The Gentleman's Guide to Vampires: Episode One – What's Past is Prologue

Are you spying on me, neonate? I think that you are I think that you’re spying on me while I’m reading That’s very rude I know why you’ve been sent to me It’s to learn. You should at least announce your presence when you’re in the company of a gentleman I should introduce myself I am a Gentleman I am a Cainite, sometimes known as a Kindred although both epithets will likely fall out of popular use in coming years due to certain scrutinies laid upon our kind I know you have questions I can see it on your face, you want to know what you are, who you are what is this society you belong to, and what book is it that you’re reading? Well that’s a good way to start This book is known as the Jyhad Diary. It’s a loaded name, I’m sure you would agree. It’s by a scholar of our kind by the name of Beckett There are many books important to our kind. The Book of Nod, the Revelations of the Dark Mother, the Erciyes Fragments, the Shaal Fragment, the Book of the Grave-War, in recent years Books have often led to watershed moments for our kind, or tablets, scratchings on a slab… They’ve also led to great downfalls and changes in our fates. This is one such tome. We will get onto its importance in short order. I can also see you’re wondering why we are here. Why are we not at some hustling, bustling city? Why are we not meeting in some skyscraper or a nightclub? And that is because there is no surveillance here As ironic as it might seem they don’t watch the churches. They don’t watch the graveyards. So we are here using their bastions as cover. I suppose you want to know a little about our past, so let’s talk about the past, and the past is — as they say — prologue. You need prologue in order to know the tale that you are experiencing now. Without it there is no context. Context is important. So let us talk about origins. There are many supposed origins to our kind. Many potential progenitors. Some name Caine — the first murderer from the Bible — if you’ve not read the Bible, I recommend it You might learn something Lilith Set All kinds of vampires are named. Even Mithras from time to time.The God-Emperor, Unconquered Sun But the point is most of our societies believe that there was one vampire to start it all and that vampire Embraced a handful of childer, and those childer Embraced another set. A score, or maybe more. Thirteen Around that number. And it’s those vampires that are important to our story, because thirteen Antediluvians — as they became known — the Third Generation “Antediluvian” because they survived the great flood of the Bible… That one Noah made so famous? They came before the flood Those 13 great Cainites, they imprinted their childer and their childer’s childer, their entire lineage, all of their descendants, with their personalities, their ambition, their power. And that is why tonight you might see a Ventrue and decide he had to be a Ventrue, didn’t he? He’s power-hungry, he’s a prince, he is of the Clan of Kings! And you may look at a Lasombra and say well that one skulks in the darkness, tries to use it as a weapon, has no airs or graces, and just bullies and dominates his way around Now, the reason for this stereotype is because the Antediluvians had personalities and they were so powerful, their vitae — their blood — so rich that they could form lineages, as we call them “clans,” — families of vampires — and for the longest time — we call it the Long Night — for millennia we lived together, all of our clans, in relative peace and harmony Yes, there were wars. Ventrue Rome against the Brujah Carthage is the one was so often cited, but for the most part, every vampire was the lord of his or her domain The lord of his or her castle The mortals or “kine,” as we call them — an ancient word for cattle — that surrounded those vampires, were all potential feeding resources, and no one was there to dispute them It was a fine time to be

a vampire You could walk down the street at night, peasants either of you. They knew what you were, but they respected you, they feared you, they served you. If you wanted their blood, you merely had to ask Or you could sit atop a castle and command using your ghouls. Or you could skulk in the shadows and you could prey on the unwary and unwitting. You could be a figure of folklore and legend that was only whispered about in taverns and festhalls. But you could be anything you wanted during the Long Night. There was no scrutin,y no threat from mortal uprising, the only enemies we had were ourselves, giving in to our Beasts our carnal Hunger, and most Cainites had that kind of thing under control But all good things must come to an end, and so came the War of Princes. Around the time many mortals called the Middle Ages, we refer to it as our Dark Age because the War of Princes signaled the end to many things Our borders, our territory started clashing with one another. Ventrue and Tremere went to war with Tzimisce. Brujah warred with Toreador. Lasombra launched a Shadow Crusade against the Banu Haqim using the mortal Crusades as cover. All of a sudden we were at each other’s throats. We were no longer just playing the game of being prince, we were fighting for other princedoms to take them, to annex them, gain larger herds and great tracts of land, fine properties and all the relics within them. There was an excitement there. It was enjoyable, I have to admit Some of the times during the War of Princes I never felt more alive But the War of Princes was not all gay abandon. We made several mistakes. Many princes, especially of clans Ventrue, Tzimisce, and