A quiet night in the woods, the air softly shakes the treetops, the deer move past me quick not even stopping to register my presence. There are a few hours yet before the rosy dawn breaks the horizon and I go back into the dirt again. But there is still time. I climb a tree, the usual one, smelling bright pine – the soft whisper of the highway but its far far off now. No need for sunglasses here. Nestled in the crooked arm of this great pine I call Renolds.
Two rings. I hang up. Four rings. I hang up. And then he calls back.
“Yes Wren? What can I help you with tonight?” We’ve come to an understanding him and I. I never tell him what to do and he does me the same. I can hear the ocean boiling on the other end of the phone.
“Are you telling me I can’t simply call my Daddy whenever I like? Is it really too much to ask? I thought you’d like to know how I was doing.” On the other end of the line I can hear him laugh.
”I’m just surprised you’re still there. Haven’t turned tail yet?” Mocking amusement is one of his strongest points. “Oh fuck you! I don’t have a tail! And I have big plans – big big plans. I can’t just abandon them.” “So that means you haven’t found him yet?” I move in the tree, watching the remains of that elk herd pass below. “Bigger things to worry about at the moment. Did you know this city doesn’t even have a prince? No prince, no sheriff, no Elysium. It’s like the goddamn wild west out here.”
It’s silent for a long time. I wonder if he hung up. But I can hear the rattle of Emerson and I know he’s still on the line. “So what are you saying then oh Childe of mine? That you want to take up the badge like your old man? Bring some law and order back to the Big Apple?” I can’t help but laugh. “Not exactly. I don’t know, how often does the opportunity present it’s self? Plenty of skulls to crack and that big comfy throne all vacant.” He begins to speak but he stops. Like he’s working it out in his head. I give him a minute. Losing myself in the dark of the forest, I brace for a slap I’m thankful he’s too far away to deliver.
”You crazy bitch. What did that Malkavian little girlfriend of yours do to you? You cannot be saying what I think you’re saying. I have to be getting old.” I wait. Trying to formulate an answer. But I can’t so I stop trying. “And what if I was?” Oh yeah, like that’s the best thing I could come up with.
“First I’d tell you that you’ve lost your damn mind Childe. Second I’d tell you that you’d hypothetically be pretty good for the job. Assuming you don’t let the power go to your head. You’ve always been my little diplomat. Lynne taught you well. But – and it’s a pretty big ‘But’ you need to be ready for all of hell to come down on that pretty little head of yours. So you’d need some really powerful friends.”
I listen, I stay in my tree. “Get the other Gangrel. Get the Roses. Get the Brujah. Get the Creeps. And do all the fucking ring kissing you can. But only make promises you can keep.” “I wish you were here.” I interject, the words leaving my lips before I even think about it. “I wish I was there too, kiddo. Also. I know how you feel about those magic fuckers. But you need to keep them happy. Failing that get the Venture. They are the King Makers after all. But wait until you have the force of the crowd to back you up. If you can do that then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a real shot at it. But don’t forget doing that you’re painting the biggest Bull’s Eye right on yourself. Be careful. Please be careful.” There is some honest emotion in his voice. Like he really cares what happens to me. “I will Jay. I will.”
And then I think about what Lynne would say. And I remember and I’m still on the phone and I can’t help but laugh. Laugh like a crazy person. “I was thinking the same thing kiddo. Get some rest. You’ll need it.” And then he hangs up. Leaving me to the woods and Lynne’s voice echoing in my head.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”