Blood of Rome
here begins the account of my unlife.
born unto darkness in the year 241ce in the lands of egypt. my sire, may set show her mercy, was the beauty sia. after years of toil in service to my sire i have been sent to the grand city of rome to re-establish an ancient temple of set to its former glory.
the temple is a place of secrets. it is old, indeed far older than rome itself. the temple complex proper, not the facade shown to the regular worshipers is alive with set’s history, every piece of wall, the very decor a tribute to his great plan. it is humbling to be within its presence. yet i have not spent the time i would have liked studying its myriad puzzles.
duty calls me to become a part of the kindred society that fills the catacombs under this great city. i must somehow learn how the politics works within the city if i am to have any hope of success. i feel that my best chance lies with the cult of augurs for it is with their magic that we might be able to overcome the enemy. to that end i have been able to organise a meeting with the voluptuous flaviana. with her guidance perhaps i will be able to understand how this city works and find an ally in the coming struggle.
last night was troubling for me. i met some neonates who share the feeding ground allocated to me. it shames me to admit but i gave into the beast in the darkness of the corridors. there loomed before me a giant shadow, armed and armoured, it reminded me of my father and i lost myself to the red mist of mars. such a pretender, a husk of a warrior. only afterwards, when whisper had silenced my beast with a word did a notice the blade stuck in my side from my other coward companion. a faker and a coward. how i wished to cut them, make them bleed for set. but that is not the way of things. the big man, obayana is a quiet sort. i like that. we competed that night and though we might not remember the events fully, we took a measure of each other’s strength. the other savage is avitus, a slave to the games, to the chant of the crowd and steel parting flesh and bone. but a slave none the less. they will perhaps be useful for fighting what is coming.
there were two shining lights in the darkness. two creatures of beauty. valentina is a native of rome and a member of the augurs. i see great ambition there; she is someone willing to do what is necessary for power, a fact made evident by her obese husband. she loves this city also which may prove to work in my favour. the other delight for the eyes is celia and she causes the loins to ache, even covered in blood and filth, which seem to collect on her like moss on a log. she is as great a puzzle as the walls in the temple. but with patience and study may yield a just as promising reward.
coming to the baths was a necessary thing. there were many great citizens of rome present. yet i could not focus. too long did i spend in sia’s tomb. everywhere i looked there was blood and sweet flesh for the taking. and when i thought about the future of those people in the room, darkness filled my thoughts and i over indulged in soft bodies and alcohol laced slaves. i saw my new companions working the room, plying for favours but i could not stop thinking, what is the point?
i have returned to the temple and i see typhon has turned his grin towards me. i need to focus. i was never good at it in the legion. i need to plan. i need to make friends and work out who to trust, no one will see what is coming until it is too late. i need tools and a workplace. i must see if whisper can provide that for me. i have no coin, but i need weapons and armour. i need to study the nature of my enemy. i need to focus. i was never good at it in the legion. need to plan. study the temple. you cannot understand the puzzle until you understand its parts.
in a couple of nights time i join my companions at the chariot races. i need to be more disciplined. keep my eyes open for the signs. i need weapons, i need allies. the darkness is coming.
I struggle to learn more about my new coterie. They seem all so young to me. We all attended the Circus where Avitus and Obayana contested in arena. It was a poor showing but Avitus’s crash and subsequent attempt to hijack another chariot was welcomed by the blood thirsty Macellarius. I won a bit of money as well. I can’t remember what team I used to barrack for in life; too much darkness and too many years. But I think I will cheer on the Reds next time I go.
Macellarius offered our coterie the opportunity to please him. We had to travel ten days out of Rome. I once again had to marvel at the Camarilla’s network of safe houses, the very same ones I used to get to Rome from Egypt. With every house though there is this sense of trepidation about whether there will be betrayal, from both within and without.
We arrived in Mellian and retrieved the statue, a satyr fucking a fawn – the resemblance of the faces with Macellarius and Comitor unmistakable. The work itself is very good and if Macellarius should ever need of stone craft from me then I am sure I can mimic the style. I do feel sorry for Valentina. What a slap in the face her husband is.
