Blood of Rome

Letter to Lucius Cloelius 7
Goodbye

My brother Lucius

I have good news Lucius – I am coming home.

Sia was waiting for me when I returned to my chambers this evening. We spoke of Rome and the prophesy regarding its demise. We spoke of the Nemesis and their return. Do not fear brother because hope resides below the city’s streets. In the Fane of Darkness, Set has provided us with an instrument of power to turn back our enemies.

All this…everything that has happened to me has been in preparation for this moment. Set and Sia have shaped me as weapon and a tool. I have always known that there is more to this world. I have always wanted to be part of it, to shape it and make my mark. I am returning to Rome to help its people against this darkness.

Rome. Can you believe it? I can barely recall it to my mind. It will be like visiting it for the first time. So many people. The cacophony of sights and sounds and smells (I could probably do without that). I will be like a lost child, mouth agape and head swiveling to take everything in. I wonder how much it has changed?

Sia told me that Rome has changed. She told me that you are long dead. All of you…my sister and father and yourself. I am sorry I never got to say goodbye to you in person. I hope that if you saw me now you wouldn’t hate me or fear me. I want to help, I want to make a difference and maybe I can now.

Goodbye Lucius. May you live on in Green Fields for I will not see you there.

Love

Servius

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Letter to Lucius Cloelius 6
Contact

L.

I forget what it feels like to have the sky over my head; to look up and see the stars, to see the moon illuminate and cast shadows through trees or off buildings. I try and think of a sunrise but the thought fills me with fear and my heart beats fast, my temples throb. I run through the tomb as fast as I can, I push off walls, sprint through empty chambers and sometimes, just to feel the wind again, I fall, the air rushing past my ears as I twist and turn to catch ledges and slow my descent.

I read. I fight. I hunt. My little corner of the tomb is a mess of scrolls and carvings. The previous occupant filled the place with small statues of some sad faced woman. There must be thousands of them broken and littered around the chamber.

The hunt. I train in these dark tunnels. I push my body and my senses, dodging traps and my siblings. Sometimes Sia joins the hunt for she must feed too and it is strange when the tables turn so – to be the prey and not the hunter.

I have hunted with my brothers and sisters too. The outsiders are let loose within the tomb; Sia lets them in. They give us practice and food. I have hunted them alone and in a pack. It all depends on the outsider threat. Some are well armed and I have taken a few choice weapons to use against others in the future. I have also fashioned myself some armour from the debris left behind by their corpses.

A strange occurrence happened the other day when I came across a group of outsiders. There was a woman amongst them. She was nothing special but as I watched her, I found no fear in her. I felt aroused watching her as the group she was in fought against the tomb itself, clutching their weapons, brandishing their flames. It has been a long time since I have known the touch of a woman and I longed to talk to someone not dead. I have certainly made love to Sia for as long as I can remember and I have even cavorted with some of Sia’s prettier children. This was different though and I felt strongly drawn to this woman.

I approached the group and pretended I was lost like them. The fear of the flames rose up inside me but my desire for contact quickly overrode the terror. I could see the suspicion in their eyes but they needed more weapons to fight against the noises they could hear in the dark -for my brothers and sisters approached.

Over the next night the outsiders were claimed one by one; picked off by the shadows until only the woman and I remained. She still showed no sign of fear and I found her beautiful. Worth fighting for…worth saving from the monsters.

When I returned to my chamber Sia was waiting for me. I lay my head in her lap and cried as she stroked my hair.

S.

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Letter to Lucius Cloelius 5
Balance

Brother

It’s all about balance Lucius. It is all about harmony. There have been times when the world was out of balance. Consider Akhenaten who worshipped the Sun God Aten above all others. Before him the twin cults of the Phoenix and Typhon protected the people from spirits and witches. With the dawn, the followers of the Phoenix would arise, protecting the people during the day. At night, the Cult of Set stood strong in the darkness. The Cult of the Phoenix brought order where needed and the Cult of Set brought chaos where chaos was due and harmony was maintained – balance.

But Akhenaten made war against these false gods for he was a witch and consorted with demons and spirits. And he summoned that-which-not-be-named inside the souls of his people and they become rotten and hollow. The Cult of the Phoenix was destroyed, their magicks unable to overcome Akhenaten’s hollow soldiers.

