by Lukasha (6 Jul 93)
I've been keeping a running story of the campaign I'm playing in and I thought I'd share it with you in list land. First a little setup:
We're playing in 1502. My ST's plan is to have a few stories here and then jump ahead in time a little ways and have a few more stories. Eventually we're going to work our way up to the Cyberpunk age. He started us that far back because he wanted us to get pretty powerful by the time we get to Cyberage because he says it's going to be real deadly and we'll need all we can get to survive. I'm playing a female Toreador who was 16 when she was embraced. She's also a ... well, I'll let you read about that. The prologue is just a synopsis of my character's history; Chapter I is where we started game play. Here it is...
Many things have happened to me recently. And with the future of eternal life I have decided to write these events down so I may not forget them. Maybe this is where my 'real' artistic talents lie since the rest of my clan certainly does not consider my profession a 'true' art form. I have learned how to play the piano from Corinthia, but I doubt my meager attempts could be considered art compared to her beautiful playing. So instead, I attempt to leave my mark on the written page.
To truly tell this story, I must start at the beginning. Yes, I know it is an oft used phrase, but it is true.
My name is Rebecca Holgrath and in the year of our Lord 1455 I was but fourteen years of age. I was so very happy then. My parents and I lived in the slums of London but we had a good life. Despite the shortage of food and shelter, we remained healthy. And unlike most of the other poor families, we all loved each other. I never saw a happier couple than my mother and father and they always had plenty of affection left over for me. I can't remember a time that I was more joyous. But then Fate intervened.
I came home one day to find the charred remains of our building. The constables kept me from bursting forward into the destruction. They informed me that my parents had been inside and that there had been a fire. When it happened, there were only five people in the building and I was a very lucky girl to have been away... And if I was so lucky, then why were my parents blackened carcasses? I ran blindly, tears turning the dirt on my face to mud, until I was exhausted and collapsed, falling asleep.
When I awoke, I forced the grief back down. I had lost my family and my home and now I needed to survive on my own. Wandering around, I realized that my flight had brought me to the richer part of town. I gazed at all the buildings and the people walking by. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around, preparing to run, but stopped when I saw the woman standing there. She asked me if I was lost and needed help. I smiled and told her yes.
Susannah took me to her place and cleaned me up. I told her what happened while trying to keep back the tears unsuccessfully. She said she could take care of me for a little while, but she couldn't afford to do it for long. I asked her what she made a living at, curious of the fact that she lived on her own with no husband.
She was a prostitute.
Two years later, I had bought a rather large house and put Susannah and myself in it. My youth and beauty had made me very popular among the John's. I made an excellent living at selling my body. And I enjoyed it too. Susannah had made sure my first customer was a gentleman. I lost my virginity with nary a pain and I quickly learned to revel in the pleasure I could give and receive. And then I met him. The man who would change my life and end it sooner than I had planned.
It was the spring of 1457 when Vincent Tamara first came to request my 'services.' He was a kindly and handsome man in his mid- to late thirties. He was a return customer for most of the summer. On a balmy twelfth of August evening he revealed much to me.
He told me my beauty had captured his artist's eye and he wanted to preserve my appearance for all time. I thought he wanted to paint a nude portrait of me, to which I would have gladly accepted. Then he turned around... and showed me his fangs. My first reaction was a tinge of fear, but I could sense that he meant no harm. I calmed myself and listened to the rest of what he had to say. He was of an ancient clan of artist vampires, beings who thrived on beauty. He wanted to make me immortal, to mold me into a work of art. He would teach me the pleasure of the Embrace, both giving and receiving.
Even stranger I found myself accepting the offer. Vincent brought me to the brink of death and then gave me the unlife's blood that flowed in his veins. And for the first time in my life I knew exactly what true pleasure was.
I told Susannah I was going away for a while and for her to take care of the house. I never saw her again. A few years later she was killed by an irate John. Vincent took care of me, showed me the what's and why's of being Kindred. I learned even greater powers of seduction and the entrancement my mere presence could cause to mortals. I honed my fighting skills that I had begun as a prostitute to protect myself until I became a black belt in Judo. I learned of quickness and speed and the advantages each held. After forty years, Vincent formally introduced me to London's Prince, Velina. Vincent freed me to go among the mortal world again. Blood was never a problem to find; all I needed to do was be a prostitute and the Blood came to me. I again made plenty of money and explored the reaches of my sexuality, all while I feed. To me, love-making is an art form in itself, and I wanted to be a master artist.
And then Corinthia came into my life. I still remember that night as vividly as I remember my Embrace. I was in a dark alley feeding on a 'quickie' when she ran down the alley and straight into us. I grabbed her before she could dart off in terror. With inhuman speed, I dragged her away somewhere more private.
