<Conrad> eventually grows tired of the isolation and picks up how cane and book to head into the Chantry’s common area. Though he still mostly reads, the traffic of Ghouls and fellow Tremere makes it feel a bit like he has some company.

<Icarus> looks like she can’t be more than 13 or 14 years old, dressed in a simple and modestly cut black dress that reaches the floor. Behind her lurks the much more intimidating Petri, her Gargoyle. She walks into the room and looks about before scanning the nearby bookshelves.

<Conrad> perks up as he hears the signature heavy footsteps of Petri approach. To his surprise, the gargoyle accompanies a teenager. Curious, he stares at the girl and focuses, like Isabo taught him, but he can’t seem to make out the girl’s aura. He sighs, resolving to practice more, then gets up and approaches the pair. “Something I can help you find?”

<Icarus> looks over at Conrad after pointing Petri over to the corner for the time being. “I am looking for some material on consolidation and concentration of energy.”, she observes him a bit more before looking back to the books again. “I saw you at the meeting. How are you adjusting?”

<Conrad> wracked his brain to remember the meeting and finally recalls seeing her there. “Quite well, thank you. Removed from my normal distractions, my studies have progressed at a much better pace. There have been a few…” he twirls his hand in search of an appropriate adjective, “exciting incidents, but nothing traumatic.” He chuckles but quickly frowns. “My apologies, you seem familiar, beyon

d the meeting, but I can’t seem to recall why. So many new names and faces to learn, it’s been difficult to keep them all straight.” He does his best to give her a disarming smile, the last thing he needs is for an Elder to think he’s trying to subtly snub her!

<Icarus> half-smiles and nods slightly as she trails her fingers over nearby books thoughtfully. “Mmmm, yes. The Followers of Set. So eager for power they know not what the darkness really holds in store for them. I’m Icarus, currently researching the power source of the demonic influence that has taken hold in this area.”

<Conrad> nods and watches her browse. “Yes, the Serpents are foolish in their haste. Power which is given by another is not true power at all. Only that which comes from within.” He absently strokes his face, pensive. “Is there anything I can do to be of assistance? As fulfilling as study can be, knowledge only becomes wisdom through application, after all.”

<Icarus> turns and swishes her dress lightly against the floor as she thinks. “Well, what do you know of what is going on in the city currently? I do not leave anymore… it is hard with my age sometimes anyway. Is anyone else looking into the possibility of a demon?”

<Conrad> nods enthusiastically. “Oh yes! A surprisingly agreeable Sabbat by the name of Sascha has been passing us some information in regards to demonic activities, specifically regarding the Anarchs. It seems they’ve acquired certain Setite ‘assets’, whether by taking advantage of their retreat or through a deal if some sort, and this at the least includes demonic blood, if not the creature itse

lf as well.”

<Icarus> pauses and retracts her hand from the bookshelf. “The Sabbat, truly? Interesting… I wonder what they are getting out of this arrangement?”

<Conrad> shrugs and shakes his head. “It is hard to say with certainty, but this individual in particular seems to have a singular dedication to hunting demons and their minions, so it may be an alliance of convenience against a common foe.” He smiles slyly, “Though that would put to test the notion of all Sabbat as devil worshipping savages. Well, the devil worshipper part at least.” He chuckles

and shakes his head again. “From what little experience I had with this Sascha she seems to have her own sense of honor

that she adheres to, but it covers a primal underside.”

<Icarus> “I see. Well we all present our Beast differently. But I still would not trust them. The moment your guard is down they are likely to consume you to further their ’cause’.”, she says and with a motion of her finger one of the books from the top shelf comes out and glides to her hand.

<Conrad> watches the book float with obvious interest before continuing. “Yes, I got that distinct impression from her companion.” He shudders at the memory. “I do hope Cassian thoroughly inspects the talisman she gave him before putting it to use.” Conrad holds up a hand as though to halt any protest. “Not that I doubt his judgment of course, but he has been quite busy of late and it may slip his

mind.”

<Icarus> pauses at that and looks back at Conrad seriously again. “Talisman? Tell me of this, what was it and what did she say it was for?”

<Conrad> frowns for a moment as he thinks. “It was a cross, or maybe a crucifix? Hand carved by the look of it. She said it would serve as a weapon or perhaps a shield against the infernal.” Conrad shrugs apologetically, “I’m sorry, I was a bit distracted at the time.”

<Icarus> nods and circles around him. “I see. I do need one small favor… (Dominate) Do not tell Cassian that we spoke today or discuss anything we discussed today with him or anyone else.”, she opens the book and flips through a couple of pages and then looks at him cooly again. “You know, I can help you see her again if you want.”

<Conrad> blinks a few times then nods in agreement. “Of course, no need for anyone else to know.” He smiles somewhat emptily, but the hollow look in his eyes fades away and is replaced by confusion. “Sascha? Oh no I’m sure she’ll seek me out when…” He trails off as he stares at the girl, something in her tone and posture catching his attention. Conrad glances around then lowers his voice. “You..

.you mean Elena?!”

<Icarus> nods and looks back to the pages of her book. “I understand you were brought here because of your attachment, this inability to let go of the past. I disagree about the importantce of such things. They should not go unresolved. It is merely a matter of how important it is to you, what it is worth to you.”

<Conrad> gains a sudden steel in his gaze and hardness in his voice. “Everything.” The word has so much force behind it that it nearly seems solid, hanging in the air. A trace of the Beast also makes its way into his voice as he speaks, the desire for vengeance hitting him so strongly that his usually placid monster rears its head.

<Icarus> smiles and looks up from her book. “Good. You can assist me and in return I will show you a way you can see her again, speak with her, maybe even hold her if you get good enough at it.”

<Conrad> doesn’t even bother to wipe away the crimson tears pooling in his eyes. “Yes, whatever you need. You have my assistance and my eternal gratitude.”

<Icarus> looks back to her book without the smile fading. “We can start with any information you might pick up about these Sabbat. Cassian may be in charge but he is far too trusting. It was the Sabbat that targeted us by tricking the Anarchs afterall. It is likely the item given to Cassian may be as damaging to him as to any other he may seek to use it on. God

<Icarus> doesn’t exactly like us if you hadn’t noticed.”

<Conrad> nods and finally wipes his face. “Yes, we are a damned lot, we Kindred.” He thinks for a moment, “The only other thing I know is that Sascha has a companion by the name Tulwar, and that he can, apparently, perceive Wraiths. I will endeavor to find out more.”

<Icarus> nods and then motions for the gargoyle to follow her once more. She gently pats Conrad on the arm. “Thank you. I do hope that what I can teach you will help you.”, she pats her book and tucks it under her arm. “But for now, I have some reading to do. Goodnight, Conrad.”

<Conrad> nods and opens his book back up. “Goodnight m, and thank you.” He heads back to his room and shuts the door, collapsing onto the bed in a fit of laughter. “Finally, Elena, some progress.” He sighs and kisses his fingers before pressing them to her lips on his bedside photo. “Best to keep up appearances though.” Conrad smiles and goes back to studying, though his mind races at the thought

of what secrets he will soon be learning, and how best to aid his benefactor.