With Maik being called away for work with Maximillian, Isabel and Paul were summoned to Prince LaCroix’s court where he rewarded them financially for their work in protecting the Masquerade.
They were also introduced to Daria, who was placed in their care as another new Vampire without a Sire.
After running an errand for V.V. at the Luckee Star Motel in West Hollywood they headed for Vesuvius where Ms. Velour rewarded them with a taste of her private herd. Offering a reward of either a month’s free feeding at Vesuvius or information on city politics the group chose information and were informed about the severe lack of Vampires or a clear Kindred ruler/s in the South Beach area of L.A.
Following up on this they drove around South Beach for a few hours until happening upon a Vampire in Torrance, clearly an older and more powerful lady of Asian origin who led them on a wild goose chase only to literally vanish before their eyes. Leaving a calling card in the form of a dagger the group decided to pin it to the wall of a disused beach hut with a message asking her to get in touch.
Upon reaching home their pager buzzed and sure enough the mysterious kindred requested a meeting at Santa Monica pier the following night.
Turning up the following night they were surprised to find Valdez meeting them. He spoke of the city being ruled by the Carthians under a much fairer system before the riots and the arrival of LaCroix. Wanting release from the thralldom of the Prince the group offered to join the Carthians and work with Valdez to supply information on the Prince until they were strong enough to depose him, in exchange for domain over South Bay, or at least areas of it.
Agreeing but not trusting Valdez asked them to track down a missing newly made kindred working as a police patrolman; Daniel Freeman, who vanished two nights before while responding to a domestic disturbance at the Dunbar Hotel.
Their investigations led to the discovery of sealed basement with not only Freeman but five other unknown kindred chained and drained of blood to the point of feebleness. Dead bodies on the floor and a fight with a ghoul confirmed the place as a blood bank for an older and unknown vampire who could no longer sustain itself on human blood. Freeing Daniel and escaping they confirmed the older vampire was female but nothing more.
Even for his age Valdez struggled to conceal his surprise about how quickly Freeman was returned. Suggesting they go back to their haven and act like nothing happened he promised a meeting the following night to talk details about the Carthians and how the band could help ‘restore balance’ to Los Angeles.
Debating their cover story should the Prince ask they reached their haven safely and were bedding down for the day when the phone rang…LaCroix wants to see them at sunset about a police matter that could threaten the Masquerade…