Blood and Oil

The Kings of Nothing-At-All

From the Journal of Melchior Hessian: Entry 1

And here I sit.

Why is it, I wonder often, that we have no kings? We’re hardly humble folk, we Kindred. I think it has something to do with the fact that kings, since the oldest stories ever told, are appointed by Gods, not men. Princes can be appointed by Beasts, and in Detroit, they certainly are.

The Movement was supposed to be different. It was supposed to be a subversion of that hellish little agreement that we were all monsters and wouldn’t (couldn’t?) try to be anything more than that. The Lance canonizes it. The Estate celebrates it. The Dragons… want to transcend it. Whatever that means for us. And the Crones reinterpret it, but intellectual gymnastics only take you so far. But the Carthian Movement… I believed in it. I still do, I think.

But it isn’t. It isn’t. The city killed the Movement, and now we just have Carthians, all jockeying for power. Cassandra is all right for what she is, I suppose. An apparatchik to the core, someone who has operated inside the revolution for so long she’s forgotten what it’s like to have to mount to the barricades. But professional. Intelligent. Realistic. Something to be said for that, up to a point.

Jack, well, that’s as dead an end as any of us could ask for. Sometimes when he talks, I see that dark sparkle in his eyes that says that his Man has happily surrendered to the Beast. Like a junkie in a room full of smack. He’s happy that the city is how it is. It’s a joke to him. And the rumors of his being in the Brood grow louder and more earnest day by day…

And Marcus? At once the best hope and the worst death for us. He promises a final blaze of glory against those who would imprison us, and speaks it honestly. He frightens me, I frankly admit it. But he might be the only real Carthian left of the lot.

And the self-proclaimed “Duke” of the Renaissance Center. Well.

I don’t know if I’ve ever met a man whom I hold in such contempt. A slimy, small man of the world of sex and alcohol. Cringing in his tower while the people who he once called comrade die in the street like rats. If there’s justice in this world he’ll fall from the highest pinnacle of his glass cage, and no one will mourn him. And the dust will vanish on the wind when the sun comes up over Detroit.

Ah, but I digress into fantasy and bitterness. The present calls, and it demands my attentions. My suspicions about Jeremy were confirmed. He took it badly, and I can’t blame him. I dare not write, even here, what I know. Too risky. For him and me alike.

Mr. Jameson is an interesting case, certainly. He consumes food and alcohol without the usual detriments to our kind. Save the frailties inimical to our race, he’s more man than Kindred half the time! Not a bloodline I am familiar with, but one which merits some study.

My faith in the soldiers (but not in the Cause) was further shaken last night, upon finding out that Jason Endagre had sold us out to the scum in the suburbs. His motives were understandable. His objectives were inexcusable. To target our people from the one house of charity we still have, to try to poison us in our hour of greatest need. He got the appropriate punishment, I guess.

I walked around the park tonight and came to a decision. I no longer have the luxury of sequestering knowledge that I am uncomfortable with. This war, with the introduction of poisons and foul magics, has made that impossible. Connor stayed in the basement tonight. ’Tis well. If this goes amiss, he can sweep up the ashes.

So here I sit, the chess pieces glistening in the light of the incense as the board rests on the Glyph of John Dee. And I look in the mirror and see the smudge that once my soul embodied. I fear what will come, but the cause demands. And I am but one man in a city that has no more kings. So let me ask the aid of the King of another realm, to lend assistance in a city of broken mirrors…

Veni Ionne Rube

Veni Ionne Rube

Veni Ionne Rube


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