The Longest Night

A Treatise On The Cainite Condition - The Beast

There’s only so much time I can spend poking fun at Thomas, and Niklaus has been somewhat unavailable over the past few nights for discussions of a more theological nature.

So I’ve decided to start writing down my own thoughts about the Cainite Condition.

The first one I’ve decided to tackle is The Beast.

Every single Cainite knows about The Beast. Oh, you can call it different things, dress it up, but at the end of the night it is still the same entity: primal, bestial, a constant thorn in the side of any intelligent being. For all it wants is blood, shelter, and survival.

It is a force completely opposite to reason and thought; a thing devoid of reason, conscience or any emotions except hunger and rage.

I’ve come to the conclusion, in my admittedly brief time as one of the Cursed, that the Beast is nothing new. Indeed, it is the same thing that resides in the heart and minds of every single human being residing upon Gods’ earth. I’ve seen it many a time in the eyes of a mob of disgruntled peasents, in the fervant war cries of a Templar, the cold precision of a highwayman.

The Beast is not something inflicted upon us by uncaring and cruel Angels; it is just the same base urges that all Men have, given greater urgency and power by our partially ascendant condition.

A man may keep his beast in line by feeding it drugs, food, sex; the toils of his daily living offer enough to hold it at bay. Usually.

But Cainites? We no longer need to worry about food. The kine do the work and we sup from their veins, the precious life force concentrated for us. Water? Irrelevant. Work? Many do, but technically all one need do is feed a couple times an evening, and the wonders of Disciplines can render most normal weather a mere trifle.

Thus, the Beast roars louder, deprived of most of its distractions, constantly howling in our ear. FEED. FEED. HUNT. KILL. HIDE. It is one of the things that we must strive to surpass in our continuing evolution. It is one of the things that the precepts of Caine can help with.

Otherwise, you fall. And must be put down for the good of all.

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(Adv Log 10-25-14) "And it shall rain blood down from the sky..." (Pt I)
10/25/2014 - Adventure Log - I.C., Nikolaos - PART I. (Sorry)

(An entry from the Journal of Daniel deWynter, August of 1204)

August 12th:
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.

August 15th:
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).

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A Treatise on the Cainite Condition - It should be Awesome!

Many of our kind call us Cursed.

Well, they’re right, just not in the way they believe.

In the beginning, Caine did slay Abel as commanded, and as the children of Seth could not understand the purpose behind the First Murder, the 7-fold Protection was placed upon his brow. In his pride, so much like the One Above All, Caine refused to apologize for his act.

Apparently, some of God’s servants weren’t very happy with this state of affairs, and took it upon themselves in defiance of His Word to lay own their own punishments upon Caine, as if the ignorant derision of those who would one day surround him would not be enough.

Michael, in his rage, cursed Caine to forever feel the burn of Fire morso than any other.

Raphael, in his arrogance, cursed Caine to never feel the light of the Sun again, for it will rend him asunder.

Uriel, in his imprudence, cursed Caine with The Thirst, and thus responsible for the increased power of The Beast within.

Only Gabriel, sent by God, offered a way through these imposed trials, that Caine(and by extension his childer) may one night surpass them.

Yes, we’re Cursed. But not by God, contrary to the beliefs of the Church, and indeed most of our kind. HIs servants, angered and left out of the loop, are responsible for the worst of our condition(barring Caine’s own wrath, responsible for the Clans we know and are annoyed by..remind you of Anyone?) and thus should receive the bulk of our displeasure.

If I may be so crude, as I was once with my own Sire…how the Hell is our condition so bad?

I don’t have to shit.

I don’t have to eat, avoiding any number of poisons, ill humors and base creatures that infest the food supply usually.

Air quality is irrelevant.

With a mere effort of minor will, I can directly use the power of the blood to see things no mere kine can see, to do things no mere kine can do.

As a Tremere, I can even bend some of the aspects of the Curses and Gods Decree themselves to alter the world, much as those of the True Magic can bend reality to alter the world.

Enlightenment, the learning of wisdom and knowledge, enables me to increase my personal power and ability to perceive the world in ways no mortal can, showing the continued rarification of my spiritual self.

Were it not for the Deific Devas, we would truly be Superior. I think this, they realized on some level, and sought to prevent it.

They will ultimately be unsuccessful.

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Power-Induced Confusion

It is a very odd feeling, to be both ecstatic that one has grabbed power not just beyond ones’ grasp but even beyond ones’ own reach…

And to be concerned and, perhaps, the slightest bit fearful of said power.

I write this in the hopes of clearing my own muddled thoughts, a condition that has occurred so rarely in my life that I find it disconcerting. Also annoying.