She couldn't have been more than 15 and she looked terrified. She told me she had run away from home because she had an argument with her father. After chastising her for her stupid actions and asking her if she wanted to end up a common hooker like myself (to which she replied no), I told her I was taking her back home. She must have seen the remainder of the blood I was drinking on my lips because she reached up and wiped them. She looked at her fingers and looked at me. "It's true, you do exist. I'd heard rumors of your kind, but I never believed them. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. I think you're fascinating."
Could I trust this mortal with the Masquerade? I decided to wait and see before killing her outright. I took her home and explained everything to her father. Lord Fabian was overjoyed instead of angry at seeing Corinthia back, like I had guessed. I explained everything and afterwards he extended his hospitality to me for as long as I cared.
For the next sixteen months we lived together. Corinthia aided me in coming up with excuses to tell her father why I never came out in the day. The Masquerade remained intact. Then Lord Fabian received an appointment to Alexandria to watch over the British settlement. We packed up our things and moved to Egypt.
The Library intrigued me so I went right away. I met Shanna and Michael, fellow Toreadors, there. That was when everything went to Hell.
Michael became smitten with Corinthia and tried to win her affections. I warned him I didn't want her Embraced at such a young age, lest she end up like me, a woman in a youth's body. He conceded and stated correctly that he had all the time in the world. Michael and Shanna decided it would be a week before they would introduce me to the Prince.
When Corinthia disappeared, I went straight to Michael, afraid of the worst. I found him and forced him to tell me what happened. He had stolen a statue from the Prince so he could sell it and buy a necklace for Corinthia. The Prince was quite irate and took Corinthia hostage for the return of the statue. I decided I needed to talk to the Prince myself and had Shanna take me to his palace.
I was brought before Que-sanla and I asked him if Corinthia could be placed in my care until the return of his property. He granted this boon and we went to get Corinthia. Just as we arrived at her room, she was taken out the window by another vampire. The chase was on. I followed the trail back to Fabian's mansion and found them there. Corinthia was fine and I told her she would be in my care now. I talked with Vincent, her 'rescuer' and told him that she was my responsibility now. We slept and the next evening we all dined with Lord Fabian. Over the course of the next couple of days, Corinthia was abducted multiple times by various factions in the city.
I must now take a few moments to describe the political structure of the vampire society in Alexandria. First there was Prince Que- sanla and the majority of our kind fell under his control. The Followers of Set had a strong hold in Alexandria, of which my 'acquaintance' Cynia, was a Priestess of. Lord Fabian, I was to find much later, also had ties with them. And then there was the anarchist Brujah, Vala, and his Followers of the Sun. He was organizing a revolution to overthrow the Prince and stop the oppression caused by Que-sanla. There was also the little matter of personal revenge for what the Prince did to his Child. All three factions were trying to get their hands on Corinthia, feeling she was the key to Lord Fabian and his power. And I was having no luck keeping her away from them.
Also during this time, I teamed up with Vincent and his friends, Tala, Hector Rodriguez, Le Beau, and Devina. They began their own revolution and began making vampires of every mortal they could with which to pit against Que-sanla. As I was searching for Corinthia, they formulated our plans. After rescuing Corinthia once again and attempting to return to Fabian's mansion to met up with the rest, Corinthia, Le Beau, and myself were captured by Taki, one of the Prince's Primogen. When I awoke, I was in a bedroom with no one else in sight. Que-sanla quickly joined me and even though he let me drink of his essence, he punished me for my failure to protect Corinthia. He left me hanging in chains and shortly after, Cleopatra, another of his Primogen entered the room. She let me down and soothed me. I had met her before and could immediately sense her power. I knew she was well learned in the art of love making and wanted to learn from her everything I could. Now she was in the room with me and I could see the lust in her aura. I approached her and asked if I could serve her. Within minutes, I realized I had been used again as this was not Cleopatra, but Que-sanla in disguise. He tortured me again and left me there, humiliated.
No more! That was the final act. I vowed to be no one's pawn again and that I would not allow this humiliation to continue. I quickly found a secret passage in the closet and made my way to the next room. Inside I found a horribly misshapen vampire chained like a dog to his bed. He begged me to bring him the Final Death, that he couldn't stand the torture any longer. I asked if he wanted me to free him, but he said he would rather have eternal peace instead. For the first time in my existence, I killed. His Blood was much more powerful than mine and I took his essence for my own. The power that coursed through me was immense! If this was the sin of Diablerie, then send me to Hell now! Just then, the door burst open to reveal Taki. He managed to curse me for killing his Child before I flew past him into the wall. We engaged in battle to the death. His power of the shadows nearly finished me, but I ravaged him with my fangs until he could move no more. Still high off of the previous Diablerie and needing to replenish the Blood I'd used in the fight with Taki, I drained him. Once again I felt the power of a earlier generation's Blood fill me. Yes! This was ecstasy; this was orgasm; the closest a vampire could ever get to touching God.
