Before we can understand vampire society in the Long Night, we must look at how it came to be. Vampires are static, unchanging creatures, locked in place forever at the moment of their death. But even such things can be forced to change by the sweep of history, and the need for survival.
It was a brutal and violent time. The most successful inevitably forced the weaker, whose fear and jealousy had been aroused, to conspire together. Though it took a thousand years, the Conquerors were defeated by lies, betrayal, and assassination. Those who survived joined the ranks of the quiet ones, the ones who never sought the throne of heaven, but were merely content to be worshiped by their own cults and their own followers. Of course, the nature of the Beast meant that even among the Cultics there was conflict and death. But not for them the march of armies or the sacking of cities. They used subtler methods, attacking each others herds and followers, spreading lies and rumors to discredit their opponents priests, and using disease and disfigurement to attack their power.
And of course, as always, there were the wanders. Those that claimed the between places and the edges, who drifted between the cities of man and kept their own council. They never pushed history in their own direction, they never commanded anyone, but were always there, on the fringe, watching and waiting.
Both the Cultics and the Patricians thought of themselves as Lords of Humanity, and told tales of how they had guided man in the direction they desired. The truth was, they were more focused on blood and games and petty conflicts to truly matter to mankind. History continued, but for many, this was the golden age, when the undead walked where they would, took what they desired, and lived as the pleased.
Of course, all good things must end.
Then came the diablerists. The followed the marauding hordes of Germans and Huns who swarmed the borders of the Empire, but came not for land. They were vampires, but different than any that had been seen before. They were silent, and fast, and incredibly deadly. They did not battle among themselves, but worked in groups to take down the most powerful and consume them. The destroyed many of the eldest, and the wisdom and knowledge of centuries, perhaps even millennium, passed with them. While their numbers were few, these diablerists first ravaged Europe, then Africa, then finally the East.
And so few survived in the classical world, but the mortals were no longer united, no longer so driven by their passion for the faith, and no longer did savages claw for their blood. Much was lost, but certain lessons had been learned. If the Cultics were all but dead, the Patricians still carried the blood, and it was to them that the burden of building a new society fell.
This new society is based on power, and domination. No longer will childer be released to find their own, now such travels endangered all. Instead, they are to submit to the rules of the Elder, the most powerful and, perhaps, only vampire. They are to be ruled by their sire, and their sire by their sire, for all time. A concept such as "rights" does not exist--only the Elder has rights, the rest make do with privileges grudgingly granted and quickly snatched away. Few if any remember the days of Rome, and fewer still know of anything from before. None know the truth, and so the truth becomes a weapon.
And what is their knowledge? Some claim to be demons inhabiting mortal flesh. Others are Nephilim. Others still are supposedly Judas, or Lazarus, or the Wandering Jew. A dozen cities, a dozen variations of the origin, but all telling the same story. The Eldest is important, and singular, and chosen. You are lucky to be alive.
All keep themselves apart. They can not live as the Patricians had, secure in luxury and gold. They keep to the dark places, the caves and the ruins and the catacombs. The forgotten places and the haunted ones. For, above all else, they are damned. And so peace, of a sort, has lasted among the dead for a thousand years. A childe obeys his sire, and the sire obeys his sire, and thus had it been ordained since the dawn of time, and there is no reason to think anything would ever change.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
The Fall of Night
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