*Katarina* walks into the Trill, looking around

■► Cassian ◄■ was sitting in the Trill, in a booth, with a drink in front of him that was half gone, despite him not drinking it, likely. He’d glance over at the door, as if he was waiting for someone and the look he gave Katarina as he gestured to her suggested that it was she he was waiting for.

*Katarina* gives him a slight wave, and goes over to join him in the booth

*Katarina* “Hey.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Hello trouble. So, how are you doing lately?”

*Katarina* “Getting by?”

■► Cassian ◄■ “You do realize your picture is about for killing two police officers?”

*Katarina* “….Yes. And about that…I’m planning on leaving the country until things die down. Or at least skipping town. Just don’t tell Lynn. Please.”

■► Cassian ◄■ cracks his knuckles and looks around. “She’s going to figure it out. I won’t have to tell her. What I do think you should do, before you run off, is tell me exactly what happened.”

*Katarina* looks terrified now. “Yay. And it was a feeding gone wrong. Someone showed up and killed the cops when they came after me.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Okay, well do you have a description of the feeding situation, why the cops would get involved and this person who killed them? How was it done?”

*Katarina* “…..They thought I was a prostitute and the guy I tried to feed on pulled a knife on me, so I used blood to get away, then got caught by the cops. And I don’t know, I never got a chance to see their face before they killed the cops with a shotgun. Don’t know where they came from or went to, but they stepped out of the cop car.

■► Cassian ◄■ “Who stepped out of the cop car? The guy who tried to knife you after you tried to feed on him?”

*Katarina* “The guy who killed the cops.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Is there anything you are leaving out of this? Like how did the cops find you in the first place?”

*Katarina* “They caught me during a second feeding, and thought I was picking men up….”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Okay, so…you couldn’t just talk your way out of it?”

*Katarina* “I didn’t get a chance, because shotgun guy came out of their car and killed them.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “So this guy was in the back seat and he got out of a locked door?”

*Katarina* “I don’t know, maybe.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Okay, so you no description of this man…only that you went to feed on him and then somehow when cops were questioning you, he got out of the cop car and killed them both?”

*Katarina* “Yeah.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Okay, so what are your actual plans of action at this point?”

*Katarina* “Lay low somewhere and hope Lynn doesn’t find me?”

Jacob walks over to the Trill, hoping to run into some interesting people. The mages in particular would be welcome company.

■► Cassian ◄■ “I know this is going to suck, but…Lynn is better than dealing with the Prince. We also have a killer out there who made a scene of murdering two cops, so this is not very good news. If the worst thing they think of you public-wise is that you are a prostitute, good. A little record doesn’t hurt anyone. What does hurt you a lot is that people

think you are responsible for the murders. -That- is what we need to fix.”

*Katarina* “She scares me more than the Prince…..”

■► Cassian ◄■ “And yet you took stuff from her house? If I was afraid of someone, last thing I’d want to do really is tick them off. I will talk to Lynn. You need to stay low and if you do decide to up and leave the city, send me word so I know not to keep trying to find you because we have a killer out there who obviously knows a thing on the masquerade

potentially.”

*Katarina* “….I regret that a lot. And it wasn’t my fault!”

*Katarina* calms down. “I’ll let you know if I do skip town, don’t worry.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “How exactly wasn’t it your fault?”

Jacob walks in and sits a seat away from Cassian and Katarina and greets them with a pleasant smile and a wave of his hand.

*Katarina* “It’s not like I knew all that was going to happen. Which is lame, but eh.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Well, point of advice here… if you can’t get by on the first feed attempt… skip it for the night.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Even without a masquerade, it’s just plain risky and can get you killed. Also..other point, let Lynn deal with it if you choose to stay. I will talk to her about what you’ve said as i don’t think anyone knows about this other person being involved, and I want to procur the evidence from the car.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Lynn though will take care of this better than some others would..so let us get in it and if you find out anything else, tell us right away.”

“Good Evening Cassian and Katarina. How are you doing tonight?” Says Jacob. “I was hoping to ask you something Cassian.”

*Katarina* “…Fine. I’m fine.

■► Cassian ◄■ looks over at Jacob. “Hello Jacob. What can I do for you?”

Jacob,”I was hoping you could enlighten me on the basics of how we get ghouls, particularly getting approval and how we select them and what duties we are allowed to give them.”

“Conrad and I were discussing acquiring ghouls to assist us with various tasks, but I do believe that we have some restrictions in our clan.”

<Conrad> wanders into the Trill, uncharacteristically disheveled. His clothes are wrinkled and he seems exceedingly distracted. He is still wiping some blood from a recent meal from his face as he walks in. He looks around, a look of mild surprise on his face, as though he didn’t expect to find himself in the Trill. Conrad shakes his head and meanders over to where his fellow Tremere

are seated and pulls up a chair without a word.

