Twenty-Eight and Five Thousand Nights
(Paul) Roger Lancaster
Nature: Eye of the Storm.
Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 5
Charisma 6, Manipulation 5, Appearance 2
Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 2
Talents: Alertness 2, Athletics 2, Brawl 1, Empathy 3, Intimidation 5, Leadership 3, Subterfuge 4.
Skills: Drive 1, Etiquette 2, Firearms 2, Melee 6 (Bastard Sword), Performance 2.
Knowledges: Computers 2, Law 2, Occult 1, Politics 3.
Backgrounds: Allies (Qabalists) 1, Generation 5, Mentor 4, Resources 2 (pooled with Sana’a).
Disciplines: Auspex 1, Celerity 2, Dominate 2, Fortitude 6, Presence 6.
Virtues: Conscience 5, Self-Control 5, Courage 5.
Blood Pool: 20.
Meits: Linguistics, Reputation 1.
Equipment: Bastard Sword(Accuracy 11+2 at 6, 8L), Dagger (Accuracy 11+2 at 5, 5L).
It was a suggestion, not a command, but Roger felt his cold blood stir at his companion’s voice. It had not always been so, but it would be now through eternity.
“You know I can not,” he replied. They both spoke German—it was not either’s native tongue, but was one they had in common and was used in this city.
His companion appeared to be a young woman of great beauty and nobility. Her skin was a dark olive—flush now with fresh blood—a mark of an exotic eastern heritage. She was clothed in a dark ankle-length dress and long cloak, the better for stalking prey and remaining
“That’s right, you have to feed on Jews, don’t you?” she asked waspishly, her nose wrinkling in distaste. A quick smile lit up her face just after, an indication that she merely jested with Roger. Indeed, they had been companions of one sort or another for near thirty years. She knew him well enough that ignorance of his… restrictions could be nothing but feigned. Her name was Sana’a, and she was his partner in duty, his companion in travel, and the sole thing that filled his unbeating heart.
Roger was unimpressive upon first glance. A large man with a muscular frame, he wore his light brown hair short, with a close-clipped beard. He dressed in drab clothing, the better to blend into a still-unfamiliar city—he took care regardless of what “visitors’ rights” this so-called Prince had granted. Despite this, he bore his sword on one hip, a weapon of sufficient size that concealing it was not possible. The nights of Vienna were no threat to one of his kind, but a weapon deterred the mortal thugs without need to tiresome explanations to the city’s Prince.
On a deeper look, an observer would slowly become aware that Roger radiated a charismatic presence like a bonfire shed heat. While Sana’a would turn heads in passing, it was Roger who would capture attention once words were exchanged. Much of the time he kept this under a sort of suppression, but for the moment, he let his aura free. It was one of the things that kept the prey quiescent.
He was a knight in life, and now again one in unlife. Roger of Lancaster, or Roger Lancaster as he was generally known on the Continent, hailed from a town in the northwest of the Kingdom of England. Lancaster had been the site of a Roman fort during the old days, and had maintained its prominence as a center of commerce and defense in the intervening years. Lancaster was an important town, even more so since the castle was built there.
Roger was of the Norman aristocracy, albeit a minor branch of landed knights, and a second son at that. In life, Roger had owed featly to the Count that ruled Lancaster, and when his lord had taken the Cross for the Fourth Crusade, so had Roger. The Crusades had brought much glory and a small amount of power to those that had survived the earlier ventures, and for a second-son like Roger, they were one of two ways out of a limited life—and he had no interest in joining the priesthood.
He had made it as far as Rome, where the few that had come from England had sought the blessing of the Pope before continuing to join the mass of French crusaders and Venetians who made up the bulk of the army. It was there that Roger had met Marcus Julius Corvus and had died to his mortal life.
Corvus was a vampire, a dark and ancient creature of legend who had walked the hills of Rome with Sulla before the ascent of Octavius to the purple. The “Old Crow”, who had earned his cognomen in life and kept it in unlife, was of the ruling clan of Venture, and had taken an interest in Roger. He gave the Norman knight the Embrace, nursed him through the First Nights, and had tutored him in the world of the night.
He had done so as they traveled, for Corvus had intended on accompanying the crusade to Constantinople and had Embraced Roger as an assistant. In later nights, Roger had often wondered how much his sire had known of the events that would take place in Byzantium. Certainly, Lupus had seemed well-prepared for the chaos that had reigned when the crusader’s sacked the Christian city. They had, however, failed to save the Ventrue Caius, which was the one goal that Corvus had confided to Roger. Instead, they ended up rescuing a number of rare texts from the burning archives, as well as a Cainite scholar who had nearly perished there. Orphaned and new to the night, Corvus “adopted” her, requiring her to accept First Blood Oath with both himself and Roger as the price of their protection.
Thus was born Roger’s first acquaintance with Sana’a.
They had returned to Rome, with Corvus continuing their education as they travelled, and in the years that followed. The elder used Roger and Sana’a as his agents among the Cainites, and the pair had grown in renown as their successes among their kindred mounted. Corvus himself kept to the background. Roger suspected that the ancient vampire had other agents and manipulated both Roger and Sana’a to unknown ends. Roger was too cognizant of his own, minor place in the scheme of things to overtly question or oppose his sire.
Which made what followed quite unusual. Sana’a felt a natural affinity for Roger due to the Blood Oath, and Roger soon returned this at his sire’s command—submitting to a First Blood Oath himself to Sana’a. Corvus explained that Cainites had a natural antipathy for working together, but that a mutual Blood Oath was known to surmount this. He, Corvus, required that advantage in their partnership, and so Roger had complied.
Curious experimentation had driven the two to a mutual Second Oath, and the pressure of that attraction that had caused them to complete the bonding. With the rush of that last, their collaboration reached a level of subconscious harmony unexperienced in life or unlife. However it had also eradicated the bond each had with Corvus. To date, neither Roger nor Sana’a had dared act in anything but accord with “their” sire, but the compulsion was no more.
Roger still wondered if Corvus had intended this all along.
The two were now in Vienna, sent purportedly to help the Venture “Count” of the city, but also to report back to Prince Hardestadt of Germany—an open secret—and to Corvus—something a bit more concealed now that Corvus had taken to working in concert with the Methuselah Prince.
“Well, if you must,” teased Sana’a, “I suppose we can visit their quarter this evening. He’ll not be harmed by keeping more of his vitae.” The last was directed at her prey, a large laborer who Roger had entranced for her. The man now lay partially reclined in the shadows of the alley, still stuperous from the effects of the Kiss.