33. Dilemmas

Of Ethics, dilemmas and ethical dilemmas. And also Jukka.

A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma.

[Lisa, 07. 03. 2018]

Neither the investigation of the line of inheritance nor that of the mistress for whom Bill’s grandniece works turn up any useful information, and Sinead is still pondering the connections in the case when Emma arrives to hand her a copy of Plato, as requested by the Ravnos a few nights earlier. Still confused about her sudden interest in philosophy, Emma inquires once more as to the significance of the book she gave her, and Sinead only cites Robb as the next piece required to puzzle everything together. Unsure what her companion is up to, but with an inkling that it is fueled by the same kind of insight bestowed upon Miranda recently, Emma leaves to attend to business elsewhere with a promise to keep an eye out for Robb.

Outside the city proper, Marcus sits down with Christopher to reveal the information he has learned about his sister, and after processing it for a moment, Christopher admits that his desire is to talk to his sister, to ask her whether she enjoys her Kindred nature, though he is well aware that arranging for a conversation will be a difficult matter, and is thus pondering whether he should simply send a letter. Marcus offers his help once more, citing a contact of his who might be able to assist with delivering a letter, and they discuss different courses of actions and their outcomes, as Chris wants to remove her from her sire’s influence despite seeing no ideal or even attainable path to this result. They are briefly sidetracked when Marcus mentions that he thought about acquiring a staked and boxed Lasombra master for Christopher to use as learning material, though they eventually circle back around to the situation involving his sister. When he suggests hiring Assamites for a kidnapping, Marcus brings up the fact that Stepano owes him a life boon that could be called in once he recovers from his unfortunate condition.

Frustrated with the lack of options, Christopher complains that even should they manage to free her from her sire’s influence entirely, there is still the matter of her having spent the last three centuries with the Sabbat, and kidnapping her just so Christopher can feel better seems an entirely selfish endeavor. Marcus advises him to calm down when he claims the situation has been specifically engineered to be unsolvable, and he uses the opportunity to excuse himself and spend some time on sculpting, or, as he calls it, smashing things, to occupy himself.

Meanwhile, Emma drops by the third Elysium and is surprised to find it not only open, but also entirely redecorated to resemble a tavern once again, though the furniture is much more expensive and not very durable. The walls are also decorated with a variety of posters, ranging from communist and suffragette propaganda to monsters taken from tall tales told by sailors. Walking up to the bar, she notices a sign informing visitors that they have to pay for everything they damage, and she strikes up a conversation with Annabelle, who is tending to the place. It turns out that Atticus decided to send Miranda on a journey to find herself, and the clan has taken over the Elysium in the meantime. Emma compliments the new design choices and, when Annabelle mentions that she is organizing a protest for better pay for workers and voting rights for women, she promises to lend a hand by print additional leaflets for the event. Annabelle mentions a Toreador designer who lives in Oxford and whom she intends to persuade to lend his talents to the cause for a longer period of time, but when Emma inquires as to what kind of persuasion her younger clanmate has in mind, the two women end up in a discussion of ethics in business relationships, as Emma fervently disagrees with Annabelle’s underhanded tactics. They fail to reach a conclusion, however, and since she wanted to head elsewhere during the night, Emma bids Annabelle goodbye and heads out once more.

After leafing through the new copy of Plato she has been given, Sinead makes a brief detour to follow a rather uncooperative Havoc whom she has caught stealing large quantities of food from the kitchen of her establishment. She trails him to a small building nearby a warehouse at the river where she finds that he has passed the food on to the special menagerie of Lala’s circus. With a promise to Havoc that they are going to discuss this matter later, she leaves the animals to their small party and continues onward to the house of one of Bill’s deceased relatives she intends to investigate. After a very thorough search, she discovers a secret stash of valuables in the kitchen area; it consists of stocks, some jewelry, a box of old pictures, a bible with a handcrafted cover and a half-broken silver knife. None of it immediately catches her eye, and well aware that removing a cursed object might harm herself, she leaves the items at their original location. On her way out, a pile of unopened letters catches her eye, one of which is from a real estate agency that the old woman had contacted to sell a house she had inherited from the first person to disappear.

