<Conrad> looks around at his room with a sense of satisfaction. It’s been three nights of hard work but he’s fairly certain that this time he has the ritual mastered. “Only one way to find out.” He takes a piece of charcoal in his hand and doubles checks the inscription to make sure it is correct, then draws the proper symbols on his wrist and under his right eye. The litany to shadows

and darkness he has memorized by now, and recites it perfectly, his cadence keeping pace with the ritualistic marking. As the chant nears its end, Conrad blows out a candle then turns toward a mirror to watch the ritual take effect. His refelection wavers a moment then fades into smoky translucence. Fascinated, he takes a step forward, and notes that his normally loud footsteps are

muffled to the point of inaudibility. He grins, and waves his hand in front of the mirror a few times. The ritual does not cloud his perception of himself as thoroughly as it hides him from others, and the wispiness of his body is hypnotizing. “Time for a real test,” he whispers and heads off through the chantry halls. Much to his delight, the ghouls and even some of the other Kindred

do not notice his passing. If his calculations are right, the ritual should last for several nights, and he hasn’t fed since he started the research, a perfect test to ensure the spell works with the efficacy he hopes for.

<Conrad> takes the keys for one of the cars and heads off towards town. It was one of the vehicles he didn’t see used often, and so he was fairly certain it wouldn’t be missed anytime soon. It would be an interesting experience hunting with stealth instead of his usual method of empolying charm and strategic applications of Dominate. It would also give him a feel for the limitations

of the ritual and what actions were beyond its capacity to conceal.

<Sascha> mulls about downtown New Orleans, leaving another mugger behind a dumpster who thought the little redhead was easy prey. She did so like the irony of it. After cleaning up she sets back to walking down the street toward the Trill but in roundabout fashion as if enjoying the sights.

<Conrad> carefully sets the unconcious woman against the side of the car where he found her. The shock of him grabbing and biting into her coupled with the blood loss had, thankfully, caused her to faint. He is still a little hungry, but doesn’t want to risk draining more than she could survive. He uses her thumbprint to unlock her phone and inspects her text messages for a moment,

finding someone who seems suitable and sending them a message saying that she wasn’t feeling well and to meet her at the car. No point in leaving her here alive only for her to end up raped or murdered in the parking lot before she can wake up and go home. Still hungry, he heads off into the city to look for another snack. It isn’t long before he spots a petite redhead meandering towards

the Trill. The ritual was still in effect, he’d been careful to ensure there were no bystanders for his first ambush. Confident that this one would go just as smoothly, he follows close behind his target, waiting for an opportune moment to strike.

<Sascha> seems to get annoyed in general with all the people on the main walkways so she makes for the park. She slows her pace as she walks along one of the jogging trails in the dark, unphased and unafraid as she winds slowly and quietly between and among the many tall trees.

<Conrad> shakes his head as the woman steers off into the park. She was making this far too easy for him. It was lucky for her that he wasn’t some sort of mugger or murderer or other unsavory type that might actually do her real harm. He simply needed a pint or two of blood and then, once he was sure she’d be taken care of, he’d be on his way. Once they are out far enough that he

feels certain no one will notice, Conrad picks up his pace to get in front of her and waits by a tree. As she comes close he readies himself and, once she is in range, pounces.

<Sascha> is momentarily caught off guard, since she wasn’t looking for people magically hiding. Though her reflexes are fast and well honed, her studies of close combat martial arts, Judo specifically, causing her to grab and throw Conrad to the ground, growling over him as she rests on top of him. “What in the Lord’s Grace do you think you are doing?”

<Conrad> stares up at the tiny redhead with confusion and blinks several times. It takes a moment for him to figure out how he ended up on the ground. ‘The only way it is possible,’ he postulates, ‘is if she saw me coming. And if she saw me coming, she saw through the ritual, and if she saw through the ritual she must be some sort of supernatural, which means she’s probably the redhead

they warned me about my first night here’ He grins at her sheepishly “I don’t suppose that if I said ‘testing your reflexes’ that you would buy it?” He squirms a bit underneath her. Something about this woman makes him uncomfortable, beyond the ease with which she thwarted him. Something deeper that seems to run counter to his very being.

<Sascha> tilts her head, and then leans close to his face and sniffs. Up close he can see the feralness of her features. “No. I wouldn’t. You are new. You smell of incense smoke and herbs and blood. You are Tremere perhaps? Yet not properly trained in your psychic powers? Perhaps you should work on that.”, she says as she hops off of him, allowing him to get to his feet. “I am looking for Cassian actually. So

you may deliver my message to him. We have found something.”

