London by Night

Lucy.
On Evangeline's Death.

[[ Again, written before the war. I felt that Evangeline had a lot of things that she needed to say, and was running out of opportunities to say so – to tell her story.

And I found it on my computer whilst trawling through sorting things into folders so I thought I’d post it. ]]

To the lovely Lucy Lucan.

If you are reading this, then I am really sorry but I have not made it through the war. If I do not make it through the war, then I hope I met my end doing something heroic so that maybe I might be remembered in high regard.

I love you Lucy, in much a similar way to that of which I love your father. I am happy that the both of you, and Helena, can be a family together, until the end of all eternity. He needs you, he needs you to look after him Lucy. Though he may find it hard to show it, he needs you more than anything. I am not here to keep him safe anymore darling, so I entrust you to do so.

I had a daughter once. She was called Lucy too. I dream of her sometimes, thinking what she might be like. The way she looks, the way she smells, the sound of her voice. When she was born, I looked upon the little life that I had created with complete awe. I held her tiny body in my hands, and would just stare at her for hours on end. I’d stay up late into the night just to hear her breathing. I wanted nothing more than to protect her forever.

But I did not live in a very nice place, and it was not a good time for children to be born. I was young (a little younger than the age your Father was when you were born) but the time was cold, and my room was damp. One morning, I woke up and she wasn’t breathing. She was cold. What had I done to deserve losing her? And I asked myself again and again, night after day after night after wretched day. I shed many tears over her. But nothing more could be done. I know why you Father fights so hard to protect you – it’s instinctive to fight with your life to save someone you love. I didn’t have that, my darling Lucy just slipped away from me.

I have been a kindred for a very long time Lucy. I was sired and then left, as is gangrel tradition. But I did not want to give that burden to someone else. And I had not wanted to sire for all of those lonely years that I have spent in London. That was until a Miss Elenor Rose introduced me to your Father. And that was when I knew. I have two children, though had things been different then I would have much liked Merris to be my one and only childe. But perhaps if he was, then I might not have met you.

You are beautiful Lucy. Beautiful and bright. If my Lucy was as beautiful as you then I would have been a proud Mother, as proud as your Father is of you.

All of my love in this difficult time.

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Merris.
On Evangeline's Death.

[[I wrote this before the war, as I felt that Evangeline would not survive. She very nearly didn’t. But here is Evangeline’s letter to Merris to be read on her death.

It was almost as hard to write as Evangeline’s backstory – but for very different reasons. I think I am both glad and upset that Merris never had to read this.]]

To my dearest Merris.

If you are reading this, then I am really sorry but I have not made it through the war. If I do not make it through the war, then I hope I met my end doing something heroic so that maybe I might be remembered in high regard.

The first time that I met you, Merris Lucan, you awoke something inside me that I had never felt before. When I saw the broken man that Elenor Rose was keeping, I knew that I wanted to save you. Though you are not my first childe, had things been different I would have wished that you were my only childe. You almost made my dead heart beat again, something similar to falling in love.

But what would I know about love.

I have never revealed my past to anyone Merris, nor do I intend to reveal it to many others. But as my childe I feel that you have the right to know.

I was born in 1861. And as it was the Victorian era my Mother and Father called me Victoria. I have vague memories of my young childhood. My Mother and Father would fight a lot. Though I was too young to really understand what was going on. My Father died in 1874, in the year that I turned thirteen, and we moved out of our gorgeous house in Blackfriars to an awful lodging house on George Street, around Whitechapel – it obviously isn’t there now, and the streets will have changed a lot, but that area was… not a nice place to live in. The room we rented was damp and cold, and once my Mother and I found a job a fair walk away as seamstresses, the room we were working in was even more damp and cold, and poorly lit. This, eventually took its toll on my Mother, and the day before my 15th birthday I awoke late to find myself in an empty bed, and a letter addressed to me lying on the pillow where my Mother should have been. She confessed that she was dying, and that she didn’t have long left. So she had gone to die somewhere where I would not wake up next to her suffocated oxygen starved body. She didn’t want me to see the way her fingers clawed for breath at her throat, as she’d put it.

What was I to do? I was a 14 year old Victorian orphan. I packed up my things and was leaving. I didn’t know where I was to go – I hadn’t thought that far ahead – but I knew I had to leave. My Mother warned me that the same fate would come to me if I stayed. I was about to creep out of the front door, when the owner of the lodging house (I forget her name now) introduced me to Mrs Farnborough (I’ll never forget her). She said that she would take me in. I left with her, and we went to her lodging house. It was nicer, much nicer, and in not such a bad area of Whitechapel. That was when she introduced me to my new line of work. I shan’t dilly around the subject Merris. I was a prostitute. She kept me working, washing and cleaning (and only working, washing and cleaning) until I turned seventeen. I cannot lie, the man who took my virginity paid a lot of money to do so. And from then on, I became one of the many night flowers to roam Whitechapel. It paid well, because I was good at it. I was a lucky one.

