The Toreador Primogen

At first glance, the Toreador seem to be everything contemporary young humans aspire to become: muses, artists, undying superstars, irresistible sirens. But their talent and beauty is nothing but a hunter’s camouflage. The Toreador bloodline has selectively seduced, embraced, and fed from artistic elites for millennia. We Kindred may think ourselves safe from their enticing gaze and teasing words. Folly! I feel no shame that I let Maia manipulate me at court because when you know how they work, their vanity is easy to exploit.

The Artistes arrived in Praha fashionably late, during the 17th century. Just 300 years later, they were ready to lie and charm their way into Princedom, claiming the throne before Zvi’s burning ashes had even settled. But Prince Vasily’s reign, like that of most Toreador princes, was brief. A mere half-century before, he was violently deposed by Carlak the Brujah.

Maia, already a praised socialite, was suspiciously absent from court during the attack but soon returned to flourish. She was a notable force during the velvet revolution and a secret confidante of several presidents thereafter. Still, she drinks deeply from the same humans she pretends to care for so much.

From this I can conclude two things. A priori: She is fundamentally disloyal, proven by her conduct after Vasily – a prince of her own blood – was dethroned. A secondo: Her humane and soft persona is nothing but a self-serving excuse. This makes Maia a dangerous enemy. The kind you keep very close at all times. Thus she retains her position under my rule.

Some Roses may side with Anarchs in coming troubles, which is not a comforting thought. Both the stunning “Sirens” and the inspiring “Muses” are fast as lightning, but they use their artistry in two very different ways.

In the chaos surrounding the last Convention, I witnessed a Siren take on two hulking Brujah, armed with nothing but raw presence and a blade. One moment she was on her knees, a tempting victim to the vandals. The next, she dashed forward in a blinding explosion of sound and fury. The biggest of the brutes stood slack-jawed, unable to tear his eyes away from the gyrating Rose. The other shielded his eyes and screamed. The Siren whirled around, lacerating the awed brutes with her razor-blade until she froze triumphantly in mid pose. A red mist was all that remained of her foes.

Maia once gave me a video clip as a “report” on the confrontation between two of her Muses and a gang of hostile mafiosi. In it, I see the ten men, armed with AKs and Makarovs, gun down Maia’s sire, Mikola, over some avant-garde painting. Then the video is marred by static, and I hear the most beautiful song emerge from one of the Muses’ throats. The thugs turn away from their first target, looking for this new threat. Behind them, the fallen Rose rises up, inspired by the song of the Muse. The last few frames are nothing but carnage and death as the two Toreador fly into the men from two directions, still singing.

 

– From “Reflections of Prince Markus; On the Thorns of the Rose”

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