<Storyteller> It is dark, and suffocating. Habitual breath simply fills Cian’s lungs with dirt. There is a gnawing hunger scraming in his bones, in his brain. Yet something draws his from above, he thinks, warmth, food.

<Mikov> paces back and forth upon the headstone above the grave, snickering at the man tied up on the ground there as bait to draw the new one out. He hisses and then preens a bit as the man wriggles around properly terrified.

<Zaluut> watches and waits, presiding over the Ritae for the Orphans as they have no proper Priest among their small Pack.

<Cian> jerks awake, confused by the feeling of cool dirt against his skin. His skin…it feels taught and dry and…cold? Dirt fills his mouth and flies down his throat as he gasps. Sensation comes rushing to his face. Lines of fiery pain spinning a web across it, but he can’t think about that now. More pressing is the darkness, the suffocation. It begins to dawn on him:

he’s been buried alive. He tries to scream but his lungs are to full of dirt. Desperately he begins to try to dig his way upward, thankful that the fresh dirt isn’t to terribly difficult to move. More than the fear, some deep hunger pulls at him, something he can’t quite understand. There is warmth and sustenance above him, some primal inner instinct tells him, and he must get

to it. He strains against the dirt, willing his muscles to move harder and faster than they ever have. ‘Dig goddammit! Move!’ he screams inside to his arms. Fear and anger bubble inside him and he pushes harder every fiber of his being crying out for strength, and something ANSWERS. He cannot describe or understand it, but a sort of bestial energy surges through him, heat rising

to his cold skin and he can feel vigor spreading through his body. Whatever it is pushes his muscles beyond anything he’s felt.

<Fiona> makes her way out to the courtyard, the one-eyed woman focusing on the grave with the disturbed dirt.

<Zaluut> tilts his head and seems to be listening to the ground, his open palm facing the earth. It is covered over with grass as it it had never been disturbed, obeying his command.

<Kitt Bishop> looks over at Zaluut and raises an eyebrow, but says nothing. Instead she watches the earth and the man laying on top of it intently. She does think that was just a little bit mean though.

<Fiona> doesn’t give a crap. Besides, it’s more of a challenge for Cian.

<Cian> feels the dirt around him begin to coalesce and harden into a state. Both his panic and rage escalate and he frantically keeps digging straining against the hardening earth. A growl rumbles in his throat and he coughs out a handful of dirt. Refusing to die buried and afraid he surges forward again and feels his arm breach the surface. It slams down on the grass and

is soon followed by the other arm. Cian grips the ground and tenses his arms before heaving himself upward. His head burst for from the dirt with a bestial yell that borders on a roar. Spitting and coughing out dirt his eyes are bright with rage and hunger. The scarred, leathery blue skin of his face stretches as his maw opens wide and he bites into the throat of the man tied

to the gravestone. Long fingers wrap around the man’s face and leg, forcing him downward onto the ground as the ravenous neonate tears into him, drinking with newborn hunger. Cian can hardly think through the euphoric rush of hot blood spraying down his throat. It was a better rush than any drug he’d ever tried, any sex he’d ever had. The man screams and tries to struggle and

something within Cian delights at the sound. For a moment, his victim actually pulls away and the delight is replaced by fury and bloodlust. Cian’s grip on the man tightens and he shoves his head sideways, a sickening crack echoing through his ears as the man’s neck breaks, but he ignores it and returns to his now still meal.

<Fiona> looks over the Cainite jack in the box as he pops out of the ground, watching him devour the unfortunate sod on top of the grave. “We got another newcomer, don’t we? Where’d you find this fucker?”

<Kitt Bishop> glances over at Fiona and nods a little but mostly keeps careful watch on the frenzied vampire to see if he is gonna calm down after feeding or if she is gonna have to subdue him. “Yeah. Jimmy Embraced him… I think… he doesn’t look like when we put him down there though.”

