Twenty-Eight and Five Thousand Nights
Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3
Charisma 2, Manipulation 3, Appearance 4
Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 5
Talents: Alertness 2, Athletics 2, Awareness 4, Empathy 3, Intimidation 1, Subterfuge 1.
Skills: Drive 1, Etiquette 2, Firearms 3, Performance 2, Stealth 2, Survival 2.
Knowledges: Academics 5, Computers 3, Finance 2, Investigation 2, Law 2, Occult 4, Politics 2, Science 2, Technology 1.
Backgrounds: Generation 2, Resources 4, Allies (Tremere) 1.
Disciplines: Auspex 5, Celerity 3, Fortitude 4, Presence 3, Thaumaturgy 5.
Paths: Vitae 5, Elementalism 5, Conjuring 3, Weather Control 1
Rituals: Illuminate the Trail of Prey, Defense of the Sacred Haven, Principal Focus of Vitae Infusion, Burning Blade
Virtues: Conscience 3, Self-Control 5, Courage 3.
Road: Via Humanity 7.
Blood Pool: 13.
It was a suggestion, not a command, but she could see her companion stir at her voice, as her blood always did when he spoke to her. 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.
Her companion, 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, 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. She could feel its effects on her, even though their Blood Oath superseded anything mere charisma could do. 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. This was about as far as one could get from Sana’a’s mortal home while still remaining in Christendom.
Of course, her mortal home had been overrun by Saracen’s years ago, so that was no longer strictly true.
“That’s right, you have to feed on Jews, don’t you?” she asked waspishly, her nose wrinkling in distaste. She quickly smiled to take the sting from her words, though she was sure he’d recognize the jest. Indeed, they had been companions of one sort or another for near thirty years—she knew him well enough, and he knew that she knew him. As he knew her.
She had met him, as well as the Cainite who was his true sire and her adopted one, in the ruin of
Constantinople during the Latin’s so-called Fourth Crusade—“so-called” since the Latins had not faced their Muslim foes, but had turned on the Christian city. The chaos that had reigned had been fatal to mortal and Cainite alike, and nearly to Sana’a herself.
Sana’a had been born to a mortal family within the bounds of Anatolia while portions of that country remained free from the Turks. Her family was Christian in the Eastern tradition, but not native to Anatolia. They were of minor noble stock, and had originally fled the onslaught of Islam when Egypt first fell, and had moved over the years to stay just ahead of the scimitars of the Prophet. Her heritage was mixed of Greek, Roman, North African, and more than a little apostate Arab. It gave her a somewhat duskier hue and finer features than the normal Greek, something the elite of the New Rome had found exotic.
When the Turks had finally pushed to the walls of the City, Sana’a and her family had made it inside the walls barely ahead of the armies of Islam. They had once again lost everything. Bereft of resources, but too proud to accept charity, her father had bargained political support for positions in the Army for himself and his sons. Their income would support their mother. For Sana’a, a final marker called in earned her a place among the scholars of the city. While her beauty would have won her a husband despite the lack of dowry, her tendency towards learning and speaking her mind—something an indulgent father had permitted in his youngest child and only daughter. A convent may have served, but her parents couldn’t bear to be so separated from Sana’a. The offer from the archivists had been a golden opportunity that they seized.
It turned out to be more than any had bargained for. The resident Cainite Prince was the Toreador
Michael—none of which Sana’a or her family knew. However, Sana’a had caught the attention of
a female Cainite in his court, who sought to preserve the mortal girl’s beauty and mind, being of a somewhat similar temperament. The Prince acceded to the request, and the offer of scholarly refuge was made as a pretext for the Embrace.
Sana’a ended up spending the nights of that first year learning the ways of the Cainite courts, while still being able to indulge her passion for scholarship. This, however, was to be short-lived. Within the year, the Latin’s arrived to push the Turks from Anatolia and the Holy Land, but ended up conquering Constantinople itself. In the chaos, vampires from the east slaughtered the Court of Prince Michael, and ended the High Prince as well. Sana’a herself nearly perished in the fire that had been set in the archives, but was rescued by Roger and his sire, Corvus.
Corvus had come to the archives to recover some rare and ancient texts, and had managed to save most of what he sought from the flames. Sana’a owed him a great debt of gratitude for that alone. However, his Childe, Roger, braved the fire to rescue Sana’a herself, who had been frozen in irrational fear from the encroaching blaze. The two led her to a haven within the city, and arranged safe passage out. Orphaned with the death of her own sire, Corvus “adopted” her, requiring her to accept First Blood Oath with both himself and Roger as the price of their protection.
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.
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. Sana’a, already bound, was in no position to object.
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.
From what she knew of the manipulations of the ancients, this may have been Corvus’s intent.
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.