We returned the statue to Rome without incident and Macellarius has thanked us with his patronage. Seems a mixed blessing to me. Comitor has grown less friendly and it seems I will have to find another bathhouse to frequent.
Attended the ritual to Cybele after an invitation from Flaviana. She is actually a he. Not sure how I feel about that. He is certainly stunning. She has cut off her cock probably in tribute to the earth mother. Certainly glad Set does not demand that of me though it would go along with some of the stories. I am not accustomed to the less formal nature of roman rituals. Set uses rather traditional and formal incantations and blood-letting. In this ritual dedicated to hunting there was blood letting accompanied by frenetic dancing. Nearly took off Valentina’s pretty head with one of those axes. Hope she didn’t notice.
Where was I? Not sure at the moment. I have spent too long staring at walls. I have been here for how long now and only small successes have been achieved. Sia did say that it would take time to unlock the Fane’s numerous secrets. I have this feeling though that time is getting away from me. There is an invisible countdown that I fear may have already hit zero.
I have found myself a second haven away from the temple. It allows for a little more privacy and could come in handy when the worse happens. I have been spending a lot more of my time there recently to get away from the frustrations of unlocking riddles in the Fane. I have been carving statues as I used to. I have carved some as gifts for my fellow coterie members. The gifts were met mostly with suspicion as is the curse of ‘kindred.’ I now earn a fair living from my carvings. Funny how different life could have been if I had been allowed to follow my passion for working with my hands.
There is something tickling the back of my mind. I fear I have forgotten something from my studies back in Egypt. It is not surprising, some of that was done whilst in the very depths of blood addition. We were accused of murdering one of fellow kindred. Of course we managed to exonerate ourselves but there were little things that did not match up, things I feel I should know. I have no doubt that somehow the Nemesis was involved but I don’t know how and I do not know enough about them. Soon we are planning a trip to the Librarian and hopefully there I will be able to fill in some blanks.
I am also looking forward to my trip to the Fons Ater with Valentina. She is suffering from a malady due to an illness in her sire’s blood. I hope to find some more information hidden in the darkness there. My own attempts at getting a library organised in the Fane have so far failed. Those scraps brought there by the cultists have been less than useless. I feel I am going to have to take a personal hand in acquiring some goods.
My training with Obayana goes well. He is truly a killing machine. In the Promenade against the cultists, he was a god amongst children. I am glad he is on our side.
The Library is a horrible place – filled with worms and secrets. There were answers to be found there but few to our liking. Valentina found a ritual that could cure her malady. But the cost could be her very soul. Who am I kidding, we all lost that long ago. Her path is dark indeed and I do not know what choice she will make but I will understand either way. For me the Library was filled with problems. My sire and the Keeper’s friend ended abruptly with the Keeper’s affection rebuffed by Sia. Osiris’s cock who could blame her, his head is just a mass of blood and brain. The cost for me was high. I was required to spend a year within the hell hole. I cannot write what I did down there. The images form in my head my hand remains frozen when I attempt to write. I do not want to return down there ever.
True to his word, the librarian gave me the Key of the Magi; a series of scrolls that I can use to unlock the Fane. The scroll contains a lot a mathematical formulae tied to hieroglyphics. It is the missing piece of the puzzle that will allow me to start unlocking the riddles of Set’s temple. I need to brush up on my maths but one of my companions has already offered his assistance.
I may take my coterie down to the Fane soon. They are quite clever and those that are not highly skilled with weapons. I am under no delusions that accessing the rest of the Fane will now be easy. Who knows what traps have been laid in wait for intruders?
The Librarian and Caelia also provided us information about the Strix. I knew I was right about the murder a couple of years ago. The augury performed by Valentina suggested the form of a bird of prey. The strix often manifest in the form of an owl. It is only through the power of Set that I may confront this enemy. I must continue my training but it is somewhat distracting. I fear my delusions have begun to grow stronger. The others are kind and don’t mention it but the patterns I see around me have come more often. I see numbers everywhere and sometimes when I work on a statue I can hear voices guiding tools, telling me where to strike my blows. I cannot afford to lose myself again. Twice is enough for any lifetime.
