Blood of Rome

Letter to Lucius Cloelius 1
Greetings from Egypt

Greetings from Egypt brother.

The sun here is killing me!!! There is no respite from the heat. It’s made even worse during shifts with the helmet and armour on. It makes me wonder how (or why) we conquered these people but then I just take a look around and the ‘how’ is immediately answered. The answer to the question ‘why’ is a little less obvious unless you take note of the local fauna and we all know that Caesar certainly did that.

How is the legion treating you Lucius? I hope you are still rising through the ranks. You were always a much better soldier than me and father kept me aware of that fact constantly. Have you heard from old Cnaeus Martial Cloelius? I suppose it would not be a surprise to you that we are not on speaking terms. Iovita continues to write though I do not know why. I reply courteously of course but give nothing away. She and father are so close that it would not surprise me if he had taken her to his bed as soon as mother died.

I still see her you know. Sometimes out of the corner of my eye I see a blur. I used to swing my head in a fury to catch a glimpse. Then one day I did see her; an apparition, wrists slashed, blood washing the tiles and her dead eyes staring into mine. The image was gone in a moment but I don’t chase to see the spirits that plague my mind anymore. Mother used to listen to those ghosts and in the end she killed herself.

Sorry brother. I know a lot of my letters descend into such morose thoughts. It’s either dark tales or a list of my latest conquests. On the second count, I am afraid there is little to report. Since my problems in Rome, I have become a little cynical towards the fairer sex. I mean I knew the woman had a husband but I am certain that she was aware that she was married as well. The hypocrisy runs freely in Rome.

A quick drilling by my superiors, a rather nauseating sailing voyage (I swear next time I will walk the long way around even if it kills me) and here I am in one of the most exotic places (if not disgustingly smelly and hot areas) in the world. I am sure my appetites will return soon and wash away this malaise. I just feel like there should be something more. I fight for Rome, perhaps not in the way Rome wants me to fight, but I cannot help feeling that there is something more worthwhile out there.

Well I must finish up. My friends arrive soon and we mean to tear up this city tonight. A few quick scouting forays have revealed some enemy enclaves that I fully intend to raid and plunder. Look at me, military speak, father would be proud. It will certainly lift my spirits to find my own Cleopatra or even a dozen Cleopatras. And don’t worry Lucius, I fully intend to stay out of trouble.

S. Cloelius

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320CE Orgy at the Baths of Caracalla

The coterie were all granted shared feeding grounds around the Circus Maximus, no other kindred share this area except Marcellarius who controls the Circus.

Each member met the others gradually as Whisper collected them from the tunnels of the Necropolis. The predator’s taint caused some to attack each other, blood flowed in darkness until Whisper calmed matters with…well…a whisper.

They were led to the glorious baths of Carcalla where fun and intrigue were had by all.

Avitus was a surprise to everyone, perhaps even himself. Despite his low Roman birth and lack of social graces he managed to impress or amuse almost everyone. His tales from the gladiatorial arena were a large success and he fought an armed slave with his bare hands to the roars of those watching. Xeretes seemed interested in being his patron in the future once he proves himself. The War Crow considers him to be a new recruit for the legion and Avitus avoided his company (with some speed) for the rest of the orgy.

Caelia disturbed and yet intrigued the revelers. A devastatingly beautiful, naked Nosferatu with crazy eyes and an unsettling aura is not what you want at most parties and yet is hard to look away from. Many of the Roman kindred did not know what to make of her and did not cope well with her strange lack of knowing her place. This did not stop her from impressing some and smooth talking others, no one expected a Nosferatu to know small talk or to speak in a nobles cultured tones, perhaps this disarmed their judgement. She even got a few words out of the War Crow…four I think.

Obayana loomed as only a seven foot tall black Gangrel of the Legio Mortuum can. His barbaric accent was seldom heard at the party. Many noted that he seemed to be on duty, eying potential threats and listening while others spoke. This is expected of a Legionary and many approving nods were given. Even so, for one so large he seemed to blend into the background. Obayana did impress his superior officer The War Crow by finding a new recruit in Avitus. What he will do if Avitus fails to sign up remains to be seen.

Servius made an impression on many of the women at the party. In fact the handsome Roman dressed in exotic Egyptian finery seemed little interested in anyone except the beautiful members of the female gender. He indulged in an orgy of seduction with slave girls, female kindred revelers and even managed to seduce the powerful Augur Flavianna Galla. They have a date at a ceremony to the great mother in three nights time. One of the only males he impressed was Xeretes (no stranger to seducing women himself) and there is the possibility of mentoring in the future.

Spurius was quiet and soft spoken, speaking to individuals rather than groups. The reserved Medicus spoke to many at the party for brief periods, sounding out future relationships rather than making them. He showed a proper Mekhet face to the elite, deferential without being subservient. Of all the coterie, Spurius seemed to be looking for somewhere to belong, for his place among the dead.

