Yvette had never fit in anywhere in her life, and even in unlife, her sire called her "hopeless." She often wondered why she'd been Embraced. Her hair was wiry, her body scraggly, she wasn't filled with the ethereal beauty that graced most of the clan. She was feeling very sorry for herself, banging about in the trunk of a car as the anarch gang drove their way to Montreal.

They brought her out just before the border. A young girl with a blue mohawk, a ripped mesh shirt and black leather gloves dragged her up by the throat.

"She's a liability."

Yvette looked into the young girl's eyes over the tops of her mirrored glasses and froze. They were old eyes, very old, filled with power.

"No, Lucy." it was Germaine's voice.

Count Germaine took Yvette by the hair, turning her head to face him. "This one lives...for now." He really was very pretty when he wasn't twisting broken bones. Yvette felt herself drawn to him, almost like she was drawn to beauty, only this was more compelling, like when her sire...

Yvette's stomach twisted in anger. He was using the same power her sire had used to make her like him. Despite this knowledge, it was still working.

He brought her ear to his lips. "You're Lucy's new girlfriend. You're coming with us to go see a band play in Montreal. You forgot your passport at home but you asked your mom to fax it in to the border guards and she did. Got it?"

Yvette nodded.

"Come on... girlfriend." The way she said it made Yvette shudder. Germaine was the asshole that broke her arm, but Lucy filled her with stark terror.

None of them had passports or ID, but all ID magically appeared electronically when they crossed the border. They didn't even have to Dominate the guards, although Yvette suspected Germaine's extremely likable personality didn't hurt. Five carloads of Kindred slid from one country to the other without so much as a confused flunky left behind. Yvette was impressed. They were obviously organized.

About half an hour after they crossed the border, a semi-trailer cut them off, dragging its "Danger - Flammable" load behind it across the highway. Germaine slammed on the breaks and the car skid sideways. The car behind them clipped their rear fender and careened into the tanker. The explosion rocked them as their car rolled into the ditch.

Germaine was out in a moment, grappling with someone. Lucy punched Yvette and opened the glove compartment, pulling out a wooden stake. She disappeared and the passenger door opened. Stunned, Yvette lay for a moment in the overturned car before scrambling through the shattered windshield.

Germaine was crouched in the middle of four vampires. One took a swing at him and Germaine moved away, the claws of his aggressor ripping the back of his t-shirt. Another jumped while Germaine caught hold of a third, pulling the vampire in front of him and then twirling, leaving the two of them to collide. The fourth swung what looked like a shovel. Germaine stepped into the swing and twisted, his body blurring as he pulled his opponent in toward him. Germaine's elbow smashed into the Kindred's face as he tore the improvised weapon from his fingers and spun yet again to swing it like a baseball bat at the first vampire.

With a metallic twang the edge of the shovel took off the first vampire's head. The thick rippling ribbon of blood flowing out of the stump looked black in the fire and moonlight. The dull thunk of first the body, then the head hitting the ground was an eerie counterpoint to the fire and the yelling. Yvette stood, open mouthed as a Gangrel-like individual sent furry claws at the charismatic man. He took a step back and sucked in his gut. The claws caught and ripped off the rest of his shirt. Germaine punched through the open mouth of the snarling beast and his fist kept going through the back of its skull. The vampire turned to ash before her eyes.

A couple of his downed opponents began to run away. Germaine turned, arms outstretched, shovel in one hand, blood coating the other.

"Is that all you've got?" he shouted, laughing.

His body shuddered with multiple quick impacts. Red holes appeared in the muscles of his back, dripping blood to obscure his swirling tattoos. He sunk to his knees.

"No." Yvette whispered. It was like watching a god die. Then her eyes widened as the holes sealed themselves.

Germaine ran past Yvette so fast she could barely see him, but then a dark shadow stepped in front of him in the moonlight and she saw Germaine fall. Two of the other gang members ran after him but were riddled with bullets. Yvette ducked and rolled as more bullets shattered what was left of the glass on the upside down car. Not knowing why, she made her way to where she had seen the leader go down.

She found him under some bushes, a stake through his heart. She stopped a moment. He was powerful and she could kill him. She could drink and be more than what she was. Yvette stared at the patterns on his skin in the moonlight and whimpered. He was so beautiful. Watching him fight had been a rush like none she'd ever felt. He'd kept her alive when Lucy wanted to kill her. Maybe he saw some worth in her, something her sire no longer saw.