Lasombra, they would throw their neonates, their fledglings, vampires like you into the mouth of the enemy by the dozen to make them fall. They had no care for their descendants. They just wished to gain territory and so like mortal governments with their armies you get today, you just don’t care for the soldiers, like you don’t care for the army. They are expendable assets. And so was the same for childer like you. As you can imagine, you probably wouldn’t like that much. Now, we had ways of assuring loyalty, and those ways are sometimes used tonight. You could feed from your elder’s wrist, drink from the vein, forge a blood bond from neonate to elder or the other way around. The elder having bound the childe would be able to issue a command and that childe would feel very much inclined to follow the elders whim. This was not just being loyal to a prince, this was blood slavery And those with enough free mind to rebel against it did so in an event called the Anarch Revolt, which we will get on to Remember that term It was not just the unruly Anarchs They were spawned from these sects known as Prometheans and Furores that led to the end of the War of Princes, and to where we are now. It was also the mortals, because Cainites had a tendency of using mortals like pieces on a chessboard. Move them around, bonded great kings and warlords, powerful people, and used them as daytime resources. You may be aware that the Inquisition — the Spanish Inquisition and the Inquisition the Catholic Church used to purge many heresies — was present at this time, and depending on the rumour you believe, the Inquisition that targeted us stemmed from that, or the Inquisition that targeted us spawned their more mundane version. But either way, a murderous branch of the Church appeared. Murderous toward us, and werewolves, and magicians, and other creatures of the night Suddenly, it was dangerous to be an open monster. Suddenly, you couldn’t just sit in your castle and command hundreds of peasants to do as you wish. Because word reached the Church and when the Church found out, they would send people knocking. And in one hand they would hold a sword and in the other they would hold a burning torch. Havens fell, princes fell, elders were destroyed, it was a terrible time, and this was all because the clans overreached. Cainite elders,

princes, all of these vampires, they overreached. They did not act with guile or forethought, and it was to their detriment, because while the Inquisition were attacking them from one side — and some vampires insisted on continuing to use those Church assets — they continued to insist on saying “I’m the one with the true power over the Catholic Church” — look mainly to Clan Lasombra for the blame here — although the Brujah are not exempt, and they just inflame the situation, they drove it further, they thought “if the Inquisitors know about vampires, I can set them against my enemies,” but flames tend to spread. In our case, they often consumed the wielder. So the Inquisition were on one side, the Anarchs were on the other, in the middle was the establishment: The elders, the princes of Europe and the known world, and they had had enough The Anarch Revolt brewed to a storm when they started diablerising Antediluvians Or so the rumours go. I never saw one fall, but rumour has it that at least two, maybe more Antediluvians were destroyed around this time by enterprising Anarchs who became infinitely more powerful when they did so. They did not just destroy these vampires, you understand. They did not just burn them and render them to ash, they did not just drink their blood and watch their bodies decompose rapidly. No. They drank their souls. They gained those Antediluvians’ powers and in doing so… Well. Such individuals swiftly become corrupted by the sin within them. I will leave it at that I can say that with personal knowledge and experience So clans were falling, clan founders were falling, the old ways could no longer stand. And so those elders in the middle, they convened with the Anarchs and they said “we need a way out of this situation, this can no longer continue” and some Anarchs, they conceded it was too dangerous now to be a vampire And so the Camarilla (pronounced Cam-a-ree-a) was formed — or Camarilla (pronounced Cam-a-rill-a) if you prefer — and the Camarilla was formed on the basis of seven clans: The Brujah, the Gangrel, the Malkavians, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere and Ventrue. They came together. Others were invited, some were outlawed from joining, and they established a Masquerade, which you would have heard a lot about. It was essentially the rule that you could not show your true nature to the kine, to prevent another Inquisition. That could no longer be. And you could still remain Anarch as long as you abide by the Camarilla Traditions. There were other Traditions of course, but I will leave that to a Camarilla Kindred to tell you So the Anarch rRvolt was stymied, but not all Anarchs were satisfied with this resolution. Some felt this was just putting themselves back under the heel of manipulative elders, and so they formed the Sabbat. The Sabbat were the sect — although at this time they were barely more than a blood cult — that believed they should be Beasts, they should not be beholden to Humanity, they should not try and strive for the Humanity within them, they should be the monsters they knew themselves to be. They should continue hunting Antediluvians, Methuselahs, elders, and enriching themselves on their power, because why not? The world is free and they were free to do it. Sounds