And then I fell pregnant. I was out of work for a while, obviously, but when my darling daughter was born it was all worth it. My darling Lucy Grace. But sadly I didn’t have the chance to hold her little life for long. In 1888, the year I was embraced, she would have been nine years old. I hadn’t thought of her much, until an awful encounter with an awful man lead me to think of her. Amidst being beaten, and being raped several times on this particular evening, my mind took me away from the room and thought of her. Due to the… cleaning products I was required to use after each customer I could no longer bear children. It was an awful night. I hated myself. I thought of ending it all, to try and get rid of the nightmares this one man had left behind. But I didn’t. I was embraced on the night when Jack the Ripper killed two victims, on my 27th birthday. I’ll cut to the chase. I was embraced by Jack the Ripper. I was only speaking to Elizabeth that evening, and I find out that he would have been caught had it not have been for me. He led me down an alley, before threatening to kill me. I persuaded him not to, although I suppose he did. I have no idea why he sired me. But he left me. He gave me my surname – he called me Miss Gray because that was the colour that my skin went when he drained the life from me. I’ll never forget those words. I picked Evangeline. He left me to suffer being a kindred alone and in the darkness.

I never wanted <u>that</u> for you, Merris. I’d been through it. I care not for what gangrels are supposed to be like. I just care for you. I’d got a family. Children.

Your daughter is beautiful. Helena is beautiful. Your family is beautiful. Though I am jealous of you, for everything you have. You have a daughter, and someone that your heart would beat for if I had not stopped it. I am a monster. And for that I am sorry, please forgive me. But had I not sired you, then goodness knows where you would be, where Lucy would be, where Helena would be. Look after them. They need you more than you know.
I suppose that in all essence, Merris, I love you. From the moment I met you, for the moment I chose to sire you, I have always loved you. Thank you for showing me that my withered, unbeating, dead heart was capable of being alive enough to love.

Wherever I am now, it is better than walking all ages of the Earth alone. Do not fret for me though, my dearest Merris, for if there is a life beyond undeath then at least I can walk it with my daughter.

All my love in this difficult time.

Yours, Evangeline..

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An Open Letter to the Kindred of London
After the Firebombings...

[Priscii and Primogen will be invited to collect one of these from a ghoul in central London, and asked to spread the news across their respective groups.]

My friends,

Tonight, we have seen the most aggressive, senseless attacks on the Kindred of London in the history of this Fief. I am sad to say there have been great losses across all the clans this evening.

The Nosferatu clan have suffered the greatest, with fourteen members of the clan currently missing, presumed dead after a horrific attack on the Necropolis. One of those missing is High Priestess Deathblight, Primogen of the Circle of the Crone. The Circle of the Crone are few in number in our Fief as it is, and this leaves only one in London at the current time, Ms. Liana Tiernée.

The Mekhet have suffered the loss of four of their members, two of whom being leaders of their respective covenants. The Lancea Sanctum have lost Bishop David Adams, who was preaching in the crypts of Westminster Abbey, and the Ordo Dracul have lost Talarian, Illuminus of the Bloody Void, who was researching in the Chapter House when it was set ablaze. This leaves Herald Yusuf Tremusti as the Bishop of the Lancea Sanctum, and with the loss of “Jarhead”, a Gangrel member of the Ordo Dracul, three members survive, according to the most recent reports.

The Ventrue have lost two of their number, according to current reports. Ms. Malika Safid met final death while making sure I was safe. Her sacrifice will be remembered. Madam Mallory White is also reported to be missing.

There are limited reports of the losses to the Daeva, but Ms. Eve Rose is known to have met final death, and there are rumours that others may also have succumbed from outside the Rose Family.

Naturally, these events are shocking – and I urge anyone who has information on the identity of the perpetrator(s) to contact myself or Seneschal Lucan as a matter of utmost importance. The perpetrator(s) must be stopped and face justice. These attacks were obviously planned and organised, and carried out on members of the Kindred community. Given the way that these attacks were carried out, it is unlikely that a kine with no link to kindred was involved, and unless evidence is given to me to say otherwise, I am not treating this as a Hunter attack.

Please, stay safe and alert. Keep your locations hidden and remember: the walls may have ears.

Good luck to you all.

Prince Emily.

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DISCUSSION POST: The Final Game of the Year
An idea I need some help with!

Hi everyone,

As I am sure everyone is very, very aware, the end of the academic year is approaching fast! With this, so is the end of the first year of London By Night. I am intending to run it on for next year, provided there is still interest, but I would like to do something a bit fun and mad on the last game of the year, which I imagine will be either early May before exams and deadlines really hot up, or late May after exams and deadlines are complete.

ON THIS FINAL NIGHT, I would like to run a short game, just to tie up some of the loose ends of the year and build to a good cliffhanger to start next “season”, in some regards, off with.

