Redemption(of a vampire)

“It’s over.” That was the one and only thought in his head once the red haze lifted from his mind. His despair was so great that he didn’t even notice the two still-warm bodies without throats on the ground at his feet. In one terrible moment, everything he had worked for had come crashing down.

Everything he had created was destroyed in single moment of jealous rage. His thoughts were rudely interrupted by the sound of someone clapping. He turned his head dangerously slowly to glimpse the intruder. At the end of the alley stood this beautiful woman. Yet her beauty was obviously coupled with unmasked predatory danger. “Do you mind if I finish for you?” Without waiting for an answer she stepped by him, kneeling at the bodies and quickly draining what little blood they have left. Looking at those two he retracted his fangs and added their deaths too his growing list of failures for the night. “That was absolutely beautiful was it not?” she said in the same tone that an artist would when talking about a painting. Jonathan scoffed and shook his head, “I would not consider it so.” Agonizingly, she persisted, “You must admit though, the passion in your leap, the pure fury within your eyes, it truly was amazing.” Jonathan started walking past her, disgusted with what he could only assume to be a true Gurnei antitribue. Her light laugh haunted him as he headed towards the street.
One thought permeated his mind as he scoured the streets: sanctuary. He had to find a place where he could be alone and put his mind back together. Within a few moments he raced towards the nearest sewer grate. One handed he easily picked the top up, and just as easily dropped it after him, he rage-enhanced strength benefiting him even now. He wandered in the dank and dark, aimlessly. He gave no thought to direction other than to keep moving. On one hand he hoped to meet his friend, yes he was terrified of exactly that happening. Finally he felt the welcomed yet dreaded presence. He heard a very light snap and soon saw the glow from a very mundane green glow-stick. The glow-stick was tied to a string that hung about Alexander’s head. Jonathan could not help but to chuckle. He didn’t know why, only that seeing a vampire, a creature surrounded in myth and legend, one of the Jenvirno who are known to be enigmatic even among the kindred, this creature of dark fantasy using something so “normal” as a glow stick made him laugh. It felt good to release, if only a little. Alexander motioned for him to follow and he did. The Jenvirno led him through so many twists and turns that even if he was trying to map his way, he had gotten lost long ago. Eventually they game to a door that opened without a squeak. Inside was a well-furnished room. Alexander eased into an easy chair while Jonathon sat across him on the cough. Slowly and shame-filled, Jonathon let his story unfold to his mentor of his failure.
They were at the Velvet-Mask, a high-society club where Elizabeth was performing on her violin. Watching her, Jonathan remembered back to when he first met her. He had just recently arrived at the city and was trying to build some influence. He and his companion were at a club. The city of Gary was in the last of its death-throes. Most of the people in the club were trying to forget things for a while. He had chosen her out of all the people there by sheer coincidence. He was simply looking for someone who looked like they had no hope left and she stood out to him. He talked to her and learned how she spent all she had trying to get here to make a life for herself and now with failure she was stuck here unable to escape. It sounded so much like his own situation that he made a promise to himself to help her. Over the next year and a half he convinced her to pick up the violin again and to practice. Always he found a way to remind her that he did care for her, whether through poetry, flowers, or simply telling her. It was Elizabeth to whom he first brought out what would become his personal symbol: a flute with a rose wrapped around it. He never took a single drop of her blood, never let her taste his own, and kept her as far from kindred politics as possible. This night, this performance was the culmination of all that time and effort spent. She played with her heart, letting her hands follow along behind. She performed beautifully and confidently, a far cry from the frightened and lost girl he first met. Rolf, his Ravnos companion was there along with a Goidica named Andrew and a fledgling neonate Braish named Lily. He was charged by Modius, the Prince of Gary with instructing her in the six traditions of the Moon. He was further quested by Alexander to teach her what he knew about Golconda. Alexander was his mentor on that path. He had been warned that it was a difficult path, harder than anything else in Kindred society yet the reward would be well worth the agony of the journey. That reward was nothing less the salvation for the damned. If reached, the Beast would be banished forever leaving peace in the blessed kindred’s soul.
So these were his companions the night his unlife fell apart. Jonathan told Alexander how after the performance, he gave Elizabeth a bouquet of flowers, how Rolf went up to speak with her and asked to talk with her one night; how Jonathan felt jealousy stab him in the heart. He spoke of how he remembered getting up watching as if his body belonged to another. The blood fueling his strength as that very blood was also used to enhance his speed to inhuman levels. It was only when his arms grabbed Rolf’s sides and began to squeeze that he red film of rage filtered down across his vision. He could feel his fangs extending as he moved to try and bite his one-time friend while still trying to squeeze the life from him. In a panic he realized that the Beast had taken hold. Yet, he was Gurnei , and let it never be said that they cannot use the passion that so often entrances them. He was just barely aware of Elizabeth standing next to Rolf in shock and horror. Jonathan poured ever ounce of passion, love, and hope in a desperate attempt to wrestle control from the Beast. He managed to loosen his grip to keep from crushing Rolf’s ribs slowly while removing his fangs. It was hard, oh so hard. It was like trying to stay awake after the sun has risen even though everything inside of you wants nothing more than to lie down and rest. Jonathan knew that if he relaxed if a little, the Beast would rip control back from him. He poured more of his will and love of life into struggling with the Beast and managed to pull himself off of Rolf entirely. In one last desperate attempt to save them from himself, he bolted for the exit, his incredible strength and inhuman speed knocking over quite a few people before he reached the exit. In a complete frenzy at being thwarted once, the Beast took full control of his mind. The next thing he remembered was standing in an alley looking down at the still warm bodies of two people.
