“Nice try, elder.”
Croix-de-Fer chuckled. “You haven’t seen anything… neonate.” As soon as the bald vampire finished speaking, the handle of his walking stick left the rest of the cane. Subtly and swiftly, Croix-de-Fer spun half-way, still holding the stick’s handle. “Touché.”
Daniel stood petrified, his guns still constraining the walking stick. He gazed at his flank: a thin, sharp blade rested below his ribs, its edge lightly perusing both his shirt and skin. Drips of dark blood slowly stained the burgundy shirt.
“You never cease to surprise me, Croix-de-Fer,” said the neonate. “A sword in your cane?! That is so you. Touché indeed.” With a step backward, Daniel withdrew the circle. His heart acknowledged his defeat at the hands of his cunning sire, although his mind resented having been outwitted, especially with such finesse.
“It surprises me that you didn’t sense it,” Croix-de-Fer replied as he walked towards his childe.
“What do you think? The sword, of course!”
Daniel shrugged his shoulders. “How could I?”
“Use your brains… and your blood.”
“My... oh, you mean the ‘disciplines?’”
“Yes, the Disciplines,” the elder vampire answered, limping down the attic’s stairs before his protégé. “The powers granted by God to us, the Damned, to allow us to survive the dangers of the night… and to remind us of His most profound Grace.”
Daniel’s face expressed bewilderment. “How so?”
“Do you not recall the book of Genesis, young Giroux? When the Lord of Hosts gave Caine… the Mark?”
The two were back to the richly-decorated lobby. “Yeah. What about it?”
“What about it!?” The elder vampire instantly slapped the back of Daniel’s head. “That was the most important moment of both human and Kindred history! That ‘mark’, which is just a cryptic term used by Moses to hide its true meaning, was God’s direst curse; that ‘mark’ was vampirism!”