AFTER THE GAME, I would like to run something of a silly “awards” evening. And this is where I will need your help. I would like to have three or four awards each for characters and players. They don’t need to be serious (though a couple of serious ones won’t go amiss) but they do need to be good-humoured and in good taste. These will be for Jack/Zangor, Jak/Czaka, James/Gio, Ryan/Merris, Hamza/Hassani and Joy/Misty, as while Misty is no longer an active PC, she did produce a LOT of plot for us, very early on, and I think that should be noted by having a place in these “awards”. :)

A few of the current awards are:
- The “Bad Babysitter” Award
- The “Oops, that wasn’t supposed to happen…” Award
- The “Kindred Couple of the Year” Award (voting WILL occur for this award)
- The “Couple Who Need a Fanfic” Award (voting WILL occur for this award)
- The “Black Widow” Award
- The “Sire of the Year” Award (voting WILL occur for this award)
- The “Flip-Flopper” Award

But I would like you guys to come up with some as well.

To send in an award idea email jetterz1231@gmail.com with the subject “LbN Award Ideas” and make sure to include:
- Award Name:
- Award Reason:
- To be Awarded to: (Player or Character)

Not all awards will be given (I don’t think everyone wants a massive list each) but some ideas will no doubt be carried over until the end of 2015.

I hope you guys don’t think this is a stupid idea (I think it’s kind of nutty, but fun and nice, in a weird roundabout way) and will get behind it with me.

Josée

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A Poem

This was a poem written about the non-combatants of the First World War. For some reason, it struck me as being very “Helena”.

Non-combatants by Evelyn Underhill

Never of us be said
We had no war to wage,
Because our womanhood
Because the weight of age,
Held us in servitude.
None sees us fight,
Yet we in the long night
Battle to give release
To all whom we must send to seek and die for peace.
When they have gone, we in a twilit place
Meet Terror face to face,
And strive
With him, that we may save our fortitude alive.
Theirs be the hard, but ours the lonely bed.
Nought were we spared – of us, this word shall not be said.

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CZAKA: Leaving a Motel
Following recent events

Songlist: Drop your Anchor (The JB Conspiracy); Against a Sea of Troubles (Five Iron Frenzy); Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (Radiohead)

Considerations of:
Hassani Azim
Merris Lucan
Avery, Daria
Zangor

There are shadows all around me, cloying and clawing away at my veins. Hassani is the most human thing I have at the moment, and I need that there, because this Vampire business is smothering me in foreboding. It all comes down to that word – business. My life was pretty messed up when I was Kine, but being Kindred is all about survival, through words, through weapons. I saw that in Merris tonight. Everything needed to be plotted step by step, but underneath the logic I could faintly pick up the subconscious fear of what it meant to be a Vampire. Being in charge here means nothing like what it means to be in charge in the Kine world – in Kine England, at least. He reminded me of Milosz a little, which should’ve surprised me but didn’t. He felt like he had the power and resources he needed to make this work, yet he kept reiterating how important it was that we execute everything flawlessly, because that’s what undercover work does to you. It creates the illusion of power while you’re utterly futile to the circumstances around you. I feel it too. Trying to keep Maria safe, Hassani safe… it’s the family I never managed with Milosz and Hart, and I try to defend them while remembering I’m the monster of this group, knowing I’ve got to keep a cold heart and do whatever it takes to scar the Roses away from ever come back to power. Will I relish it? Will I relish for a while, then feel my heart plummet? God only knows. Shame I can’t talk to Him now.

I never had faith as Kine. I’m not sure I do know; I just have the dire regret of not being able to place my hope in something other than the Kindred around me, the Kindred I’ve seen kill, fail, break down, become ruthless and dust all at once. How determined Hassani was to be a Muslim… made me feel like I should’ve held onto my Kinehood while I still could. To be the human and not relish the Vampirism that gave me opportunities beyond anything an old polish Hag like me could’ve managed in a country tangled between multiculturalism and individuality. I’ve regretted every moment of those opportunities. Having no mortality, no sensitivity, surviving comes to be about the senses – how much can you do, stand doing to other people, before your sense of who you were gives way? I’ve felt it slipping since became Hound, since trying to feed, since I went outside and tried to remember how it was to be human and watched the mortals cower to my hideousness. I see it now in Merris, trying to do his job smoothly and humanely, but with the tinge of Vampire brutality inevitably touching everything. It makes me wonder how either of us found love in this place.

But we did. I suppose that keeps me going.

I see love in Maria, too, which keeps me buoyed up about her. Heck, she could’ve easily tore me down after Serafiem arranged transport for me, shoved another dagger in his heart and lured me into a trap. But she took my needs seriously. She took me to Daria, who didn’t necessarily want me but accepted me. There’s compassion in all of them. They may be fallen Roses, but in a way that’s a good thing – they’ve crumbled back into the Kine soil that sprouted them. As we fall as Kindred, we remember how important it was to start as human. I wonder, if we had all started in the fang-and-claws world of Vampires as Human beings, how we would’ve managed being that and undead. I suppose learning from Helena would tell me, but I can never ask her that. Her face makes me sink inside as it is. I can feel her losing her family when I never had one.

Well, I suppose we have something in common. I tried to have Hart, Helena tried to have Alice. I’m sure she’d never accept such a comparison, but we both tried to have some sort of family before circumstance took it away. Just hers is more genuine, and mine was more feeling. Well fuck.

