This was written up by Ian. Thank you for giving him the sort of death he deserved. The scene takes place a year after Guilford opened the Conservatory. Roughly fourteen months after he became Prince.

It was getting very late at the Yates Conservatory’s Halloween party when the last two guests showed up—neither was on the guest list, but as it turned out, convincing the guards to let them by without invitations wasn’t a problem for the smaller of the two, and they both gained admittance in short order.

Inside, pretty much all of the other guests had already left, and those that remained were spread throughout the Conservatory by this point, which worked out perfectly for the newcomers. As the Halloween party was still [I]technically[/I] in progress, no one thought anything of the hooded costumes the two wore, though the heavy hoods conveniently obscured any view of their faces from the security cameras. They nonchalantly made their way over to the stairs, and strode on up to the third floor before hanging a left and making their way to the end of the hall purposefully…

“Come in!” The beautiful voice called out at the knock. Prince Guilford Yates looked up from his business at the desk, and looked somewhat surprised when the two hooded figures stepped in. The smaller of the two stepped forward and nodded respectfully to the Prince, hefting the bundle under her arm…and as Yates and his ghoul looked on expectantly, neither of them noticed the massive, muscular man stealthily undoing the cord to the security camera in the office.

“Greetings, Prince Yates.” The smaller figure removed the hood to reveal a frail, reasonably attractive young woman with short, choppy blonde hair and pale blue eyes. “My name is Flora Whitehall—I represent a subject of yours that couldn’t be here in person this evening, but greatly wished to speak with you on a matter of some importance. May I?” She indicated the bundle under her arm, and the Prince gave a silent nod, not quite sure what to make of this…

At that, Whitehall uncovered the bundle under her arm to reveal a small teleconferencing setup, and sat it out on the Prince’s desk. She turned it on for him and waited on the connection, at which point a familiar face appeared on the screen. Unlike the typically neutral face the person typically presented, though, tonight it was set in a strangely arrogant smirk, and the person spoke in a rich, cultured voice.

“Happy Halloween, Mr. Yates. I trust your party went well?”

“Quite well indeed. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it, M—“

The person on the other end cut him off with a short wave of the hand. “I apologize for my apparent rudeness, but I’m afraid the matter about which I need to speak with you is one of some urgency. For you see, I have a proposition to make, one with a very limited expiration date…”

* * *

As the two guests looked on silently, the Prince listened for the next several minutes, his face betraying none of the emotions screaming inside his skull as the person on the other end spoke in a calm, reasonable tone, outlining the proposal. Finally, the other person drew to a close, paused for a moment, and then spoke again.

“So, Mr. Yates, what’s it to be? I’m afraid I’ll need a response now—will you accept my generous offer?”

The Prince sat motionless for a long moment, the war of emotions visible on his face, before he finally responded in a cold, cutting voice. “I would never submit to such an offer. And you are obviously not nearly as smart as I’d originally thought, else you would have known that. Now, have your lackeys remove themselves from my office, else I’ll have security do it for them.”

The person on the other end sighed and nodded. “I was afraid you would say that—Avalis was confident that you could be made to see reason, but I did in fact know better. A shame, really…this could have been made so much easier. Flora? Tristan?” Those were the last two words spoken before the image on the monitor winked out.

Both of the “guests” simultaneously undid the clasps on their hooded cloaks, and Yates immediately reached underneath his desk to thumb the silent alarm, realizing immediately as he watched them move what was happening, but he knew already that it was too late…

Malcolm, loyal servant to the Prince for over a century, stepped forward to protect his master—but he never had a chance. The small woman simply sidestepped him, leaving the immense Tristan to deal with him…and a split-second later Flora heard the gut-wrenching snap of the ghoul’s neck from just behind her, along with the ebony man’s grunt of satisfaction. In a literal blur of supernatural speed, she swung around the desk and slashed at the Camarilla Prince in a bestial flurry of claws and fangs, on him before he could even react enough to stand from the chair…and soon all that remained of the center of the Camarilla’s power in Seattle was a splash of bright crimson vitae, a rapidly decaying pile of ash, and the brief echoes of the Prince’s short death cry off the high ceiling of the office.

