by Dustin Evermore and Lisa Hartjes
*** A couple days later found Fianna once again seeking Berengiere's company. Pleasantries followed as was typical for them, and then Fianna became quite serious. The setting is an hotel room they have used several times now.***
She looked over at Beren. "Listen, I'm going to have to do some things in the next few days. Tonight is the last night that I will look like this because I'm going to ask Stazi to return me to the look I was born with. I'm proud of who I am, and I don't want to hide from anyone anymore, even those Sabbat assassins I had been trying to elude. I'm not going to run from anything ever again because I've learned that once you start running, you can't stop. Although...
"Although, I'm going to miss this dress," she finished sheepishly. "It will never fit me after tomorrow." She laughed nervously. She was about to undergo the worst kind of pain imaginable and she was worrying about a dress.
But the laugh quickly turned into a sob, which seemed to surprise herself more than anyone. "Then I'm going to kill lots and lots and lots of people." She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to gain control over her emotions, but a small red tear escaped anyway. She wiped it away. "M-My own countrymen. And probably kill my own g-grand sire. Who is also literally my own flesh and blood as I am descended from her." The full horror of what she knew she would do began to crash down upon her mind.
Had she been mortal, she would have been sick. "I don't think you're going to like me very much anymore," she told the Monitor.
"If the thought of what you are going to do distresses you so much, why are you going to do it," Beren asked.
"Well, I... Maybe I won't be murdering people, not directly, but it's all because of me. And if we don't it would be so very very hard, I just don't see how we can catch the old Lhiannan. There would be even *more* death and this time it would be the people around me. She's waiting for me, I just know it! I could just walk in there, and it would be over. I would be dead and she would rise from my ashes and then there would be blood all over Ireland, because that's what the Fey showed us and I believe them--"
"Slow down, Fianna," Beren said, leaning forward and taking the younger vampire's hand. "You're getting caught up and letting it carry you away. Go back to the beginning of this. What is the plan that you have, and who came up with it?"
"The plan?" Fianna blinked. "Then plan. I'm not sure who came up with it. Roma or Meerlinda, probably. Or maybe Jacques. I'd be in pretty big trouble if I said the vital stuff, but I'll tell you what I think I can. Well, to get past the Fianna, we must distract them. The wolves will certainly chase a Cat, so Will's purpose is already defined.
"But there is lots of human interference there because of a construction company. We need to distract them, as well." Fianna's voice became unsteady again, she was clearly unhappy about this part. "So we'll set up the IRA to take the fall. A bombing or something, and then the authorities will come and have a shootout with them, because our contacts will already have drawn IRA terrorist members to this place. This also serves as a bloodbath, which is necessary or the bovensidhe will be undetectable. They are only detectable when sated on violence and blood, see? Then and only then can Meerlinda and Roma attempt to neutralize their powers."
Fianna wiped at her eyes again in frustration, then grabbed some tissues. The crimson blood stained them quickly, but at least it wasn't staining her face. She laughed at herself, but it was an unhappy one. "I don't even know why I'm so upset, why this bothers me so much. In the old days, before they made me a vampire, I killed lots of people. Druids, human sacrifice. It seemed like it was all okay, like that's what I was supposed to be doing and it was for this great purpose, you know?
"B-but... I never killed anybody since-since the embrace. I-I mean, I *tried* sometimes, when I fought the Sabbat. But by the Macha, Beren, I didn't even have the heart to kill the werewolf that was sent to destroy me! I just talked to him and let him go. And that Tzimisce I was supposed to have killed in single combat? That was a lie. The Prince made me say that. I just went in there, pretty sure I was so much fresh meat to this guy, and managed to talk my way out of it. I'm a *terrible* vampire Berengiere. People seem to die around me all the time. You'd think I'd get used to it, but it's just *different*, when I'm the reason and the cause. Different even than the old days when I did it serving my old masters as a ghoul. A-and this time, I'll have to do the same thing my old masters made me do. I have to order Heather to k-kill all her own people. Or do it for her. Th-the whole cult, 'cause they d-don't want me to l-let them go on l-like that. Said they were dangerous.
"I-I guess it should be all right. At least they've given me permission to do a ritual for their souls. I just have a bad attitude, and I've got to do better." But she didn't, and she continued to quietly cry."