I was tripping over myself tonight. I was tripping over my Kine body feeling that I needed to do Merris proud, to show Hassani that we’re not all doomed, that we can succeed in a good way. But I had this impending notion that someone would die, but not in the turning into ashes way. Someone will eat their own heart, diablerise themselves, in this mission, I can feel it in my gut. I just don’t know who it is – I can guess it would be me, trying to destroy Anne with my own hands and watching her writhe around, or even hearing Emily tell us that Maria has to go the same way. But that would be easier. I mean, I’ve been buried, burnt and thrown about the court, I’m almost a veteran in this whole dealing-with-shit business. I’ll just carry on being Czaka, whatever kind of compassionate killing machine she’s turning into. But knowing the Kindred world, something will happen to cripple Merris, or Hassani will get stung as the guy trying to do what none of us would’ve bothered to try. Then I’ll be stuck there, knowing I can’t find the words to console them. Then again, Vampires don’t need words as much. They just… do stuff. Zangor expressed his love, his need for Daria, by letting the Prince die – I wasn’t there to see it, but that guy makes me feel brave and scared all at once – I was glad he wasn’t around as much when I was, thinking about it. Milosz expressed his bitterness in a face. Serafiem expressed his anxiety by clamming up; Emma her rage by backing Hassani in a corner; Merris his sense of justice by roping the most unlikely of companions into this mission. Words seem to be a haze now, something to fill in the silence between action and regret. If the actions can prove something amongst the regret, that’s the most I can hope for.

I have to be more of a Merris. I have to swallow down what I feel, and do the task in hand. I know he won’t let me disappear again.

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Michaela's Note
The letter Michaela wrote "in case of her death"

Hassani,

If you’re reading this, then something has gone horribly wrong. Or maybe it’s gone right…I don’t know anymore.

Don’t trust Emma. Whatever you do, do not trust her, or any of those she calls “family”. She’s a viper and she’ll go for your throat and inject her poison if you’re not careful.

If I’m dead, then you’re on their list. These…people…don’t let people like us just walk in and walk out. I made that mistake many years ago. There are some I think you can trust more than others, but…it’s risky. Trust, to these people, is something that can be bargained for.

They keep mentioning the people we were sent to kill. They want the girl. I don’t know why but I do know that if Emma gets her hands on her, her fate will be worse than death. I know you’re probably wondering why I still went through with the plan…but I can’t tell you. Just know I didn’t do it out of madness or bloodthirst…I had to. And I mean that. I had to.

If you survive this; if you get out alive…don’t work for Emma. Go to those we attacked. Apologise on my behalf for what I may have done. If I had had a choice, believe me, this is not the path I would have walked. Make yourself some allies. You’ll need them.

And, if these are to be my last words…then so be it.

I’m sorry, Hassani. I’m sorry for letting you down and dragging you into this.

Kayla.

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A Sudden Turn of Events

Man, Michaela saved my life. After everything I did, however wrong, she still was willing to help me out. I owe her my life. And being raised the way I was, you always, ALWAYS, repay the debts. It was just the way we were taught. The streets taught us to take care of our own. We lived (and by ‘we’ I mean my family and other immigrant families) in an area surrounded by racists.

“Go back to your own country,” they would say, FAILING TO REALISE THAT WE WERE BORN HERE!!! I love this country, so much so, that I’m willing to point out its flaws. Anyhoo, I digress.

How did I get into this mess? That God-damn, Geo! I should never have taken his money. And hell, I should’ve told the truth when my CO asked me about it. But hey I should’ve done a lot of things. Not least being, making sure I had Michaela’s back so she didn’t go to that damn holding cell. She’s my homie since we used to work together in the police force and we still do, even though we no longer work for the police. We gots to stick together. We HAVE to! The streets raised me that way. It’s how we made sure the racists would know when to back the fuck off.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Michaela, got me out of that hell hole, into a new house, and a nice car. She didn’t have to do it, but she did. She saved me and I have no idea why. I deserved to rot in jail after what I did. But she gave me a second chance. As a reward, I will always have her back. Hell, I feel sorry for the son-of-a-guns that try to harm her. Lay one finger man, and I’ll send ‘em to hell in a hand basket. Is there another reason why I’m willing to protect her, other than the obvious debt? Well, yes.

“Got to. This is America,” as the witness says in the opening minutes of Episode One in Season One of The Wire. As this is Britain, you could say this has no relevance but you’d be wrong; the principle still stands. Out here in the mean streets of this grimy city, it helps to know that someone has your back. You form a clique with those that are around you and they will, right from the outset, always have your back. Michaela was my work colleague, that’s a straight clique right there. I should never have let her go to the holding cell. I know I’ve already said it, but I feel so damn guilty, that I can’t help myself thinking about it. I broke the codes that were literally life and death when I was growing up. So yeah I will always have her back, and never will I betray my values ever again.