Yvette reached forward and pulled out the stake.

She heard a scream of rage and felt a bullet knock her down.

Yvette fell facing the clearing. Too weak to move, she saw two more enemy vampires run toward her in the light of the fire from the tanker. The closest stopped and started screaming. His blood began pouring out of him, through his eyes, his ears, his mouth. He began clawing at his own flesh. Yvette saw something under his skin bubbling as though his blood were boiling. He fell and began to flop about like a dead fish, blood seeping through his skin.

A dark shadow shimmered between of her and the other Kindred. Yvette saw the flickering of steel and the vampire jerking about before the blur moved on and pieces of the Kindred fell with sickening plops on to the ground as the diced body fell apart before turning into little lumps of ash. Behind the body Yvette could see Lucy pointing a gun at the shadow, then she passed out.

She woke once again in the trunk of a car. Blood flowed down her throat. She sucked greedily at the wrist in her mouth and sobbed when it was taken away.

"That's all you get for now little snipe." Germaine said, rubbing his wrist and healing it.

He extended his hand to pull her out of the trunk and ruffled her hair when she stood. "Now we're even." he mumbled into her ear and gave her a gentle push toward the others.

They were in a field. Several members of the gang were clustered around a large lump in the dark grass. One of them looked up at her, his mouth bloody.

"Moo." He wriggled his eyebrows at her and went back to drinking.

Yvette moved quickly to the spare place on the cow and sunk in her teeth.

Lucy was nowhere to be found.

"You're stuck with us now, snipe." a second one commented. "That was Sabbat that attacked us, but the stake, that's a cammi style thing, the sort of thing used when someone wants to claim a bounty, like the one on bossman's head."

Yvette looked up, shocked.

"Yep. Looks like you just got your ass excommunicated."

Her chest clenched.

"Welcome to the cult, little girl."



d1r3w0lf> wazzup?

luna_vernula> I wanted to thank you for what you did at the border.

d1r3w0lf> piece o cake

luna_vernula> I heard someone blew up your home base in Charleston.

d1r3w0lf> nah - decoy - never been to charleston - they toasted some poor grandma's garage - can't find me through the internet - bitches just don't get it - i AM the internet - i OWN the internet - ain't no one better

luna_vernula> I know, Mr. T. You're the best there is.

d1r3w0lf> damn straight. oh yeah - got stuff for ya. hold on

>file transfer roeg_Helsinki.tar processing...

>file transfer complete

luna_vernula> What's this?

d1r3w0lf> map images, notes, documents, coordinates - everything you've ever wanted to know about that dig site but were afraid to ask

luna_vernula> This is most excellent, my friend. Where is the location?

d1r3w0lf> mombassa

luna_vernula> Intriguing. I have another favor to ask of you.

d1r3w0lf> go for it

luna_vernula> There seems to be some kind of discomfort going on among the business class members of our society.

d1r3w0lf> ha! you could say that. someone pissed in their cornflakes but good.

luna_vernula> Do you know any details?

d1r3w0lf> it's internal - you know how head-chickie is about disappearing, then reappearing with some red-list bastard all neatly staked to claim her new gold star - my guess is someone high up got their wires crossed and screwed up an operation - i'll keep my fat ears open and let you know if i find anything else


Jan Pieterzoon forced himself not to fidget in front of Lucinde. Traces of blue hair dye remained but she looked almost like her usual suit-clad self, not at all like the mesh covered punk he'd seen when he'd originally found her the night before.

"So you thought it was a good idea to deliberately leak information to the Sabbat about the whereabouts of an anathema."

"Yes, it seemed a prudent use of resources at the time. Two birds with one stone, so to speak."

"Under whose authority?"

"It was a special request from Horatio Ballard. The cult was growing overly strong and we wanted to quash it without having it directly traced back to the Camarilla. After having taken such a large force from the Quebec Chantry to Montreal to deal with Helena-"

"Something you failed to do."

"Yes, due to unforeseen circumstances which are in my report."

Lucinde's face was youthful, almost child like, but her eyes... Jan remembered once being told that if faced by an angry gorilla, one should take care not to look it in the eye, lest it feel challenged and take off your head. That was how he felt now, avoiding the eyes of his Justicar.

