Marius was waiting for me seated in the living room of our tower. His face was hardened, as if he was going to tell me something he did not want to tell me. "Sit down, beloved." Marius took my hand and sat me down next to him. A certain panic wrought through me. "What is it?! What has happened?" I asked as he placed one finger across my mouth as if to hush me. He graced that finger in an upward motion against my cheek. "Lifeforces that are connected, tend to tell us when they extinguish," he said, then kissed my neck, as he drew back my hair with that same hand. "Va'lis is no more," he said almost in pure breath, "his termination was unsettling." I pulled back from him with my mouth open, quickly cupping my hand over it. "I know deep in your heart of hearts you wished to save him... from what I cannot --- " Marius was suddenly interrupted as I pulled away from him. "From himself! This life, this unlife is not easy for any of us that have no teacher, no ground to set their feet in, no family!" My voice now slightly raised. "No vampire is a monster because they seek to be. You taught me this. How can you ask me what I wanted to save him from!?!" Marius grabbed my hand to pull me back towards him, "And some vampires can never be anything other than monsters. It is why we have the Culling, lest ye forget." But then a silent stare forced his look away. Marius knew that I did not share in the belief that the Culling was a sacrament that we should follow. Vampires to me are made stronger by teaching, education, socialization, and blood ties... not at the expense of the younger, weaker vampires. The yearly ritual was somewhat horrifying to me. It involves the sacrifice of newly-made vampires at the fangs of the founts, Akasha and Enkil; a gory, gruesome sight. Along with other elder female vampires, most of us are witnesses rather than participants. Those that wish to participate dig their fangs into the sacrificed vampires in conjunction with Akasha or Enkil. The males are offered to Akasha, while the females are offered to Enkil. It is the only time they move from thier statue-like poses. Sometimes the Divine Parents spare a young one, oddly enough. Those spared see to grow up and prosper. I strongly believe that Va'lis would have been spared. "I intend to find out what happened to him at once. Answers is what I seek." I said to Marius and broke the long silence of reflection. He turned back to me, "I suggest you do not involve yourself in such matters, Va'lis was not part of our coven." He said blankly. I stood up from the couch fixing my eyes on his, "Is that so? Then you explain to me how his lifeforce was connected to you without having tasted his blood! How you chose to involve yourself without my," I pointed at myself, "knowing?!?" My voice raised up a pitch, "Until you can do that, do not tell me what I can and cannot involve myself in!" Marius donned a quisical smile as I walked out of the tower headed for the Galehaven tavern to find my answers. ------------------------- Link to Original Post: The Children of Darkness - A Pained Sorrow Open to those characters that are following the "Blood on His Hands" storyline on the Catskills shard.