Valentina was everywhere, speaking to everyone and impressing many. She had breeding, style, grace, beauty and, unfortunately, Marcellarius for a husband. Looks of pity were mixed with those of burgeoning respect and even envy from some. Her political knowledge and oratory skills were relied upon heavily by the coterie and she fast became their spokesperson. During the party she cemented her friendship with Julia Sabina who is now her mentor in the political arena. Eupraxus tried to seduce her with his boyish vulgarity and the hostess Comitor was impressed by her style but slightly cold due to the ill feelings between her and Marcellarius.

The coterie has agreed to meet with Marcellarius in the Circus Maximus in two nights time to discuss a proposition he has for them. Avitus and Obayana have decided to enter the chariot race on the night in order to impress him, despite their lack of skill; how hard can it be?

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Letter to Lucius Cloelius 2
Just a quick letter

Brother

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to tell you. Things have become very strange for me. I met a girl. No, not a girl a woman. I have never known anyone like her. She is smart and oh so beautiful. She got me a job here. Don’t hate me Lucius but I have left the legion. The work I am doing now so so much more important.

She has a building here that I am helping her with. I help maintain it. I also run errands for her during the day. At night I work with her. Being around her is intoxicating. And the sex is the best I have known. No wonder old Julius was so captivated by these Egyptian women.

I don’t tend to sleep much anymore. Awake nearly all the time. Least the nightmares have kind of stopped. The feelings I sometimes get, like mother used to have, are now sporadic at best. My skin itches a lot. I can’t stop thinking about my beautiful Sia. There is a hollow feeling in my chest when we are not together. Sometimes I feel hurt when she has no time to see me. I try to ignore her too in return to make her feel pain by my absence but I give in all but straight away. My mind is a little scattered I must say brother but I feel as if I am where I am meant to be. I want to tell you more but I can’t.

Will write soon.

S

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Letter to Lucius Cloelius 3
Monsters in the Dark

Sorry brother. so sorry. I have been writing. Well i think I have. I been saving up those letters for you. Good news Lucius. sia says I can write to you whenever I want. she says she has known all along. I was worried about telling you what’s been going on with me but she has been so gracious. So beautiful. I can’t remember when I last saw the sun but on the plus side it is cooler inside the tomb. she isn’t human…she is so much more than that. I work for her, make her happy. I can read and write hieroglyphs now, can you believe it? I feel tired. My jaws ache. I am always hungry but food has no taste. In the darkness I lay on my bed and stare at the roof. There are 187 tiles on the ceiling in my chamber. 529 bricks in the wall next to the door. 23 by 23 equals 529. 7 9 16 7 I make Sia very happy. I was allowed to view my first mummification the other day. We removed some of the organs and put them into special jars. My mistress prayed to almighty Set whilst I helped one Sia’s slaves stick wire up the bodies nose to retrieve the brain. Hollow like a rotten apple. Sometimes I feel that way. Afterwards Sia cut her wrist and dropped some of her blood into the body’s mouth. Just thinking of it makes my jaws ache. I can’t remember when I last fed. I know how it sounds brother but the reality is not what it is. Anyway I have explained all this already haven’t I. So thirsty so tired. They took the body deep into the labyrinth under the tomb. He will become one of Sia’s special children. Sometimes they feed me too but its not the same. Like copper honey it makes all your veins pulse with lightning whilst your stomach cramps. The world comes alive. I sense things differently then…like I used to, like mother used to but I am not afraid anymore. So hungry. There is something wrong here brother. I can feel it. Felt it all day. Something not right. Something not right in here. Sense it like I used too, like mother used too but I am not afraid anymore. I love you brother. You should come here too. You would love Sia. Find your own mistress. Will give mistress letter. She said she will send it to you…will get there extra fast. Writing good for me she said. Will find out what is wrong too. Something in the dark. Brother monsters are real – ghosts and demons…they are all real. They live inside us and sometimes they win.

S

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320CE A Night at the Races

At Macellarius’ invitation the coterie went to the chariot races at the Circus Maximus. Despite their lack of experience Avitus and Obayana entered the race in order to gain Macellarius’ attention. The other characters sat in the box with Marcellarius and enjoyed the show, while listening to his jovial anecdotes.

From the start Avitus and Obayana were far behind the five other entrants and yet all eyes were riveted on them. Their chariots careened across the circus floor, barely controlled. Walls, statues, other chariots and even the crowd seemed in danger of being run down. No one expected them to last a lap and yet they clung to their precarious perches with the tenacity of the warrior born. Finally, in the fifth lap, Avitus’ chariot was sprayed with sand as Victrix lapped him. No one really saw what happened in the dust cloud that followed but the chariot upended sending Avitus and his two horses cartwheeling across the Circus. He hit another of the leading charioteers, causing them to crash into a wall with sickening finality. Many vampires in the crowd howled at the sight and smell of blood. Avitus leaped to his feet and proceeded to jump into the chariot of another racer on the next lap. The surprised driver only barely managed to shake him off, the crowd loved it. Obayana dragged his horses through the carnage using brute strength more than skill, he wore every attempt to make him crash with the grim determination of a Legionaire. To the surprise of everyone he managed to finish the race fifth out of seven. Victrix was victorious.

Marcellarius was well pleased with the show and offered the coterie his patronage if they performed a little task for him. Of course they agreed and started preparation for a ten day trip to Mediolanum to fetch a ‘package’.

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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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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 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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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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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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