very wonderful, doesn’t it? Sounds almost utopic. And that is because it is. When you become a blood-crazed monster the crazed part is the part that sticks Eventually you lose all aspects of yourself and give in entirely to the Beast within you, and all that wants to do is feed. You swiftly forget why you joined up with such a philosophy. Still, with a Masquerade in place, the next 500 years or so were relatively peaceful Certain clans enjoyed certain prosperities. The Renaissance certainly did the clans Toreador and Tremere very well Clan Giovanni rose to prominence — the Clan of Death, as it’s often known now — and Venice, within the merchants, as did Clan Ventrue, but Lasombra loosened their grip on the Church — which one could argue they had lacked to any sufficient degree — the Tzimisce abandoned their ancient homeland, in much number and they spread widely Malkavians and Nosferatu… they remained in the background. The Gangrel, they remained in the wilderness, outcasts and nomads

But in all, civilisation, Kindred society, Cainite society, had continued. Camarilla warred with Sabbat several times over the centuries. The Sabbat warred with itself several times over the centuries. But between the 15th century and the 20th century, there was a relative harmony. The greatest enemy you could face was probably upsetting your own prince. Though that would vary from domain to domain But then the 20th century came and with the 20th century came all kinds of portents. We have this thing, this idea that the end times are coming Certain soothsayers and doomsayers claim that this time — called Gehenna — is upon us. Come the 20th century, all the signs have occurred. These signs include the death of a clan — that happened several hundred years before — they include a time when the blood grows so thin in Cainite veins they can no longer Embrace childer — this has happened, we call them Thin-Bloods now. They said when an Antediluvian rose and destroyed his entire clan to glut himself on their blood, Gehenna was truly upon us — and that happened somewhere, I think it was Pakistan. I wasn’t there, I cannot attest to it, but it was quite, quite the event. A clan all but fell, and while I understand some of its members still exist tonight, that Week of Nightmares was destructive to many domains. As far as even rational Kindred were concerned, Gehenna was here, the end times were here, and what happens with the end times? All Antediluvians rise, all Methuselahs rise, and they all slake their thirst on Kindred like you and me. But whereas I have the capability of surviving, Kindred like you will fall readily. Like matchsticks. And yet here we are. We are still here. The 20th century is past, we’re into the 21st. Certainly, things have changed, and we’ll get on to why, but we remain. We survive If you ask some scholars it is because Gehenna has been averted. Hurrah, let us celebrate I’ll lead the hosannas, but others claim that it’s merely been delayed. The great sacrifice was made that staved off Gehenna for just a little while. Or that that sacrifice is happening right now in North Africa and the Middle East, with the crusade of Sabbat in that region of the world. That all their blood is going into keeping Gehenna at the door rather than coming through it I cannot say. I’m no scholar of apocalyptic nonsense All I know is to live night to night and year to year. So far I’ve been doing that very well We should talk about recent events. Events that have very much changed the way we look at things, and a lot of them are contained in this Jyhad Diary. The “Jyhad” is not the mortal use of the word. It is an eternal war, it is the mass manipulation of childer by their elders. This book compiled — assembled, I should say — by the scholar Beckett, as within it are transcripts, journal entries, emails, blogs, interviews, photographs, artwork Beckett went on a journey around the world. He interviewed Cainites far and wide to find out the truth of Gehenna. To find out the truth of Jyhad. Is it true that we are all being manipulated by our elders? Is it true that we’re all destined to die for their whims? And it is quite a fascinating book. Even I’m in here, although everything written about me is a lie I cannot attest to the rest of it, but it is at least an interesting read before dawn comes. Some events recently that Beckett witnessed included one that presaged some events in Vienna recently that are quite explosive… He encountered the Tremere known as Carna. Carna, she used to be a rather ineffectual prince in France and eventually became primogen of an American city by the name of Milwaukee — not a grand title by any stretch — but she broke free from her clan’s blood bond She read a book called the Book of the Grave-War, or so I’m told, and this book somehow worked a magic that snapped her brain and snapped the bond. She broke free from the Tremere. And the Tremere — if you are unfamiliar — are a clan of Warlocks who believe that the blood bond is the most important thing,