I hid the bodies and made my way to find Corinthia and Le Beau. As I passed in front of the room I was originally in, I encountered Tasha, one of Que-sanla's Brood. With quick thinking and a little acting I subdued Tasha. Desiring even more power, I drained her of her essence. For the third time in a matter of minutes, my body became a vessel for the Blood of a stronger vampire.
After hiding her body, I made my way to the dungeon without further interruption. There I found a ghoul guarding Le Beau and Corinthia. I engaged the ghoul and nearly lost to his superior strength and the steel of his two-handed sword. Barely victorious, I had been reduced in Blood so much, I felt the hunger of the Beast within me. For the first time, I was unable to stop the Beast from leaping forth and attacking. In my rage, I attacked Le Beau, but before I was able to do too much damage, I gained control. I freed them and we made good our escape. We joined the rest just as day broke.
When we awoke, we found that Corinthia had again disappeared. I swore I was going to chain that girl to me! After an evening of searching, planning, and discussion with Fallon, an ancient Tremere who cursed Vala and also happened to be the sire of Devina, we formulated a plan of attack. We also uncovered the rare ritual that allowed Que-sanla to break Blood Bonds and his plans for Corinthia and Alexandria. The ritual was recorded on a piece of parchment hidden in the statue Michael had stolen which accounted for the Prince's adamant stand on its return. We found Corinthia alone and already Blood Bound to the Prince. She attempted to attack Hector, but I stopped her.
I was forced to do what I never wanted to. The Blood Bond had to be broken and the only way to do that was to Embrace Corinthia. I drank her blood and in return, fed her mine. Corinthia was now my child and immortal.
The next evening, Que-sanla arrived to fetch his 'bride' but quickly realized something was amiss when he didn't sense the connection of the Bond. Tala, Hector, and I gave chase, relying on our vampiric speed to catch the coach the Prince fled in. Within minutes the battle was finished and Que-sanla was no more. Vincent claimed rights to the ancient Blood and fed, making the Prince's power his own.
Our need in Alexandria finished, Hector felt the pull of his Sire from the East. Rumors abound concerning the goings on from Europe and the East; we mutually decided to accompany Hector on his return to his homeland. Before we departed, Vincent and I ventured to the palace, where Cleopatra now reigned as Prince. After a minor misunderstanding, we finally gained an audience with her. We were happy to hear that the party that was then occurring was a war party; a prelude to the cleansing of the Followers of Set from Alexandria. Cleopatra wanted to return the fair city to its proper grace. Vincent said his piece and then I approached her.
Cleopatra owed us nearly any boon we asked, for if we had not disposed of the Prince, she would not be in power now. But these thoughts were not even in my mind when I spoke. I thanked Cleopatra for her deeds and encouraged her in her mission in Alexandria. I looked into her velvet eyes and felt the stirrings of something. I asked that I may return when my duties in the East where finished so that she could teach me all she knew in the one art I truly cared about. She smiled and lifted my face to hers. Our lips touched, our tongues caressed. I had made love to women in the past as part of being a prostitute; anything for a dollar. But there was never anything as sensual and erotic, and yes, romantic, as that kiss we shared. I knew at that moment that I loved Cleopatra, more than anything and anyone I had ever come across. The moment was over and she stepped back and smiled at me. I stood and bowed again and departed to leave Vincent and Cleopatra alone for a few moments.
We returned to the rest and began our journey to Kuwaiti. Three long days we spent in the desert, always afraid of death from the Sun's touch. Finally we arrived. In the tavern, Hector began finding clues to his unremembered past. While I nearly found my death.
The man seemed so innocent, so intent on his prediction of his own death. All he wanted was a last Kiss. I thought, hey, that's my reason for going on, pleasure, and I sensed no evil intention or lies in his aura. We went into the desert and began to make love. Too late I noticed the warmth in his hand and the weakness in my body. Despite my withering, I was barely able to overcome him when Hector arrived. As my temporarily adrenalized blood evaporated from my veins, I lost all my strength and found I was unable to even walk. Hector carried me back where Tala gave me the mystical ring that Fallon had given us that bestowed strength upon the wearer. I was still greatly weakened by the Assamite attack, but at least I could function again. Now we must board a ship for our destination.
That is my story up to now. My life has changed so much recently and it is a source of great confusion. Where I once felt inside that I was still but a child and needed to be taken care of, I now feel a strong independence and the need to survive at all costs. I have also felt the stirrings of a new power within me. I will be meditating on this very much over the course of our travels, for this power calls out to me. I am not whole, nor will I be until this unknown is revealed, making me complete. I also vow that I shall survive the upcoming ordeal and return to Cleopatra where I will attempt to win her love as she has so easily won mine. I feel the need to find Enlightenment. My sins weigh too heavily on me now; the taking of life and the enjoyment and power I gained from it. Can I come to grips with the Beast inside me? Or will I just be its slave, its pawn as I have been everyone's pawn? I say, no more! I refuse to be a pawn again. From now on, my brethren and I
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