Xaviar's response pleased Lucinde. The enraged Gangrel's letter spoke passionately, albeit succinctly, of Camarilla betrayal, blindness, cowardice, and so on.  His refusal to join the Camarilla in putting down the Lambach menace was exactly what she and Pascek had hoped for. This minor victory gave her a temporary sense of control; a feeling that had been missing in the shadow of the current state of affairs.

Pascek, closing his cellular phone, said, "I am receiving reports that the Gangrel are engaging Lambach's horde in Los Angeles."

* * *

In the heart of the Bronx, beneath the local union hall, Donatello Giovanni paced anxiously as he awaited the next hourly report from his lieutenants.  He returned to his chair as the door opened.

Anthony blurted, "Michael was keeping watch from over a quarter mile away and the thing just absorbed him."

Visibly shaken, David added, "It's growing rapidly now and it is taking a toll on the city's infrastructure. There are cracks in the sewers, gas and water mains are breaking, and even the subway tunnels are affected.  Soon, the city will send workers down there."

Donatello Giovanni tried to maintain his composure in front of his men. "Return to your assignments. Inform me immediately if the damn thing so much as blinks," he said.

After the door closed, Donatello quickly retrieved his phone and dialed.

"Yes," answered Ambrogino.

"It's time," said Donatello.

Ambrogino, standing in the midst of six of the Giovanni's most powerful necromancers, replied, "Good. We are nearly ready."

Donatello asked, "Do you think the ritual will work?"

"It must. Otherwise, our study of death will continue on a very persona level."

"Look, attempting to siphon spirits destined for an Antediluvian isn't exactly a sure thing. Maybe we need help on this one..."

Ambrogino interrupted, "Like hell we need help! Listen, it isn't as if the family hasn't destroyed an ancient before. The ritual will succeed and we alone will reap the benefits!"

* * *

Hesha Ruhadze continued his monitoring of the power behind the Eye of Hazimel. Not only had Hesha determined the power source to be in New York City, but he also found that many spiritual forces were being drawn to that center.

"It is as though the entire incorporeal world has fallen prey to a spiritual black hole," Hesha wrote.  His journal, painstakingly kept, recorded his many observations.  He continued, "Ethereal voices sound stretched and garbled, telling wisps of smoke veer ominously and otherworldly beacons are distorted."

Suddenly, Hesha dropped his instruments and reeled as a torrent of energy rushed through the room.  Hesha struggled to extinguish the burning incense of star anise and acacia in order to halt the powerful wave, but it was as if he was walking against a gale and every inch of progress was slow and strained. He cursed as the beast stirred within him.

* * *

Lambach's horde was a bloody sea of rolling and writhing wet flesh.  Gnarled joints twisted in inhuman directions and appendages randomly combined and separated in step with the erratic pulse of the heaving mass. Lambach bore little resemblance to his former self; His face misshapen to accommodate the Eye of Hazimel. Lambach stood in the center of the pack, insulated from the main clash while his troops at the fringes battled an onslaught of Gangrel fighters.

"Son of a bitch!" cried Ramona, feeling the burn of caustic blood.

"For the Master!" said Dane, as he leapt at the wounded Gangrel.

At the periphery of the melee, Xaviar tore into Lambach's minions with unmatched ferocity.  His claws tore into Lambach's creatures, one after another, fueled by his rage at the Camarilla for letting matters deteriorate to this point.

In an instant, Lambach and his army were still.  Xaviar and his clan mates stood stunned and motionless as they watched their foes drop to the ground. As Lambach's legion fell, each creature expelled a spirit that darted into the eastern sky.