With this newfound information, the Ravnos visits Bill at the hospital, who seems a lot more manical than previously; as it turns out, he had an encounter with Owen that left him slightly worse for wear. After some questioning, his grandniece reveals that her uncle, who was the first person to disappear, had debts due to loans he took out for his business of renting and his misfortune of investing money into stocks before the exchange burned down. With nothing more to gain, Sinead leaves the two of them to search for Stanley, whom she finds in a rather annoyed state, and he is quick to promise her whatever help he can give as long as it means the matter is resolved sooner and both Bill and his grandniece leave the hospital.

To give Christopher some space to process everything, Marcus leaves him be and heads downstairs, where he is informed that a visitor is waiting for him, who supposedly has been called by him. The mysterious visitor turns out to be a very agitated Sir Franklin, who storms into the room in full plate armor and proclaims his intent to rescue Marcus from the terrible monster of migraines, ready at his liege’s call to arms for an assistant. Waving his sword around, he asks where the dragon migraines currently is, and it takes Marcus a good deal of effort to calm his clanmate down and assure him that the monster has already been defeated. He tries to escort him out again, stating that he is needed in the city itself to keep watch for greater dangers, but despite promising to call on him if there ever is a beast to slay or a battle to fight, Sir Franklin seems reluctant to leave. To keep the situation from escalating, Marcus redirects his attention with tales of heroic deeds and fights of both of them. Unfortunately, after Sir Franklin explains that the devil himself lives in Germany and invented bureaucracy, Marcus makes the mistake of mentioning that Mithras allegedly was the person to invent bureaucracy.

Once more it falls to the primogen to dissuade his clanmember from rushing out and foolishly throwing himself into a fight as he now believes London to be ruled by the devil himself. He manages to change topics to Sancho, who as Sir Franklin says had trouble keeping up on his trusty donkey and should be arriving soon regardless, though he needs to wait for his squire before he can set out again. Their conversation turns towards art when Sir Franklin explains that the only time he sat for a portrait, a battle erupted and the artwork in question was destroyed before it could be finished. Lamenting the fact that there are no epics composed about his grand deeds, Marcus offers to contact a friend of his to rectify this terrible injustice, and Sir Franklin happily accepts after being reassured that the friend in question is very talented and would do him justice with her work.

Finally, Emma arrives at her intended destination for the night, which is the second Elysium. She makes some smalltalk with Caroline for a while, then comes back to her previous offer of taking care of the Elysium for a night so she can visit the circus in town. As they hadn’t previously discussed any details, both women agree on the next evening for the endeavor. When she returns the following night, she finds Caroline with a clanmate of hers, whom Emma recognizes as Zac. The Keeper advises her to ask Steven for anything she doesn’t know about the place itself before leaving with her companion. The first three Kindred to show up are all female Malkavians, and Emma greets them as instructed and chats with them amicably. The fourth person to enter the Elysium is Joshua, and Emma strikes up a conversation with him to request a meeting with primogen de Worde. After learning that the Nosferatu need a hand with some boxes at the library, Emma offers to help, which Joshua accepts; he tells her to visit the library on Monday to help out and afterwards meet with the primogen, then shares the story of how they were robbed of a work of Plato by a flamingo. Emma reacts baffled and mentions that she has seen a flamingo at the circus currently in the city, which gives Joshua an opportunity to complain at length about what he perceives to be the foolish new habit of Kindred to keep too many animal companions. He explains that the Nosferatu are currently looking into holding a seminar about proper animal handling, but their conversation is interrupted when Emma notices that Jukka snuck by her without greeting her and is attracting both of their attention with his attempts at being fabulous, which both Emma and Joshua agree are rather horrible failures.


Emma: I swear, whatever Sinead is up to is getting ever more mysterious. I have an inkling that this is related to the fact that Marcus – at least I assume it’s him – stole Plato from the Nosferatu, though I can’t yet make a connection as to what purpose both of these deeds serve. Why go to such trouble as to steal from the Nosferatu? Is Sinead trying to track down the stolen copy? But then what does Robb have to do with all that? I think I’m still missing a piece of the puzzle or two. It just doesn’t add up yet. I’ll keep an eye out and, given the opportunity, I’ll ask Marcus what’s going on. Maybe he can shed some light on this. I didn’t rat him out, so he could at least tell me that much.

I also have a sinking feeling that Caroline seemed a bit too eager to accept my offer of babysitting the Elysium tonight. Maybe I should have asked some questions about that beforehand…

33. Dilemmas

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