He then turned his attention to the Cult of Set but the Setites knew that they could not defeat the Pharaoh; they were cunning and they sealed themselves in their Fanes. They conducted rituals upon themselves so that the Spirits of Akhenaten could not consume and use them. They sacrificed themselves so that when they died they would not rest – trapped upon the point of the fulcrum, the balance, the Mekhet between living and death.

They all died but they did not. As hungry ghosts they rose and fled into the shadows and rebuilt the cradle of chaos. They waited and made alliances with the old gods. Akhenaten was overthrown and the demon that ruled beside him was destroyed by the Mekhet.

This is my legacy brother. I am Set’s instrument against those forces from outside this world that seek to overthrow the balance. I am Khaibit. I am Mekhet.

S.

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Letter to Lucius Cloelius 4
Blood for Blood

Brother

I am sorry for the lack of letters recently. I suppose the excuse ‘I died and went to Dis’ is a poor one. As I sit here now in the dark, I can see more clearly than ever before. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders – the burden of life. It all seems so simple now.

I died brother. I sensed the creature. I followed it through the tomb and I found it feeding upon my sire’s childe. I had my tools with me and with my work hammer I cracked its skull once and then twice. I felt bone break and there were clumps of hair and skin on the blunt steel head. After it had fallen I moved to Abraxus. Precious life was still oozing slowly out of him. I licked the floor where he lay moving my lips ever closer to his body and then I was kissing him softly as Sia does to me. I felt fire in my mouth as I forced my tongue into his wounds – and then pain…in my side and in my head. A bright flash behind my eyes and then there was no pain. My face lay in the dust next to the corpse whilst the creature stood next to me. It grinned, though its smile never touched it black eyes. Its neck broken, it seemed to regard me with sympathy as it lifted its leg and then blackness.

Fire in my soul, quenched by darkness. I heard the stones whispering to me. I remember breathing but not. It was a sharp intake of breath, more like a gasp. I tried to open my eyes but they were sealed shut. Something embraced me like iron. I scrambled and kicked. My body was covered in tight bandages, the smell of embalming fluid overwhelming. I could taste…blood.

I kicked and screamed and tore the bandages from my face. Sia held me. It was dark but I could see. I could see the sand covered floor and the carving on the wall. There were no flames but I could see. I could see our mother over Sia’s shoulder as she pinned me to the wall. I was so hungry. My jaws ached. It is different now – different kind of hunger. I didn’t just want the blood I needed it. Anger filled my vision and I felt it course through my body. Our mother if only I could hold her. She smiled sadly toward me. I could not move though…Sia held me against the wall and I fought her but it was like a child fighting a man.

When the red haze cleared our mother had gone. There were two men present. One was sobbing into open palms whilst the other sat stoically. Sia whispered something into my ear. It sounded like a shout but to be honest I cannot remember what she said. She let go of me and I sprang upon the crying man.

Things are different now. Sia has moved me to a new work location deep in the tomb. I am imprisoned down here. I have my own space though with tools and writing implements. I have a small array of weapons too. Carvings adorn the walls and the niches are exploding with scrolls. I feel like my mind is my own again. Sia says I should read and learn. She visits now and again and we talk and make love. I think there are other people down here too. I listen at the walls and sometimes here voices but I cannot make out what they are saying. There are 2553 tiles on the eastern wall of my room.

To pass the time between feeding and writing and reading I carve statues like mother did. I carve one for everyday that I am down here. Sometimes I tell myself it is a waste of time. I get so angry at myself; I don’t remember being a very angry person. The only time I seem happy is when I enter the maze to feed. When I go hunting…

I’m hungry right now.

S.

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322CE Victrix Races

Victrix races in the Circus Maximus. A challenger attempts to set her chariot on fire and Victrix destroys him, forcing the blazing torch he wields into his open mouth. Marcellarius Corbulo protects her from the law, arguing successfully on her behalf in the chamber of the Senex.

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322CE The Doomed Heresy

The coterie happened to see Silberic, an infamous foreign troublemaker and rumoured treasure-monger, behaving strangely and opening a secret door in one of the corridors of the Necropolis. He led them on a long, circuitous chase and eventually Silberic assumed he had lost them. They were witness to a meeting with a heretical offshoot of the Lancea et Sanctum and the formation of plans to stage a rebellion.