"Your attitude is just fine, Fianna," Beren replied softly. "Do you fully understand the power a vampire has over a ghoul, especially when there was is a blood bond involved? Of course you thought it was alright, the killing of the druids. As a mortal, you were raised to revere and worship your mistress. That, combined with the absolute control over you by the blood bond, gave you no choice but to obey and to believe what you were doing was right. You were bound by the power of your mistress, and forced to follow the road your mistress followed.
"When that bond was destroyed, you became free of her influence. You became your own person. Her road is not yours. Your mind was your own, but you may have been so used to being a follower that you latched on to the first being of power who offered you their 'protection'." Beren reached up and gently soothed Fianna's face. Before Fianna realized it, Beren was sitting in Fianna's lap, snuggled up against her, comforting her as a child would an adult.
"The thought of causing the death of all these people bothers you because you are, at heart, a good person. No good person would easily send so many people to their deaths for the sake of power, like Meerlinda and Roma would. And I'm not just saying that because they are Tremere. I have yet to see what they offer you that you could not have accomplished on your own, given time."
Fianna simply looked at Beren, thoughts swarming through her mind.
"As an outsider to this plan, may I ask a few questions?"
"You said the bovensidhe more or less feed on death and violence. Is it quantity or quality they require? Would a smaller but far more violent event, with beings of power, be sufficient?"
"Fewer people," Beren explained. "Say, the death of 10 werewolves rather than 100 mortals. Use the fact there must be deaths to your advantage and elminate your enemies at the same time. Less waste.
"I don't know," Fianna replied hesitantly. "I *should* know because of my background, but it just hasn't been tried before with werewolves. Not to my knowledge."
"Who said that Heather's people must be destroyed?"
"Roma said it. It might have been someone else's decision, though. I wish they could be saved, and I'm going to try. But I can only do so much."
"If they cannot be saved, then make their deaths be meaningful," Beren said.
"Yes. I will try. That's why I asked to be able to do a ritual for them before they die." She hugged Beren and released her. "I hope that, when this is over, I'll have the strength and the wisdom to handle this kind of thing better," she said sadly.
Fianna gazed at Beren for a moment. "May I ask a favor of you?"
"You may ask," Beren replied cautiously, but I cannot promise anything.
"If it is possible," she said slowly and hesitantly, "I-I mean I don't know how I might manage, but maybe, if you could..." She faltered a little bit as if afraid to ask.
"If I could what, Fianna," Beren said softly.
"Well, it isn't contrary to the aims of the Tremere, or, well it could be, but I haven't been told what it is regarding this, so I don't think I'll be in trouble for asking" she digressed, but recovered. "What I mean to ask is, could you find out if your, uh, elders would be willing to accept another ancient one into their ranks? I mean, I don't see Kele-De every fitting into a Camarilla role. And once the Sabbat finds out about her, she'll be under siege from every quarter. If she is to survive, she must join the Tremere or find another way. You and your kind *is* the only other way." Bright hopeful eyes stared into Beren's youthful face.
"What exactly do you mean by my elders, and my kind," Beren asked in a neutral voice, her face a calm mask.
"I hope that I do not assume too much. But only a month ago, I heard two very important things that told me much. I heard that the one I knew as Baron von Roden was a Monitor, and that he had disappeared from Chicago. I also know that this gentleman, who is the only honorable Lasombra I have ever known existed outside the domain of the Camarilla. Nor did he associate with the Sabbat. I also know that there is some connection between you and he."
A slightly bemused smile curved Beren's lips for a moment.
Fianna looked intently at Beren's face. "If von Roden is a Monitor, then he must perform a duty for something or someone powerful. If you and he are associated, then I have decided that you must associate with a powerful *third* party, one which most if not all the rest of us know next to nothing about. If this third group can remain beyond the reach of Camarilla and Sabbat, can this group not, if it chose, extend its protection to another being?
"I would not mention or ask this, if I did not feel it was a most dire thing. I will not hold expectations. I know that any action taken has a chance to be observed. I only ask that it be considered. Kele-De is ancient and powerful. If she passes, something will be lost to us all, forever. Sometimes a person cannot be redeemed, I understand this. But my conscience could not stand it if I became the direct cause of my own grand sire's destruction and did not at least try to save her. I am her own flesh and blood in every sense of the words."