Aside from that the people who broke us out though. They want me and Michaela to become contract killers. She accepted the job pretty fast, when I told her. I don’t kill women, I ain’t never going to do that. Not for business; being a sniper was different. That was in line of official work. But she said she is willing. Really? I mean I don’t mind killing, I’I’ve done it before, but women and children? That’s an infamita. (lit. infamy). Even in the book The Family Corleone, The Godfather disapproved that. Also, she is no longer a police officer. She can’t receive forgiveness. The police aren’t there to hush things up. This is the streets, where people will avenge their dead. Like I said I will always have her back, but honestly, I don’t think she’s ready for this line of work. She hasn’t taken the repercussions of her actions seriously, I don’t think.

Why is she willing to kill children? I think she may be trying to impress me. Hmm. Whilst, I am, admittedly, a little impressed, I’m more concerned about her welfare. I don’t want her hurt because she’s trying to win my affection. She did that when she broke me out, even though she should’ve left me there.

Also, why do the people who broke us out, want a child dead? A CHILD?! It’s becoming like Vito Corleone’s background where the Don of the village of Corleone wants Vito dead for fear of the return of vengeance for his father, but again, when Vito ruled New York, with Clemenza and Tessio, he didn’t want kids to die. These people are shady. I’ll have to watch my back, as well as Michaela’s. I was bought up by one maxim, and one maxim only: trust no-one. I don’t necessarily agree with that in its entirety. I’ve changed that maxim to; trust no one, but those around you. They HAVE to have your back. Why? Because karma’s a bitch.

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The Long Night
Merris thinks back on his family's Embrace

Helena thinks I am asleep. And I should be, after the last few nights; sleep should come easy. But how can it? How can I sleep after what we, what I, have just done? What I have done to the people closest to me; I have killed them. I never thought of myself as dead, not until Helena mentioned it, I think it’s just another thing Evangeline never told me. My life had not meant much to me for years, but now I am dead, I regret being so…stupid. And now I am dead, I feel alive, more alive than I think I ever have. I can complain about my…condition, as much as I want but, I have to be honest with myself, without being a Kindred, everyone I love would be dead.

But in some senses, they are.

No. They are here with me, and I am with them. I can look after Lucy; I can be the parent I should have always been. I can’t make up for my past mistakes, but I can make her happy, I can keep her safe; I am never letting her go again. Helena has suffered more than I care to think about. I am not letting her suffer anymore. I would love to say that all she needs is someone to hold her hand and stand by her, but I would be lying to myself. I will try and be whatever she needs me to be, but I think the words come too easily. Part of being a shape-shifter I think.

I don’t think I can put into words how I feel right now. Lucy and Helena are Kindred now. I don’t think that will ever settle in. I never wanted to sire Lucy, but I had been thinking about it since she got burned. She would be more survivable; she would not be looked down upon by other Kindred, and most of all I could be with her in her waking hours. But at the same time, I missed her childhood, and I have robbed her of her adult years. I am no better than the monsters that have haunted her nightmares.

But we are together.

I would be lying again, if I were to tell myself I had not thought about siring Helena. It’s a selfish thought that I had kept hidden. But I could never deny that I wanted to. I just never expected her to suggest it. For all my selfish thoughts, I would never leave Lucy alone, and I know Helena would not either. What had to happen was obvious to both of us, I think. But I would never make such a huge choice for Lucy. I may be her Father, but she deserves better than that.

I tried to act as confidently as I could for Helena’s siring. I only just learnt to feed without her, and now I was doing this. I was terrified, so I just did it. And it felt great, better than I had ever imagined it would. Then I realised what I was doing. I was killing her. I wanted to stop; I wanted to hold her close, I wanted to spend the days with her. I…I couldn’t stop. It was too late. And then it was done, she fell limp in my arms. I had killed her. Of all the people in the world, it was I who killed Helena. I am glad neither her, nor Lucy could see my face. The moment before she awoke, I felt broken. I try my best not to hurt anyone, and I had just killed, the woman that I…I…

I think Lucy locking the door broke me out of wherever I was. I could not help but smile; it took the edge off the moment. Well, until Lucy saw Helena, slung over my shoulder. When she finally woke up, I think both Lucy and I almost jumped out of our seats. Lucy really does love Helena to pieces.

Lucy never ceases to amaze me. She wanted us both to sire her. Both of us! She is an astounding little lady. I don’t know where my mind was at this point. I did not want to take her life from her, and I did not want Helena have to go against everything she has ever held dear, and do the same.

But at this point, there was no going back. We could not look after her as she was, and as we were. And I don’t think she would have let us not sire her at that point. She seemed so… adamant about joining us. At the time I slightly hoped she would change her mind, I thought the same about Helena as well, but, its better this way. I just wish it did not have to be.

Lucy wanted to be sired in her room. I feel bad for leaving the logistics up to Helena, but I was not as composed as she was. We both kept our faces as straight as we could, but inside she seemed more structured, while I was falling apart. She was able to get all the food we needed, all I could do was stay by Lucy’s side, and hope; no, hope is not a strong enough word, that everything would go well. I could not lose Lucy. That was not an option.
As soon as I saw Helena’s fangs, I buried my head in my hands. I closed my eyes as tightly as I could, and pretended we were all somewhere else. A beach, a park, in France, then back in the garden.