Finished with the story Jonathan put his head in his hands. “I failed. All my work teaching Lily wasted. All of my careful planning and mingling with society ruined. And worst of all, my hopes and dreams that rested with Elizabeth devastated. I was the one who taught her hope and now she will feel nothing but horror and terror at my face. You said the path I chose was one more difficult then anything else I would encounter in kindred society. If I cannot succeed in a matter as simple as maintaining the masquerade what hope do I have in ever reaching Golconda?” That last question was spoken in despair which made Alexander’s calm voice all that more comforting. “Perhaps now is the time to reconcile with the Beast. Even by embarking on the path you have succeeded where most have failed.” More was said and it was enough to give Jonathan back his will to continue even in spite of loosing everything. They rose and Alexander beckoned a rat forward. “Follow the rat, he will show you the way out.” “Thank you.” Jonathan said and did as he was told.
The rat led him to the streets near Andrew’s apartment. With the light from the city, he checked his cell phone and found a message from Rolf. Jonathan returned the call and they talked at Rolf’s place. They reconciled with each other and although the pangs of jealously still struck he ruthlessly beat them down, refusing to give even a little sway to them. By this time the sun was nearly up and they were both exhausted. Rolf extended an offer of hospitality to Jonathan, which was gratefully accepted.
The next night he woke to a familiar call. He could feel a longing to head towards a certain building. The summons was from the Gurnei primogen Annabelle, he was sure of it. As Rolf seemed to get the same feeling, they left together. They arrived at the entrance at the same time that Andrew and Lily showed up. Jonathan began to feel the first inklings of dread. As the headed in and up they were led to the Primogen council chamber. Inside sat Porcha, a Gurnei of unbelievable beauty, Nicoli, the primogen who appeared to be only nine, and a decrepit man he did not recognize at first but soon realized was the long lost Prince of Chicago. It was all Jonathan could do not to quiver with fear. Luckily he has spent a good deal of time acting and was at least able to put on the face of calm even if he did not feel it. Nicoli was the kindred who inspired the most fear in him, although the once thought dead Prince did not help his insides either. Not for the first time he was glad his bowels no longer worked or he may have needed new pants. Porcha melted back into the shadows while the two most powerful kindred in Chicago glared at the rest. The first order of business was the neonate Lily. She had not been presented to the council or to the prince of Chicago and Modius’ power was not recognized here. Jonathan spoke for her as best he could, his eloquent words seeming to still hold some weight. Nikoli pointed out that she had been created without permission from the council. It was then that Jonathan remembered the Third Tradition of the Moon: The Progeny, the last of the traditions that he had had time to teach Lily. Thou shalt sire another only with the permission of thine elder. If thou createst another without thine elder’s leave, both thou and thy progeny shalt be slain. Jonathan used everything in his expertise of words to save her and was rewarded by hearing that her life, while in debt, would not be forfeit. Alas, his small victory did not help him with what came next. They were told to tell of what happened the night before which they did. Jonathan took the blame for as much as he dared without angering them further. One thing he had learned (and applied) was that he knew when to shut-up. The words of Nikoli rang clearly in his head. “Now what to do with you. You who have blatantly ignored our laws; your loyalty is in sever doubt.” The sound of moving chains could be heard in the shadows. Porcha emerged leading a dazed Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s eyes were glossed over and it was obvious that she was under the influence of a powerful dominate and would not remember any of this later. Jonathan’s heart would have stopped had it still beat in his chest. As it is, his thoughts were in a near frenzy in panic but he knew that he dare not show them how truly frightened for her he was. His only chance to get her out of here safely was to distance himself as much as he could. Nikoli’s voice cut with words that pierced right into his very soul, “Take her life, or thine own is forfeit.” All of Jonathan’s plans, thoughts, masks, everything came down in that instant. His face was one of horror, shock, and pain. She was the living culmination of everything he had done and could do. He had taken her from nothing and helped her to build a life. He had taught her hope and joy again. Yet, he also lost her the moment the Beast had taken over the night before. Slowly, with a blood tear in his eye he drew out his silver flute. Giving it one last hug he gently laid it down at his feet and held out his hands wrists up, “My life is forfeit.” Those words chilled with an air of finality. A voice in the back of his mind, reminded him that following this course would guarantee his final death. He acknowledged the voice and ignored it, he had chosen his path, no other could he take. He would not, could not take her life. Elizabeth was given silent instructions and she walked out, Jonathan could only hope that she walked out of kindred affairs forever. Unseen shackles could be felt around his wrists and Jonathan could not help but smirk at them. He had agreed to die; they had no need to enforce it.
The four of them were led to the roof. Nikoli told them that they were going to greet the sun. Jonathan felt a pang of guilt for not being able to help them, but voicing that would not do them any good. He turned to face the glowing sky. With agonizing slowness, the sun crept above the horizon. He had forgotten how beautiful it was, and how painful. Yet, these were his final moments and he was going to die as he lived. He began to sing. The words were not important, neither was the melody. The only thing that was important was that he sang. As his skin smoked he noticed that the other three were given heavy blankets to protect them from the sun. They were saved. His last fear soothed, he turned his attention towards the sun and his song to it. His thoughts moved to Elizabeth, and how he was sorry that he couldn’t say goodbye. His body became ablaze but he refused to let his song falter. In those last moments they could all hear a heartbeat, a living heartbeat. It took them another moment to realize that it came from Jonathan. A tear, a true, salty, living tear fell down his cheek as he laughed in his song. He was mortal! He had achieved Golconda: redemption! The last vestige of his body burned to ash and the dust blew away in the wind.