Step by step, Ricky and Eve make their way across the massive ballroom. The fledgling vampire glances, from side to side, at the somber coterie gathered here: from the scoffing Brujah to the unpredictable Malkavians; from the derisive Nosferatu to the stoical Tremere; from the unpretentious Gangrel loyal to the Camarilla, to the vain fellow Toreador and the conceited Ventrue – all eyes look down on the “new kid,” who despite all his anxiety, remains calm and assertive as he and his sire walk toward a draped stage. The two ascend the steps beside the stage and face the two highest powers in the whole Camarilla domain of Sin City, the chief authorities in Kindred affairs of all Las Vegas – Prince Benedic and his Seneschal, Geoffrey Montrose. Their countenances almost break Ricky’s conviction: the Ventrue Prince looks inquisitively at the fledgling, who does not seem to be the typical Toreador by any means; the second-in-command, the Nosferatu Montrose, does not pretend to hide his contempt toward Toreador to the fledgling and expresses so with an ominous demeanor, although he has become aware that Ricky is able to suppress the revulsion often felt by the Toreador when in the presence of a Nosferatu for the first time.
Benedic turns to the vampire audience and steps towards them. “My fellow Kindred, we are gathered here tonight on a rare, hopefully fortunate event: the presentation of a new, legitimate childe and member of our community.” He motions at the fledgling to step forward, who does so right away . “What is your name, childe?”
“My name is Ricardo Valente, sir, although most call me ‘Ricky’… for obvious reasons.”
The Prince seems to be intrigued. “Ricardo… Eres Español?”
“Yo soy Portugués,” Ricky answers.
“Oh… I see. Nuestros hermanos. I remember when you were once part of our empire. Glorious days…”
Ricky keeps his mouth shut. This is not the time for patriotic objections.
The Prince proceeds. “Ricky, you might have perceived by this time that we are no longer the people we used to be. We are vampires. We are monsters, nocturne creatures with a ravenous lust for blood and an atypical aversion to sunlight. However, you’ll soon begin to understand that we are also Kindred. We live in a society, and that society has rules – called Traditions – to which all of us must comply for the common welfare. Do you know such rules?”
“Indeed I do, sir.”
Prince Benedic nods. “That’s good, yet not good enough. We need, as concerned members of this society, some evidence that you will abide by these rules, just as we all do. Pledge your adherence to the Traditions, young one, and live by such pledge; for it is made for your sole benefit, not ours.”
Ricky takes a deep breath, calmly responding to the Prince’s request. “I pledge, as a member of the Camarilla, to protect the Tradition of the Masquerade, and to submit to the Traditions of Domain, of Progeny, of Accounting, of Hospitality, and of Destruction.”
“Your sire has taught you well,” the Prince says with a smile. “Welcome to the world of darkness – our world. Your sire will no longer take responsibility for you. You now belong to the city, and the city will reward you or punish you for your actions.”
“So be it.”
“An eager one, huh? Now that is a fortunate surprise. Ladies, gentlemen: this session is over. Thank you for your presence; I wish you a safe trip back home.”
Once the crowd engages in socialization, Eve approaches her childe. “See how it went well? Come on, let’s go meet the others!”
“Yes, of course,” Ricky says, staring at the Prince. “Just give me a moment.” The newly presented vampire tries to overhear the conversation between Montrose and Benedic. The Seneschal whispers something of a “oops,” of a situation that seems to be breaking the Masquerade.
“That damned Lasombra maniac will pay dearly for this,” the Prince says lowly. “Find someone to stop him, or I’ll be forced to take extreme measures!”
Ricky sighs again. It seems that afterlife will not be as peaceful as this ceremony has made it appear to be…