“She’s gone. Do it now. Now “.

Those words brought me out of hiding, and I did it. I brought her back. She took longer to wake up but she came back; she came back to us. I was overloaded with emotion; she was so chatty, so excitable, so ready. For a moment my doubts and my worries slipped away. But Helena was exhausted; I could see it in her eyes, she could not handle anything else that evening. We managed to put Lucy to bed, and finally settled down for the morning.
The chatter between us kept me going; the sense of normality. The ability to do such a thing made me feel like we were a family. To be able to just talk to Helena, something so simple, made me feel so close to her. It’s such a trivial thing, but it made forget about my doubts, and think of what we could be.

Lying here in bed, I can feel I need to sleep. My mind is swimming; did I just kill my family, or bring them to life? I can’t answer those questions now, or even by myself…but I don’t think I need to; not now. I can sleep easy knowing I won’t have to wake up alone anymore.
And I can spend my nights with the two people that mean so much to me. Life cannot be perfect and death even less so, but right now I feel complete. I can feel a smile spreading across my face, just thinking about waking up tonight.

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The Night The Family Died
Helena looks back on her last few nights

TRIGGER WARNING: Emotional Trauma and Child Undeath.
(Author Note: This was arguably the most difficult piece I have written for an NPC so far, and took me far longer to do than any other. I will not apologise for its length, but I will apologise for the feels. I hope you all get some sense of how it felt to write this as you read it. – Josée
Music: To the Moon: Main Theme, Uncharted Realms, Moonwisher, Born A Stranger, Tomorrow, Lament of a Stranger – Kan Gao
Everything’s Alright – Kan Gao and Laura Shigihara)

Merris thinks I’m asleep, but I can’t stop thinking. I can’t stop…remembering.

The last few nights have been stranger than most could ever think. I don’t think Merris was expecting me to respond to his question in the way I did. I don’t think he had ever really wanted to think on the life I had lead before he and Lucy walked into it. I do not regret my life as a ghoul, as much as people would probably expect me to, but I would hardly like to return to life like that; not that I think it would be like that with Merris as my domitor, but…

Helena, stop. Think about things before you spew this rubbish out.

What I mean to say is, I have lived a long time (well, maybe not for the Kindred around me) as a ghoul, and I did not wish to remain as such. I don’t think Merris was expecting such a response. I don’t think he really knew how to react. Well…would you? How could you react to something like that? He sat with me in the kitchen, his questions all regarding Lucy and her safety and security. I really do admire his focus. He was right; we couldn’t leave Lucy alone each day, not with the police looking for her and news outlets broadcasting her image everywhere, and then adding these mysterious people hunting her down into the mix. He seemed restless as he went to join her upstairs. I decided to stay downstairs and wash up; I didn’t think he really needed an audience while he was with her, and I think, given I had been the one causing his quandary, I felt like I owed it to him to give him enough space to think on it.

When I did go upstairs, it was heartwarming. He was sat there with Lucy on his lap, Lucy curled up under the duvet, her head on his left shoulder, and the tips of her fingers visible on his right. As he saw me, he lifted her gently and placed her softly on the bed. Had it not been for his pallor, anyone could have mistaken us for a run-of-the-mill family. As we left, and I gently lead him to our room, he explained that he had broached the idea of me joining him as a Kindred to Lucy. He explained that she had suggested that she become a Kindred too, which seemed to have taken us both as aback as each other. Neither of us were sure about that path, but Merris seemed to be giving it much thought. We both seemed to sink into a restless sleep, I’m not sure we really wanted to come to a decision.

The following morning, I awoke. I went to turn to Merris and then remembered not to. I daren’t look at him when he is asleep. When I was Deveraux’s ghoul, whenever I awoke next to him, I would hurry out just…because I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. With Merris…I wished I could. It was always strange waking up next to his icy cold body, having to remind myself that he was fine, just sleeping like the rest of us. I suppose it was my medical training kicking in; no-one should ever feel that cold.

I took Lucy out that day. I knew it was risky, but we tied her hair up, dirtied her face and she kept her head down for the trip. I think people presumed she was just another disenfranchised yob, skulking around the streets because she had nothing better to do. I asked her to play the part of the moody teenager, and she played it so well you’d almost think it came naturally. Everything went fine we popped into numerous clothes and shoe shops, buying new clothes for us all – especially Merris, whose wardrobe I’d noticed was greatly lacking in size. There was only one slight hiccough, where Lucy demanded to go into a local pawn shop. She seemed to know the woman behind the desk, as when she introduced herself as “Renardeau” she let her in to a small back room. I was allowed entry purely because Lucy refused to go further without me, and there was shelves and shelves of contraband. I don’t know how she came to know of this place, or how she knew about the hidden room, or got the reputation to get in…

She bought a new flick knife (again…I don’t know where she got the money, but I have learnt not to ask this terrifying young woman…) and then refused to leave without buying a new knife for Merris. She got so persistent about buying this specific pink and purple iridescent knife that she threatened to stab the poor woman if she refused to let her buy it. The woman just laughed but I raised my eyebrows. I’m not sure I want to know her past; she seems far too militaristic for my liking, sometimes.

