Jacob walks into the Trill. He is wearing a sweater vest and slacks and sits down at table. He feels exhausted from the previous night and looks for someone interesting to talk to.

<Conrad> seems lethargic tonight as he enters the Trill. The previous night’s battle had not been physically demanding of him, indeed he’d barely participated, but the emotional toll it had taken was extensive. His mind was still reeling from the revelation of Jonas as some sort of werebear, as well as the dragon creature that had accompanied them. At the time, with his blood full of

cocaine, it had seemed like the silver bullets he fired at the werewolf had been entirely ineffective, but now that he could think clearly, he realizes that he had only grazed the beast a few times and hit it once in the side. Even with silver he couldn’t expect that to slow it down. He would have to spend some time at a shooting range. That or get to studying some of the more aggressive

paths of Thaumaturgy. On the upside, he was getting more proficient at hunting with Mask of Shadows. Before he had typicallr relied on his limited abilities of domination, and was relieved to have a second option, though it did not excuse him from attempting to get better at it. “So, so many things to master. At least now I’ve plenty of time to do it in.” He notices Jacob at one of the

tables and sits across from him. “How are you recovering from our…eventful evening?”

Jacob smiles at Conrad,”I feel fine. I wish my hunting were better. Tell me more of this ritual you have been using to cloak yourself. Where did you learn it from?” Jacob leans in interested in discussing studies with his ally.

<Conrad> perks up for the first time that night and leans in to make sure they are not overheard. “It is actually a fairly interesting ritual. It draws upon the priniples of the discipline often referred to as Obfuscate. Unlike that discipline it does cause a certain amount of actual physical distortion, however, the primary effect is to cloud the minds of potetntial viewers so that

they simply refuse to acknowledge the caster’s presence. Here,” Conrad pulls out a slip of paper and a pen and writes something down. “These are the books I found most helpful while researching it. This one is a general treatise on Disciplines, this one focuses on Obfuscate and the theories behind it, and this one contains what I found to be the best explanation of the ritual itself. I

can, of course, help you with any questions that may arise as well.”

Jacob takes the notes with interest,”obfuscation hmmm? I see. So you

Are simulating another discipline by a ritual? Is it a seperate path? What methods do you base it on?”

Jacob looks over the notes and the books paying particular attention to the treatise on disciplines.”Could we do the same for other disciplines as well? Perhaps we could foritfy ourselves using thaumaturgy.”

<Conrad> tents his fingers and gathers his thoughts. “It is not quite a direct simulation, though the two do operate on very similar principles. Nor is it really a path.” He ponders for a moment and slowly nods. “It may be possible to do so, but I feel it may prove more difficult than we expect. You see, based on the theories in that book, Obfuscation works in a manner not disimilar to

Dominate or Presence. It is almost an inversion of Presence in fact. Rather than magnifying one’s personal charisma, it creates a subconcious command to simply prevent the viewers from acknowledging the user’s existence. The ritual draws on that principle, but cannot quite mimic the effect at the same potency, so it also creates an actual, physical effect to aid the process. Though not

invisible, the subject is rendered translucent, almost like a black smoke. This makes them more difficult to notice, which aids in the subliminal effect. While we could attempt to apply this principle of mimicry to other disciplines, such as the legendary toughness of the Gangrel or Ventrue, it would need to be supplemented with other mystic properties. Perhaps some form of transmutation

of the body itself? That might be possible, though difficult.” He nods thoughtfully, his mind already racing at the possibilities.

Jacob nods,”When I was mortal I studied a variety of physical fortifications using elixirs. Perhaps I could create something that uses the blood or transmutes the flesh to armor ourselves. Perhaps mix in some painkillers into the mixture…” Jacob thinks for a moment.” Well the inherent properties of blood contain a property of Stasis that allows for regeneration. We could utilize that property to create a form of mystical armor around ourselves that

Jacob ponders for a moment,” We could create a form of blood shielding possibly that extends the properties of Vitae around our person ahead of time, preventing damage, rather than healing it.”

<Conrad> nods thoughtfully as he listens. “A sound theory, worthy of investigation I believe. We may wish to speak to Cassian about this. It is possible that some research into the matter has already been done that we could use as a starting point.” Conrad frowns and rests his chin on his fist. “What would also be helpful would be samples of vitae from a subject already possessing powers

of Fortitude. That, however, could prove difficult to obtain without unwanted complications.”

Jacob furrows in thought,” I would believe that negotiations would be capable of providing a sample for this. Preferably a few samples. The biggest complication of course, being that if given by someone possessing it, then that blood could be used against them.”

“Trust, is rare amongst our kind, and between the clans is more rare.”

<Conrad> nods. “Exactly. Hmm…I wonder…” He taps his fingers on the table. “What about Petri? Is it a power that he possesses?”

Jacob shakes his head,”I would not know… we could ask Cassian or even Brandon might know.”

“We should ask them when we get back to the house… I believe it is best if we get samples from more than one vampire who possesses the talent.”

