The Third City

Straying from the path

From the chronicles of Zadok Solomon, son of the Brujah…

Our latest mission has taken a dire turn. Mistakes were made, people have died… and the blame falls solely upon my shoulders.

Within the Zinassi stronghold, Arabella and I have fallen into service with the castle's lord. His name we never discovered, he has always simply been referred to as The Master. He took favour with us and was aware of who we are and why we are here. He took quite a liking to Arabella and adopted her as some kind of apprentice. I think he was just trying to keep us under his thumb, but he claimed to possess knowledge in regards to Arabella's background which she has been desperately seeking for some time now.

The Master brought us down to the castle's lower levels, his inner sanctum, where we discovered the cache of Settite tablets that we have been ordered to retrieve by Zeus. Beneath the sanctum, however, was what appeared to be a Settite library, identical to the one we saw back in Thebes hundreds of years ago. Clearly the Master has had some dealings with the Settites, and the Olympians as he claimed he had been in contact with Hades before.

I was only permitted limited access to the archives before being sent back up to the castle. Apparently the Master's eyes were focussed solely upon Arabella. I feared she may very well turn to his cause, vampires like the Master are devious and manipulative, their powers of persuasion are often formidable. My fears were fueled further after hearing one of the human slaves being dragged down to the Master's sanctum. I had been locked within my quarters when this was occuring; it seems the Master really didn't trust me at all. He was right not to.

I managed to break down my door in hopes of finding out what was happening to the girl who had been taken from the pen, maybe even save her. I also saw an opportunity to bring about a little dissent within the castle. I located one of the vampiric beasts which serve as the Master's attack dogs and guards and killed him, attempting to make it appear that he had tried to kill me in my sleep.

From there, things went terribly downhill, and even that is an understatement. Looking upon the broken body of the thing I had slain, its blood trickling down its body from its freakish mouth… I was overcome with a weakness I never knew existed, that I had never concieved before. In that moment, I sampled the creature's blood… and before I knew it, drained it dry. This moment of weakness was the greatest mistake of my life.

He is inside me now. I can hear him. While appearing to be a feral creature, this vampire very much had a mind. And now it occupies the same space as my own. It has no name, it has no control of my body… but its presence greatly disturbs me. It sifts through my mind, my memories. I cannot stop it. I cannot silence it. It mocks me incessantly, even now as I write I can hear its snide and sinister whispers reminding me that I have faltered from my path.

I could not let this presence impede me, however. Arabella would be depending on me, I had to make sure of what was transpiring down in the sanctum. The slave that had been taken down there was dead, partially deformed by the Master's fleshcrafting. I could not allow Arabella to aquire such knowledge. Even if she claimed never to use it, if she possessed such power, there would always be temptation. Power corrupts, it is the nature of humans and vampires alike. I confronted Arabella and the Master on this matter and they could immediately detect the scent of the vampire I drained, despite my pathetic attempts to hide it. No matter, what was important was that the Master's works were brought to a halt. The Master and I drew swords and fought. The struggle was brief and I emerged victorious. To think a vampire as powerful as he could be defeated so easily. Perhaps I am unaware of my own strength.

Upon the Master's demise, the sanctum began to collapse around us, and the creatures in the castle had turned bestial and mad. Wild dogs without a leash to hold them back. We had to grab what tablets we could and make our escape, but as we fled the castle we witnessed the slaves being savaged by the dead Master's crazed minions. There was nothing we could do. It was my fault. I took the Master down, I made all this happen. I wanted to save these people… but all I did was doom them.

As we ran for the harbour, we witnessed the man we met in the village observing our flight. An emissary of Hades, I believe he was. He seemed to disappear before our eyes just as we cast off from Damascus, never to return.

I tried to explain myself to Arabella, but I don't think anything I said or could say will make a difference. I dashed her hopes of ever finding out about her heritage, of discovering her true potential. I thought I was doing her a favour, maybe I was. Time will tell, for for now I will have to suffer her scorn. She considers me a liability and she is correct. I faltered, I allowed myself to feed on kindred blood even when I didn't need to feed. I cannot be trusted alone anymore and so, from this point on, I dedicate myself to Arabella's whims. For the time-being, she will lead me, at least until we are free of our service to Zeus.

We have returned to Athens and have surrendered the tablets we managed to recover from Damascus. They are incomplete, however, and are written in a most complex language. We do not fully understand them and I hope Zeus will not either. There is one Settite cache left to find, far up in the north. What awaits us beyond the misty horizon, we can only guess.

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