<Conrad> suppresses the desire to gulp and scrambles to his feet. “Ah yes, my apologies. I am indeed quite new to all this. I was testing a ritual I only finished mastering earlier tonight. So ah…who is we? And what has this we found?” Conrad hopes the Kindred’s demeanor is closer to her manner of speaking than the feral features of her face. What he lacks in combat prowess he makes

up for in an almost complete lack of powers he could use to save himself. The best he could possibly hope for should things turn south is that he could Dominate her into staying still long enough for him to flee. “I would be happy to relay your message but I think Cassian might like a little more to go on.”

<Sascha> looks at him, and casually starts to circle in predatory fashion, not giving him an easy exit and forcing him to keep turning to face her lest she get behind him. “He will know what we mean. Enough to come see us.

<Sascha> smiles, something faintly menacing about it though. “I thought you were taught not to question so much?”

<Conrad> feels his body tensing as the other vampire circles him. The last thing he wanted to do was to let the creature get out of his sight, and so he is forced to slowly rotate to keep her in view. It wasn’t helping that she kept referring to herself in the plural. “That may be what my Sire taught me, yes, but what the night has taught me is to question everything, and then to

question the answers you find. This is true both of blood magic, and fellow denizens of the dark. Especially those who look as though they are trying to decide whether or not you might make a good snack. Which I’m quite sure I would not. I hope.”

<Sascha> smiles again, this time a little more friendly and a little less predatory. “Luckily for you my earlier hunting efforts were successful… Or I might have. My name is Sascha. I hunt demons and those that would further their blasphemous goals.”

<Conrad> perks up a bit and ever so slightly relaxes. “Really? That’s fascinating! My research from my time before the Embrace had led me to conclude that is was likely such entities existed. My Sire quickly shut down an inquiries into the matter, however, likely out of fear I might delve into infernalism. In truth I simply have an academic interest in the subject, at least for now.

I have considered entering into the demon hunting profession, for reasons of my own but ah…” he gestures at the two of them and their current situation. “Clearly I’m not suited for it.” He gives her a self depreciating smile and almost continues his train of thought but stops himself. “My apologies, I’ve gotten completely off track. My name is Professor Conrad Austenveidt. A pleasure.”

He holds his hand out toward her, hoping that perhaps shaking his hand will get her to stop circling him as he is getting quite dizzy.

<Sascha> looks at his hand, then back up at his face as she grasps it. Her touch is warm, not from life but from a seemingly holy presence that radiates out from her. As she holds his hand firmly he feels something else as well, and her skin moves, rippling like water and the wave collides into his hand, causing the same effect in his flesh. “Scholars are just as useful for stopping demons as warriors. Questioning

your Elders especially is risky business. But it needs to be done. I can respect that.”

<Conrad> shudders slightly as his flesh ripples in her hand but he is too entranced by it to let go. “Incredible…” It takes him several seconds to realize what she’s said and he shakes himself out of his stupor to reply. “Thank you. It is a struggle I’ve been engaged in ever since my mortal years at university. The old, caught in self righteous love of their traditions, are too

inflexible to see the wisdom that a fresh perspective can bring. Perhaps sometime in the future I can be of assistance in your hunt? It would be a worthwhile experience, for myself at least.”

<Sascha> watches him for a moment before pulling her hand away. “Hmmm. Perhaps. It is regarding this that we need to speak to Cassian. Perhaps he will allow you to assist. Samson has acquired vitae that has demonic properties. There is no telling what will happen if those Brujah ingest that.”

<Conrad> raises his eyebrows and his eyes go wide “That is bad news indeed. Cassian will want to hear about this as soon as possible. I will be sure to relay the message as soon as I return to the chantry, which will, of course, be immediately after we concludeo our meeting.” He thinks for a moment and nods. “All the more reason for me to redouble my studies into Path magic now that

I’ve finished with this ritual. I’ll have to take the Regent or the Primogen up on their offer of tutorship.” He nods again, more confidently this time. “I assume Cassian has your contact information? I’d be interested in acquiring it as well. You are a fascinating, if terrifying, individual, and I think that not only could we achieve some good if we worked together, but that there is

much I could learn from you that I might not as readily learn at the Chantry.”

<Sascha> nods once and takes a half step toward the trees. “He knows how and where to find us. I would see you back up your words in action first. Perhaps by assisting in this fight you will learn something. Goodnight, Conrad. Better luck hunting easier prey.”, she says and then ducks into the trees, moving away from the trail.

<Conrad> watches Sascha leave and stays still, listening to his surroundings with heightened hearing for a long moment to ensure that she does not circle back around to eat him. Satisfied that she is gone, he sighs in relief and heads back to his borrowed car at a pace just short of a jog. As much as he wasn’t exactly looking forward to the conversation, it seems best to relay what

he heard to Cassian as quickly as possible.