Settling In

      Every time she entered her new haven, Patricia couldn't suppress a moment of surprise that she had so quickly moved from living in a crackerbox in Berkeley to a nigh-luxurious townhouse in central Vancouver. This is definitely a bonus to getting out of California, she thought.
      Ahead of her, the Mantle twins - far more used to the finer things in life - were moving through the ground floor, turning on lights and discussing the day's events.
      Still not quite used to having company to do these little things, Patricia sat down in the living room and waited for the questions. They weren't long in coming.
      Eliot Mantle spoke up. "You didn't mention you were a doctor." He smiled as if a great secret had been discovered during their audience with the Prince of the city, a scant hour ago.
      Carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses, Beverly returned from the kitchen.
"And a plastic surgeon at that." He added, also amused.
      Trish shrugged at the pair. "I've had other things on my mind. It didn't seem that important." She admitted, honestly.
      "She embraces two doctors and she didn't think it was that important." Elliot scoffed gently, uncorking the wine. Quietly, Patricia envied their odd ability to still enjoy normal food.
      She sighed. "It really isn't." she protested. "I lost my license years ago." She waved away the twin's obvious curiousity. "Short, but very ugly story. I'm not in the mood to tell it." And I don't feel like sharing it with anyone, even you, she thought.
      "Alright." Beverly acquiesced, and Elliot followed his lead. They clearly intended to wait for a better time and try to get the story then. Patricia sensed that and reluctantly decided that they had the right to know a little more about the woman who had changed their lives.
      "Oh, alright." She relented. She didn't see any harm in telling some of her story. "You see, there are some things I'm trying to get away from…" she began.

      "A murderous Anarch and her fledgling brood." Arthur Nedry commented dryly to his Prince. "I hope your altruism hasn't gone too far."
      If Robert Berain, Ventrue Prince of Vancouver, was insulted by his seneschal's tone, he didn't show it. Instead, he calmly continued writing a memo on a notepad on his desk, in defiance of the computer beside him. Berain was a picture of the whiz-kid turned millionaire - despite being over a century old. His blonde hair hadn't been brushed in a visible while, nor was it tidly cut. Rather than the classic business garb preferred by his clanmates, Berain was relaxed in faded khakis and short-sleeved shirt and it was widely known that it would take a visit from a head of state to convince him to don a suit. If the board members of his international trading company were worried by Berain's appearance, they had the company's extremely healthy profit margin to reassure them - and reassure them it did.
      The pair sat in Berain's corporate office, located on the top storey of one of Vancouver's newer high-rises. The decor was as severe as it was expensive, dominated primarly by angular modern furniture and lighting fixtures. The only concession to curved geometry lay within a large Miro canvas hanging on the west wall. However, Miro's compelling patterns were overshadowed by the view from the southern window - a glassy wall giving a panoramic view of downtown. Central Vancouver glittered as prettily as any of it's larger cousins to the south, or so Berain liked to think.
            From this vantage point Robert Berain ran both his corporate holdings and the kindred of Vancouver with an admittedly eclectic mix of orthodoxy and, as Nedry had put it, altruism that - while criticized - had garnered him millions of dollars and a surprisingly stable city. The city's kindred had prospered under Berain's decade of rule and - with one notable exception - Vancouver had managed to avoid the strife that had torn apart Chicago and Toronto.
      Berain finished writing and finally glanced at Nedry, as if determining his answer by the sharpness of his suit. Indeed, Nedry always dressed in the peak of classic corporate fashion, in painful contrast to his Prince. The Toreador liked to whisper that this was Nedry's attempt to reproach the Prince for his casual ways, but if that was the case, Berain wasn't responding to the implied scolding. Compared to each other, most would not have believed that Prince was grandsire to the seneschal, but that was the bond between them and the reason why Nedry could get away with a tone that would be painfully punished if it came from another.
      "I'm quite sure of her." Robert replied cooly. "She's given up on the Anarch cause - they usually do after a while - and she's looking for a safer haven for those two oddities of hers."
      "And what makes you so sure she's turned her back on the Anarchs?" Nedry asked carefully, wondering what the Prince had learned.
      "I had her looked into." Berain replied simply. "She's from San Jose." He said, as if that explained everything.
      It did. Nedry nodded, understanding dawning. The rumors coming out of San Jose were highly alarming and, if even one-tenth of them were true, enough to drive any vampire - sane or otherwise - out of the territory.
      "Alright." He conceded. "And she chose Vancouver because…?" Nedry actually knew the answer to this, but wanted to make sure his Prince did, also. Sometimes Berain focused a little too much on the big picture.
      "She went to Toronto, first. Hardly better than San Jose, don't you think?" Berain's attention had returned to the memo on his desk and his tone was distracted.
      Nedry nodded, apparently satisfied. "I see. And you're willing to let them loose on the medical community?" That worried Nedry, and he wondered if the Prince had thought this through.
      Berain's irritation showed in his snappish reply. "Rather than the Giovanni? Yes. Besides, the Mantles are too well-known to practice, so you needn't worry about that. I'll be telling Andhurst to encourage them to return to research." Andhurst was another Ventrue, who kept a tenuous control on the city's health network. Nedry had to concede that any help against Giovanni activities was better than nothing. "And DeMontfort lost her license years ago." Berain continued. "If she can convince Andhurst to reinstate her…" Berain shrugged. "Well, I'm sure he'll make her work it off. He's always complaining that he needs more kindred in the system."
      Nedry relaxed. "I see." He repeated. "Thank you for explaining."
      "No trouble." Berain murmured. "I really have to take care of this." He indicated the notes before him. "If you could see yourself out?"
      "Of course, sir." Nedry half-bowed. A little respect never hurt, that was his firm belief. As he left Berain's office, Nedry resolved to have a talk with Andhurst, and soon.

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