First off..I survived meeting the Clan Founder. A man so far-reaching in his gaze as to direct an entire house of magi to discover how to become a Cainite without the intervening nastiness of the Embrace, intelligent enough to have assisted in its creation..though my sire of course did most of the real work.

As he’ll go on about. At length. To his credit though, it IS a thing to sing about, proverbially speaking(NEVER ASK HIM TO SING AGAIN. I must keep reminding myself.)

Right, wandering again. The foremost thing to consider..is that he was ruthless enough to hunt down an Antediluvian and commit diablerie, one of the few sins left to our kind.
As much as I preach to the others, deep down I cannot lie to myself; Saulot was chosen because he was a good soul, probably the one nice-by-nature member of our kind left and Tremere, combined with the Inner Council, sucked him dry.

Anyone who survives in this Clan has that same ruthless streak in them. Somewhere. Even myself. I can but hope my faith can see me through the tough times, as it does(even if misplaced) for so many others.

It is also somewhat disconcerting to hear such a being claim, with all apparent sincerity, that I am much like him. Part of me still this night swells with pride at the very idea, while another is much more wary. And some tiny bit of me is terrified.

Perhaps it is my soul.

Oh well. Wealth awaits! Thaumaturgical power awaits! The ability to stab Vykos with a rusty knife(or well-thrown Lasombra) awaits!

I am reborn into the Night
I need not a source of light
for I carry Light within
I am not afraid
For I am not alone

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(Adv Log 10-25-14) "THIS is why we should have Zombu!!!" - Pt II
Adventure Log 10-25-2014 Pt II - This is why we need Zombu!

October 20,
Thrice-damned Tzimisce bastard. I apologize for the language, Dear Readers, but as you know, I only put pen to parchment now when something of a twist comes along in our unlives, and the twist this time was a most unwelcome one.

As if I did not already loathe this thrice-damned mission enough as it was, handling a favor to pay off accounting for a fake sire, and insodoing, performing a favor for the bloody Tremere High Council in the process?? While in contested Tzimisce-held Romania? Madness.

But I put my spine into the effort, as did Ansem, as did the others, though they were much more literal about working than I. Despite Ansem and I’s consistent attempts to set up and use trade routes in this area and get this task done with, we found no one willing to trade, no one willing to sell. Nowhere in this entire Godforsaken place in Romania were we able to find anyone – what’s the likelihood of this occurring in a vacuum of Cainite interference?

Nil.

The servant of the Vovoide, Vykos, arrived today at the head of a Caravan of slaves, and announced that he and the Tsimizsce, of course, have seized control of all trade in the region as well as all labor, and if we wished to continue establishing this Tower, we would ‘need’ him. He knew of our deadline, knew of our backs being against the stone walls, knew the entire score.

We were his puppets.

And this, dear reader, is why I hate owing favors to someone I never chose in the first place. Because scum like Vykos can easily find out what favors are owed and prey upon them. How? Vykos admitted to having had ties to the Tremere chantry of Mages prior to his embrace, which explains what he knows. As such, Vykos negotiated us up to “Major Boon” for this task.
Suffice it to say, whilst Ansem worked out the details of this boon, I hid away Emilie quickly in the area downstairs.

To Vykos’ credit, his men worked quickly once contracted, and suddenly all sorts of avenues of trade shipments and valuable goods were available to us over the next few days.

Enough of the Fiend. Emilie seems to be acclimating very well to time with us, given that she’s a Mage and not really one of our kind. Some of the Kuldunic Sorcery and Thaumaturgy of our group seems to resonate within her, though my own Necromancy decidedly does not – but no one is perfect.

It should also be noted for the record that a Nosferatu of apparently some Repute – I have never heard of this creature, but he’s supposedly exceedingly famous in Occult Architectural circles – which, apparently, is a thing of which I knew nothing. He refers to himself as Zelios, and apparently he’s designing this tower to focus all of the magical power in this area into a nexus point. I’m certain this will be of great benefit to Emilie, possibly Ansem and Adria too, though I know of no Necromancy that utilizes or functions based off the Fae Lines – or Dragon Lines as they are referred to around these parts. (I blame the Fiends).

Regardless, I’m sure he’ll add value to the place, and he was willing to work with us for a very minor boon (unlike Vykos), and in exchange for a copy of the map of the “Dragon” lines we located in the sub-basement, near to the Nod fragments mentioned in my previous entry.

While I am certain we’ll now make deadline, I do not have to be pleased with how it came to this.

