<Conrad> busily gets his room prepared for the exercise as he was instructed. Isabo had been kind enough to share with him a meditation of sorts that would help him to grasp the intricacies of the next step in his journey to master Rego Vitae. On the floor he lays out a tarp, upon which he begins drawing sigils in chalk, occasionally referencing a piece of paper Isabo had given him.

Though he understood the genral principle and purpose behind the symbols, it was fairly advanced and he doesn’t necessarily understand the details of how it works. “Something to look into at a later date,” he mutters to himelf as the chalk lifts from the tarp for the last time. With that taken care of he retrieves three wooden bowls and carves sigils of preservation into their bottoms.

Into one he empties a bag of blood ‘acquired’ from one of the area hospitals. In a second he empties the contents of a ritually prepared pot. It too is blood, but thicker and darker with a sickly sweet smell. For a moment he swoons at the aroma. He didn’t know the identity of the Kindred who ‘donated’ the preserved Vitae, but it was supposedly several generations closer to the source

than his own, the potency in the blood tugged at his Beast. The heady sensation passes as he reluctantly sets the bowl in its designated spot. Conrad spends several long minutes staring at the bowl, wrestling with internal conflict. It was a wake up call to feel his Beast stir at the meer smell of an elder Kindred’s vitae. He had always been taught that diablerie was an abhorrent sin

the likes of which only the degenerate Sabbat partook in but…if just the scent of a more potent blood brought the Beast to bear in such strength could he really continue to say with confidence that he would not commit the Black Amaranth if given the opportunity? Could any Kindred? A shudder races down his spine and Conrad forces the thoughts aside. He has other things to worry about.

<Conrad> With renewed determination he sets the bowl of mortal blood in its designated spot, then uses a razor to open a vein and fill the other bowl with his own and get it placed. Making sure the door is locked, Conrad strips naked and sits in the center of the mat. He’d felt that this part of the instructions seemed a bit dubious but Isabo had said that it would increase his

sensitivity to the effects of the exercise. He closes his eyes and murmurs the incantation as instructed. After several minutes the air is laden with the iron scent of blood and Conrad himself has entered a deep meditative trance. His mind turns inwards, to the Curse carried in his veins. He calls to it and feels it answer, sluggishly flowing through his undead flesh. The magic of the

sigils then moves his consciousness to the blood of the mortal. In his trance, the blood feels inert and does not heed his calls. The life it holds feels far away and foreign. Several minutes later his mind moves to the container of his own blood. Here he can feel the energy of the First Curse contained within. The blood answers him this time and slowly swirls in the bowl, forming a

small whirlpool. Though eager, the power within the blood is dilute and thinly distributed. It obeys but its abilities are limited. His attention turns to the final bowl. This blood, the blood of an Elder, is thick both physically and metaphysically. The power here is concentrated and for a moment he is overwhelmed. The blood fights his call at first, as it is not his own, but the magic

of the ritual kicks in and it gives way. It swirls faster and faster in the bowl, reaching up into a spout as it spins. The sheer power is incredible, the Curse is easily twice as concentrated in this blood and Conrad can feel the undeniable potential, but there is something else there, something like a voice, far away and familiar but altogether terrifying. There are no words, not even

an identifiable sound, only a call. He spends nearly half an hour entranced by the blood and the call, but finally remembers to return his attention to the practice.

<Conrad> He moves backwards through the bowls and into himself, then repeats the process three times, noting the differences in each. Though it is beyond his ability to describe in words, he feels he has a deeper understanding of what separates the generations, and how the power exists in the blood. His exercise concluded, Conrad gets dressed and begins packing up. He again hesitates

upon picking up the Elder’s blood, but this time not out of hunger, but a deeper sense of longing, the source of which he cannot imagine. With care, he pours every drop back in the original container and reseals it. As for the mortal blood and his own, he drinks those to restore the blood lost during the exercise, then sets off to report his findings to Isabo.