"You will find a great deal of information about the cult and its workings in *my* report, Jan, including its connection with Helena. This matter is now your top priority."

Jan nodded.

"You will put all of your available resources to cleaning up after your mistake. I want heads on a platter. If I do not get them, I'll settle for yours."


"Ah yes, yes, very good." Yazid Tamari's fingers moved as he talked. "Hazim!" He clapped his hands twice. "More chairs. Our guest has brought friends. All are welcome in the home of this, their most humble servant! I had thought we were meeting alone. How foolish of me!"

"Always bring friends to meet strangers." Germaine commented. "You never know when you'll need them." The Brujah looked at the Arab warily. He'd made it clear that this was not a social call and had taken three of the gang with him to be sure he'd walk out again. Yvette had no idea why she'd been brought along but she was happy to be included.

"Quite right, quite right!" the dark-skinned man simpered. Yvette instantly disliked him. He was... slimy. She kept expecting him to try to sell her something.

They were in the area of Montreal known as the Plateau. It sprawled out at the foot of the mountain and contained many odd shops and tea houses. This one sold drums, sarongs and hookah pipes out front and, like most of the Plateau, was open late. They'd been rushed into the back as soon as they'd arrived. To say the decor was lavish would be an understatement. Every inch of floor, wall and ceiling was covered by something brightly colored draped on top of something else with a different pattern and coloration. It was hard to tell just how much of the room was visible. Yvette wondered if there were corridors behind the hanging tapestries. The sheer volume of fabric seemed to eat up sound so that even if someone were screaming, Yvette thought, they would only be heard outside as a far away wail.

"I sincerely hope my good friends were not seen on their way to this humble servant's lowly abode."

"Phineas hid our faces." Germaine pointed to the wide-eyed Malk.

"Ah very good, very good. I went to great lengths to ensure your deaths were... authentic."

"Yeah I know. Now I want to know why."

The Arab smiled, showing his triple chin along with his fangs.

"As I am sure you are now aware, I have been... shall we say, facilitating your travels. What happened last night was regrettable, but necessary. You've gathered quite a bit of attention in your quest and now you have to disappear."

"We lost a lot of good people in your cover up."

"Even after their death's Lilith's children are never truly dead to her." The words fell from the Arabian man's lips as a toneless chant.

"Come Ye by my hand, and lead me past death." Phinn chanted back. He often did that, slid into a little trance and said weird shit. His eyes were glazed over.

Germaine's eyes narrowed. "What do you know about the dark mother?"

"Patience, my good friend. First your question about my protection. Within the Sabbat, a failure to keep order is seen as a failure of leadership. The Archbishop of this fair city is a friend to our cause."

"To what cause?" Germaine snarled. Yvette could tell he was getting frustrated.

Yazid smiled broadly and spread his hands out so they could see his palms.

Yvette gasped. On his right hand was a tattoo of a crescent.

"Follow the one with the mark of the moon." Phineus whispered.

"Benezri risked much to help the lovely Toreador in her quest. Further disruption would have been... sub-optimal. Your apparent deaths will not only avoid undue attention to your activities from the rest of the Sabbat, but it will also give a much needed demonstration of why the archbishop's authority should not be questioned. Now your second question. I know what you seek and why you seek it. Not all who bear the mark of the moon truly understand whom they serve, or why. Your group has been seen and deemed worthy of further knowledge, if you have the strength to pass the test."

"What test?"

"Prove you are worthy of my trust. Return here in two nights. There will be one here who will guide you to the next steps in your path."

"Blind trust is for the stupid and the dead." Germaine said dryly. "You only get what you earn and so far, you've earned shit."

Yazid smiled again. His grin made Yvette's skin crawl. "On the contrary, my young believers. I have earned a great deal, and when you have seen more, you will understand."


After their guests had left, a shadow visited Yazid, Seraph of the Black Hand.

"You have taken a pack of wild dogs into your confidence, brother."

"I told them nothing they could not verify on their own. They will be of great use to us, brother."

"You speak with power, yet your words are smoke. Of what use are moon-mongrels to the children of Haqim?"

"The black goddess holds as much hatred for the children of Caine as do the faithful, brother. If you find a madman with a machine gun, point him at your enemies. Truly I tell you, this cult will do more work for the cause of our brethren than a thousand poisoned vipers in the beds of our foes."

fiction by Daria Patrie