" I asked. This was not the normal talkative and vibrant Nines Rodriguez that I had encounters with. "You shouldn"t go in there," he said. "The place is dangerous." Then he disappeared into the night. "What the shit?" I muttered, scratching my head. I turned and headed inside the mansion, and started to look for Alistair Grout. The place had an old, musty air about it. A lot of dust coated the furniture. It seemed as if the place had not seen sunshine or fresh air in years. I wandered around, through the foyer, into the main dining room, through a long-unused kitchen, and finally into something that once was a sunroom. But the glass in the windows was thick with dirt. I checked for auras, and found none. The place appeared empty. I left the sunroom, found another door, and ended up in the library. The library was different. Much, much different. It was neat, and clean, and tidy. In fact, it was immaculate. Books and journals on mental diseases lined the shelves. Hanging on the wall, behind the desk, were diplomas. One was an M. D. from Johns Hopkins. There were diplomas and certificates from the University of Virginia and from various hospitals and medical institutions. Alistair Grout was a doctor, and a psychiatrist to boot. I was impressed. I had no idea what most of the books were about. As a human, I had been a computer nerd. I wandered around, browsing the spines. I sat behind the desk, which was quite large and solid, and found a few buttons underneath. I hit two of them, and one of the bookcases slowly moved aside. I had discovered a secret entrance to something. I chuckled. This was like a plot out of a bad Hardy Boys novel. The uncovered room was another library, but a much smaller one with a door at the far end. It had about twenty or so journals on the walls. I pulled one down and started to read. The journals were written in script, and a very neat, legible, and masculine script. For the next four hours, I would read those journals. I would return to my Santa Monica haven, rest, and go back for a second night of reading. Those journals would tell me a great deal. It appears Dr. Grout moved to L. A. to study vampirism. The mental disease, not the real thing. He stumbled onto real vampires, and got embraced by a Malkavian. He joined the L. A. Anarchs and settled in as Regent of the clan. Even though he was now a real vampire, he continued with his studies. Then, Sebastian LaCroix and the Camarilla moved in. Dr. Grout began playing both sides. He didn"t say why. I guess he had his own reasons. But something inside of his Malkavian brain began to exert itself. Perhaps exert is the wrong word. It began to affect Grout"s thinking. Grout was terrified of one of the vampires in the Camarilla. In the journals, he stated that the vampire had "immense power." He also claimed that the vampire suffered from a Napoleon complex, and wanted to either rule all or destroy all. If he could not have it, no one else would. He also stated that this vampire had cut a secret deal with the Kuei-Jin, which is something that no loyal western vampire would do. Grout felt that this vampire had targeted him, and it would only be a matter of time before he would hand Alistair Grout, M. D., the Final Death. Grout"s biggest concern was that he would not get to finish his studies. Now, there is more than meets the eye to all of this. I have been told I have Malkavian, in addition to Tremere, tendencies, and the Malkavian visions and intuitions can do one of two things. Those visions and intuitions can cloud your judgment, or they can save your ass. In my case, they saved my ass. What were they doing to Grout, who was pure Malkavian? I kept on reading. It appeared that these thoughts so frightened Grout that he withdrew, staying holed up in his mansion. He did not want to confront this Camarilla vampire. At times, he referred to the vampire as arrogant. He also said the vampire was a petulant child. He never named him. A light went off in my head, and it said Sebastian LaCroix. But I could not be sure. I closed the journal and headed into the secret library and through the door at the other end. There was a stairwell. I went up. The stairs took me to the second floor and a landing. On the landing were two dead ghouls. There was a large, heavy double door. It was unlocked. I opened it and entered, finding that I was in Grout"s haven. Lying on the bed was a headless skeleton with a wooden stake in the rib cage. On the other side of the room was a skull. Someone had given Grout the Final Death. I heard a dull BOOM! and felt the whole house shake. Next I smelled smoke. There was another door on the opposite side of the haven, and I ran through it. I found I was standing on a small balcony, overlooking the main dining room. There was another balcony opposite. There was a man standing on it, waving a crucifix in my direction. "May you and Grout embrace on your journey into Hell!" he shouted. "Tell your Lord and Master Satan that Grunfeld Bach has sent you to join him!" "Grout"s dead, you dumbass!" I shouted back. "What the hell are you doing?" "Well, so be it!" he yelled again. "Not by my hand! But the result is still the same." Bach ran off of the balcony and disappeared. And I knew that I had to get out of the Grout mansion quickly.