<Zaluut> smiles faintly and pats Kitt on the head. “The Embrace is a transformitive process, more for some than others.”

<Mikov> hisses at the strange vampire and jumps over to the next gravestone, bristling as he watches, waiting for the blood to be gone and them to go so he can have what is left.

<Storyteller> The Orphans, all three of them, are off to one side watching the proceedings with some interest.

<Cian> finally feels the hunger in him start to fade, but is reluctant to leave his meal. He pulls back just a few inches and stares at the bloody throat for a moment, the reality of what he just did not quite setting in yet. He looks around and spots the three children who attacked him in the woods. “YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! YOU BURIED ME ALIVE?! I’LL KILL YOU ALL!” He growls

and begins tearing at the ground, slowly pulling the bottom half of his body out of the dirt, murder gleaming in his eyes as various bestial noises rumble out of his throat.

<Fiona> growls and closes her hands into fists. “Hey, fucker. I buried you alive. Gonna do something about it?”

<Kitt Bishop> steps between the Orphans and Cian, and in her forehead a blue light begins to shine as an eye opens up there. “Whoa, calm down. Fiona, you aren’t helping. Technically you were and are dead when you were buried.”

<Fiona> turns in Kitt’s direction. “It’s called a fucking distraction.”

<Mikov> snickers. “Doornail dead. Not like Mikov. Like food there.”, he says as he creeps toward the corpse and flashes a set of sharp teeth as he bites off a few fingers.

<Storyteller> Jimmy comes forward first, looking like some depression-era street urchin save for the pointed ears and rat-like hands. “Why da hell is he blue?”

<Cian> turns his head towards Fiona and almost switches directions but stops, shocked by the eye that just opened in someone’s forehead? “I…what?” He blinks several times, confused. For the first time he looks down at himself. His skin is plae blue and leathery, stretched tightly across a body even thinner and more emaciated than he’d been in life. He can count each of

his ribs and his abdomen is so taut that he can see his hip bones. Longer than normal fingers stretch from his hands and they recoil as he traces them over his face, feeling the web of scars that covers it. “What in the hell did you people do to me?” He looks over at Mikov chewing on his victim. “I…did I just eat that guy?”

<Fiona> “No, you had a fucking tea party with him. Of course you ate him, genius.”

<Zaluut> just watches, though he eyes Fiona a moment before looking back to Cian. “You are a vampire. You will stay here, inside the compund walls until you are deemed experienced enough to leave without drawing attention.”

<Mikov> watches Cian a moment and then grabs the corpse and tries to drag it away a bit to gnaw on. “Vampire drink. Mikov eat. Mikov give pieces no like to dogs.”

<Kitt Bishop> watches him but maintains her stance, that eye not closing up just yet.

<Fiona> looks at Zaluut with a ‘what’ expression.

<Storyteller> Jimmy laughs and nods. “Yeah, you came up fast! Sometimes it takes hours for new ones to dig out… especially after Zaluut warps the ground and junk.”

<Cian> nods his head absently, a bit too numb to absorb everything. More and more what they are saying makes sense. The blood he’d just drank, the strange mutation he apparently had gone through, the fact he just realized he hasn’t felt his heartbeat since he woke up. “A…vampire? Oh…okay…” He looks over at Mikov. “Uh…so what is he then?” His head feels like it is

full of cotton trying to process the whole situation and he sits down gripping his face in his hands. “This is…really fucking weird.” He looks up at Jimmy “So…you’re a vampire too? And the girls? Who is Zaluut? Can…can we slown down for a goddamn minute?”

<Mikov> flashes those sharp little teeth again. “Mikov Szlachta.”, he says matter of factly before chewing on some more arm.

<Kitt Bishop> nods and the eye in her forehead closes up, the lgiht it was giving off fading away and she looks normal again. She is dressed in a simple white tunic and nothing else, bare toes wiggling in the grass. “We all are, except Mikov over there.”