ensuring loyalty is the most important thing. They are a pyramid. From the top down go the orders, and all rewards go from the bottom, up. And Carna a brick in that pyramid, left. This was unprecedented She took other Tremere with her, starting in Milwaukee, sprawling across the United States, even touching Europe. Now, I do not know where they went, but I understand they lead their own House now. They call themselves “House Carna.” It is quite a fascinating turn of events for the Tremere, and it wll not be the only tragedy that they suffer. Most curiously, there was no great retribution from Vienna, where the Tremere’s sanctuary can be found I am given to understand. Or could be found, I should say. Certainly, some traditions remain the same The vying for political power over domains such as Chicago continues. Same with Los Angeles, with its pretensions of being an Anarch Free State. But some changes, massive changes, occur in domains such as Washington DC. The very home of information. The great and ancient Lasombra Marcus Vitel emerges from the dark, thought dead, takes the city from the Sabbat, and declares for neither Camarilla or Sabbat, and says “this city is open to all outsiders, it is sanctuary for all from the Jyhad” for apparently Vitel was tired of being manipulated This ancient Roman. And he said “you’re all free to reside here, to take sanctuary to my bosom, as long as you serve me.” He has all the graces of a mafia chieftain, but Marcus Vitel does very well by it. There was talk of demons rumbling beneath domains like Montreal, there has always been talk of that. There is the talk of the Fourth Sabbat Civil War starting in Mexico City I cannot claim that is accurate because Mexico City has been largely vacated in recent years, what with the mass migration of Sabbat across the Atlantic and into more heated areas The Giovanni, the Clan of Death as I have already mentioned, have undergone several changes. The many faces of the Clan of Death have risen from the dead to show that the Clan of Death will constantly change, and now they hide away whether in Venice, I understand they even have some holdings in Sicily now, which is interesting I wonder which Lasombra they made deals with to share that isle with Castel D’Ombro The Followers of Set and the Banu Haqim both — the Banu Haqim were often in case you have misheard, been referred to as “the Assamites.” Do not call them that They do not like that. They have never liked that. They prefer the Banu Haqim, so that is how I will refer to them, and you would do well to do the same Those two clans prominently based in the Middle East and North Africa have both made overtures towards the big sects — the Camarilla, the Anarchs — it seems they wish to forego their independence because they can see something coming, whether it is merely the army of Sabbat marching on their territory, and finally they realize they need allies, or whether it is another reason, it seems at least one of the sects is going to have its numbers bolstered before long Strange things arise. The Spectre of an ancient Antediluvian emerging over the Alps and pursuing vampires willy-nilly, House Tremere and Clan Tremere suffering massive fractures both as a result of their ancient diablerie of another clan founder and due to internal conflicts surrounding philosophy, not just related to Carna, I understand. Karl Schrekt is a very influential Tremere in these nights. The Brujah — a clan that could often be typified by not having a stereotype — have somehow in large part fallen into step with one another and march in the same direction. Just the last few years, it is amazing to see the changes that Gehenna can bring but it is not just Gehenna bringing these changes. Certain organisations of Kindred,

certain organisations of mortals, have pressed us into making changes to our lifestyle, shall we call them… existences There are more eyes on us these nights, you understand? Both each other, and from the mortals. It is a time for another Inquisition, a Second Inquisition, and we are feeling its effects tonight and for the last few years, and I imagine it will go on for some time because once again we made the terrible decision to overreach. But that is probably a subject for another talk Many of these thing that I speak of I within this Jyhad Diary, and you may be thinking, “well that is an interesting trove of information Gentleman, but how am I supposed to get hold of it?” well, in a way be grateful, because there is a “Red Lister” — as the Camarilla calls them — an Anathema, a Cainite so vile and base that the Camarilla believe all good Cainites should be seeking out her destruction, her name is Kemintiri. She gained access to Beckett’s diary and I am given to understand she disseminated it widely to allies and enemies alike. Maybe even mortal institutions. So perhaps that explains some of our position tonight, why we are in such peril Because all of the secrets bound in this book are no longer secrets. The same thing happened when the Book of Nod gained widespread reading. People panicked, the end times became near When the Book of the Grave-War was read by Carna people changed, the Blood changed. Our history has power and you would do well to know it in order to know your future I suppose we should conclude. It is often best to move between locations, stay in not one place for too long a time, because as I say, there are certain eyes on us. I would certainly recommend little neonate you do not travel to Jerusalem. There was a buzz of Malkavian activity in that city, and if rumours are to be believed it maybe because their founder is waking up beneath that already hostile city Certainly, this Jyhad Diary would see you in good stead but you should know that everything within it is just prologue, because within a mere handful of years, but a blink of an eye, if a Cainite could be concerned with blinking, our world has been turned upside down. Our existences have been utterly threatened, and not by each other, not by diablerie addicted Sabbat, not by Anarchs hungry for power, not by the Camarilla purging their own number for elitist reasons, but by the mortals once again. Our feeding stock bites back We will speak about that… anon Go now