"I will look into the matter," Beren replied. "That is all I can promise. I cannot speak for those I serve. I must tell you, however, that they may decide that it is best such an ancient one had never been awoken, and may decide that she should join the rest of your line, for the safety of all. If you do not want that to happen, then you have some important decisions to make. Do you really want to go through with this ritual? Do you want the Tremere to be in a position to take control of Kele-De in her weakness? Do you even know what Kele-De wants?"
"Thank you, Beren. It's all I ask. I know that there is a chance they will either want no part of this, or may wish to put a final end to it. But it is a chance, and right now Kele-De can not ask herself, if she even would. I am certain that knowledge of this world is very limited and that probably filtered throught the perceptions of the cult that serves her sleeping form.
"The Morrigan had me do terrible things when I was a ghoul, that is true. But I cannot say the same for Kele-De, because I did not serve her directly. I simply can't predict what her attitude may be when she awakens. If the dark Fey and the werewolf Fianna are right, without guidance or counsel that she respects, then it would be a bloodbath over the control of all of Ireland. Although she is only one, there are few vampires in Ireland now, and likewise there can not be as many lycanthropes as there were in the old days because the wilds are so restricted now. The island could be ripe for a takeover, if she is not convinced this path would be a mistake.
"I'm only supposing here but what I do know for certain is that the Tremere are concerned about it and will have to take action with or without my cooperation, or they could loose Ireland. I also know for certain that Kele-De has sensed my presence in this timeline, and has summoned me there through her agents. For although she sleeps, her mind is still powerful. She did not indicate what she wanted me near when she awoke. I would hope she merely wished to see a face she knew, but no one knows what might pass behind those ancient eyes."
"You said that she would need counsel from someone she could respect. Who could that person be," Beren asked. "What would that person be? Would she respect raw power, or cunning, or something else entirely?"
Fianna looked pensive. "I would guess this would have to be someone with power, who at least tried to speak with her. We have known only attack as a reaction from other vampires, so maybe it would give her pause if it was shown not to be the case this time. I do not know what it is she wants. But I know what I would want, if I were her, and that would be all of Ireland. The Tremere have never asked me that," she added thoughtfully. "Maybe they already know that."
"Perhaps," Beren agreed. "But if territory was what Kele-De craved, why did she put herself into torpor and not seek it?"
"In those days," Fianna explained, it was different. Gangrel, werewolves, Druids, and even other Clans were moving to the frontiers to carve out their own princedom. We were all that stood in their way. Now the druids are all gone, the Clans have moved on, and werewolves have weakened with the shrinking wilderness. There are only a few million Irish in the Emerald Isle now, and according to current standards, this can support only a relatively few vampires. She has been waiting for these times of troubles to pass. When she sensed my presence, even a world away, she must have decided the time was coming. In any case, the mortals seem determined to dig right through her resting place anyway.
"As far as the ritual, yes I was very frightened of what it would do to me. Now I realize that it would merely grant power to me, and change what my Childer may be. In may Clan, we are strong in the arcane powers of Ogham, force of Presence and Ways of Animals. In a few special ones, like myself, we also had a natural gift of Magic. The Rituals we special few led, always were powerful and made very real things happen. My Childer, that is the new line of the Bs Filidh, the Death Poets, will be changed so that they focus more on what made me special. The Bs Filidh will be strong in Ogham, ways of Animals, and the gift of Magic. I can teach them the force of Presence if need be, but the other powers will be natural to them. In order for this line to be created, however, the power must come from somewhere. It may well come from Kele-De and the magical fount in which her Mound rests." She added worriedly, "I do not know that she will much approve of this. But I have been granted a chance to become the progenitor of a new line, and I have decided I must do this."
"What is to happen is your choice, and your choice alone," Beren said. "The question is, will you be strong enough to make your vision the future you will live?"
Fianna looked back at Beren with eyes still red with recent tears and nodded. "Yes, that is the question. It helps if my friends believe in me. The struggle will mostly take place up here in a lot of ways." She put a finger to her temple to indicate she was talking about her mind.
After that, there was very little left to say. Still beset by much worry, Fianna bid ado and departed.