Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
As Quaesitor of the Antonian Ventrue, and princess of the famed Imperial House of the Comneni, this ancilla is one of the most influential Cainites in the Queen of Cities.
This lady’s beauty defies description, a platonic ideal of royalty and perfection of line and form. Her chestnut hair is long, wavy and carefully styled, and her eyes an intelligent, cool blue. She wears the latest fashions of the Byzantine Court.
Note: Although Anna was Embraced at the age of 70, she has had her colleague, Symeon of the Obertus Tzimisce, use his flesh-crafting arts to not only restore the beauty of her youth but also to enhance it beyond anything a mortal could hope for. She is one of the beautiful Cainites in the city, and Toreador are often dumbstruck in her presence.
The life and deeds of Princess Anna Comnena are well known. She was the daughter of the legendary Emperor Alexius Comnenus, instigator of the reforms that led to the last great renaissance of Byzantine military, bureaucratic and financial expansion at the turn of the 12th century. It was Alexius’ appeal for aid to pope Urban II against the invading Turks that sparked the First Crusade, and led to enormous swathes of territory being regained for the empire. Famed for her beauty and intelligence, Anna was Alexius’ heir for many years and expected to inherit the throne and rule alongside her husband, Nicephorus Bryennios the Younger. Unfortunately for her imperial ambitions, Anna’s younger brother, John, usurped the throne after her father’s death. Many years of intrigue followed, culminating in her eventual exile to a convent. There Anna penned the famed Alexiad, an account of her father’s reign and eventually made her peace with her brother before his death in AD 1143. Her own passing ten years later sparked a wave of mourning throughout the empire.
What is not known by the chroniclers is that her mother, Irene Ducaina, was the distant descendant of a powerful Cainite of the Antonian Ventrue family. It was Ducas who secretly championed and cultivated Anna’s ambitions against John, who was likewise the pawn of the ancient general Belisarius. This particular intrigue was drawn out over much of the rival sibling’s lives, with each Cainite patron constantly seeking the endorsement of Basilieus Caius for their candidates for leadership of the empire. Ultimately, John was killed in an accident but some say he was assassinated in Cilicia by one of the hashashyin, or perhaps even one of the dreaded Assamites. In any case, Anna’s time was past and she resigned herself to make peace with her family and await the end. With the loss of his dear protege,John II, and the military genius that went with him, Belisarius also withdrew from the power games of the Antonians and Ducas finally gained permission to Embrace Anna.
Nicepherus and his followers instantly took a dislike to Anna, seeing her as a threat to their own supremacy in the eyes of Caius. She was initially given the ancillary role of Quaesitor Secretarius to the maudlin ancilla Romanos Alyates, Caius’ own progeny, before being thrust into the position of Quaesitor when Romanos commiitted suicide on Easter morning in the Year of Our Lord 1162. After a life of imperial intrigue, Anna found herself well prepared for the role and has excelled Romanos in nearly every way.
She has proved herself to be up to the task of keeping pace with her colleagues Petronius and Symeon, both her elders by many centuries. Her lesser known position is that of Chamberlain of House Antonius, which grants her oversight of the activities of all of her fellow Ventrue in the city save Caeser Magister Nicepherus and Basileus Caius himself. While the Antonians present a unified front to the city, it is known that some intrigue exists between Anna and Nicepherus regarding ultimate night-to-night control over the city. The disposition and loyalties of the Antonians regarding this matter are largely unknown, except to say that Ducas’ lineage (excepting the elder himself, who is rather ambivalent) supports Anna and Nicepherus’ lineage supports the Caeser Magister. Caius and his advisor Alexia Theusa have not shown favour to either faction, nor has Belisarius, who is largely retired from Cainite politics and society.
Anna is aloof from many of the Cainites of the city, preferring to retain the distance of an imperial daughter of the purple. She uses her ghouls and her devoted secretary, Theodorus Kolettis, as her emissaries much of the time. Her rare public appearances in the Elysiums of the city are cause for much gossip even among the younger Cainites of the city, who remain in awe of her august reputation.
It is known that she disapproves of the recent attempts of Autokrator Natalya Syvatoslav and the Lexor Brujah to flex their political muscle in the city. The coterie indirectly took part in the intrigues that bolstered the power of Natalya while simultaneously weakening that of Anna’s childe and protege, the Domestic Prefect Irene Stellas. Irene’s position is now extremely shaky in the Antonian hierarchy, and Anna’s own position is thus weakened. While she has displayed no overt enmity to the coterie thus far, they should probably take no comfort from that fact. After all, her ability to hold a long grudge is a matter of historical record.
Lineage: Childe of Ducas, Childe of Septima Dominica (d), Childe of Antonius (d), Childe of Veddartha