(An entry from the Journal of Daniel deWynter, August of 1204)
As I write this, we are still en route to the Tower to rebuild it under an unreasonable deadline as a favor to a Sire that I do not even owe fealty to. The amount this … galls me goes beyond the length of every measuring rod ever created in all the history of mankind. I loathe being put into this position, expected impossible tasks with no resources in advance, dispatched into hotly contested territory with who knows what danger
A moment, dear reader, Thomas is in some sort of hysterics of a fire in the distance.
Well! That was exciting. Dear Readers, I apologize for my handwriting, I am still regaining full motion in my left hand after the most grievous of arm wounds imaginable. It is still healing even now, to give you some idea.
Now, where was I. Ah yes, the danger and fires in the distance. I assure you, that could have gone… extremely, very much worse, were it not for the twin gorgeous women protecting us. Hah, now there’s a sentence you’ll never see in most other Cainite journals, I can assure you – are you not entertained? We’re such prideful creatures, even if a female were to save us, I doubt most men with the foresight to write a journal would admit to it on paper.
However, dear ones – for anyone who may have picked up a stray Tome without starting as proper in Volume I – as much as I suggest you find the rest and start at the beginning – I did originally state in my thesis that I am committed to writing a one hundred percent accurate and truthful accounting of each and every one of the twists on the path our little coterie walks. And whilst the secrets are important to me, my Sire has done me the kindness of teaching me how to seal each and every tome from prying eyes (all except his of course) with powerful magics for future generations to read, let us continue to tell the twist of August 12th, 1204.
The fire in the distance was in fact the most dangerous kind of fire, living flame wrapped around a girl’s arm as she contorted and twisted the very essence of the Quick – but I get ahead of myself. The first thing we noticed was the ever-so-gently wafting smoke in the distance and I emerged from the caravan and looked upon it. It was then that a flaming projectile came flying out of the smoke at a very high arc, and each and every one of us readied for battle.
The projectile was not a weapon, it was a Lupine. I’d only seen one before, horribly captured between transformations, but my masters had warned me of the wolves and their tendency to … well, tear us apart. The Lupine, however, melted before us into a puddle of goo. I immediately took a sample – as did Ansem. How could you not? Goo? Why? This was unheard of. The substance did not damage the vial, so I continued about our journey. Our first thought was to go around the area, but the caravan would not have fit. We dispatched the humans to go back the road a mile and wait for us. They obeyed, and we snuck forward through the forests to try to determine the matter ahead.
That was when we encountered the girl, some kind of flame coiled around her arm like a serpent, a jet of it constantly keeping the Werewolves at bay. There were three of them in their full massive horror, snarling at her , ringing her, taunting her, but her jets of flame kept them all a fair distance away, as they growled.
Thomas, of course, pulled his sword, muttering that he must help an innocent girl. I did not think she looked so innocent, but regardless, he was committed, and I knew he would simply die quickly alone, so we all went in.
I got a lay of the land s and the girl was crying over her two fallen parents, trying to summon up the will to defeat these creatures through tears of horrible sadness, their mangled bodies laying on the ground, shattered wagon everywhere as the girl pulled the forces of Nature around herself. Thomas readied his sword against one of the furthest Wolves, while Adria for some reason was unbuttoning her shirt and removing it. I admit this gave me small pause, and Thomas of course complained of distraction but Adria assured us that was not the point. She folded and placed the shirt on the ground as I prepared my Will to Dominate the creatures before us. Zora was summoning some kind of inner strength from within that I had never seen before, her skin seeming to sizzle with power, Ansem seemed to be preparing a spell, and… again, Omar was nowhere to be found, but given his new talents, I had a feeling he’d show when he was most needed.
I am somewhat ashamed to say dear readers, that with my newfound powers, I became too cocky for my own good starting off. The mastery I have over the mind gave me to think that I could conquer the beasts. I learned quickly otherwise. Summoning my not-insignificant power of mind control against it… bounced off the beast as it would my Sire when he requested I practice on him. I discovered to my shock it was now grinning wickedly and coming at me full speed.
By this point the others were all engaged, and I took a hit to my left arm – my favorite, as I’ve mentioned – and summoned all the Nigrimancy in me to vomit forth the Disease Constancia and I had created, but while the beast appeared somewhat humbled, it … kept… attacking.
Fortunately, the gorgeous warrior Zora appeared atop it, and the moment her body came in contact with its, I could hear it’s very flesh and hair sizzling with whatever new Power she has harnessed for herself, as she used the power of the Vitae in her muscles and body combined with the heat of the Discipline to pummel the creature’s very face in! She moved at a blinding pace, her Vitae infused muscles pulsing in time with each punch and it was somewhat heady – and terrifying – to watch. Bleeding profusely at this point, I ran.
I stepped into the Underworld to witness the rest of the battle, where I was safe from Nature’s protectors. As I believe I saw it, Thomas was overwhelmed until Adria swept in with some kind of new horrific form her Tzimisce powers cooked up – with wings – and she started giving the thing nasty wounds. Another wolf attacked, and the Magus summoned lightning itself upon it, as the rest of the Coterie swept in, Omar’s blade shivving it, Thomas attacking it, and Zora landing a good punch before lifting it off the ground and ordering it to cooperate.
