Episode III: Into the Lion’s Den

6 minute read

Persephony sat deep within the soft cushions of one of the leather chairs in the Common room of the Silhouettes guild, reading text after text about the powers one could come into on the quests scattered throughout the city. Celerity, Thievery, Second-Sight, each of them swam through her head, the different necessities required for each power, the amount of coin needed for each, the tasks required… the more she read, the less she became sure of herself.

She wondered if she had been wrong about herself all these years, if perhaps these new vampires, the Capadocians, saw her as she really was, a naive, young child. Certainly they saw her as weaker than others. To her it didn’t seem fair, that she had not had a sire - a mentor, a family, anything - to teach her about being a vampire.

She idly mused about starting a quest to get each of these powers, tallying up the coin required for each, mentally mapping out which powers would be the best to start with. She felt indebted to Sandie and this Sartori who had let her into this guild, not as much for the invitation, but for opening her eyes to the fact that, perhaps, there was more to life than she had previously assumed.

She shifted awkwardly in her seat as a vampire entered the room, walking past the chair she sat and up one of the side staircases that led to personal rooms. She had been here a week, coming only the first couple nights long enough to read a little, then leaving for where she usually stayed during the days. She then stayed to read during the days, going out at nights to feed. She still could not make herself comfortable yet, amongst all these vampires, not after living so long by her lonesome. Nor could she work through the inferiority complex she had around anyone who remotely felt stronger than herself. She could count on her one hand the number of people she had talked to since coming here.

Was a guild really the place for her? It felt so… formal to her, and so very cold. She imagined that this might have been what a job would have been like, had she lived long enough as a human to need or experience one.

There had been a thin book about the history of the Capadocian Clan that she had read through, more a newsletter than a real text, but this clan seemed relatively war-bent with another clan, the Sun Clan, and the mere idea that she might be forced to fight had almost convinced her to leave as soon as possible. She finally calmed herself down enough to consider that, while she was here, she may as well make use of their library, learn more about these powers that other vampires seemed to have acquired.

She didn’t know what her aversion to fighting came from, but she had an inkling that it may have stemmed from 1) her inability to fall back on family members (of which she had never had any), and 2) the absence of her sire and subsequent attack that almost killed her. It frightened her that the clan might eventually force her to be a warrior, it frightened her even more that this clan might not protect her if she was attacked again by her sire, or any other vampire that decided they disliked her. And what if they attacked her simply based on membership in this clan?

It startled her out of her thoughts when a hand settled on her shoulder, and she couldn’t help jumping from the seat with a startled cry, the book in her hands clutched to her chest. It had been a male vampire who had scared her, and he looked at her with a strange curiosity in his eyes, and with a sheepish grin on his face.

“I’m sorry I scared you, I didn’t mean anything by it,’ he said in a soothing tone, reminding her much of Sandie’s gentleness. She loosened her grip on the book in her hands, and rocked back and forth on her feet to try and loosen the tension from the flight her body had prepared for.

“No… no, it’s okay. I just… wasn’t paying attention.” She lowered her head, unable to hold his gaze.

“I just noticed that you looked unfamiliar, and Sandie warned me to keep an eye out for the new girl. Persephony, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“No need for formalities, I’m not anyone important, by any measure. My name’s Foster.” he offered his hand, and she hesitated before offering her hand to shake. His hand seemed to linger for a moment, or perhaps it only felt like forever, but he finally released her hand, and she resisted the urge to snap it back to her chest. He sat down in the chair opposite hers after walking to the bookshelf and picking up a large tome.

She sat back down, trying to focus on the book in front of her, which didn’t hold any appeal anymore. She looked around the room, her eyes falling on a large bulletin board with numerous messages posted on it, as well as a floor to ceiling chalkboard with a grid on it, what she surmised to be the city’s layout. Certain squares were coloured in, and her eyes picked out the blue to be the banks. Others were coloured in different colours, with numbers one to three on them.

“The coloured ones are the guilds. Where you go to purchase or start quests for your powers.” She turned back her head, eyeing Foster who had an easy smile on his face. “I noticed you were reading about the power quests. Do you have any powers yet?” He asked, and she turned back around to sit down properly in the chair, bringing her legs up and wrapping her arms around them.

“I…” She paused, wondering what she had to be ashamed about, if she genuinely didn’t know about the types of power quests. “I hadn’t known before today that you could get powers.”

“Well, don’t worry about it, there are plenty of people here who are willing to help you if you have any questions.”

“A lot of the people here seem very… businesslike.”

“Yeah, some of them do take things rather seriously. But don’t worry; there are more than enough jokers to go around. Have you been to the pub yet?”

“There’s a pub?”

“Sure, the Rowdy Pub! Sartori owns it… er, well at least he’s the bartender. We all pretty much assume that the bar’s his.” He sat there thinking for a moment. “You should go down there, meet the people.”

Oh… I don’t know…” Persephony looked down at her fidgeting hands. It felt like she was thrown from a loner’s world to a social butterfly’s. She definitely was frightened of the idea of meeting other people.

“Do you not drink?” He asked, and she couldn’t stop her eyes brightening at the question. While being by herself had been fine, the only time she had ever associated with other people was in an intoxicated way, and she was rather fond of the numerous pubs located around RavenBlack City.

“Well, I do drink, but I’m not really a peop-“

“Nonsense! The best vampires you’ll meet are down in the bar! How about this, I’ll even walk you down there myself?” Foster looked at her so expectantly, and she felt a shudder of fear of what he might say if she was to decline, regardless of his open personality.

She paused, thinking. It had been too long since she had had a drink, and she definitely felt she deserved one after the stressful time she had had since being thrown into the clan. But the thought of being around people… that was almost deterrent enough, save for the prospect of Foster walking her down. He was definitely one of the brighter aspects of this place, and his company did make the place seem much warmer.

A-Alright. I’ll go.”