Rachel led her friend into the clubís ladies room and firmly closed the door behind them. It was surprisingly deserted, considering the crowd in the club itself. "Letís see if we can clean this up before it stains."
"Rachel, I think we had better leave. I can do something about the stain when we get home." Alex replied nervously. She jumped slightly as the door opened and the dark haired woman who had been seated across the room from them entered.
"Dear me, looks like you had something of an accident." Isolde commented, closing and locking the door behind her. "Letís see if we canít fix that."
Rachel placed her self between Alex and the stranger, determined to protect her friend. "Iím going to ask only once. Unlock that door orÖ"
"Hush not." Isolde replied, using her power to dominate the other womanís mind. "Go and sit down until Iím ready to deal with you." She caught the womanís gaze and held it, her own dark eyes growing almost black with the force of her will. The Kine had been touched by darkness and some barriers to mind control. But those barriers were nothing compared to some the Ventrue Archon had seen before. They did not keep her out for long.
Alex watched in horror as her the animation drained from her friends face. Rachel calmly walked over to a chair in the corner and sat down, her eyes glassy. "What did you do to her?" She looked back at the stranger and was caught in her hypnotic gaze. Alex could feel herself surrendering to the other womanís will, not caring what might come of that surrender. She struggled to hold on to some part of herself, steeling herself to fight against the force in front of her.
"Nothing really. I just sent her conscious mind to sleep. Sheíll remember nothing when I leave. Now you, on the other hand, could be a problem." Isolde walked calmly up to the terrified woman and tilted her head back with one finger, examining her neck critically. "Well, as see youíve healed up nicely. I pleased. Caitiff are usually such sloppy feeders. Iím told itís because no one has taken the time to teach them properly. But then, that is the price of being clanless." She tapped Alex on the chin playfully then smoothed back her hair with an almost motherly hand.
"I wonít become one of you." Alex rasped, feeling her will slowly slipping away. "I wonít kill."
"Probably not." Isolde agreed, gently pushing the woman back till she was stopped by the wall. "But thatís not my problem. Do you have any idea precisely what happened to you? Did Phillip tell you what to expect?"
"You knew him?" Alex asked, surprised.
"He was Caitiff, like his master. Not worth knowing as far as I was concerned. We would have been just as happy to have seen him and his little band of renegades staked out for the sun, but then you and your friends did the work for us. It is because you performed this service that my Prince is reluctant to deal with you. I, on the other hand, am not so sentimental." She smiled a cold smile. Isolde could feel the last vestiges of control slipping from the womanís mind. She would tell her all that she needed to know and more, as all those who had gone before her had done. Isolde caressed the womanís cheek and began her interrogation.
Rachel looked down at the wet rag in her hands in confusion. Her friends dress was still wet, but the stain showed signs of lessening. She looked down and saw that some of the tomato juice stain had transferred itself to the rag in her hand. Rachel shook her head to clear the cobwebs. "Well, looks like this wasnít a good idea. I think youíre going to have to send the dress to the cleaners."
Alex looked down at the stain, her mind foggy. "I guess so." She yawned suddenly, leaning tiredly against the sink. "Boy, I must be more tired than I thought. I canít seem to keep my eyes open. Maybe weíd better just get Nick and Derek and go home."
"Well, if youíre sure." Rachel replied, concern in her voice. "Are you sure youíre all right?"
"Iím fine Rachel." Alex replied with a sigh. "Just tired. Letís get the guys and go on before they find something that needs investigating and keep us up all night."
Rachel grinned. "We could always just take the car and go get ice cream."
Alex smiled, suddenly not so tired. "Now thereís a plan I could get into." The two women exited the bathroom arm and arm, walking past the shadows that shifted as they left.
"Sheís gone." Nick stated, looking around the club. "That one that was with Luna. Sheís disappeared."
"And Lunaís leaving as well." Derek replied, watching the stranger move with confidence across the club. He stopped to talked to various people between himself and the door, some of who Derek recognized from charity benefits he had attended. The man, or his money, seemed to be very much in demand.
"Should we go after him?" Nick asked, looking back in the direction that Rachel and Alex had taken.
"No. I donít want to leave Alex alone in this club." Derek replied tensely. "There is something about this place, something that makes me nervous."
"Me too." Nick agreed, scanning the room for the eyes he had felt watching him before. "If theyíre not out of the bathroom in 5 minutes Iím going in after them."
Derek watched Luna saunter towards the exit only half hearing his companions words. The passage in his fatherís journal had specifically mentioned coming to this place in search of a Julian Luna. It had also mentioned vampires. Yet this man seemed so human. "Philippe seemed human to me too." He thought to himself. "He proved me wrong."
Julian could feel the manís eyes on him as he worked his way around the club. He wondered, briefly, if the man was any relation to the other Legacy hunter he had met. That man had been a struggle to overcome, a forceful personality that he had briefly considered binding to him by bringing him across. In the end he had chosen to take the memory of their meeting from the Kineís mind and sending him home to his bed. "I wonder what kind of a Ventrue he would have made?" he thought to himself as he greeted yet another society couple looking for his assistance.