Thomas ran to the girl, who was fainting from blood loss. She had several jagged wounds as I did – and oh, the smell. The smell is like no other scent we’ve ever detected, it was like the finest wine and the strongest drug, we all had to stop ourselves from feasting on the girl, I could see it in all our eyes.
But she was bleeding out, and action was necessary. We immediately thought to give her our blood, but myself and Ansem had no idea what Cainite Vitae may do to a young emerging Magus. This caused quite a stir with Thomas and Adria who instantly wanted to protect the young girl, but Ansem and I did not want to take away her Magicks from her if that was the consequence of our choice! I heated Thomas’s smaller sword as Omar heated his own knives during the argument – not to harm them, but to cauterize the girls’ wounds. She was in eminent danger of dying, and we convinced Thomas to hold her whilst we applied hot blades to cauterize the worst wounds. I reassured Thomas that even if she has scars, it would not matter, for our Vitae would clear up the minor scars externally and Adria’s power could easily heal the huge scars with no trouble!
Little did we know we had precious little to worry about in that arena.
First, however, we questioned the Lupine, and were very unsuccessful in our first few attempts. I did finally manage to Dominate him, but one will learn that even a mastery of Dominate takes weeks to properly apply, and I frankly did not believe we had that kind of time – the sun was coming. I immediately realized something that my sire had taught me and brought up, asking if anyone here had the Power of Caine’s Presence. Zora reluctantly raised her hand, and I proposed with some difficulty that I knew for a fact that the Power of Caine’s Presence could literally make someone friendly who did not wish to be! It was known Lore, and finally I got Zora to admit she hated it, it felt like cheating and demeaning compared to combat, but soon the Lupine was friendly.
It explained that humans and Cainite had no right to this territory, that the tower ahead which we were committed to renovate was a Wolves’ ancestral Caern (Adria explained that meant a center of magical power for wolves and mages alike). He explained that they were the last Wolves in the area and they were determined to defend the land. He hated Mages, and in fact, these had been dispatched by the Old Faith specifically to seize the Tower for their kind! So – we were facing far more aggressive competition here than even the Council led us to believe. It was a good thing the Wolves came along, or we might have … well, best not to consider that.
We came to a quick decision to kill it – We normally do not kill defenseless opponents, but frankly, had it not been for the Mage and the twins, we might have died, and they were the enemy – they’d declared themselves so. We removed its head and Ansem took care of the body while the girl revived.
Now that we’d had a chance to complete the battle, the girl was of tantamount import, as we had no idea if she intended to kill us all brutally upon wakening. She had been through a lot, and though Zora had placed a sheet over the parents, the scene was still awful. As she wakened, I noticed her dark hair and fair skin, she was either 15 or 16, come of age, and spoke Romanian with a thick accent.
We let her wander freely, as she explained her name was Emilie and she and her family had come to move in to the Tower, and then the Wolves had come. She couldn’t understand why Wolves had attacked her, they were allies to the Mages, and they had self-identified as Red Talons (note to self: Wolves may also have Clans, I need to research this, low priority). However, for someone so young, she seemed to recover quickly – she reminded me a bit of me, when I found these horrors around me at that age. As she quickly gained her bearings, she asked who we were. She then realized the others spoke Latin and switched to a thickly spoken (and mispronounced) Latin.
This is normally a thorny issue to broach carefully, but since she’d witnessed my rather… inglorious ability to vomit forth disease, seen Zora’s skin turn red hot with fire and pummel a wolf faster than man is capable, and witnessed Adria remove her shirt and become a horrible bat-creature, I saw no need to hold the truth from her. I named us Vampyre.
Emilie shirked in fear, at first, and appeared to be preparing a defense, but we all took a step back from her, hands raised in indication of peaceable intent. I said “We mean you no harm,” and as a smart woman-of-age would, she immediately said, “N-no, I was dying, I was ready to die, but you sealed my wounds and clearly did not drink me or attack me. You could have killed me already if you wanted. Thank you I suppose.”
Thomas and I made abundantly clear that she could accompany us if she liked to the Tower, since that was our ultimate destination anyway.
In the interim, we asked her what the chosen ritual for her kind was, and she explained that people of the Old Religion would prefer to be burned on a Pyre, so we summoned back the Caravaners to help us set up wood for a pyre. With everyone working, the pyre was quickly built and we waited a respectful time before extinguishing the flame.
As I’ve already rambled on far too long, I will sum up the breadth of conversational topics we covered on the way to the Tower. When we asked what to call her, since we had no frame of reference for her kind, she just said a member of the Old Religion. Ansem mentioned that the Old Religion was a catch-all term wherever you went meant for pagan worship of the old gods, and following ways of witch craft. She said she knew the Rites of Spring and Summer, and knew some others, and that she had not ever truly felt the Power until tonight! Of course, if there is a moment in the ways of the Magus as there are Moments in life where you Become, she had just Become in the moment her parents passed. She also spoke of the Dragon Lines (or Lines of Power, or Fae lines, or whatever you’d like to call them, Dear reader) leading them to this Tower, a nexus of them here. As I said earlier, the Mages had laid claim to this area as well.
