The first time I’m introduced to the Kindred society in an Elysim gathering, I wear black velvet. My Sire insists. I find it a bit too traditional, and harbor and unnatural strong fear of not fitting in. My Sire tells me this is natural. I do not believe him. How can I, when so much of my former life was lived in fear and unease?
We travel outside the city limits to a grand, old looking castle, or a villa. It is, I understand, rented by the Prince, and will serve as tonight’s accommodations. There are a lot of private security around; mortals, mostly. I ask my Sire why. At first, he laughs and think I jest. Then he tells me to look beyond mortal eyes and use Auspex. I do, and gasps. What I had thought ample security turns out to be overkill. My Sire says that one can never be too careful.
I find myself wishing for Pälvi, but she hasn’t yet completed her own initiation. Oh, how I long to see her again! Then the car turns a bend I forget about Pälvi.
The villa lies well lit in the darkness. There is a cocktail party with men and women, dressed elegantly in the latest fashion, drinking, laughing and making merry. I later understood that this is just a front, a clever trick, to keep the Masquerade. We stop at a private car park, indoors, underground, and take the elevator up to the elevator itself. The second floor, reserved for the elite. Even without my Sire winking, I understand that means us. I am not entirely wrong.
We present our lavish invitation; Jürgen Adelmann, plus one – until I am properly presented, I will remain my Sire’s plus one – but I intend to secure my own invitation for the next event, based on tonight. We are offered a drink in the form of a young boy, maybe ten or twelve, before we enter. It’s considered rude to show up at an Elysium without having fed. My Sire declines. I do not, and lull the boy in a motherly embrace – quite the sensation – before whispering softly to him that I am a nice lady that won’t harm him. He nods, understanding. I Kiss him gently, drawing enough blood to satisfy my taste, but mindful of the vessel’s small size. I stop myself before I drain him. Too soon, it turns out; I have barely had a sip. But I have never tasted young blood before, and I am roused by it. It is potent, and the boy is of noble stock. I feel lightheaded when we step inside the ballroom; my Sire remarks that I have spoiled my appetite.
I see Tremere, Ventrue, Toreador, Gionvanni, mortals; but also what I suspect is Malkavian, before I step back in light shock: Three Nosferatu lingering in a corner. Despite being warned in advance, I shudder. My Sire takes my arm in his, and draws me near: I realize if I where to stumble, it would reflect poorly on him. So I toss my neck, and put on my confidence: This is where I belong, at the seat of power, along the rest, the heart of the party. The evening has just began, and there is a new player in town.
The party lasts to daybreak; I quickly lose count over whom is who, what titles and positions they hold: but it seems not that important as this is an evening for the fledglings. My Sire explained that to me in advance: every year, the Prince hosts a gathering for the newly made vampires – to meet, to be introduced, and to behave. I sense a tug in my heart as I would not share my presentation to Kindred society with her, before I dream of presenting someone else the next year: there is no rule that says you have to be a sire and a childer. My Sire sees me smiling and asks what I find amusing. I comment on the sight of two beautiful beings, one drinking from the other. He smiles and says that the Prince keeps blood dolls around, to see how the fledglings treat them. He then acquires a specimen himself: a large man with grey eyes and a neatly trimmed beard, dressed in a tuxedo. My Sire introduces us: it is the father of the boy, and he is pleased that I did drink of his child when I mention it. He then offers his own neck, and my Sire shows me how to share him at the same time – a trick I will perform myself with others, later. The vitality and virility of the moment makes me dizzy.
Later, my Sire leaves me to mingle on my own, striking up conversation as I see fit. I know this is a test, so I do it dutiful and proud. I meet the nervous Gangrel Olaf and his mentor – not sire – Louise. I learn that Gangrel tradition doesn’t permit the same kind of sire-childer bond that most other clans share. I don’t comment on the situation further north in Scandinavia.
I also meet Alexandra of clan Tremere – she doesn’t mention a last name. She’s dressed all in red, and wears gold jewelry. She invites me to the High Saturday: a gathering of those interested in Necromancy. Obviously, my fascination of the topic has betrayed me, but to a pleasant surprise. I thank her and move on.
Deciding to prove myself, I seek out the Nosferatu, but find only one of them, deep in conversation with a queer looking girl of barely sixteen, clearly underdressed for the occasion. They stop when I advance, and we share polite words and names: the Nosferatu is Vlad (again, no last name mentioned – this seems to be the norm), a former merchant from the 1700-century, and one with strong ties to the Prince. Erika doesn’t say anything, but keeps on staring at me the for the entire conversation. I tell them about my book, about how I plan to have another one published (under another name, this time – I am, both officially and literally, dead) and that I would be delighted to ask Vlad for firsthand knowledge of the time from when he was alive. He seems surprised, but not entirely unwilling. However, nothing is free in this world, and favors are high currency in Kindred society. I ask him what he would consider a fair price, and find Erika shaking her head viciously. Somehow, this amuses Vlad, and he says he’ll be in touch. Taking his remark on the word, I offer mine. The queer looking girl giggles. Slowly, Vlad takes my hand and we shake on it. He then excuses himself and Erika, and I continue my evening, dressed to impress.
Noticing the time, I went to find my Sire, and secure a place to rest for the day. He take me through a long hallway and to a Spartan looking room with just a bed and a coffin. The drapes are lovely, heavy, and covered the thick and tinted glass. My Sire claims the bed, and I the coffin. As I slide the lid on, I smile of gratefulness: he remembered to ask about one in advance.