<Storyteller> Sara, hugs her little doll, which oddly looks like the tall blonde man who has been standing near to Kitt. She points to him. “Zaluut. Evening the lightning and thunder listen to him. So better be nice.”

<Cian> looks up at Kitt and then to Sara and finally to Zaluut. “The lightning and thunder…so does that mean you are in charge here or something? I just…” He shakes his head and gets back to his feet. “Right. We’re vampires. Got it, I think.” He sighs. “So…that’s a thing I guess. Probably should have paid more attention to all those Creole superstitions the other street

rats are always talking about. Might still be alive.” He shrugs and looks down at his body again, a lump welling in his throat. “But then…why am I the only one who looks so fucked up?”

<Zaluut> watches Cian for a moment and then raises up a hand and the back of his hand grows sharp quills, the fingers extend by another knuckle, and the fingernails become long and blue. “What makes you think you look… ‘fucked up’ exactly? You are no longer human, and have no need to assume that is how you should look.”

<Storyteller> “He does look like someone slipped some Nossie blood in there.”, says Eliza as she finally comes forward to inspect the new one, looking him up and down.

<Mikov> snickers and drags the corpse away, off toward the back of the main hall.

<Cian> watches Zaluut with morbid fascination, his eyes wide. “I…I guess that’s true but…” He looks around at all the others again. “Nossie blood? What the hell does that mean?”

<Kitt Bishop> moves over closer to Zaluut and slides her hand into his not all spiky one. “Nosferatu, they are another kind. You’ll learn there are many different kinds of vampires.”

<Storyteller> “Yeah, you’re Gangrel, like me. Cause it was my blood that woke you up.”, says Jimmy, coming forward. “You can stay with us a while and we can explain things some. You were pretty tough back there and didn’t even hesitate to fight Eliza or Sara.”

<Cian> tears his gaze from Zaluut’s hand to look at Jimmy and frowns. “Gangrel? Ok, I…guess I’ll try to remember that.” His eyes then drift over to Sara and Eliza. “Oh…right…I guess I did shoot the both of you didn’t I? Are…are you ok?” He feels silly asking that to the people that had apparently killed him, but it also seemed that he was going to be with them for

at least as long as it took to sort this whole mess out, and it wouldn’t do him much good if they held a grudge.

<Fiona> “So we got ourselves a scrapper. Better late than never.”

<Storyteller> Eliza folds her arms across her chest as she looks at him. “Well, you did ruin a perfectly nice dress.”

<Storyteller> Sara clutches her doll and nods. “We are okay. It hurt, but it heals. Later we will play games to test your strength. You will learn to heal.”

<Cian> gives the girls a long look, quite certain that these games are going to suck for him. “Well…at least you’ll get your payback then.” He turns to look at Fiona and nods. “I figured if I was gonna go down I should at least make it hurt. Most people don’t pay us street kids any mind, and no one is likely to remember us when we’re gone, so we learn pretty quick that if

you don’t want to fade into oblivion you better go out fighting.” He looks down at his twisted body and sighs. “Guess I’m pretty memorable now though.” He shrugs, but inside all he can think is what bullshit it is that he seems to be the only one turned into a freak by this whole vampire thing. Sure the Zaluut guy has some weird shit going on, but he at least seems to be able

to turn it off. He wanted to hope that it was a trick he’d learn too, but given Jimmy’s surprise at his appearance, he sincerely doubted it. Cian didn’t know what he’d done to deserve being twisted up like this, but someone was going to pay for it, and he wasn’t sure he particularly cared if it was their fault.

<Zaluut> flexes his hand and it returns to normal as he starts to walk towrd the main hall with Kitt. “I am quite sure we will see you again.”

