Helena calls Jennifer and asks for Rita's phone number but Jennifer lies, and tells her that she doesn't have it. She tells Jennifer that she is interested in asking about the Serpent Daughters. Helena also asks for some more information about the Daughters but Jennifer says that she doesn't really know anything.
She gives Daria a call afterwards. Daria, who is now on her way back to the city, still sounds wrung-out but she seems happy with some new information that she has found. She's interested in discussing some of her findings with Helena but she's a little reluctant; apparently part of the "consultation" at the building in the Western Suburbs involved Jessamy warning Daria not to involve Helena in any of her situation, reinforcing the warning by impaling her with his sword as he spoke.
Helena assures Daria that she won't tell Jessamy that they met up and they arrange to meet in a cafe a little later in the evening to discuss their thoughts.
The monthly meeting of the vampires of Melbourne is held.
Jennifer has dressed in clothes to impress the Prince.
Helena, having shopped through the week with Sophie, is dressed in a long black dress with a low back and slits up the thighs.
Daria wears a pinstripe suit.
At the bar, the girls are among the first to arrive.
Kieran is already in the bar. He's wearing a suit with a metallic serpent running the length of his tie and a golden bracelet around each wrist in the form of a snake biting its tail. He sees Jennifer enter and sidles up to her, smirking. "Things are changing in Melbourne, are you in?" he whispers loudly to her, then rubs his bracelets quickly together in a ringing rhythm near her face. She does her best to ignore his taunts.
Jennifer stands by herself in the bar, seeming somewhat startled by his presence.
Frederick is in the bar alone.
A conversation starts between the Toreador and Morgan and two of his children, Philip and Josephine, who are keenly sucking up to Jessamy. Overall, Jessamy seems very pleased with the current circumstances. There is a great deal of discussion about how everything is fine; the trade deals in the Ports are going well.
Helena sights Daria on the other side of the room and waves. Disgust flares up in Jessamy's aura to which Peter responds with defensiveness, shaking his head at Helena in disapproval.
Fong and Vaughn enter, seemingly very still and calm.
Luke and Mike arrive together. As they pass Daria by, Mike shrugs and smiles at her as though in apology, while Luke's face is a mask of contempt.
The Brujah arrive. Sascha leads with the others following behind closely, almost marching in step.
Valerie, ungroomed and unkempt, arrives alone.
The Nosferatu make their entrance.
Rita and Jackie enter the bar. Rita wears a little dress. The serpent stitched into her back is not there any more but there are serpent marks on her arms. Jackie is wearing an outfit covering her limbs.
Rita stops and looks at Kieran. "What the hell are you playing at?" she asks him angrily.
"It is my right by blood," he replies defiantly.
"You are not one of us," Rita responds.
A woman enters dressed in long black robes with metal serpents entwining her arms, coiling in and out of her flesh. Her robes are embroidered with serpents. There is a circle of serpents on her back surrounding what seems to be some sort of a serpent god.
Jennifer and Helena recognise the woman - it is the woman in the photo.
Jessamy takes one look at the woman and his face falls. "Oh dear, I was hoping she was dead" he says flatly. When Helena asks who it is he tells her that is Heresy, a "troublemaker".
Alfred stares at Heresy in shock, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a scrap of paper, reads it then looks over at Jennifer with a look of realisation.
A Malkavian named Sladek arrives with a woman in a hooded cloak. Sladek is dressed in a tuxedo.
Sladek presents himself with a bold flourish, glitter flying with the gesture, "I'm back and no applause!"
"Quiet Sladek," Jessamy responds.
"Say hello, Neil" he prompts his hooded companion.
"Hello" he says in a dry, husky, barely perceptible voice.
"Applause for the Dancers of the World!" Sladek cries. For an instant he appears to be a Knight in armour.
Daria seems very distressed with this latest pair of arrivals.
Alfred seems furious, whispering and gesturing to Luke.
"Wait," Luke responds, nodding smugly.
Brin enters, moving jerkily and staring blankly. He looks to Sladek and Niel and moves to stand beside them.
Meanwhile Heresy has approached Rita in the corner, who is responding with a false smile. Kieran is trailing behind Heresy, nodding and smirking.
Daria and Jennifer meet up and discuss the evening. "Something is going to happen tonight, isn't it?" Daria states more than asks. Grimly, Jennifer agrees.
The Lasombra arrive, their faces covered in their masks. They walk past Daria without even looking at her and walk over to the Toreador.
Ruben addresses Jessamy. "Greetings, Knight of the City".
Luke returns with Morgan and the Prince. "The meeting shall begin," he declares.
Heresy sits at the front of the Outsider section with Kieran and Rita and Jackie sit at the back. Jennifer makes an effort to sit as far away from all of them as possible.
Daria moves to sit with the rest of the Lasombra but is made unwelcome. "You have your clan, you have your seat," Ruben states coldly. Daria says that she is a Lasombra, not a Malkavian, and that she belongs with them.
"You've chosen your seat!" Ruben presses.
"I know the truth," Daria responds defiantly.
"I believe that you believe it to be such."
Daria presses that she has proof that she is right. Ruben says "that is the same evidence from 20 years ago; Malcolm's evidence was suspect".
The struggle between the two vampires continues. Daria tries to sit with the others and Ruben uses dominate on her to stop her and try and get her to sit with the Malkavians. She manages to shrug off the power about half way over to the Malkavian section and begins to make her way back to the Lasombra.
Luke intersects her path and threatens her should she not sit with the Malkavians. She screams out that they are delusional, that they are a "fairy parade" refusing to look at the facts.
Luke pulls out a gun and warns her a last time to obey him, yet she maintains the resilience. He shoots her in the kneecaps, whereupon she finally crawls into one of the Malkavian seats and heals her wounds.
With Daria subdued, Michael stand. "I Michael, of the clan Ventrue, declare princedom and rulership of Melbourne and the domain of Victoria," he states.
The rest of the clan representatives make their acknowledgements in turn.
As the Outsider's turn arrives, Heresy stands. "Through the strength of my blood, through the line of Dethriael, I claim leadership and as representative of the Serpent Daughters accept Michael as Prince".
When it is the Malkavian's turn, Neil stands. In the same husky voice he says, "I Neil, representative of the Malkavians, accept Michael as Prince".
Among the business discussed, Alfred regretfully stands and discusses Jessica's death. The remaining Gangrel respond with sadness.
Luke declares that the matter relating to the Necropolis has been dealt with; the source of the vandalism has been revealed.
Michael, preparing to conclude the meeting, asks if there is anything else to say.
Sladek stands up and announces that he has something to say. He gestures grandly again, glitter fluttering with his movements, "The Lord of the Dance will take you all." He finishes his words is enveloped in a gush of flame. He twitches for a moment to a dance before falling to the ground in a charred corpse.
Luke strides over to Sladek and draws out a machete and lops off his head. Blood gushes from his neck. He bends and lifts the body. "This isn't him," he states.
Many of the vampires present realise that the corpse was human and not Kindred.
Neal is nowhere to be seen.
Luke turns to the Malkavians and tells them that they are staying back.
After Daria's release, the girls gather in the bar after the meeting. Daria sits alone at the bar, and gestures for Helena to join her. Engaged with the Toreador, she shrugs with apology and stays where she is.
The girls wait back to see if anything happens, but they don't get access to any information. They assess some of the avenues open to them for investigation, including talking to the Nosferatu.