Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Cainite affairs of Adrianople
For the entire history of the Eastern Empire, the Cainities of Adrianople have been ruled by Marcus Licinius. The Lasombra has always had a special connection to the place, having defeated the fierce tribe known as the Bessi here during his tenure as the mortal Proconsul of Thrace. Some two centuries later, seeking to escape the overcrowded Cainite ranks of Rome, he and his mortal descendents accompanied the army of the Emperor Hadrian to the settlement (then known as Uskadama) and the ancilla took charge of the renamed city. He guided his immense family tree to power from afar, and set to building his paradise in the east. His own indirect imperial descendent, Gaius Valerius Licinianus Licinius Augustus, was defeated here in AD 324 by his rival, Constantine I.
During this last conflict, Prince Marcus was humbled by the terrible presence of Antonius the Gaul, who accompanied Constantine’s army. In return for his submission, the Lasombra was allowed to keep his precious city, though the life of his descendent would be forfeit to the needs of the Triumverate. Licinius agreed to be a vassal of Antonius and tie the destiny of his city to that of the Dream. This would be the first instance of the growth of the Triumverate’s power on a regional scale.
The precedent would continue for the next few centuries, with many prince’s and elders submitting to the Dream in return for recognition of their bloodlines as regional Families under the nominal suzereignty of one of the three ruling families of Byzantium. Marcus Licinius himself rose to political prominence among the Cainites of the Eastern Empire by negotiating peace with the Gothic Gangrel after the disastrous Battle of Adrianople in AD 378, which saw the defeat and death of the Emperor Valens at the hands of the barbarian horde.
The Licinian Lasombra have prospered under the auspices of the Dream, and they worked very closely indeed with their Antonian cousins until the close of the 8th century, when the patricide of Antonius at the hands of Caius and Septima Dominica disrupted their working relationship. Prince Marcus harbours open disgust for Caius, based on some ancient grudge, and the powerful Lasombra broke with the Antonians once the murderer rose to the position of basileous. In the centuries since, the Licinian Lasombra have often had occasion to work in tandem with the interests of Constantinople and the Dream, and quite often to great mutual benefit. However, just as often they have proven themselves to be quite independent, and deeply opportunistic. At times, Licinius has even allied with the enemies of the empire, such as the Tzimisce Bulgars behind Khan Krum and his successors.
Towards the end of the 10th century, he was forced to once again seek closer relations with the Trinity. Through the unsanctioned meddling of their diplomat, Adrastos Zonitzes, the Licinian Lasombra managed to arouse the anger of a brood of Kievan Ventrue who secretly guided the fortunes of the Rus. In revenge, they engineered the invasion of the Byzantine empire by their agent, Prince Syvatoslav of the Kievan Rus. Adrianople was besieged for nearly six months, and would have been razed if not for the frantic expenditure of prestation on behalf of her prince (who secured the costly aid of Lord Symeon and the Obertus). Cut off and disowned, Adrastos would continue his ill-advised intrigues against the Kievan Ventrue for another five years before he was finally destroyed by his own allies amongst the Kievan Tzimisce. Before his horrid and gruesome demise, however, Adrastos Embraced his own viper, the Lady Katerina, who would go on to be an invaluable diplomat for her grandsire in the years to come.
The counter-offensive by Symeon’s pawn, Emperor John Tzimiskes, saved Adrianople but practically finished Prince Marcus. The prestation garnered from almost 1000 years of intrigue was all but gone, and the Lasombra elder was forced to destroy two of his own progeny, elders in their own right, who had each separately sought to remove him from power and take his Heart’s Blood. After securing his praxis once more, he retreated to his palace and has looked no further than the walls of his ancient city ever since. Over the 11th and 12th centuries he has continued his insular policies, choosing to deal with Constantinople and now the resurgent Bulgarians through Katerina. Rumour has it that the ancient prince has thoroughly gone to seed, hosting extravagant blood feasts and engaging in other deviant practices with his Toreador lover.
The known Cainite residents of Adrianople are:
- Marcus Licinius, Prince of Adrianople (6th gen. Childe of Zarathustra, e. 55 BCE, ghouled 72 BCE), in life known as Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus; something of a sybarite and opportunist, he was once known for being a Stoic adherent to True Roman ideals. He has ruled Adrianople since 122 CE, and has many (somewhat atrophied) contacts with his clanmates in Greece and points east. Centuries ago, he was a friend of Lucien.
- Cassius Clodius Pius, Seneschal of the Licinian Lasombra (7th gen. Childe of Marcus Licinius, e. 496 CE); a mincing schemer who slavishly jockey’s for his sire’s goodwill.
- Lady Katerina, Licinian Lasombra envoy (8th gen. Childe of Adrastos Zonitzes [d], e. 975); an expert courtier who spends much of the year in Constaninople.
- Evagrius, Keeper of the Lore (8th gen. Cappadocian, Childe of Marcus, e. 651 CE); a masterful scholar and advisor, this Cappadocian is also noted for his uncharacteristically angry temperament and skill at arms.
- Luke Acropolites, Sheriff of the Licinian Lasombra (7th gen. Childe of Marcus Licinius, e. 1022 CE); held to be loyal beyond death to his sire, this ancilla is very good at his job but is thought to be uncommonly lacking in imagination for a Lasombra. He dislikes Bulgars, and doesn’t trust Mincho.
- Mincho Zhestokata, Scourge of Adrianople (9th gen. Tzimisce, Childe of Vasil Yadosaniya [d], e. 1099 CE); a fierce and uncompromising Fiend, Mincho is a terrifying warrior who has sworn the Blood Oath to Marcus in return for sanctuary from his deceased sire’s triumphant enemies in Bulgaria. He is a descendant of Gabor.
- Marietta, Keeper of Elysium (6th gen. Toreador, Childe of Eletria, e. 644 CE); a walker on the Road of Sin, this Toreador is thought to be behind the prince’s degeneration. She is his lover and clear favourite, but has become prone to falling into long bouts of torpor in recent decades.
- Nikolas Mainas, Usurper envoy (8th gen. Tremere, Childe of Eniomachus, e. 1117 CE); a Tremere of the Conspirator faction, Nikolas has been sent to establish good relations and eventually, a chantry. He is nominally under the supervision of Abetorius Maior.
- Stellios Minotis, restless ancilla (9th gen. Childe of Lavrentis Sirtis, e. 1151 CE); the great grand-childe of the prince, this merchant is overtaxed and under-appreciated for his efforts. He has contacts all over the region. He plies the Hebros.