<Cian> watches Zaluut and Kitt go then turns to Fiona and the others. “So these games…when do we start? If I’m going to be a fucked up looking monster then I wanna be the toughest son of bitch of a monster I can be.” He gestures to Fiona. “Is she coming? I like her, she’s got a don’t fuck with me thing going on and there’s nothing better to have when you need to fuck shit

up. Besides, the more the merrier right?” Cian still feels a bit uncertain about everything that has happened, but in his years living on the streets he became very good at faking confidence. He only hopes that it all sorts out and starts to make sense quickly, because he gets the feeling that a ruse like that won’t hold up for long under their scrutiny.

<Storyteller> The Orphans seem to whisper amongst themselves for a moment before Jimmy waves to Cian. “We all kinda work together. You can be part of our Pack. We’ll have to let some of the others set some things up but we’ll play against them. Your instincts will kick in and you’ll be a part of the team in no time.”

<Cian> feels something stir deep inside him at the mention of a pack, some inner instinct is pleased by the notion. “Pack huh? I think I can get down with that.” He nods and looks at the three of them in turn. “Alright then. What can you tell me while we’re waiting? Instinct is great and all, got me out of the ground, but I’d rather not go in completely blind.” He glances

at Fiona again. “Also, gotta ask, what’s with the eyepatch? Is there stuff we can’t heal or something?”

<Fiona> “Why the fuck do you care?”

<Cian> grins, this chick reminded him of himself. “Because I’m fucked up enough looking as it is. If there’s some shit out there that can take out my eye or rip off my ears or whatever and I can’t heal it back, I’d rather avoid it.”

<Fiona> eyes him. “This shit didn’t happen after I became what I am.”

<Storyteller> Jimmy nods in agreement. “Usually Gangrel just kinda turn slowly into some furry werewolf looking things but uh… not sure how that is gonna work. Not the Tzimisce… like Zaluut, they’re shapeshifters and some of them can turn into all sorts of things.”

<Cian> returns Fiona’s gaze for a moment. “So it’s like these pretty scars on my face that Sara gave me. Noted.” He then turns to Jimmy. “We turn in the werewolf things? Which the fuck is it are we vampires or werewolves? And Zaluut is a…zimmiesay? And that’s a shapeshifter…” He once again looks down at his body. “Lucky ass. So what do we Gangrels do then?”

<Fiona> doesn’t look away, though her right hand tightens even more into a fist. “Don’t fucking lump me in with the Gangrel.”

<Storyteller> “We change too. Just not the same. Tzimisce get all alien ‘The Thing’ kinda shit and we just turn into animals.”, says Jimmy. “But you can learn to do other stuff too, even to the stuff that Zaluut does. It’s just harder than the stuff you are… born with. Which in our case is super speed, the ability to hide, and turning into animals.”

<Cian> nods thoughtfully. “Sounds useful.” He turns his attention back to Fiona for a moment. “My bad. Not like I know any fucking better. For all I know we’re all Gangrel. Except apparently I’m part Nosferwhatsit. And Zaluut is a…zimmything. So what are you anyways? And Sara and Eliza for that matter.”

<Storyteller> Eliza smiles and nudges Sara and Jimmy toward their wing of the communal. “I am a Toreador. Sara is a Malkavian. Not that you will understand the differences just yet. Sunlight will kill us… as will fire. Claws and fangs can hurt bad and be hard to heal too, but most stuff we can shrug off. Even bullets.”

<Fiona> “Then fucking learn and stop bitching. Ahrimanes.”

<Cian> raises an eyebrow at Fiona. “Working on it.” He turns to follow his pack into the asylum. “Been a real pleasure Fi,” his words practically drip with sarcasm, but there is more playfulness to it than spite. Best not to make enemies just yet. He looks over at the hole he had dug himself out of mere minutes ago. “Weird fucking night.”

<Fiona> growls at him. “Don’t fucking call me that. We’re not friends, shithead.”

<Cian> feels something in him rise up a bit, but it quickly fades. “Yeah yeah, I gathered as much.”

<Storyteller> The Orphans all turn and look between Cian and Fiona. “He can call you as he pleases, shit for brains. Because he’s our Packmate. Unless you want to start a fight with the four of us.”, says Eliza.

