This story was written as part of my introduction thread to this site, where I was challenged by King Serperior
with a visual prompt that can be see here
. I was very happy with the way the piece came out and so I've decided to share it here for everyone, and act as a solid writing sample for those interested in playing with me.Welcome To The Masquerade
takes place in the World of Darkness, from Vampire: The Masquerade. It follows the an evening with a nameless Ventrue and his revelations to a woman, his soon to be childe. On this evening he confirms what she has been thinking for some time, and opens her eyes to the reality of his world.
You look a little flush, dear. Are you alright? Or are you starting to understand now? Yes, of course, I knew I picked you for a good reason. It is very much alright, you can say it, I will not laugh.
Yes, that is correct, Vampire. I know, I did not believe either when I was told, but it is true. You look flustered, are you going to scream? Please do not, no one that can hear you will do anything. Hmm? The door? You would not get very far, and you would ruin an otherwise splendid evening together. Why? You remember the butler, the two maids, the doorman and the gate handler? Oh, and of course Jarrad, my driver? They all know. They are all mine, you see.
Shh, shh, come sit. Everything is going to be okay. It will be fine, just breathe. Let me pour you a glass of the '47 Château Cheval Blanc. It will ease the nerves. You had to have suspected, these past three years. All of the late appointments, my unusual personal schedule, all of the big favors and strings I have been able to pull? I can see the cogs turning, you are starting to piece it all together. Good. Here, take this and drink, let me know if you need another, I would understand. You see this is quite pleasant in comparison. What? Do you not believe me? Well then, let me tell you my story...
Justice is not always just, sometimes it is nothing more than politics. Twenty-something years ago I was a young man in my prime. I was doing your job, more or less, and I was good at it. My superiors had noticed and so they scooted a high profile case into my lap, it was going to be the foundation for real start to my career. You know Toni Defisco, the mobster? I was the one who put him away. Is it that hard to believe? I did say that I was good at the job.
The case cost me just about everything. It took months to build it, my friends stopped calling; my family stopped coming over. I can not say that it really bothered me though, I was bright eyed and had a vision of my ability to change the future and that case was going to be the catalyst for it all. Of course I had some help, my beloved Anneliese stood by my side the whole time. Never has there been a woman as perfect as her, take no offense to that dear, she is dead now and I do not mean like me. She is hardly competition. Another glass? Certainly.
As I was saying about justice, I put Toni away. Six consecutive life sentences plus five years for each of the eighteen victims I could directly tie to him. It was a win unlike any other for me, and ensured my promotion. What I did not known until later, until it was too late, was that after sentencing Toni made a deal with the U.S Attorney General and got himself released. Reflecting now, it was a smart move for the Attorney General, with Defisco's information they were able to shut down three separate and equally large rings across the country; but they should have told me. They should have warned me. They let him out without so much as a word, they did not want all of the negative press and so they kept it very hush hush. You can not imagine the strings they had to pull to do that, by the time it came out it was old news and people had moved on.
I found out before others though. Anneliese and I had planned a special celebration for my victory. We were going to meet for the event in much the same way we had met originally, accidentally bumping into one another on Lenton Boulevard. This time of course we knew who to look for, not that I could have missed her. She wore this stunning dress, it was the red of life and and she had cut her hair special for the occasion, just like it had been when we had met. If I live another hundred, hundred years I doubt I will ever forget the moment I saw her walking towards me that night. I never got to speak to her that night though, you see, as we reached one another a car drove by; it was Toni and his men, and they shot her dead. Not me, no, you see they wanted me to suffer, so they took her from me.
People say that before you die your life freezes and everything flashes before you, but when she died everything froze and went gray. I remember not being able to see the blood as it rushed from her veins and soaked into the dress. In the end, that is what I remember the most, the dress standing out from the still frame that was everything else in the moment. There was rain, unexpected... Anneliese loved the rain. I digress, she was dead before we hit the ground.
What does any of this have to do with Vampires and being pleasant? Well, I was consumed with hate of course. I found out what had happened, and that it had been kept from me. I quit my job and vowed, foolishly, to get real justice from Toni. That was when I met a Diego. Yes, you have met him too, he is a good friend of mine; to be honest though he is much more than a friend. Diego is a mentor, and more like a father to me. A second father of course, you see Diego is my sire. That is what my kind calls the one who embraces us, by which I mean the act of turning someone into a Vampire. Does that surprise you? Well it should, even more so hear the rest of the story.
Diego listened with interest and consoled me through my hard time. Usually it involved a bar and what seemed like an endless tab, but I never had to worry about it and I was too consumed with my own grief to give a damn about such a triviality. Then one night, rather than a bar, Diego took me to his home; he said that he could help me get my revenge, no, not my revenge my justice.
When I arrived at Diego's home he took me to the cellar where to my surprise I found Toni and his gang. The driver, and the shooter from the night that Anneliese was taken from me. He told me they were a gift, in return for what I was going to give him. We talked, he kept me from going for them right away, he said I had to wait and listen. So like I am telling you now, he told me story over a series of shots. I was going to be like him, and my first feed would be the man that had taken my Anneliese from me. It seemed like justice enough at the time, so I agreed, not that I ever really had any choice in the matter but Diego is a smooth talker.
The next bit was flashes, I remember a lot of blood and flesh. I had my first feed, it was a frenzy. You do not really want the details, it is rarely a good experience. What I do remember is waking up to sounds outside. Crickets. I could hear them through the walls, underground. The smell, all of the blood, the decay of the men I had slaughtered. Diego came for me and explained everything, took me in and introduced me to the new world that I belonged.
Here, have another glass. No, really dear, I insist. You see I inherited my sires need, we all have something. Mine is alcohol, I really do need you to be a little more over the edge than you are now. Yes, there you go, thank you. It sounds like it was not that bad huh? Well, you see I did not learn the truth of what had happened until years later.
What I found out should have shocked me, it should have resurfaced all of that hate, but no, nothing quiet as vengeful, rather I could only admire the genius behind it all. By the look in your eyes, I can tell that you have already started to put it together. You have a better idea about Diego then I did though.
You are nothing short of absolutely right. Diego orchestrated the entire thing. It was Diego who leaked the information that started the Defisco case. He had also seen to it that the person who should have gotten the case was unavailable to take it. From the start it had been all about me, shaking me free from my social web. The case ensured that my family and friends would abandon me; and when Anneliese did not leave like planned, he took things a step further. Diego gave Defisco the knowledge to share with the Attorney General, and ensured that they would meet. He had been watching me, and he knew about my plans. He told Toni where to find me, and told him what he should do to inflict as much pain as possible.
Clever is it not? Diego manipulated all of the strings perfectly, until I fell right into his lap. Then he used me to clean up his loose ends, and I vanished like so many do. No one would look, I had left my job and become a drunk. No one cared. Defisco had met his end, I vanished from the public eye and was written off, and he got his new childe without ever lifting a finger to expose our kind. Everything that happened, happened by human hands.
You see now why this is so much more pleasant, I never had to use such methods with you. Now, do me a favor and tip that glass back my dear. It is getting late and there is still much to be done. Good. Are you ready now? Excellent.
I promise, I will take good care of you. Now, let us begin.