When we returned home, Merris was just waking up. Lucy began to show him all the “cool” things that had been bought through the day. I threw a bag of clothes at him and told him to take a look, and Lucy ran up to him and handed him this knife she had bought. He didn’t seem too shocked by it (though I think he found the colour somewhat off-putting) and they both went to get changed. Before Merris did, I asked if he’d thought any more on the situation, and he responded quite noncommittally. He made a phone call shortly after and disappeared out, saying he was going to meet Daria Rose, and see if she would be willing to “give him a signature”, holding up his chequebook. Lucy sat with me and watched TV for a while, while I sat anxiously waiting.

Eventually, I think the waiting began to unsettle Lucy, as she began to ask, regularly, where he was. After placating her with TV and board games for a time, I suggested we go to my room and wait, suggesting we open the window so he could just fly straight back in. Lucy almost sprinted up the stairs and threw the window open, sitting staring out of the window. We sat together, silently for what seemed like an age, before the sound of wings was heard through the darkness, and a beautiful snowy owl flew through, into the room. Lucy squealed and started to fawn over Merris’ new form, as he stood up and brushed himself down. After a brief hug and quick chat, we sent Lucy downstairs, and I looked at Merris.

He told me that he had spoken to Daria Avery; which took me aback. I hadn’t known she was an Avery, or ever had been an Avery. She had given him her chequebook and her signature, which was surprising…but the conversation quickly turned back to the matter that had been weighing on our minds. Merris seemed to have made his mind up.

He said he didn’t want to do anything without Lucy being certain, but that he knew it would be safer for Lucy to know disciplines. I think we were both chilled, somewhat, to think that this was the best option for her. We sat together, and I tried to be as comforting as much as I could…but I knew the implications as much as he did. As we sat there, I asked what he was thinking, and whether he would be prepared enough for doing it. He told me he wasn’t really well-fed enough and I suddenly came across a thought. I had arranged for the vitae at the Court. Why couldn’t I arrange a small amount for us…for this…situation?

I told him to wait there, and I ran to my car. As I drove, I found so many things flashing through my brain. Lucy, me, work, Hunters, police, reporters, feeding, sleeping…our lives were about to change…no.

Our lives were about to end…because I had asked for them to.

I was somewhat sombre when I went to the local blood centre. I hung my paramedic’s jacket from my shoulders, feeling every bit the fraud I was, and spoke to Eric, another of Deveraux’s ghouls. Of course, he knew Deveraux was dead, but (it seemed) as though there was still some kind of understanding of the situation. I explained there was an issue at the hospital, and he nodded, handing me twenty transfusion packs without batting an eyelid. I thanked him gratefully and dashed out, partly to look the part, and partly because I couldn’t bring myself to look him in the eye.

I drove home, not paying attention to the road, my mind wandering to the situation I would find myself in at home. As I parked, I tried to regain some composure. I couldn’t show Merris, or heavens forbid Lucy, how I felt. I looked myself in the mirror and lifted my chin, pulled my shoulders up and took a deep breath. I climbed out of the car, brought the two cool bags out of the back seat, and walked in, every inch of my body straining with the effort of looking completely calm despite falling apart inside.

The walk up those stairs has never felt so long or so damning.

I placed the bags down in our room, in front of Merris, and told him they were there should they be required. I suggested that if we were to do what was planned, Lucy deserved her final meal to be her favourite. He agreed, so we sat at the table, me with a pitta filled with various meats and salad, while Lucy devoured a kebab and chips. I had a roly-poly with custard for dessert, while Lucy chowed down on a whole small birthday cake. Merris sat there silently, his gaze never moving from the table. I wondered whether he was feeling how I was; whether he was dreading the part yet to come.

As we finished, I asked Merris the logistics of our sirings. He asked where I wanted to be sired. I thought….there was no way I wanted to be sired in my room…I wouldn’t want to walk in and instantly think of that. I looked out to the garden. I hadn’t spent enough time out there since Deveraux had got his claws into me. Merris asked if the neighbours would be watching, and I reminded him of the time. As we walked out, Lucy began to get under our feet; just when she was least needed. Without thinking I told her Merris and I were having a “romantic moment”, which sent her scurrying. As we stood there, I looked around at the trees and flowers, remembering the sunny days I had spent sunbathing with a book; playing in a paddling pool as a child…and then I snapped myself out of it. With more courage and determination than I thought I ever had, I talked him through everything that was about to happen. I had seen Deveraux do it, I had been party to other embraces…I tried to keep myself cool and calm…as much as I could. He pulled me into a gentle hug…and then I felt him bite me.

It felt good, it always felt good, that was one of the perks of the kindred condition. But this time it felt better than it ever had done before.

And then I felt myself fade.

