Vampires of Detroit
In the latter half of the 19th century, Victoria Morland was a normal young woman. The youngest daughter of affluent parents, she was nearing the age of 30 without marrying—an early engagement had been broken by her fiance’s parents requiring that he marry another. Time had eased the pain, and life was slow and pleasant until the fire<!—NATION ATTACKED—>.
She never knew whether it was accident or arson, but Brother Job certainly saw an opportunity in it. He approached her as she stood numb with horror before her smoldering family home, and gently led her away through a crowd of neighbors and officials, diverting any who might try to stop them with a single word. Brother Job, she would later learn, was more fully known as Job-raked-out-of-the-ashes, a Malkovian on the outskirts of the Ordo Dracul. But he did not at first allow her any contact with the other Kindred, nor indeed tell her that any existed.
After the Embrace, Victoria was completely isolated in her Sire’s dark, empty mansion for many weeks, terrified and frantic and not understanding what had happened to her. Nothing of the transformation she had undergone was explained—only the rules she was to live by. She was Chosen now. She was no longer of the world, and must forsake all its vanities. She would never again look in a mirror or taste of gluttony; she would never again have earthly possessions. She would never have family. All things would be as new. He began to teach her his disciplines, forcing her to train. He brought her live rats to eat, again explaining nothing, and smiled with satisfaction as, after a few nights, she was finally hungry enough to seize the little creatures and drain them dry.
After a month or two, Job-raked-out-of-the-ashes decided that Victoria was ready and brought her, still disoriented and miserable, to Elysium. Here he smugly presented his new fledgling to the Prince, but if he had expected congratulations or praise, he was sorely disappointed. The Prince’s outrage at his presumption in siring without permission, to say nothing of willfully parading the Childe before the populace, knew no bounds. The obnoxious old fool had been making himself annoying long enough—it ended now. Brother Job was executed on the spot with barely enough time for a shocked protest, crumbling to ash before his bewildered protégée’s eyes. Turning next to the madman’s illicit spawn, the Prince was on the point of ordering her put down as well when one of his advisers interceded. Brother Job had been, if not exactly respected, an acknowledged potentate among the Dragons—had he been teaching this neonate any of his skills? When Victoria falteringly demonstrated what she had learned, little though it was, those observers among the Ordo Dracul offered to take her in and continue her upbringing. Impatient for the mess to be over and done, the Prince acquiesced. Once again, she was led away.
That was nearly a hundred and fifty years ago. Victoria has proven something of a disappointment to everyone, although not enough to have attracted any renewed attention to herself—rather the opposite, in fact. Although her new teachers could fill the gaps Brother Job had left in her education as regarded the Requiem, they could not undo her revulsion for the society she now found herself in, and they could not interest her in continuing to study the Coils of the Dragon. For the most part, they have long since thrown up their hands and left her alone, which suits her fine. The Order have some right ideas about improvement and change, she thinks, but overall they’ve missed the point, and badly. Nominally, she remains one of their number, but she pursues her own interests now.
Though her temperament and beliefs may be quite different from her Sire’s, she cannot help being of his bloodline. She has a treacherous and unsteady mind of late, and relies heavily on touchstones to keep herself grounded—especially her collection. In a shabby little house in what was once the suburbs, Victoria keeps shelf upon shelf of knickknacks, neatly organized according to a system only she understands—a ring here, a glove there, a wallet, a hearing aid, a prosthetic leg—all odds and ends lifted from the humans she now dispassionately feeds on. She has not, after all, deprived herself of earthly possessions. She tried, at first, but after a while she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to take these things from them, these things that were once hers, these things they still seemed to care about so much. It’s too late to stop now. Sometimes she worries about it, thinking of Brother Job. But she never wanted to be Chosen in the first place, did she? She never asked to be ejected from the world. So maybe, if she atones for each demonic blood-feast by taking something purely material, purely mortal, things will balance out. Maybe if she surrounds herself with fetishes, their magic will start to work on her again. Maybe they can’t take her away if she doesn’t go.