The Toreador fledgling turns around to face a young black man with long dreadlocks and a scruffy goatee. A faint red light seems to irradiate from his eyes, though these are concealed by dark, sports sunglasses. He wears nothing more than a Puma jacket, Nike sweat pants and a pair of old-school J’s.
“Ricardo Valente... the new face of the Toreador clan. I have to say I’m impressed,” the primogen says.
“On the contrary, sir,” Ricky replies. “It is you who impresses me. Are you Brazilian, by any chance?” He asks, given that this man has pronounced his name without a fault.
The Gangrel primogen chuckles. “Not quite, son. I used to be Portuguese property, though, when I was a slave in Pernambuco territory during my mortal life. ”
“Oh. I’m sorry for th-“
“Apologies accepted, Ricky. I have been dead to those days for far too long; now they matter very little.”
Ricky acquiesces. “Very well, I appreciate it. So you are the eldest of Las Vegas’ Gangrel?”
“Correcto. Since me and my childe are the only Gangrel in Las Vegas that actively participate in Camarilla affairs, I am the uncontested primogen of our clan in this city... and you can call me ‘Darius,’ by the way.”
“Makes sense, Darius. It is an honor to meet you.”
“I can’t believe my ears,” Sam exclaims, with a tone of surprise. “Did I just hear a Torrie saying it is an honor to meet the elder of our clan here in Vegas?”
“You seem amazed by that,” Ricky observes.
“And with due reason, Ricardo. Clans such as yours and the Ventrue’s see the Gangrel as nothing more than kennel-dogs due to our... bestiality.” The primogen tilts his sunglasses down for a moment, unveiling his glowing scarlet eyes.
“It’s true,” Sam acknowledges. “Your “vidamesse” hasn’t met us both ever since she got here about a decade ago, and she isn’t planning on doing it anytime soon either.”
“But you... you are different from them.” Darius looked to the fledgling with a pensive look. “Tell me, Ricky, where are you from in Portugal?”
“Lisboa... home of a vampire much like you.”
“What do you mean, like me?”
“I mean like you in the sense that he does not look down on others because of what they are, but respects all for who they are – even his enemies. He swims against the tide – not because he wants to do so, like an Anarch rabble-rouser, but because that is in his very nature, and he cannot betray it.”
”And who is this vampire, sir?”
Darius smiles. “Have you ever heard of the Caitiff?”
“I’m afraid I haven’t.”
“Oh, you would like to meet him. The man is more myth than Kindred: rumor has it the Caitiff is an orphan Kindred, with no sire to look after him, yet he has still managed to become the most powerful vampire of Lisbon – why, some even say he can wield time itself, like the fabled Brujah ‘Elois’! In any case, he too is different from his kind: an ordinary caitiff doesn’t live long, and when he does, he lives under the toes of the legitimate Kindred; the Caitiff, however, has not only survived three centuries of existence, but has also succeeded in turning the tables to his favor.” Darius still smiles. He seems to truly admire that vampire.
“Interesting... I wonder what he did to have such success.”
“Well, he was a blacksmith in his mortal days. He used that trade to craft the tools of his vampire vocation: assassination.”
“A bounty hunter, huh?”
Darius shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose you could call him that. I prefer the term “assassin-for-hire,” as he has made the murder of Kindred his art – I mean, who’d think a vampire could be so deadly to other vampires with an archaic crossbow?”
“Good point,” Sam states. “This guy wipes out Sabbat ancillae – that is, experienced Sabbat dogs – armed with guns of all sizes and shapes by shooting them with a relic from the Dark Ages. That deserves respect.”
“I guess you’re right,” Ricky says. “Still, I don’t plan going around Las Vegas to kill my own for some reward.”
The two Gangrel cackle. “Oh, but you will, Ricardo, you will.” Darius rests his hand upon the Toreador’s shoulder. “You see, they are not your own when they seek to kill you, and in this city – the Sin City – there is always someone seeking to kill you...”