by Dustin Evermore and Jason Monroe
The following is a scene that occurred very late in the evening of June 8, 2001 in Detroit, just after Fianna had been found by Jack following a close-call escape from the clutches of the Sabbat. The tortures they inflicted and the narrowness of her very recent escape still tormented the lost Lhiannan. Fianna had called Roma to fulfill a promise to speak to her before Fianna left the city. This proved fortuitous since Nuyen Van Faulk also happened to be on hand when her call came. After retrieving her from Sabbat territory, Roma and Nuyen took Fianna to see the ancient Tremere elder, Meerlinda who seemed to want to help Fianna. However, as in all things among the kindred, there was a price to be paid.
Walking out of the meeting with the Tremere elder, Fianna sought out Nuyen who had so patiently waited for her outside. Almost immediately the feeling of confidence and security provided by Meerlinda faded from her, leaving her to deal with the left-over trauma of the past two days. Spying Nuyen waiting in the next room, she went to him.
"Nuyen, I'm glad you're still here." She tried a smile but it didn't want to stay. It fled as fast as it came.
Fianna asked him if he could take a little time to hear her out, and was relieved when he answered affirmatively.
"I just wanted to be sure to catch you. I really appreciate how you tried to keep me from harm the other night. You took all the risk and you suffered for it, too." Fianna looked away in thought for a moment.
"When I first asked for your help in protecting me I really didn't understand what I was asking of you. I didn't know anything about this time and place. It's not like what I'm used to. I think you were very noble for trying so hard. But I don't think any single being, no matter how noble they are, can protect me." The dark haired lady let out an involuntary shudder as she remembered the events of the previous nights. "You don't have to try protect me anymore." She seemed tired and leaned against the wall, finally sliding down to crouch with her back against the wall and arms folded across her knees.
"I think I've been going about this whole thing wrong, so I want to try again. Can we just be friends? No deals, no strings attached? Just a couple people who've been through a lot of bad things together in a short time? This is what I should have asked for but stupidly thought I needed something more.
"I'll be direct. My options have run out. I'm recognized as a threat to the Sabbat now. I would have also been a threat to the Camarilla because at least a few of the Tremere recognize the power I could have one day. Truthfully, I could have been a threat to the Tremere because as I come into my power I can gain the ability to sap and destroy the very foundation of their magic.
"I thought I could be independent. But now the Tremere know who I am and would have to take action against me one day. Sooner or later, they would have to ensure the safety of their base of power and eliminate rivalries. There's nothing you or I could do against the strength of the entire Tremere Clan.
"I can't be Caitiff either, for basically the same reasons, although the rivalry would be less intense.
"I can't beat them. They're too many, too strong. So I've chosen to join them." Behind her eyes lurked utter despair of the knowledge that everything her kind was, culture and kindred, was dead and gone by a thousand years. At this moment, it was finally plain to see she felt completely beaten down, small and helpless before the harsh judgment of Fate.
"I have decided to practically bond myself to Meerlinda and to a lesser extent, Roma in the hope that they will protect me. Meerlinda has promised me much. Most Tremere will always be suspicious and mistrustful, of course, but I can at least live with that."
Fianna put her face in her hands for a moment as she thought about what she had done. "I realize now that before I spoke with Meerlinda, I was suicidal. I wasn't going to have any further part in the Camarilla or the Sabbat. I knew that trying to make it on my own would lead to death -- it would have only been a matter of time. But it would have been my choice to die that way, and I thought that far better than the treatment I received here." By the look on her face, it was clear that her encounter with the Sabbat left deeper wounds than could first be expected. Being made helpless and tortured mercilessly nearly crushed her spirit and cost her everything. It was sheer luck or strength of will or both that had kept her from losing herself completely. From her tone, Nuyen couldn't be so sure Fianna wasn't feeling suicidal now, but there was always a hope that whatever deal she had struck with Meerlindia would keep her well.
"But in the presence of Meerlindia, my... sorrow and fear lifted. Without that dark cloud over my heart and mind, I chose to live and sealing the bargain with the Tremere was what I felt I had to choose. But now she is gone and I am left with the feelings I came here with. I have done what I did, and I can't tell if I did right anymore. Time will tell if I have truly saved my soul only to sell it to another."
Fianna then asked for Nuyen's help in restoring her body perhaps to be done the next night. The Tzimisce who held her didn't concern herself with putting Fianna back together quite right...
As Nuyen sat and listened, he looked on to Fianna and he realized how large all this really was. Trying to stand to show strength and support for her, he continued. "You do understand even if you had not made this agreement with me, I would have done the same," he said in reference to the deal the two had struck.
"You needed a chance, perhaps more of a chance than I ever received. It is cruel, all the choices you have had to make. Simple survival should not be so shitty and demanding." As he spoke, he slowly began to slide down the wall just as Fianna had minutes before. "To be truthful I am upset with your decision. I am cautious when it comes to dealing with the Tremere. However, if this is how it is to be... I'll back your play." Sitting along side Fianna now he looked at her, more human than he had been in a long time. "You are more like me than you can ever know. I will help you any way I can, and will be ready to listen, when you need it. Let's get out of here, friend."
No one liked to see a woman so sad, and Fianna wanted to tell Nuyen good night to hide it. Yet, she stood and helped him to his feet so they could leave Roma's haven together. As they walked away, she began to believe Nuyen's words of friendship. Perhaps she wasn't alone after all. The blood tears began to make their slow way down her cheeks.