[Prince Alec ‘Daddy’ Cross – NA]
The remains of the executed Brujah were left where they fell upon the deck of the old ship. A dried and desiccated mummy… all that was left of Clancy Bryant, irresponsible sire. Cross stood and gazed out at the assembled kindred over the sad bundle of browned flesh and bone which was a mute testament to Camarilla justice done.
“That was rather unpleasant, wasn’t it?” he asked mildly. “For all of us. None of us enjoy these reminders that we are not the immortal beings we like to pretend to ourselves we are. There but for the grace go we,” he said, a flicker of his strong hand taking in the dead where they lay. “But whose grace? The saying would have it God’s mercy which keeps us from that end.” A pause, and he smirked. “But we know better than that. It is not God which protects the likes of us. It is the Traditions. It is the teachings of your sires.” His eyes flared. “It is your Prince.”
A gesture, miniscule. And the black-suited people who flanked him surged into motion at once, removing the corpse from where it had fallen and tipping it overboard without ceremony, cleaning the wood until not a trace of the ‘unpleasantness’ remained. Prince Cross, during this, returned to the heavy chair set upon the quarter deck, his figure cut in stark silhouette against the black night sky. The waves lapped, trackless, edged in subtle luminescence in the foggy night. They were very, very far from land.
The body gone, a silence fell again. Cross spoke.
“I am prepared to be merciful still. My point has, I think, been amply made this night. There are fledglings in this city without sires. Without guardians. But their misbehavior, though it endangers us all, is not of their making. Not for nothing does the Fourth Tradition exist! The sins of the childer are for the sires to endure. If they are not taught, whose fault? If in their ignorance they breach the Masquerade, whose fault? They require teaching. They require, if not sires, then those willing to stand in place of sires. Guardians, like Juliette has chosen to stand as guardian to young Shawn. Guardians who are to be recognized by this court and by your Prince, those who will stand forth and take on their share of responsibility for the safety of this domain.”
Cross’s eyes for a moment, again, pinned William Harley, swept across Louella Vann and Montgomery Covington, and then Jackson Mitchell, and at last found Ruth Ackerman and lingered there a moment. “We have among us some few who have already done so. Those whose instincts are good, who understand the responsibilities incumbent upon their age. Their responsibilities as part of this society of which we are all a part.” Cross’s eyes narrowed, and then his gaze again widened to all the rest.
“Any among you who choose to take responsibility for an abandoned fledgling, to take on that duty and that role, shall find favor in our sight.”
A pause which lingered, and Cross let his steepled fingers rest against his lips for a moment. And then he sat forward, his body language signaling a change of mood and topic as strongly as anything could. He chuckled.
“And as this is Court, we cannot escape the night without touching, however briefly, upon politics. A dirty word, some of you might think! And there are those here who are not Camarilla. Members of independent factions, some of you. Others prefer to remain outside all faction politics entirely. Some of you might even be Anarchs.” His voice was teasing, almost mischievous, pretending warmly to be scandalized.
“But we remember Thorns. We remember the old, old agreement. The treaty which held for centuries. And it was not the Camarilla which breached that treaty in 2012. It was the Anarchs. However, we are prepared to overlook your leanings in this domain — so long as you hold to that old agreement, so shall we. This is a Camarilla city, and so it shall remain! But hold to the First Tradition, do not give us cause to officially notice you, and we shall… well. Call it, perhaps… ‘politely overlook’ you.”
His smile became something somehow… unpleasant. “But we do always know just where you are, of course. We like having enemies. It keeps us on our toes.”
Cross stood then, and once more swept the assembled kindred with his cool blue gaze. “Some of you have requested audience with me. Others among you… I want to talk to for reasons of my own.” He smiled. The words might be threat, promise, or merely casual. “Those of you who will be allowed — or required — to enjoy a personal audience with your Prince will be contacted by members of my court. The rest of you… I do hope you enjoy this little outing, and keep my words well in mind.”
Turning then, he left the quarterdeck and returned, flanked by his security, to the officer’s cabin below.