How can I be tired? I remember being tired when I was a ghoul. I remember little else except the ache that develops in your jaw, spreading you lips into a rictus smile. But I feel tired now. I don’t know how long I have spent in the fane. I feel hunger. I cannot remember when I last fed. I need to wash. Strange habit. Not as if I sweat. But I imagine I am covered in grim and dust.
The time is coming. I can feel it. I dedicate myself to unravelling the puzzles of the fane. The rest of my time is spent in darkness. My friends attempt to lure me out of here and in truth when I submit to their wishes, I do end up enjoying my time with them. My sparing with Obayana continues and I must admit it is a lot of fun. I do enjoy running over the streets of Rome as well. There is a freedom in the uncontrolled movement from one to one to one to two…the rush of a prepared fall and the vigor enhanced jump…it is like flying. Over the streets, over the roofs while they sleep, i run and you sleep. Footfalls on tile, on straw, on stone. A call, a muted “What was that?” Go to sleep, everything is alright.
I push myself in the darkness. Set has blessed me with many gifts. To truly beat the strix I must master them all. I train with blades but I also have made the shadows my ally. With a thought the pull and tease around me. I can dislodges someone else shadow and have them caper around like a mad thing. But I must learn more. To defeat the strix I must be able to follow them into twilight. We shall see if they laugh so hard when I plunge a dagger into their incorporeal forms. Darkness is coming. But that might not be a bad thing.
I have fallen. I don’t know how far because in the dark there is no point of reference. You can feel the wind whistle past your ears, shapes fly past you but they are of passing concern only. Weightless and falling. Only the faithful could fall so far. I thought I was a good person but when I look at others now i see both the sum of their parts and their constituting factors – the way the plug into the world around them. In my readings I have seen references to the perfect state. A state of balance between the monster inside and the facade – the mask of flesh. It is such a dream , a promise like those given by Set himself. Mekhet means balance but a balance between what and what. People look at me funny and I don’t know why as I count the freckles on their face, check off the facial ticks of concern or record the number of times they mention ‘I’ in a sentence. I have fallen.
The pit was deep and lined with traps and fell through the darkness. Set’s hand guided me down but one cannot fall so far without damaging one’s soul and even though I landed at the bottom with barely a scratch, my insides were scarred with failure and shame. Beyond the portal was a hall of the servile dead. And with the strength bestowed upon me by Set i searched amongst the corpses until I found the first and then together we saw the moon rise over Threshold. To see something come to fruition that you have worked on for so long can be somewhat underwhelming. Just the feeling of it not the sight. But in reality it is everything I hoped for and more. More puzzles to unlock. Let us hope I do not fall any further. Nothing in this world compares to the power of the mind.
With our minds we make the world.
The completion of Threshold continues. More Wurms have been awaken for the cause with the farm district completed. With the funds left behind in the temple of Set we have been able to restore the chamber completely. Feelers have been sent out to find the best glassworking experts in the world. I feel that in the next hundred years we may be successful in awakening Threshold.
I can’t describe the feelings of entering the Pyramid. Ecstatic. Joy. Love. Hate. Just a cacophony of voices as the stones vibrated with power. I the quieter moments now I wonder what will happen once it is done. I don’t even know if I will survive the process. I don’t know if anyone else will either. I must have faith though.
Recently I met a strange woman. She seemed blessed and cursed by the Christian God. She was a vessel of Faith, perhaps an angel as described by their scriptures. Chaos followed her and I felt sorry for her plight. She readily gave herself over for burning and screamed not as the flames touched her. After they had died done, I cut her down from the pole and carried her off into the night. I buried her on one of the seven hills of Rome yet her body seemed as though still alive. I sometimes go back to visit her. I dig up the body to check that she is still alive; the body stays as fresh as when she was burnt at the stake…her skin perfect as no flame touch her body. We talk about the world, the chaos surrounding both the mortal and vampire societies. The Camarilla strives to have a human face. A facade of civility but deep down they are all beasts. Their reliance upon ‘being human’ will be their downfall as they struggle to change as human lives change. But we do not change…we are static, dead creatures. Well change is coming and it will come in the Flood of the Strix as they take their vengeance out on the Julii. The Camarilla will fall perhaps, I do not know, but the world will be a sadder place without it; for in Rome there is greatness, or there was.