It took almost ten minutes to get across the room, with the Legacy members watching his every move. Cash was waiting for him by the limousine. "Isolde says to tell you sheíll meet you at the house." His bodyguard reported, looking back at the shadows by the cars.
"Any problems?" Julian asked, not sure he wanted to hear the answer.
"Not that she said." Cash replied, opening the door for his Prince. Julianís car soon disappeared into the foggy San Francisco streets, leaving the bright lights of the club behind.
"Thereís Rachel and Alex." Nick breathed a sigh of relief. If they had taken any longer he would have had to go looking for them.
"Are you two alright?" Derek asked, concerned.
"Yes, just a little more tired than I thought." Alex replied, her eyelids heavy with fatigue. "And I donít think this dress is going to clean up with a trip to the drycleaners. Sorry guys, can we take a raincheck on this little outing?"
"Certainly." Derek said, his voice concerned. He glanced quizzically at Rachel.
"Maybe we pushed it to soon. Alex did lose quite a bit of blood and her body does need to recover. A night on the town is still a good idea, but maybe not just yet." Rachel smiled reassuringly at the two men then led the way towards the door with Alex.
Nick and Derek followed, talking quietly as they waited for the valet to bring their car. "Think we should come back in the daylight?" Nick asked, keeping his voice pitched low. He glanced at Alexís back warily, wondering if she could hear him.
"Another time." Derek replied, also watching his friend as she leaned on Rachel, laughing at some small joke the other woman had told. "We have no proof that Julian Luna or this place had any link to the vampires that attacked Alex. Only that passage in my fatherís journal and even he wrote that he didnít remember much of his visit."
"Maybe they messed with his mind." Nick commented, watching the people walking in and out of the club.
"Maybe. Or maybe he was drunk again." Derek replied tersely. "Either way, weíll keep an eye on this place for now. If they are involved with the vampires, sooner or later theyíll show their hand. Then weíll deal with them." The car arrived and the members of the Legacy were soon on their way home, each lost in their own thoughts. "Another day." Derek thought as he watched the lights of the club fade in the distance. "I will be back to see what it was my father found here." The fog soon blotted out the clubs brightness, leaving only the lights which lead to home.
pt. 7 - Epilogue.
Julian, Isolde, Cash and Dadelous sat at the round meeting table in Julianís home, discussing the nights events. The room was lit only by three great candles on the table, the Prince being unwilling to illuminate the room for so short a meeting. "Well, will they be a threat?" Julian asked his Archon, looking at his kinswoman with concern.
"I donít believe so." Isolde replied, facing her Prince calmly. "It looks as thought Philippe nearly made a ghoul of the woman and would probably have brought her across if left to his own devices. I think she still suffers somewhat from the craving his blood left with her, but I donít believe she had time to develop an eternal addiction. She is still susceptible to the call of the Kindred, and I suspect that Philippeís master, a creature called Marcus, may in time try to take advantage of that."
"I thought all the Caitiff were killed when the tunnel was destroyed." Dadelous commented, looking at the young Gangrel Primogen.
"So did we, but one of my clan says he saw Marcus leaving through the same exit as that one we have in the Prison of Light. He may be a problem further on done the line." Cash ran his fingers nervously through his hair, anxious to be back on the street looking for the missing Caitiff. "Speaking of which, what do you want me to do with him?"
"Unless you have some proof that this particular Kindred has violated the Masquerade, then I want him released." Julian replied sternly, ignoring the disapproving look from his kinswoman. "Cash, take some of your clan members and escort the man out of town. Let him know his kind are no longer welcomed in my city."
"What must be done about the Legacy group?" Dadelous inquired solemnly.
"I think we can salvage this situation best by not interfering any further." Isolde commented, taping the table in front of her for emphasis. "If Marcus is still alive, he most will most likely take what few members of his band still exist and go to ground to lick his wounds. If he strikes anywhere, it will be at the Legacy. One of two things will then occur. Either he will destroy their House, thereby eliminating a potential problem for us or they will destroy him, riding us of the problem of these clanless ones roaming the city."
"What if the Legacy kills this Marcus character and then still comes looking for us?" Julian asked.
"Weíll know if they do. Before I released the woman called Alex, I planted the thought in her mind that she should call a number if the House starts looking too closely at your affairs." Isolde replied matter of factly. " It is one of the secret numbers I have arranged to have monitored by the Nosferatu clan and can not be traced to you. We will be waiting if they ever try to find us as they did the others."
"What if they donít tell her?" Cash questioned. "I know I wouldnít if I thought one of my people had been compromised."
"It is both the weakness and the strength of these types of hunters that they believe that the strength of their ties to their house, the love they feel for the members of their fellow hunters, will always prevail over any other power. Sadly, this is not always the case." Dadelous reached across the table and silently blew out the candle before him. "I fear that this Kinís mind, once touched by one type of darkness, may be that much more open to others."
Isolde rose and blew out her candle as well. "Time will tell which is right. But for now, my Prince, your clans are safe. Let there be an end to this hunt and let us move on to other things."
"So be it, my Archon." Julian replied, blowing out the final candle and cloaking the room in the darkness