* * *

“You didn’t take him, Flora?” Tristan seemed genuinely shocked, even more so when Flora responded with a disdainful, nearly scornful expression as she licked the fresh blood from her claws.

“We’re not all totally lacking in self-control when it comes to another Kindred’s vitae, whelp…and besides, these fucking West Coast Princes are all thin-blooded rejects anyway. No point in wasting the effort on it—you’ll learn soon enough if you live that long. Now, security’s bound to be coming soon, so why don’t you bring up that silence bubble of yours, and let’s get the hell out of here.”

At that, Flora headed for the window, the obvious point of exit with security on the way. She turned at the last moment, though, to notice that Tristan was inexplicably intending to exit the way they came. The large black man opened the oak door…

…and was immediately set upon by a woman in a guard’s uniform, but moving with a supernatural speed that indicated she was no mortal guard! Their scuffling made no sound as the male assassin had already triggered his gift of silence, but there were sure to be more where the ferocious young woman had come from.

Flora sighed, debated for a moment as to whether her young charge was worth the trouble of a rescue after being such a dunce, and then decided that he in fact wasn’t as she threw the teleconferencing screen through the office window, and clambered on through. The leaves and branches of a massive tree just beneath the window broke her fall, and she fell harmlessly to the ground, and then vanished into the night.

* * *

The battle raged on in the office of the former Prince of Seattle. After several fraught moments, the assassin’s superior strength, speed and skill had given him the upper hand on his now obviously vampiric opponent, and a flourish with his poisoned dagger severed the woman’s head from her body. Flora had guessed correctly, though, as she wasn’t the last to appear—four more guards appeared at the end of the hall outside the office, including a pair of large men Tristan noted were without uniforms.

He’d always been overconfident, and even his decades of harsh training hadn’t yet beaten that out of him—Flora had obviously left him to sink or swim on his own, he imagined, and Tristan was determined to prove himself. He’d already defeated what he assumed to be the sheriff (even weak and thin-blooded as she’d apparently been), and thus he supposed that the rest of these nuisances would be child’s play…

Tristan’s confidence immediately evaporated, however, as while the two rear guards took up flanking positions, both lead men triggered identical bursts of speed and dashed into the room.

The Seneschal and Sheriff both instantly scanned the room and realized what had already happened here, and their anger, enhanced by the passionate blood of their clan, only served to fuel their attacks against the assassin. Even as well trained as he was, Tristan slowly began to find himself outmatched, and while he dealt his attackers a few decent blows, he hadn’t had time to properly re-poison his blade, and his wounds were thus having little effect.

His opponents, meanwhile, worked in near-perfect concert, moving and darting and parrying with great speed and skill, and the massive black man began to lose his patience and composure, which was really all the advantage the two Brujah warriors needed. Eventually, as Rob distracted the assassin with a skilled feint, Trevor used his limited skills in the art of invisibility to disappear, remaining motionless while the Sheriff moved his adversary’s focus, then worked his way around far enough to flank the man, and his machete quickly found Tristan’s unprotected neck. The assassin’s last conscious thought was the all-too-late realization that he should have perhaps taken the window…

As the pair began healing their wounds, and sound came rushing back into the room upon the assassin’s death, Trevor and Rob took stock of the situation now that they had time for a careful analysis. Things were happening too fast, and Trevor wasn’t sure what he really ought to be doing, but he knew he had to get a handle on things, and right-the-hell-now. He looked to Rob after a moment, speaking quickly but carefully.

“Have the guards get everyone out of the building now—subtly, though, so as not to rouse suspicion. Tell them the party’s over or something, and we’re starting cleanup to reopen tomorrow. Then close off the third floor altogether—I don’t even want security up here except to stand guard at the stairs and elevator. Tell Fong and Fletcher what’s happened, and get Laird to punch up all the security tapes from tonight, see if he can’t figure out who this guy was.” He paused then momentarily, as if trying to keep the significance of what had just happened from hitting him for the moment. “Fuck…once the building’s clear, get all the guards together in the office for interviews, and get Nasic and Holland up here double-quick, along with any other Kindred left in the building.”

As the two set to work, Trevor muttered softly. “Who? Why? Why now? Too many questions, not enough fucking answers—story of my life…”

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