I woke up on the sofa, Lucy staring at me, terrified. She kept asking if I was okay. I nodded and gestured to her to come and join me. As I gave her a hug, my neck twinged, and I put my hand up to it. Pulling it away, I saw two smudges of blood appear on my fingertips. I pulled Lucy in as tightly as I possibly could, and pointedly glared at Merris who came across and healed it up. After a short time, we broached the subject of Lucy’s embrace. Merris thought it was best if we tried to be as honest as we could with her, and so we told her about the disciplines she could learn, and about not being able to go out in the sun, waking up at night and going to sleep in the morning…and about drinking blood. She kept repeating, when asked if she was happy with it all, “If you’re a vampire, dad’s happy. If I’m a vampire, you’re both happy.” I could see this breaking Merris’ heart word by word. Eventually, we saw ourselves going round and round in circles, so Merris asked Lucy who she wanted to embrace her.

I think her words shocked us both. She wanted us both to embrace her. We looked at each other, and I explained that it probably could be done…but that I’d never seen it tried.

Merris took Lucy up to bed, and I fed from some of the bags. As I walked in, I asked Merris what he wanted to do. I wished I hadn’t as I knew if he said he wanted to drain her I would override him. I didn’t want him to be the one taking the life of his own daughter. It would eat away at him too much. Thankfully, he said he wanted to “bring her back”…which made me half smile. The other half wasn’t smiling as I knew what that meant for me. I’d be the one…killing her.

As I looked at her, tucked up in bed…I could only imagine what this felt like to this, suddenly very small, fragile-looking, young woman. I could only imagine what it must have looked like, her father and her…well, for all intents and purposes, stepmother, standing by the door, looking at her, pensively.

I don’t know why, but I thought the best way to approach the situation was to treat her as another patient of mine; another person requiring aid and attention. I knelt by her bedside, softly telling her everything was going to be okay, that we would look after her and she would be safe, that we would be by her side when she awoke. And then, with this awful knot in my stomach; the type that you get when you wish there was an option other than the one you are about to choose, I looked at Merris, then Lucy, and then I closed my eyes, and bit down on her arm.

It felt strange, from the other direction. The pleasure was there, still, but it mixed horribly with my regret and sorrow, making me shiver; repulsing me. My hand rested on her wrist, checking her pulse. I knew I would know when she had gone, but I…I guess I wanted to feel like in some, weird, twisted way I was still doing my job. I guess I just wanted to feel like in some way, in any small, insignificant little way I was doing what I had vowed always to do, not just in my profession, but to Lucy and Merris. I had as good as promised to keep her safe and to stand alongside the two of them, going so far as to help them end my domitor’s life.

And then I felt her pulse get weaker…and weaker…

And then it stopped.

I looked over to Merris and said, in the strongest, most urgent voice I could. “She’s gone. Do it now. Now.

He came across. I moved my hand to her neck and continued to check for her pulse. Even after he had pulled his head away and sealed the wounds, there was no response from Lucy.

Had my heart been beating, it would have stopped. I sat there; we both sat there, silently urging something, anything to happen. And then, just the slightest hint of colour came to her cheeks. Had we not been looking desperately for signs of…not life, but…well…unlife, I guess, we would never have seen it. I pulled my hand away, mentally facepalming. Of course she wouldn’t have a pulse…Merris didn’t…I…didn’t.

We knew she was going to be asleep for a while, so I took it upon myself to add some food dye to the blood she would be drinking; so she wouldn’t be awoken to that kind of harsh reality in a cruel manner. By the end we had yellow and green and purple and blue blood, sat in plastic cups, not bags. I also made some extra up for Merris, so he could drink with her…I knew he would probably be hungry after such an exhausting night.

As I returned, Lucy was just beginning to stir. Merris sat with her and I brought the tray in. The three of us sat there, and I passed her one of the cups. She seemed the most awake and energetic of the three of us. She kept badgering Merris and I about learning how to turn into animals, and grow claws and talk to animals. I was almost too tired; too emotionally drained to respond, so I tried to focus her on drinking alongside her father. Eventually we asked her to try and sleep “so her training could begin the following day”, and we moved into the room next door.

We sat and spoke about various things that night. It seems strange that after such an evening we should just sit and chat, as it was not what I’d expected. We spoke about the situation with the Gangrel priscus, I told him that the new Ventrue priscus had got in touch about a meeting, we talked about Daria, and Merris even rang his sire to tell her how she was a grandsire. He passed the phone to me and I spoke with Evangeline for a short period. She asked what was happening to my children, seeing as Deveraux was dead, and seemed less than positive about my response. She asked whether they were going to join Merris and I at any point, and whether I had “forgotten that Lucy wasn’t my child”. I handed the phone back shortly after. I had enough to think on without Evangeline, rightly, reminding me of others.

Most of all I needed sleep. And not long after the phone conversation, Merris and I curled up for the evening. I suppose in some ways it was a comfort to know that he was there, and that he had shared a similar, if not the same, evening to me. I guess it just helped, knowing I had him by my side…and that now, I could look him in the face as we woke.

And, oh, how that thought helped me sleep easy.

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