<Zaluut> leaves the main hall and walks off toward the south-western corner of the compound, where the hedge maze is.

<Cian> is leaned against a tree obfuscated, as has become his habit. He’d been a bit lethargic tonight, spending most of his time in the courtyard watching the various Wraiths flit about. He sees Zaluut come out of the building and perks up. Whenever the Tzimisce was on the move something interesting was bound to happen. He follows the elder Cainite to the hedge maze,

remaining obscured not because he believes Zaluut cannot see him, but simply because it does not occur to him to drop the power.

<Zaluut> walks into the hedge maze’s entrance. A gazebo can be seen sticking up from somewhere near the center but the tall walls obscure any idea on the path. He turns left into the first pathway and walks slowly along the grass.

<Cian> follows Zaluut into the maze keeping about three steps behind him. He had yet to actually explore this part of the grounds, he was always a bit paranoid that he would get lost and end up stuck there when dawn arrived. An embarassing way to go, that much was certain. He isn’t sure if he really should be following the Biship like this, but he is fairly sure that Zaluut

knows he is there, and since he hasn’t told him to stop, Cian decides that he will interpret the elder Cainite’s silence as permission.

<Zaluut> smirks to himself, unseen by Cian, and the maze entrance completely overgrows, sealing shut behind them. The walls, now that he is up close, look to be covered in strange, black thorns that look like they could do a lot of damage to anyone trying to move through them.

<Cian> glances behind him as he hears the snapping and popping of quickly growing vines that close the maze entrance. “Well shit. That’s a little creepy.” He turns his gaze back to Zaluut and shrugs, he doubts the Tzimisce would go through all this trouble just to destroy him. Why bother allowing him to be made in the first place if that was his plan? Still, that didn’t mean

that whatever Zaluut had in store for him wasn’t dangerous, he notes the razor sharp thorns that look like they could tear him to pieces and decides it is perhaps a good idea to be prepared. He focuses on his fingers and calls to his blood, feeling the Beast flood into his nails with malevolent glee as they extend into claws.

<Fiona> makes her way out to join and place bets on Cian.

<Zaluut> rounds a corner and as Cian goes to follow he is gone, nothing but a ripple of the earth there like water which quickly solidifies. The maze grows dark, and as Cian looks around he notices the platforms above where people seem to be gathering and watching inside the maze… and placing bets.

<Cian> doesn’t know whether to be angry or scared, so instead he just laughs to himself and drops into a crouched position. Clearly this was some sort of test, maybe this was how he would become Proven? He hopes so, the other options are just that they are bored and doing this for entertainment, or…well he decides not to worry about why this is happening. The important

part is to make damn sure he survives. Keeping himself Obfuscated, Cian heads forth into the maze.

<Fiona> goes to make her way up to one of the platforms, betting against Cian.

<Storyteller> The maze is shifting, slowly but surely. He can tell the walls are changing positions. And then he hears a sick gurgling howl coming from somewhere else inside the maze. The crowd above him cheers. Something has just been released inside the maze with him and it doesn’t sound friendly.

<Cian> mutters under his breath “Well this oughta be fucking interesting.” then stalks off toward the sound, doing his best to remain quiet, if he can get the jump on whatever creature they’ve pitted him against, he’ll have a much better chance at survival. As he walks he forces his vitae into his muscles, sharpening his reflexes and quickening his movements like he’d been

taught. He could have gone for strength or toughness, but in a fight he knows that speed kills, and he hopes to make this battle a quick one.

<Zaluut> appears outside of the maze and walks to the platforms, climbing up to have a look inside. “Hmmm, quite the curious one. I suppose we shall see where that gets him.”

<Storyteller> That thing rounds the corner just as Cian also enters an open area. It looks like a heavy-set dog but has an unusual gait, not really walking like any normal four-legged animal. It snarls at Cian upon seeing him and its jaw splits and spreads wide, looking like some sort of video game monster brought to life.

<Cian> looks at the beast with wide eyes. “Oh FUUUUUCK ME!” So much for the element of surprise! He flexes his clawed fingers and circles the monster, eyeing it for any weak spots or any information he can figure out about how this freaky thing plans to eat him.

<Cian> moves in and swipes at the beast twice in quick succession, but misses both times, unable to adjust for the strange way the beast moves. He growls in frustration, but keeps his head clear, he needed to think, not go in at it blindly.

<Storyteller> The creature lunges at Cian while he is close, but can’t amage to get a hold on him with that freaky looking mouth.

<Cian> swipes at the creature again, and connects with his left hand, but to his dismay his claws glance off of its hide. He lashes out with his right hand and this time hits a fleshier part of the beast. The wound is shallow, but at least this time he drew blood.

