The Death of Marcel Durand

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    Bnicleve
    Keymaster

    You are in the midst of the innocuous.

    Below is the riotous.

    You had returned to your quarters, leaving the howling mob of ancillae and neonates behind. They overwhelm the divertissement and the grounds below, stamping, dancing, shouting, glasses breaking, laughter, an errant wail of pleasure cutting through the torrent of noise from the revelry below. There’s a chorus of them somewhere on the balcony of the divertissement. They’ve made a vulgar, drunken chant of Marcel’s speech.

    “The King is Dead…so bury the fucker! The King is Dead…so bury the fucker!”

    Viviane was shrugging out of her gown just now, positioned between her husband’s knees as he hurried her hands along with his own. He was greedy for her, stagnant blood now freely coursing his hollow veins. Perhaps he was excited by the show of respect for her disillusionment with the Camarilla, perhaps he was eager to expel his frustration between her thighs, or perhaps he was simply a man who wanted to fuck his wife. He was inside her before she could express just how fucking excited she truly was, words cut off by his mouth crushing hers.

    Innocuous, harmless coupling.

    A few doors down, there is a very different scene.

    Heinricus was standing before a rack of swords. They did not belong to him, merely the accoutrement of another man’s war. Even with his shutters barred, he could still hear the dull thud of the rabble across the courtyard. It seemed to beat out a military cadence as he stretched out his long fingers to touch the pommel of a great bastard sword, wondering how many necks the blade had severed. His eyes swung to the balcony door and he wondered how many more. Katerina was out there, pensive and content to be assaulted by the noise, watching the bonfires spark to life and the horde of young Kindred throw themselves perilously close to the flame like pagans at the solstice.He knew she was calculating, watching their frenzied dances and discerning how to turn them to her own tune.

    This too, is entirely forgettable. This moment in time, one of the countless minutes that would tick bye unnoticed and unaccounted for – was perfectly innocuous.

    And then it was not.

    Viviane’s mouth was open in a silent scream of passion.

    Heinricus’ hand had just enclosed the hilt.

    It gave no warning. Pain never precedes itself that way. It simply and suddenly IS. It exploded from your atrophied heart, igniting your dead nerves, scalding your brain, arrowing down your spin and along the lengths of your white fingers. It paralyzes you in a moment. You had no time to make sense of it before you found yourself expelling blood. You heaved it from your mouth, felt it sting your eyes and saw it color the world red. And in another moment the pain was gone and you are covered in your own gore. You ought to have felt relief, astonishment, fear…but could feel nothing at all.

    Your head felt like desolate space, as if it had been swept from your shoulders and it was only a spectre looking down at clay hands, two white islands in a sea of blood. Your body felt emptied of itself, as if there was not even ash within to betray that you had once been whole. It was for that one terrible moment after the pain that you were naught but a construction of crepe paper and if the shutters had opened just then the barest of breezes would blow you down.

    And then the vacuum collapsed on itself and erupted under your flesh. Dead cells fired in your skull, brain swarming with understanding and you knew it with perfect clarity. You could feel the aspect of yourself, the creature that was purely you before the vaulderie drowned them, suddenly break the surface somewhere in your soul and gasp in the reprieve. And as you saw the blood burning into ash beneath you, flecking like scales from your skin and you were overcome with that crushing certainty.

    Marcel Durand was dead.

    All that remained of him was spent in the ash around you.

    All that remained of the Ordo was dust.

    The chanting from outside suddenly strikes your ears.

    “The King is dead…”

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