The years pass. So much death and Chaos. I hope Set is pleased…someone should gain from the tragedy of these times.
Sometimes when the grip of Auspex takes over you can see everything slow down. The movements of objects and people become predictable and with wisdom you can act. This is how I feel like now as I head into the future. I can see all the shit heading my way, and I can predict where it will fall but I lack the wisdom to act. So many Senex members have been killed. The Julii amongst them have probably fallen to the Strix who lurk in the shadows. The Cult of Augurs is gone. Flaviana has deserted the city. With them gone do we even have the ability to drive off the Strix? Tertia dead. Marcellarius destroyed (though I do not mourn his passing). I have risen in rank within the corpse of the Camarilla. People look to me in the Senex. What a joke. Horus’ cock they wanted to ban the orgies. Crazy.
Only the War Crow stands resolute. The rock of stability. And what he can’t control he destroys without mercy. He has joined the ranks of the Lancea et Sanctum because of that reason. He couldn’t destroy it but now he can control it.
Like vultures around a carcass my coterie picks over the bones of Rome. We claim the Baths, Circus and Arena. Ours!!! Who would have imagined it? What will it matter though if Rome is a smoking ruin? Perhaps we can save a remnant. Already we work in the shadows to save the pagans.
But I get sidetracked. Threshold is most important. Our glassmaker continues her work in the lavish apartments I have set aside for her. Deep under the city the chaos of vampire and human politics is like a nightmare. Deep in the darkness next to the bosom of Set lays the dream. The light of Ra shall be bent, twisted and inverted. Threshold will unleash and we shall all be saved.
Chaos ensues. Everything has fallen apart. All I have worked towards this past century has been for nothing. The Strix have come and destroyed and Julii and the Camarilla with it. The Sanctified rule Rome now. Rome…its name is like off wine in my mouth. Ransacked by foreigners and dark spirits and christians. Nothing will be the same again and I wonder if there is anything left to save.
The Fane lies somewhere buried, away from my reach. Does salvation lie just beyond my grasp? I do not know and with passing days and weeks and months and I find my desire to seek out an alternate entrance into that dark place wanning. Instead I throw myself into new tasks.
We have managed to save a remnant of a remnant. In the Stygian Halls a resistance has been born. We have been offering comfort, support and order to the survivors who managed to survive the darkest night only to be hunted by the sanctified. Valentina leads them…well what remains of her. She plays the part of an old woman to disguise herself amongst the kindred, meanwhile the Beast the controls her plays the part of Valentina. Sometimes I even forget that she is not really there. I will keep my promise to her.
Time is no enemy of mine, but I do grow tired. My tomb nears completion. I have worked very hard on it, designing the most diabolical of traps and hidden recesses. I have even incorported blood magic similar to that used on the Stygian Halls and the light tunnels of the Fane to hide its location. I have done all I can for the Circle now and I hope those that follow me, including my children will carry on in protecting their freedom.
I feel it is time for my experiment to begin.
I stopped looking for access to the Fane long ago. I soon realised after a couple of years that i did not want to find it. I had became obsessed and deep down I knew that what would be born in that place would not save the world but I wanted to have it done. I wanted it done because of Sia and Set and because of hope. But in many ways hope died when the Camarilla did. It became a dream more than reality. And now I choose to dream, of hope and other things. The Fog of Eternity will take me in its rough embrace and the Servius that was born in Egypt will die. The Servius that came to Rome with charity and pride will be destroyed. The obsessed worshipper of a black god will step through the shadow of time and see what comes out the other side.
The hieroglyphs in my tomb are finished. When I awaken, confused and hungry I will look upon those walls to glean some insights into what has gone before and what sort of creature of darkness I was. Truth is just a fickle creature. The fane will become a place of evil and the creature that sleeps there, to be stopped at any costs. My obsessions, my failings covered up so as not to dwell in the past but to allow for the chance of change…to become a better person. My companions to be painted to true colors, revealed for who they really are…
So now all that remains is to burn these parchments. I mean to sleep now and awake in a new tommorow. I don’t know how this will all work out but if I can make myself a better man then it is worth a chance. For once i don’t want to save everyone…I just want to save myself.