<Storyteller> Sara looks back over at Cian. “Come on. We need to go to our house. Maybe we can show you Antol later. He’s blue too. Like a big blue elf.”

<Fiona> bristles, but stalks off, shooting Cian a last glare as she goes.

<Cian> nods at Sara and smiles. “Sounds cool to me.” He looks long at Eliza, a warm feeling of belonging stirring in his cold heart. “Thanks. Probably should have kept my mouth shut though.” He shrugs non-chalantly. “Fuck it. Lead on.”

<Cian> returns to the courtyard a few hours later and sits by the spot where he’d dug himself out. Eliza and Jimmy had shown him where he’d be sleeping during the day and after some brief do’s and don’ts, left him to his devices for the rest of the night. He’d wandered the halls for a while, doing his best not to disturb anyone, but eventually found his way back outside.

The ground next to his grave was still stained and a bit slick with blood. Though mostly full, a small part of him was still roused by the smell hanging in the air. That was far from his mind though. He’d finally caught a glimpe of himself in the mirror just before walking outside, and it had really settled in just how dramatic his transformation had been. What the fuck had he

done to deserve this? The vampire thing wasn’t bad. He had always been a night owl, and now apparently he could take one hell of a beating and would never die of old age. But still, to be some twisted up monster? He may not have been the greatest person in life but he’d known way worse pieces of shit. “Fucking bullshit…”

<Fiona> is leaned up against a wall, scanning a book, and looks up at Cian when he speaks. “What are you bitching about now?”

<Cian> blinks and turns toward the voice. “Oh shit. Didn’t see you there, Fiona.” His mind scrambles to come up with something to tell her, not wanting to listen to whatever she’d really have to say on the matter. “Nothing really just…just thinking about the dude I killed. Don’t know shit about him. Might have been a decent guy. Fuck knows and I guess now it doesn’t matter.

Just thinking that of the two people I’ve ever killed, the piece of shit got it way easier.”

<Fiona> doesn’t close the book, her eye focusing on Cian. “So what if he was decent or that you didn’t know jack about hin? Dead’s dead. Doesn’t change shit.”

<Cian> looks at the bloodstain for a long moment before nodding. “Yeah I guess you’re right. Still, would much rather have gotten to do that to the other piece of shit. Too late now though.” He shrugs and shakes his head. “What are you reading?”

<Fiona> eyes him. “Why do you wanna know?” She has a Southern drawl, Georgia accent.

<Cian> shrugs “Just making conversation I guess. The fuck else we gonna talk about? I mean, I guess I could ask you about some of this vampire shit but I got the distinct impression that you don’t like Gangrel much so…yeah.”

<Fiona> “My sire was a Gangrel. And I meant I’m not one of them anymore.”

<Cian> cocked his head to the side in a mix of confusion and curiosity. “So…you can switch? How does that work?”

<Fiona> eyes him suspiciously.

<Fiona> “You really think I’m gonna tell you shit about this?”

<Cian> holds up his hands and shakes his head. “Ok ok my bad. Just trying to learn what I can, fuck. I’m not trying to steal your ancient secrets or whatever, but I just got thrown into basically an entire different fucking world and if I plan to survive, which you better fucking believe I do, I need to know as much about it as I can.”

<Fiona> “Still not telling you shit.”

<Cian> shrugs. “Fair enough. So what can you tell me then? Not about whatever shit it took for you to switch your type or whatever it’s called. Just…about us. About vampires in general. So far all I really know is we drink blood, are hard to kill and heal well, and fire and sunlight are bad.”

<Fiona> “Maybe later.”

<Fiona> heads off

<Cian> “I…what?” He watches the vampire leave and shakes his head. “The fuck ever man.” Cian shrugs and heads back inside to find his pack. It’s been a trying night and he is more than ready to bed down for the day.