<Conrad> smiles. “Sounds like a plan to me. With any luck Cassian will approve of our proposal and we can begin research within the week. Of course, we both still have other lessons and duties to attend to, so our progress might be a bit slow, but I believe with the two of us working on it together in whatever spare time we can find we should be able to show at least some results in a

reasonable time frame.” His demeanor turns more serious for a moment, “And I’ve not forgotten about your…issue. While I do have some other matters that need attention, I have kept an eye out for anything that might prove useful in alleviating your troubles. Or at least furthering our understanding of them.”

Jacob smiles and nods,” Actually, I have developed a theory regarding that. I believe that it may be possible to take the curse and seal its energies somehow and learn to redirect the energy later at will…”

“The other option would be to inverse the energy with the energy of the blood. Curl it in on itself and cause it to negate itself possibly. Although that may make it worse..”

<Conrad> frowns and mulls over Jacob’s words. “Potentially yes. I would advise caution, however, as such things can have…unpredictable results when one tries to bend them to a purpose other than what was originally intended. Sealing the energy may not prove too dangerous, though perhaps difficult, but redirecting it might result in some unforseen effects that could prove injurious or

even deadly. Definitely something that would need extensive testing in a controlled environment. As for inverting it…hmmm…” a pensive look crosses his face. “An interesting idea to be certain. But as you say, it may simply create a feedback loop that ends up amplifying the curse, or even interfering with the First Curse which sustains your vampirism. Unlikely, given the power and

tenacity of the First Curse, but still a possiblity.” He shakes his head and smiles. “But I do not mean to be such a naysayer. There is also a possibility that any of these methods may be successful, I simply feel we should proceed cautiously.”

Jacob nods,”Although I believe the nature of the curse of caine is such that it supplants the curse of death. In fact such a perpetual curse is one of the only sustainable methods of avoiding it. Perhaps the same logic could be applied to my curse. I have read that one of the ways of removing Romani curses, is to pass them on to a new target as well so that is where the first idea comes from.”

Jacob thinks for a moment and lets out an elative gasp,”Perhaps we could get some assistance from the Mages?! I would imagine they could assist us in creating or procuring some components that could be brewed into blood elixers.”

<Conrad> strokes his chin thoughtfully. “I hadn’t thought of that. Back home we have no such cooperation with other denizens of the night. It has been quite the culture shock to come here and not have every other thing either be apathetic to our existence or out to end it.”

<Conrad> laughs and shakes his head. “I suppose I should get used to this being home.”

Jacob thoughtfully,” Drugs no longer effect us when consumed directly, however do they effect us when consumed by our meals?”

“I wonder if I take the blood of kine who have ingested chemicals I could refine it into elixers that fortify against pain.”

<Conrad> “It is possible, though you may wish to preserve the blood through mystical means as well. Beyond that I can think of no reason why the idea should not work. I would advise careful refinement and testing, as most pain killing drugs have detrimental effects on mental capacity for their duration. The elixir would be of limited use if it also caused disorientation.”

Jacob nods,”Of course, although we can avoid much of the truly detrimental effects of most substances. Heroin, PCP, Cocaine, these could form the basis of a substance that truly allowed us to ignore physical injuries and even gain strength and improved speed and reflexes.”

<Conrad> winces and frowns. “I can speak from experience that, while we may not suffer long term effects, in the short term these substances are not without a price. I had the misfortune of accidentally exposing myself to them last night and while I was faster, it was also exceedingly difficult to think clearly, and I felt a marked increase in aggression. It would be wise to do whatever

can be done to limit these effects, even if they are temporary in nature. Regardless,” his face and tone both relax once again. “I feel it is a worthy endeavor and hope it bears fruit.”

Jacob nods,” I believe the goal lies in finding a proper mixture. Ghouls may be the best people to experiment with. I may put in a request to search for viable ghoul candidates to use for research and perform tasks which are difficult for us as night creatures.”

<Conrad> nods in agreement. “That is probably the best course of action. Do be delicate though, it would be uncouth to put said ghouls through any unnecessary suffering.” In truth Conrad was uncomfortable with the idea of human, or ghoul, test subjects at all, but it was not his call, and besides, the clan had a long history of such practices, often with far less concern for ethics than

Jacob was likely to show. A lone neonate was not likely to change any of that. “After the events of last night, though, I feel it may be prudent for the both of us to concentrate on self defense for a while. Though that brute and a few of the Setites were eliminated, their leader and another of the creatures escaped. We may not always have the benefit of Jonas and the others being around

to handle the heavy lifting.”

Jacob nods,” I agree. Practical skills such as firing a gun and holding a knife, may be good uses of our time. I could not do any impact with my shotgun the other night.”

<Conrad> laughs but there is little humor in it. “And even firing silver bullets into that thing did me little good when they were grazing shots. Practical skills such as these are indeed someething we both should develop.” He sighs and drums his fingers. “It would be nice to rely on Thaumaturgy alone, but doing so is not exactly Masquerade friendly. Of course, were it not for all the

noise and the fact that these bikers have no interest in the likes of us, this conversation wouldn’t be very Masquerade friendly either.”

Jacob shakes his head,” I was fairly certain there were other reasons for this being a good meeting place. If there are not already, some amount of enchantments could make any ordinary mortal forget anything special or extraordinary that they hear or see hear.”

<Conrad> raises an eyebrow in surprise. “I hadn’t heard that. I suspected that there must be something going on with as openly as things are often discussed here, but I had no idea of the full extent.”