November 17th, 1984.
For the first time since that night in Valla's bunker, Jacob felt a step ahead of his enemies. This was his moment – victory's soft caress was steadily easing the pains of betrayal.
Before him, curled up in a ball of mental agony, was the subject of his rage, the spoils of his victory, his dumb luck – a broken mask, it's shell meticulously crafted into an instrument of deceit. A snake in his hen house. An insurgent at the seat of his power. A knife under his throat. A weapon wearing the face of Benkku Ursoakkor. Hilsfrid's bishop posing as his rook.
His opponent's eyes, now meek and submissive, never left his harrowing sight - Jacob's sadistic glare was rampaging through the last of his opponent's defenses. Psyche versus psyche, the entirety of their minds' powers on an esoteric battlefield. Where his opponent ran, Jacob pursued. Where he lashed out, Jacob evaded. In the darkest recesses of their minds, weaving through the last few, frenzied attacks of a cornered animal, Jacob began to battered the doors of his opponents mind palace. And then, with a whimper, they fell. Unable to contain Jacobs merciless assault, the doors crumbled, giving way to a mind's unstoppable flood.
Even then, his opponent was a devious one, offering many faucets of himself simultaneously, drowning Jacob in endless streams of tall tales and half truths. This could not last. As if with a siv, Jacob worked those rapids, every meandering answer revealing even more detritus of an alien intelligence that lay hidden somewhere deep, somewhere upstream. Devious or not, a rare few can withstand an experienced Ventrue's dissection of their id. Openings were pressed, fallacies uncovered and before long, the murky waters cleared. From their depths, a corpse surfaced.
The moment of victory lasted for a while. Every question answered, every newfound fact prolonged it. The tape from Pyotr's bunker had stopped playing hours ago and dawn's first vexes were just beginning their slow creep into the ruined living room at 8 Yläkaskentie street.
Blood. Glass. Corpses. Debris. A shattered window showing a busy street, alive with the night lights of Helsinki. Helsinki. His besieged kingdom. All forgotten for a moment, that brief, fleeting moment of victory. Still drunk on a long forgotten emotion, his face not revealing any, Jacob turned his back on the ending night as he addressed his 3 compatriots.
I know what she wants. I know why Hilsfrid's here.
We're so fucked.