They informed the War Crow and the Legio Mortuum was waiting for them, along with some of the characters, when they staged their rebellion. It was slaughter and Obayana was promoted within the legion. Most of the Camarilla seemed unconcerned by the event but Helvidius noted that such things were becoming annoyingly common. The Lancea et Sanctum denied any part but criticized the Legion for its ruthlessness.

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321CE The Missing Vampire

The Coterie were accused by vicious rumours to have killed the missing Julii, Caius Cunctator. They asked around his feeding grounds and many of their contacts to find out where he was (Caelia, who would have been very useful here, had gone into hiding). Valentina performed two auguries which led them to the Green Amphora Caponae and determined that a bird of prey was involved. At The Green Amphora they met Spurius Paetus who discussed the weather. They determined that he was Caius’ Ghoul who was ageing fast due to lack of blood.

Information from Marcellarius led them to Caius’ haven. Medicus and Servius led the coterie through the tunnels of the Necropolis using their darkvision. Upon finding the haven they discovered that Caius preyed to Bastet, that he feared cults of darkness, that he had gone to the cult of Augurs and received an augury and a location near an entrance to the Necropolis. There they found his ashes and signs of a struggle, indicating that a human was mortally wounded and that a woman was there and walked away before the fight.

The Coterie went to the Cult of Augurs and there met Flavianna Galla and a Nosferatu named Marcus Auditor, who had performed the Augury for Caius. All Characters asked for insight into their futures (except Caelia who was still missing). They also received oracles clearing their names of any wrongdoings in relation to Caius’ disappearance. Flavianna presented the augury to the Senex and their innocence was proved.

Valentina spoke successfully before the Senex asking that the Ghoul Paetus be given to Avitus and that the Coteries feeding grounds be extended tho include the Green Amphora. Marcellarius put on a party to celebrate and many made their excuses when the the artfully bruised slaves started having their blood drained.

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320CE Return to Rome

The return trip to Rome was uneventful. Marcellarius was most pleased with his statue and it is now on prominent display in one of his party rooms. Rumour has it that Commitor was less than pleased and Valentina, Marcellarius’ wife, was distinctly silent on the matter.

Over the last few months, Marcellarius has been showering the coterie with public praise and gifts. People are beginning to take notice and they have increased their reputation within the Camarilla. Marcellarius may lack style but he certainly knows how to get peoples attention and his power is undisputed. The characters have begun their rise in Kindred politics.

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320CE Walking to Mediolanum

The Coterie made the ten day journey to Mediolanum, using the Camarilla’s impressive system of safe houses. Despite their fears, feeding was surprisingly easy along the way.

Upon arrival at Mediolanum they introduced themselves to the Julii Magistrate Julia Africana. Caelia managed to upset proceedings by going into a fear frenzy at the sight of the powerful kindred. While the boys held her down, Valentina managed to smooth matters over and the Magistrate grudgingly allowed them feeding rights and haven with the town. As a matter of form she also invited them to a party with the local kindred the next evening.

They made the pick up the next night, it was a life sized statue of a Satyr getting obscenely intimate with a nymph. The two looked suspiciously like Marcellarius and Tertia Julia Comitor. While interrogating Quintus Didius Scornutor the merchant, Valentina discovered that Eupraxus was up to his old trick, gathering a cult as Christ reborn.

At the party Valentina charmed Julia Africana and discovered her dislike of kindred in general and that she had a high humanity. She has offered Valentina sanctuary should she ever need it. Spurius made friends with an old Julii name Calius and they swapped stories about the anatomy of legendary beasts such as the Giraffe. Caelia befriended the worm Faustus and he seemed quite smitten.

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320CE Dance of the Galli

The coterie attended the rites of a mystery cult. The rites of Cybele were ecstatic, involving wild dancing, double-headed axes and ritualized self harm. Valentina and Servius took part in the dancing as members of the Cult of Augurs. Valentina was graceful and dedicated as she flowed through the unfamiliar moves impressively. Servius started well, moving with the Sinuous grace of a snake, the axes flowing around his body like they were part of him. Then he danced closer to Flaviana, who he flirted with at the Baths of Carcalla. It is unclear what she said to him but he dropped an axe and finished the rite with a jerky lack of style that was very unusual for the handsome Mekhet. Other Coterie members talked to Eupraxus who offered to sponser them in joining the Cult of Augurs. None agreed to join but some seemed interested.

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