■► Cassian ◄■ “If you get ghouls, you are responsible for them. If they do -anything- wrong, you are the ones who answer for it, no matter the crime. That’s the first thing you should know. You should not make more ghouls than you can observe and watch over feasibly, because again, you will be always held accountable.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Consider also masq breaches by having too many. You risk it for every ghoul you make. Also, the vitae is what it is…so some people do better with it and others might just go mad. You will want to be -very- picky over your selections. You will also tell me every ghoul you ever have and what their function is to you. Those are the rules. You

violate them and your ghouls do something ridiculous, their crime will be judged as though you did it. Now…what else would you like to know?”

Jacob nods,”Should I inform you of my possible selections before I make them? Also could you assist me with… making them forget should they disagree? I would prefer my ghouls to enter my service willingly rather than rely solely on the blood bond for loyalty…”

<Conrad> blinks and looks up at Cassian and Jacob. “Yes…I as well would like your assistance in that matter if possible I…” He stares off into the distance for a brief moment then snaps back to focus. “I would prefer to make this process as ethical as possible.”

■► Cassian ◄■ is thoughtful and studies Jacob. “You may inform me of your possible selections for opinions, but in the least I expect that you will have analyzed them well before deciding to select them in the first place. This is for your safety too. As for ghouls entering your service willingly.. this means you’d have to tell them you are a vampire before.

That is a masq breach and so yes, I can help with dominate.. but you should perhaps learn more of that yourself too. In the end, it’s one thing to say they are a willing employee or ‘friend’ and ghoul them, and it’s another though, to be very wary of, to tell them you are a vampire ahead of time before that first blood bond.”

“Oh, am I allowed to instruct my ghoul in magic? Particularly I was hoping to instruct them further in my mortal alchemy. Mostly I intend on finding someone who can study my old research and provide elements that I no longer have…”

*Katarina* blinks, listening.

■► Cassian ◄■ “It is possible if they are sensitive to it. Finding a person like that might prove difficult and they might have defenses if they are aware of other supernaturals, so might want to play that one carefully.”

<Conrad> nods absently in acknowledgment as Cassian speaks. “I have not quite yet decided if I will be searching more for a body guard or a research assistant. If possible it would, of course, be ideal to find a mortal talented enough to fill both roles. But I do not find that to be a likely scenario.” Conrad rubs his forehead. “I think I may lean more towards a martially inclined Ghoul.

There are plenty of research materials at the Chantry, and fellow Tremere to bounce ideas off of. But in the field things are more unpredictable. But…” He sighs and slumps his hand back down on the table. “Faster, more efficient research means more mastery of Thaumaturgy which means more capability to defend myself.”

Jacob nods,” I anticipate that there are those who could be open to the idea without coercion. Many in the occult community do not look at as us monsters. The blood bond is the greatest hesitation that I would forsee. The longevity, power, and knowledge would be appealing to many of them.” He looks over at Conrad and back to Cassian.”I intend more on a research assistant… with a working digestive tract and the ability to brew potions. I believe I ca

■► Cassian ◄■ “Well, you’ve both heard the rules, and if you wish to present me with options to help you choose, that is fine too. You are both capable, and I have no leads on any mortals who would be good ideas to ghoul for the purposes you wish. You will have to research that on your own. Just try to pick wisely and as I said… make sure you check their

mental states. Some people do not do well with vitae who have already strong vices or natures that lead to dependency.”

Jacob nods,” Does the vitae ever inhibit focus in a ghoul? I could see the blood bond creating an obssession that distracts them from thinking clearly on their tasks.”

■► Cassian ◄■ “It depends. As I said, dependent personalities, or addictive ones.. these can have potential disaster, but also some others can that you won’t find immediately if you aren’t careful. Over-analyze someone.”

<Conrad> drums his fingers on the table as the other two talk. “What about our other…plans? How are those progressing? It would not be beneficial to neglect our studies to focus on this endeavor, only to be caught unprepared when the time to make our move has come.”

Jacob nods,”Thank you for the advice. I will start building a list of candidates soon. I will make sure to exercise caution…”

Jacob shrugs,”The same type of people I like to feed from, are the same type of people I would likely find my ghoul in so I am not worried… did you begin studying that ritual I shared with you Conrad? Would you like any help?”

■► Cassian ◄■ “Those plans are going through so I’d hope you are preparing rather than just thinking of your own personal exploits. I must be going to go tend to my duties, but you both be well and just be mindful of what you want to do. Keep other things to yourselves.” He smirks. “Do have a good night, gentlemen.”