April 2nd, 1205

Well, Dear Readers, the first level and basement reinforcements of the tower are now completed in full with work on several other stories well underway! These months have been duller than normal (and witness to many, many occasions of me stating aloud that we’d need far less slave labour if Lameth had just taught me how to properly create Zombu!!). We have, despite all hardship, at long last accomplished something worthy of note, and as if on cue, our “Sires” arrived to congratulate us on a job well done.

In fact, oddly, they’re so pleased with us, they’re offering us the potential for a Barony of some kind in the nearby area. The Tremere apparently have quite a firm grasp on the area now, and will need help holding, and we’ll get to run our fiefdom in any way we choose. This… could be very fascinating, but dangerous.

At any rate, this also means that our trip to Ceoris cannot be put off any farther. I suppose in many ways, our Reckoning is at hand.

June 5th,
Dear Reader I find myself, for once, at a distinct lack of words. We met with the Council today, and while I expected some level of power play, my concept for ‘scale’ has been, shall we say, re-set.

As we walked to Ceoris, the Way became more and more confused, and I felt certain we were lost. But soon we walked into the building itself, and were escorted by a hulking Gargoyle through paths that seemed to be larger on the inside! Regardless of that, however, our Human friends – including, I should note, Adria in her human guise, were escorted to a waiting area while we were ushered directly into the Council chamber – though, being that we saw it, I can only assume there is a ‘real’ Council chamber elsewhere in the fortress.

As I somewhat guessed might happen, things in the Council escalated quickly. They had discovered Ansem had killed a Tremere (albeit, to his grace, a sloppy, incompetent, horribly idiotic one) and chose a rather… interesting way of showing it. The one known as Etrius elevated him to the height (I presume, I do not have education on their ranks) of Rank Magus, and when his Sire rose up to speak of the ludicrousness of him being promoted this quickly, Etrius cornered him into admitting that he knew Ansem had committed wrongdoing.

However, just as the punishment seemed about to be exacted, I felt… reality… bend somehow. And the head of the Council, Tremere himself, appeared there, claiming boredom with the politicks. (Which, frankly, I agreed with by this point!)

Tremere actually followed through – much to Etrius’ Chagrin, mind you – with the promotion of Ansem to whatever Lofty Heights Magus may imply. He then said that Ansem killing the incompetent fools in Constantinople was doing the clan a favor, and sent the Council out.

Tremere spoke to us of Fate, and of Destiny. At first, he seemed playful and open, and then he noticed that … someone was missing. He instantly transported Adria from the waiting area for our Humans into the room itself, and somehow – I still cannot fathom the how – changed her human fleshcrafted disguise into her true form and sat her down next to her sister. He insisted everyone be here to participate. I also took this moment to ask if the Twins were indeed mirror images of each others’ souls – if Tremere are the masters of Magick, then Tremere himself must be the master of all forms of it! He would surely be able to tell if she were one soul split to shards across one body. The reply he gave was cryptic, at best, that they are “Two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the same personality, given form.” I feel as if this answer reduced our knowledge of the Twins, and did not enhance it. He mentioned something about not wanting to spoil all the fun He was having.

It was at this juncture I noted that if The Father truly is in charge of our destinies, he would have wiped our minds of the entire experience and we would have no means of knowing.

I thought Tremere mad – in both Anger and the Malkavian sense of the word – when his voice suddenly lowered and he instructed me not to dismiss the hands of Fate so readily in a life as complex as ours.

The Great Truth of the Tremere clan was spoken to me in the next five seconds of my unlife.

It was then that his Third Eye opened atop his forehead. Then that it glowed with that purple fire of Salubri magick. Then, that he reached out with that hand, that hand that filled my vision, and placed it upon my forehead to my absolute horror.

That is correct Dear Reader – if you have any concept of the lore of the Cainites in the slightest, you only now begin to see the gravity of the Truth of which I speak – Saulot, the original founder of his clan, still exists within Tremere!

Normally, I would never commit such risky heresey to the written word, but in this one case, if anyone can find the truth of these journals from behind their wards, it’s unlikely that that person can effect any meaningful change on the Antediluvian True that resides within the head of Tremere, nor infact the false-Antediluvian himself, without bringing down the wrath of two ancient, powerful entities and, indeed, the combined power the Council of Tremere themselves, on their heads. I am unconcerned for Saulot’s safety, and if he’s beginning to own the body of the entity known as Tremere, then his days are likely numbered regardless.

Saulot’s hand scared me, but I do not know what he did to me. It did not feel harmful in the final analysis, and in fact I feel clearer now than I had before. Saulot then performed the same act upon each of us, wanting to know if The Father’s hand was in our lives, and he all-but confirmed The Truth of that matter – He has.

