<Cian> crouches over the Ghoul’s chest, his long fingers splayed across her face and his fangs bared in a predatory grin. At Jimmy’s suggestion, he’d found one of the tougher Ghouls and roped her into helping him practice fighting with fang and claw. Of course, he hadn’t actually been using his claws or biting her. He didn’t need to accidentally kill the woman and then end

up owing her domitor. Instead, he’d simply been swiping at her with his regular fingernails, painful perhaps but not deadly. He bends his face down until his fangs brush the skin of her neck, a throaty growl similar to that of an alligator echoing in her ear. “I win.” He can feel her shudder as he speaks, holding her breath as she waits to see if he will honor his agreement not

to kill her during the practice. Cian scratches the flesh of he neck with his teeth, reveling in the moment of fear that flashes through the Ghoul, then leans back up to his crouched position, loosening his grip on her face. “Not bad. Not fucking bad at all. You can tell your master I was pleased with your performance, for whatever the fuck that’s worth, as well as my thanks

for letting me borrow you.” He stands and moves off to the side, allowing the Ghoul to scramble to her feet. Cian looks her up and down, pleased with the placement of the scratches, he was getting better at hitting vital spots. “Get cleaned up first though, you look like shit.” He laughs and dismisses the Ghoul with a wave of his hand then crosses the courtyard to his favorite

tree. Cian picks up a book off the ground and sits against the trunk, examining the text. Antol had lent it to him, stating something about needing to exercise his mind as much as his body and blood. It wasn’t the sentiment that Cian took issue with, but the execution. He wasn’t illeterate, but he’d spent more time ditching school than attending it, and he wasn’t exactly confident

in his ability to comprehend the contents of the book. It was, apparently, a history of the Sabbat, as well as an explanation of the ranks, rites, and philosophies it practiced. He would have preferred for Antol or one of the other elder Cainites to just explain it all to him, but they were often otherwise occupied. Eliza had given him a basic rundown of things, but the Orphans

had more things to do than just teach him, and besides, Cian wanted to prove that he would be more than just a burden. So here he sat with this book, his eyes gleaming in the night as he read. The language was a bit more elegant than he was accustomed to, and there were several paragraphs he had to read multiple times to understand, but to his surprise he found himself engrossed.

<Cian> had some trouble with the history part thanks to his gaps in education, but the ritae and philosophies which helped direct the sect were fascinating. Since his Embrace and the realization that supernatural creatures lie hiding in the night, he’d wondered just how much they influenced the world, and this book laid out in no uncertain terms that terrible, hungry blood

gods from before recorded history had been pulling strings from the shadows in a war beyond understanding. It was also the first he’d heard of this other sect, the Camarilla. He read of how at the end of the Anarch Revolution and the Inquisition, they had fooled the weak willed among the Anarchs into reaccepting the status quo they’d fought against with a few minor changes. In

the Camarilla, the old ruled with an iron fist, and in a society of immortals, this meant upward mobility was nearly impossible. The Sabbat, however, espoused a meritocracy. Any True Sabbat could challenge any other to something called Monomacy, a duel to the death to settle disputes or to claim the loser’s rank. Unlike the Camarilla, they acknowledged and celebrated their

predatory nature. The more he read the more he was thankful for being Embraced into the Sword of Caine rather than the cowering patsies of the Antediluvian monsters that sought to devour them all. It seemed clear to Cian that Caine had intended for his children to rule as the ultimate predators, a middle finger in the face of God, and predators did not concern themselves with

the affairs of prey. He was also particularly interested in the sections covering the various ritae and their functions. His mother and first couple foster families had been Catholic, and he found a perverse pleasure in the way the Sabbat had twisted many of their traditions. Still, much of the text was a little beyond him. There were many references to historical events, as

well as parts of Cainite history and society that he was not yet familiar with. Cian resolved to take his questions to Eliza or perhaps one of the elders such as Zaluut, Kitt, or Antol once they had time. There was so much more to learn than he had ever guessed. Though he didn’t quite realize it yet, the Sabbat was offering him a chance at something he’d hungered for his whole

life: purpose.