Jacob smirks in response,”You as well sir. You can trust me that I am preparing for what is to come and anything else that may come our way… I am a team player after all.”

<Conrad> nods to Cassian. “And you…” He stares at the table for a brief second before looking up at Jacob. “I have gathered the materials necessary to begin studying it yes, but I have to verify one last thing with a previous project before I can devote my full attention to it. It’s been a trying week so far, but diving into my work has helped…somewhat.” He shakes his head and forces

a smile to his face. “Any insight you can provide is, of course, appreciated.”

■► Cassian ◄■ nods and then would head out into the night. ~

Jacob blinks,”Oh are you still working on learning the ritual that creates your focus? I could probably help you with that when we get back home. That reminds me. I was thinking that perhaps we should purposefully study other areas. That way we can exchange information when we reach mastery, so we will cover more material faster overall. If our research synergizes we will become an effective team.”

*Katarina* meanders out

<Conrad> sighs and shakes his head. “I appreciate the offer but it is a matter of time not understanding. I have, essentially, learned all I need to for the ritual, all that is left is to test and verify my findings. Should something go wrong, however, I will be sure to have you check my notes.” He shakes his head to dispell the mental fog plaguing him. “Yes, I agree that taking divergent

paths for a time would prove beneficial. You’ve taken the first steps toward you transumtational powers, and since you were an alchemist in life, it makes sense for you to study magics that directly affect material objects and their composition. With my experience as a linguist I find rituals, and curses in particular to be the most natural, but that does not lend itself well to Path magic.

Perhaps I shall study the more energetic paths to complement your more material ones?”

Jacob nods,” I was particularly thinking you should focus onto something more offensive. Lure of Flame has its downsides as the fear it instills in others would be harmful in a team, but maybe a different path… still I am currently focusing on getting close to my enemies, if you could strike them from a distance that would probably be a good idea. Although I read of a path that allows the caster to develop mental fortitude and alacrity.”

“Perhaps that would also be a good focus for you. As we both know our current bodies do not respond well or at all to most substances as we cannot digest them so I hope to find myself an alchemist who can imbibe my old potions for me. This should also help them become more potent in combat and provide me a little bit more blood prior to any potential conflicts.”

<Conrad> strokes his chin. “I believe I have read something about that mental path in passing somewhere, perhaps I shal have to see if I can find it again. As for Lure of Flames, I believe I read that the path does have an inherant ability to dull the effects of Rotschreck in regards to one’s own fire, and there is a ritual we both can master that would prove very effective in conjunction

with it as a safety measure. But I will also investigate the possiblity of an alternate approach. I will have to speak to Isabo and see what she recommends.”

Jacob nods,”For now I should also begin studying a ritual. I could learn that ritual that you shared with me or I could research a new one… I am not sure which direction I would go otherwise however.”

<Conrad> smiles at his friends and gives a slight shrug. “It is a good problem to have, to have so many avenues of study that one cannot decide which way to go. I would suggest tackling whichever project seems easiest first, as we do not yet know exacltly how much time remains before we shall be called to action.”

Jacob nod,”Perhaps it is best to see what rituals I can find that will assist with calming the Beast. Especially if there are any that can be used on friends as well, it would certainly be helpful.”

<Conrad> “Indeed that would certainly prove to be a useful tool. I am considering making my next project be to master a ritual one of the Tremere at my old Chantry mentioned that gave one a limited ability to extinguish fires with but a word.”

Jacobs eyes open wider with interest,”Ah that does sound useful! Although you still need to maintain the presence of mind to use it. The beast is not patient.”

<Conrad> nods in agreement. “Indeed it is not. But it is a useful thing to have regardless, one would only need to keep the Beast under control long enough for the utterance, after which it may be riled but not clawing for escape.’

Jacob shrugs,”Well I would prefer to study a ritual that quells the beast first. This way, fire or not, I can maintain peace of mind.”

<Conrad> “A fair point. Should you find such a ritual I would also be interested in studying it.” His gaze drifts across the patrons of the bar lazily, sizing them up. “Hmm. So how do you think our…plans…are going to work now that Katarina has garnered herself attention?”

Jacob appears confused,”What do you mean? Garnered herself attention? Like from the prince?” Jacob seems to genuinely have no idea what Conrad is reffeering to as he had not heard of the incident.

<Conrad> chuckles “I see that you have not heard. There was an…incident the other night while she was out feeding. Apparently some police officers misread the situation and picked her up for solicitation. I’m not sure of the details about what happened next but suffice to say the two officers ended up dead. Shotgun blasts from what I hear, so at least the cause of death isn’t a

Masquerade breach in and of itself. But her description has made it to the authorities as a suspected cop killer. Her unlife is about to become very difficult.”