I took this brief moment – and what a rare moment indeed – to also ask Saulot about the Stone tablets of Prophecy we located within the Tower. Saulot seemed somewhat dismissive of the dark prophecies, saying he knew of the One who wrote those words, and he cannot do what he speaks of. He named him… Absimilliard.

The name holds no meaning for us, or if any in our Coterie know its meaning, they did not speak of it. But with a name, we can perform a search, and we can begin to learn the truth.

Saulot then provided me with a Ring which he assured me would be necessary for me to have. He said to keep the enchantment out of the sight of Tremere, and I did so. It was about this time that Tremere said his goodbyes – no doubt influenced by the shard of Saulot in him – and left us alone in the council room. Being that I felt I had little choice at this moment, I slipped the ring on – nothing occurred.

Perhaps it simply will simply ‘activate’ when needed. I do not know.

What I do know is – we now walk free of Ceoris, free to take a fiefdom, free to choose our path, and yet we appear to be the least-free Cainites on this entire planet. I … am unsure precisely how to react to this, except to continue walking.

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The Journal of Thomas Hastings
Year 1205, Part I

August 12th 1205— Forgive me that I haven’t written in such a long while.. the event of Constantinople, with Michael, with its fall.. I just couldn’t bring myself to write. I feel I have lost something with its fall..perhaps a piece of myself. We traveled north to meet with our sires to discuss the past events.. and to help them with an favor they owed.

From the start, I didn’t car for the town we entered to meet our sires. Just the way it felt was wrong, something in the air perhaps. I was just chalk it up to a overly-traveled mind and a weary heart, when we came upon a slave market… a SLAVE MARKET! Of all the twisted ideas I would wish to remain in the past, here it stood, staring at me, almost grinning at me like a demon knowing it was under the protection of the guards around it..I wanted to slay the slavers and set the oppressed free, but it was pointed out that this was the law of the land. This made me sick to my stomach and we were turning to leave when a commotion brought us back to the attention of the square.

One of the slave, a beautiful young maiden with an apparent fiery streak, kicked her way to freedom and fled right toward us with the guards hot in pursuit. She ran right into my arms and look up wide-eyed at me. The guards caught up to her before I yelled “Hold!” Thankfully Zora could translate for me. The last bid was a paltry gold, so I pointed to her and called out 400 gold much to their shock. I tossed the bag of gold to him, amused by his greed and remembering his face, so that I could find my prey later. Having bought my “slave”, I looked into her eyes and simply said “You are free m’lady.” Strangely without a roll of her eyes, Zorra translated. She breathed a sigh of relief and told her story of how she was captured every so often hold my gaze as if to say thank you. It was the first time I felt a sense of goodness in my heart since those last few nights in Constantinople. Later that evening a wiry young cainite offered to buy her me and when I said no, he mentioned that the prince would be most displeased at my decision… as if I gave a shit..God there are times when I would just like to clean cities like these of the more debauched of these Cainites. None should be able to buy and sell these people.. the ownership of these souls belong to God alone, and to act against that should be considered Blasphemy…

Even though the bond was almost gone by this point, it was still good to see Lucius again. We may never have really been close, we always had close to the same way of thinking.. and that included taking amusement at the expense of haughty vampires.. in this case, Black Selene, Zorra’s Sire. After discovering our new-found power thanks to the… gift… of Michael (I will always wish there was another way, Michael, though you felt it was needed to preserve the dream, I fear it will always leave a hole in my heart..), they wanted to bond us to them.. again.

Our response was quick and to the point…I believe Zorra said it best when she simply said.. " I think this is bullshit!" of which I agreed, perhaps stealing a glance at her longer then I should…By God, she can be.. difficult, bossy and not alittle bitchy.. but, at the same time, she is beautiful, graceful, and in combat, she is poetry in motion… God listen to me, I am sounding like a love-sick poet.. hmm I should really make sure she NEVER reads this.. I will never live it down.

… Ahem, where was I?.. Ah yes.. There was an argument, in which we finally gained the upper hand (at least I thought at the time not so now that we are on the road to a god-forsaken ruin of a tower in the middle of nowhere..) in return for proving their innocence in Avalon (and making sure General Mithras wouldn’t just kill them all..) they agreed not to bond us with their blood. And, if we rebuild a tower to fulfill their boon to another, then they would release us from their service and we would be free.. well as free as we can be considering.

We agreed and the next night.. minus a little hunting done on my part..(what? you didn’t think I was just going to let those despicable slavers live did you?) and retrieving the gold that I gave them earlier..I suppose they were surprised that the gold was more for my purchase of them then just the fair maiden from earlier.. heh. Though my friends was not happy that I caused such a commotion, we quickly left the town heading east into the mountains.

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