We arrived at the Tower at last, and… it was in ruin. It had long ago fallen down, barely had half a wall remaining, less than one story high and – there was a campfire active there. Ansem saw two kindred with his enhanced sensorium, and I decided I would like to broach the topic with the Cainites there of perhaps sharing the place for a night from the safety of the Dark Umbra. It was not that I didn’t trust Omar to do so, given his talents, but he’d be far less safe once he initiated contact than I would, unless there was a Cappadocian amongst them.
I walked around the tower checking for barriers, and then entered, greeting a young dark brunette and her wild eyed looking Malkavian friend. I said, “Greetings.” The brunette seemed shocked beyond words that I had snuck up on her of all people, and a tendril of Shadow reached out to try to bite me. I observed it enter and leave my body, the Quick not affecting me here in the land of the Dead. She paused, frowned, walked forward and waved her hand through my face – that’s very uncomfortable, by the by.
She paused, “That’s annoying.”
I noted her response, and then said, “I mean you no harm, I came to you specifically from the Underworld to broach the topic of peaceful conversation where I can neither harm you nor you me. I am Nikolaos of clan Cappadocius.”
She paused, then her eyes widened, “You! You are from Venice.”
I admit to prickling slightly here. “I am not. Not originally.”
“No, I mean you were in Venice. During the Conclave.”
Recognition dawned, “Ah you were in the group of Cainites in the Conclave when I walked out? Sorry about that, I was in a foul mood. I don’t immediately recall you but there were many people there and I’m guessing you were in the Shadows?”
She smirked, “I am Lucita of Aragon. This is my companion Anatole.” The Malkavian just smiled.
Ah, but I run away with myself. If I were to sum up the entire conversation in paper It would take reams I don’t have, but suffice it to say I have documented how I broached conversation without harm to myself, which may come in handy in the future if Omar wishes to remain hidden during a first encounter, I can safely interact with non-Cappadocian clan members. Either way, she and Anatole admitted they were looking for something lost here, and said they’d be willing to share the space if we agreed not to take the thing they sought. That was enough for me to get the others.
When we Cainites – and the human Emilie – Climbed the large hill to the Tower, the Caravan circled for the night, preparing to sleep. We discussed with Lucita and Anatole how they came here. It is interesting, when Lucita vaguely dismissed the girl Emilie, she hid behind my cloak, terrified. Her elders instilled a very proper fear of Cainite in her – but even more interesting she shirks not from me even though I am cold to the touch. Either way, the two new Cainites said they were looking for dark Prophecies, and one item in particular. As I mentioned earlier, we were charged with taking stone tablets for the Council, so I immediately feared conflict, but they agreed to work with us and discuss the outcomes.
Interesting note, Dear Readers – Anatole has also had Visions from God. Does this sound familiar? It should, it’s precisely what the Malkavian in Constantinople said before he realized he’d been Duped by someone else. Be aware that this? This is a theme of the upcoming six months, all of us being pawns in someone else’s game, including several of the people we meet, and especially the Malkavian visionaries of God. We know now that God speaks not through them, but perhaps the father does – who can know.
Either way, Thomas and the Twins agreed to help move some huge rocks out of the way of Anatole’s desired goal while at first I stayed upstairs to hear Anatole’s visions. Unfortunately he was unclear on many of them and I didn’t have time to Dominate him free of everything, but regardless, he’d seen many of the same things our poor, dead friend in Constantinople had seen, and things began to come together.
When we finally traveled downstairs to see the room, the tablets were all there, all speaking of a man who would in the end times, raise himself above the Father, above the woman who gave Succor to the Father, above all, and then blood would rain from the skies. I have the full translation, as does Omar and Ansem, but suffice it to say, dark times indeed.
The downstairs room with all the writings also held one item, a gold plate. ((OOC note – forgot what it said, ask David)) This is what Anatole sought and he insisted that God said if this plate fell into the hands of the Mages Council, doom would come. Since we were tasked to find the tablets of prophecy, we all quickly agreed, and in fact since we know we are on our way to Ceoris, our group agreed to allow me to Dominate the information from our minds. ((OOC – need to ask Omar if this is okay))
This of course won’t save me if Tremere would have my thoughts, but only so much prevention can be put into place, I suppose.
At any rate, we are preparing to rest now, Emilie has decided to go rest with the Caravan whilst we sleep safely away from the sun in this sub basement. Lucita and Anatole will stay several nights to ensure the rubbings and such are accurate, and then take their leave.
Construction begins on the morrow, and no doubt something equally frustrating will impede us – mark my words.
Goodnight for now, dear readers, and I apologize for my lengthy words, but I do love the rather twisty days, don’t you?
—To Be Bloody Continued (Yes, more happened, that was the ‘primary’ bulk of the adventure though).