Jacob sits in the main study of the Tremere Chantry reading from a book and writing notes inside of his own notebook. He leans back in the chair relaxing for a moment.

<Conrad> enters the main study of the chantry with a book in hand. Unlike most nights, this is not a book of thaumaturgical theory, nor discipline documentation, or even general occult studies. Tonight, Conrad carries a book of French poetry. His lips almost imperceptibly move as he reads, drawn into a small, sad smile. His eyes have a faraway look to them, as though he were gazing

through the book, rather than at the page. He sits in one of the chairs absently, seeming oblivious to his surroundings.

Jacob notices his Tremere friend and stands moving over beside him and standing.

beside him,”Good Evening, I do not wish to interrupt, but I have learned a new ritual that I would like to tell you about. It allows the caster to deal grievous wounds to other supernatural creatures.”

Jacob pulls out his notebook,”I have recorded it all in here. The ritual is known as the ‘burning blade’. It uses the blood and creates a mystical unearthly flame upon the enchanted weapon.”

<Conrad> seems to shake off a mental fog as Jacob speaks and looks up from his book. “Hmm?” His gaze drifts to the notebook and he cans it carefully. “I see. That could indeed prove useful. It does bear the disadvantage of only working on close range weapons but…” He drifts off and stares at the wall in thought. It is a longer moment than usual before he replies, and he seems to do

so almost as an afterthought. “Ah. Yes. Perhaps combined with telekinesis? What is the path…” Conrad frowns. “Movement of the Mind I believe? It does not allow for fine enough manipulation to reliable impale a target with a knife or stake, so I’ve heard, but perhaps something for which that is unimportant? Would the ritual, for instance, work on a brick or stone? Or perhaps some…”

He makes a circular motion with his hand as though trying to physically coax the word from his mind. “Shuriken! Yes that is the one. There is still a small risk of hitting with the flat side of one of those I suppose but not nearly so much as with a knife or stake.”

Jacob shakes his head,”Well for myself I intend on simply practicing and learning melee weapons. Maybe I can find a vampire here old enough to have learned true swordsmanship. That magic I learned earlier allows me to turn my very clothes into a suit of armor so I should not be afraid to wade into combat and this ritual will let me do some real damage to anything we come across.”

Jacob says,”An interesting thought with movement of the mind but I am not sure it would be necessary. I intend on using much of my blood to enhance my own physical abilities while I wield this ritual.”

“I anticipate that pushing myself beyond my limits will consume much of my vitae as it is so I will not have that much left over for performing other spells.”

<Conrad> nods approvingly. “A sound strategy. It may be wise, if you can find a reliable enough source of blood, to practice managing your vitae expediture. It would be a tragedy if in the process of enhancing your physical abilities you were to leave yourself too starved of blood to recover from any injuries you may sustain. Though, ” Conrad bobs his head pensively “with enough skill

that should be less of an issue both in your ability to avoid injury and a lesser need for vitae infused speed and strength. Still, battle is unpredictable.”

Jacob nods,”I agree. It is good that we are developing diverse skillsets. Despite being immortal, it does seem as if time is not on our side lately. So many forces against us and yet our studies take so long to complete.”

<Conrad> sighs and nods his agreement. “Indeed. At times it feels like a hopeless endeavor to try to even attain a semblance of self sufficiency. But our undead nature lends itself to patience. Though it may be true that recent nights have been…eventful…eternity is on our side. More than anything else on this Earth, we can perservere.”

Jacob shakes his head,”Our preservation currently relies heavily, if not wholly upon humanity. Indeed without kine we would be without our most significant form of food. It is debateable even that without the souls of this world that our existence may begin to collapse. Regardless, these nights are filled with other creatures hellbent figuratively and literally on destroying us and the humans we rely on.”

“We may have eternity to live, but only if it is not cut short. Our enemies here are strong, stronger than us. I believe we were sent here to either serve as fodder or as a test to push us to catch up to our elders. We need to become productive and soon.”

<Conrad> frowns and leans back in his chair. “I fear you are likely correct on all counts. We shall wield caution as our shiled and preparation as our sword then. I think neither you, nor I, shall meet the sunrise any time soon. Not so long as we keep our wits about us. We are, if I do say so myself, two bright minds with considerable potential. And most importantly, to my eye, we do

not fall prey to the political maneuvering that often prevents truly open collaboration amongst our kind. These strengths shall see us through the nights to come, no matter how challenging they may prove to be.” He looks down at the book and smiles sadly. “If nothing else, I’ve a task that I must complete before I can find any true rest, whether in this life or the next.”

Jacob smiles,” I am glad to have found such a friend in my unlife. I agree, our bright minds and collaboration should prove to be our greatest strength..”