<Storyteller> Getting hit seems to do little more than enrage the beast and it snarls and spits as it lunges again and narrowly misses taking a chunk of Cian with it.

<Zaluut> chuckles faintly and looks over at Fiona. “I am thinking you may lose money on this one. He is a survivor, that’s why the Orphans chose him.”

<Cian> ducks under the creatures maw and claws at its throat. Though he doesn’t get as deep as he’d hoped, the blood he pushes into his muscles to work them harder helps him to tear away a chunk of its flesh. “Come on you fucker! Let’s dance!”

<Storyteller> The creature gurgles and pounces again but Cian is too fast for it, rolling out of the way before it strikes.

<Cian> claws at the beast again, burning through more vitae to move faster and with more precision. He hits the beast again but scrapes off its hide, not getting enough force behind the blow to actually dig in.

<Fiona> snorts. “We’ll see, won’t we?”

<Storyteller> This time the creature catches Cian by the leg and crunches into the bone with those jaws.

<Cian> yells in pain as the beast clamps down on his legs and lets out a string of curses that nearly make the hedges wilt. “LET GO FUCKER!” He pumps blood through his arms and tries to claw the beast again but it manages to dodge at the last second.

<Cian> looks down at his shredded leg and shakes his head angrily, growling as he forces it to heal. “You’re gonna regret that you fucking bitch.” All the humor has completely drained from him, and nothing but rage fills his voice as he lunges to tear into the creature again hunger eats at him and he feels the Beast screaming inside his head to rend and tear and devour the

monster. The rage boils inside until he cannot take anymore and he gives in to the Beasts demands “I WILL KILLL-AAAAAGH!” his words trail off into a primal roar as he lunges at the monster and digs his claws into it, blood spraying his face.

<Storyteller> The creature continues to fight back, biting at Cian some more but despite his ferocity he still manages to avoid most of its attacks.

<Fiona> “Well, fucker’s got spirit, I’ll give him that.”

<Cian> rolls out from under the bloodhounds attempt to bite him and then pounces on hit, biting back. He can’t quite find a spot that lets him get his mouth around in properly though, and only manages to leave a few punctures. He growls again and tears at the ground with his claws, down on all fours like a beast himself.

<Cian> kicks hard with his legs, leaping forward and slashing the bloodhounds side, leaving a trail of blood from its front leg to the back. As it drops to its stomach, whining, the Beast crazed Cian spins and grabs its head, sinking his claws into the skull and tearing out the eye as he bites into the neck. He takes a long drink relishing the warm blood spilling down his

throat, and the Beast finally lets loose its hold and Cian comes to.

<Fiona> “Well, fuck. How much do I owe people?”

<Zaluut> smirks a bit and nods as he watches the creature go down. He moves his hand and the walls shift again to allow Cian to exit the maze in a straight line out. “Well done.”

<Cian> looks up at the other Cainites then back down at the creature. His head feels like it is full of bees after the frenzy and it takes him a moment to come to full clarity. He kicks the bloodhound’s corpse and then looks back up at the crowd, an ear to ear smile on his face. “Well…that was fun.” He laughs evilly and follows the path out of the maze with pride in his

step.

<Zaluut> heads back down after chuckling at Fiona and then nods to Cian. “Instinct is important to us, but be careful not to run yourself dry.”

<Fiona> scowls as she gets down off the platform.

<Cian> nods at Zaluut and looks back towards the arena. “Yeah I didn’t realize how hungry I was until it was way too fucking late. Lesson learned.” He looks over toward Fiona and grins. “Guess I showed her though.”

<Zaluut> glances back over his shoulder at Fiona, then nods to Cian. “Yes, you certainly did. That fighting spirit will serve you well in nights to come, Cian.”

<Cian> grins with pride and nods his head at Zaluut. “That’s good to hear. Living forever wouldn’t be worth a damn if it was boring as fuck all the time.” He looks at the Tzimisce thoughtfully for a moment. “You sound like you’ve got something specific in mind though.”

<Zaluut> shrugs and starts to head back toward the main hall. “You don’t live as long as I have an not have plans for just about everything. Goodnight, Cian.”

<Cian> laughs and nods. “I’ll keep that in mind. Goodnight, Zaluut.” He waves to the Orphans as they head back to their wing and returns their grins before walking up to Fiona. “Well, I didn’t die. Bet you didn’t see that coming.”

<Fiona> just scowls.

<Cian> laughs and shakes his head. “Poor Fiona, not only did you lose money, but you gotta put up with my ugly mug for at least a few nights longer.” He grins at her, then suddenly turns serious. “But at least now you know that if shit hits the fan, I can get your back too.”

<Fiona>

<Fiona> “No shit.”