And Now It Ends
About a week after I had staked LaCroix, Maxmillian Strauss called a meeting at the same theatre where I was introduced to the vampire world. Everyone who was anyone in the L. A. vampire community was there. It was pretty straightforward. He called off the Blood Hunt on Nines. He praised Wesley and I for our work, and named us his enforcers. He had claimed the sarcophagus, and moved it to only God knows where. He said that Becket would have access to study the markings on the outside.
On the political side, Maxmillian stated that a committee of regents would be formed, and he would work with them in maintaining order and stability in the L. A. area. He gave permission to the Anarchs to remain an autonomous group, and requested that they elect a leader to represent them on the committee. His hope was that it would be Jack.
He said the rules on Embracing would be enforced. Right now, he said, we needed vampires. Especially vampires skilled in finance and computers. It would take some time to unravel LaCroix"s financial setup, and he wanted good people working on it. He encouraged everyone to Embrace, but only Embrace those humans who could handle vampire power and responsibility.
Becket dived into his research. The markings on the sarcophagus were Assyrian. They were some sort of spell, or curse, or magical chant. Their purpose was to keep what the people of that time and place perceived as a great evil imprisoned inside of the sarcophagus. So much for humans and their version of magic.
I also did a lot of research. I found out a bit of vampire history. It appears that vampires had one of two starting points. The first was that God had cursed Cain, slayer of Abel, and the curse was making Cain into a vampire. He, supposedly, was the first.
Another source said that Amon Re and Osiris cursed Set, the Egyptian god who had slain his brother Osiris, after he resurrected. That curse was vampirism. I chose to believe neither.
Bertram Tung was wrong about clans appearing around the death of Christ. They had appeared long before that. The Tremere and Malkavian clans were very ancient, and were offshoots of the Daughters of Chaos.
Vampires were independent for a long time. The first group to appear was the Sabbat, and that was right before the close of the Middle Ages. The Camarilla was formed to offset them, and they appeared in the early Renaissance. The Anarchs first appeared in France, around the eighteenth century. Their appearance coincided with the French Revolution.
So, my knowledge grew, and so did my power. I kept doing my research. On occasion, I would visit Jeanette at the Asylum, and we would talk. It turned out she was fairly young in vampire terms. She was only about sixty years old. I also visited Wesley and chatted with Maxmillian. As for Wesley, he had completely broken the ties with his sister and doctor. That act was inevitable. He was busy keeping order in Malibu.
One night, after a visit with Jeanette, I exited the Asylum. I saw my yellow Checker Cab parked by the curb, and my driver standing beside it. He was smiling. I approached.
"Well, Sebastian LaCroix doesn"t pay you anymore," I said, smiling back. "You driving cab full time?"
"Casey chose well," he said. "Very well indeed. You have done a magnificent job."
"You want to tell me what, or who, came out of the Ankaran Sarcophagus?" I asked.
"There was an imbalance in the vampire power structure in Los Angeles," he began, after a pause. He ignored my question. "The entrance of the Camarilla should have corrected that. However, no one could predict the insanity of Sebastian LaCroix. He wished to perform Diablerie on whatever was inside, believing he would gain its power. That is a myth. There is only one way to gain power. To live long, and study, and learn. And, of course, one gets a great deal of power from their Sire."
"Like I got from my Sire?"
"Ah, Casey." Here he looked at the street, and then he looked back to me. "Casey was an ancient. She was the last surviving member of the Daughters of Chaos. She sought the Final Death. She had grown tired of living. However, she agreed to assist me in correcting the problem in L. A."
"How was she to assist you?" I asked.
"We in the Camarilla needed an outsider, someone free of Anarch, Camarilla, or Sabbat influence to restore the balance," he stated. "Casey was to pick someone, and Embrace. She chose you. Then she would train them, secretly, and guide their actions in L. A. However, LaCroix detected her, and captured both of you. He executed her, and she did not resist, because it was what she desired. He would have executed you, if not for the Anarchs. His hope was to have the Sabbat do his dirty work. But, as things developed, you crossed him at every step."
"Why pick me?" I asked.
"We needed someone unhappy in his or her current life," he said. "We also needed someone strong, and unafraid to experience new things. That was you. We also wanted to preserve her bloodline. Casey was the last member of the Daughters of Chaos. The line now continues, in you. You are the first male member. How do you feel about that?"
Well, there wasn"t really anything I could say. I thought for a minute or two, and then spoke.
"I think you came out of the Ankaran Sarcophagus," I said. "And from what you have told me, Casey was in league with you all along. And I think you told Jack to booby trap the thing, and told Maxmillian to expect me."
"But not Wesley," he said. "Wesley was your doing, and it was a good choice. The two of you were the wild cards in the deck. You will be a Camarilla Prince some day, but not just yet."
"So, tell me," I asked, "are you Cain, or are you Set, or neither? And were you in the sarcophagus?"
My driver said nothing. He merely smiled. He stepped into his cab and drove away into the night.
And that was the last I saw of him, or of the old, yellow Checker cab.