“I agree that prepartion is the best way to protect ourselves in these nights. As for political manuevering goes, I feel the infighting is more of the issue. I am more interested in trying to leverage with other clans and gather knowledge and disciplines from outside, than fighting for a superficial spot within the pyramid…”

“If we continue to work together I believe that advancement and recognition will come naturally. We will acquire more than enough of either. In fact probably a bit more than we desire even, so it would be wise to avoid too much attention…”

“Regardless, I am grateful to have this form. I may have traded one curse for another, but I have gained so much oppurtunity. We can make the world better for everyone. Perhaps even transcend our forms in the process.”

<Conrad> smiles warmly at Jacob. “Ambitious indeed, but a worthy aspiration. I admit to much trepidation about my transfer here, but your companionship has made the transition far easier. It has certainly helped prevent me from falling prey to melancholy at being so far removed from the object of my obsession.” He shrugs heavily, as though trying to remove a weight from his shoulders.

“As for the pyramid, I only concern myself with it insofar as higher position often equates access to greater Thaumaturgical insight. I suppose I can see the appeal of intrigue as a way to break up the monotony that sometimes plagues our nights, but given the vast wealth of knowledge available to our clan, I simply cannot comprehend those who choose to prioritize politics above all else.”

Conrad shakes his head in wonder. “Simply unfathomable. But…to each their own, as they say. Though our state is, technically a curse, I agree that it has many beneficial aspects that, in my humble opinion, far outweigh its detriments.”

Jacob nods,”Absolutely. As for what I was speaking of earlier, the Discipline of Fortitude would likely be a great boon to a Thaumaturge like ourselves. Imagine if one of us were to learn the discipline from a Ventrue. The discipline is even effective against fire and weakens the fear of the Beast as well. If we mastered that…”

“…then we could master fire without fear from our own flames. We could burn any other snake people we ran into without fear that our fire would consume us. Blades would fall weak against us, and even the sun would have difficulty harming us. This would make us essentially unstoppable.”

<Conrad> frowns. “While it is true that Fortitude is a potent Discipline, there are two things we must keep in mind. The first is our clan’s reputation. We are not well liked among the Kindred, and so any teacher we might find is likely to exact a heavier price for instruction than they might from another clan. Secondly, it is important not to overestimate ourselves. Though Fortitude

would indeed go far to increase our survivability and genere efficaciousness, we must not forget that even those who mastered this Discipline fell prey to the fires of the Inquisition. The Ventrue and Gangrel, renowned for their steadfastness and resilience were not beyond the reach of mortal hunters. Even the toughest of Kindred still must be wary of the banes of our kind, as well as

the primal fury and strength of shifter-kind. While I agree that we would do well to find an agreeable tutor for this particular power, I would also advise that we not let it cloud our judgment, and approach all situations with the care, and indeed humility, that they are due.”

Jacob nods listening intently formulating his rebuttal.”I suppose yes, we would not be wholly invincible, however I do believe it is quite the powerful combination. To wield spells, convert clothes into armor, and shrug off most fatal wounds? Quite a fearsome force. Indeed even with a modest level of mastery, my understanding is that it would certainly make any one of us a force to be reckoned with.”

<Conrad> nods, satisfied that he has made his point. “I agree. My only concern is to not become overconfident and put ourselves in a situation beyond our ability to handle. But you are right, it would indeed be a force to be reckoned with. Pardon my negativity. I’ve been in a melancholy mood tonight and it is proving difficult to shake free of.” He sighs and sticks the small book of

poetry inside the inner pocket of his jacket. “So…come to think of it, I don’t believe we truly know all that much about each other, aside from your having been a cursed sorcerer in life, and my having been a professor. Tell me, aside from sorcery, what did mortal Jacob find interest in?”

Jacob ponders this for a moment.”I am not really sure to be honest. Ever since discovering my family curse, it had been my obsession to find a way to avoid it. Death was so real that I never really lived.”

Jacob continues to reflect on this for a few more moments,”I suppose I would have still been drawn to some form of science. I loved the studies for their own merits. I would have probably never taken the occult seriously though if it were not for the curse.”

<Conrad> strokes his chin. “A sensible and honest answer, as I would expect from you. I myself stumbled upon the occult during my studies of etymology. Certain words were crossing borders of both time and space that they should not have been, certain concepts were reappearing in cultures that never encountered each other. I began to suspect some underlying force was influencing

history.” He snorts derisively. “I was naive. I had no idea the extent to which I was correct. Had I known I may well have left it alone. But I did not, and my studies brought me dangerously close to discovering vampiric society. I began delving more into occult lore to prove my theories. That work is what attracted my sire to me, as well as the…thing…” Conrad very nearly spits the

word and a flash of bitter anger crosses his face. “That took my Elena from me. Since then I have devoted myself to finding that monster and removing it from the world. Unfortunately, I have a long way to go.”