Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Antonius the Gaul
This Ventrue Ancient was the lover of Michael and the Dracon and together they forged the Dream of Constantinople. A proud, jealous Cainite, he was destroyed with the consent of his lovers for endangering that Dream centuries later.
It is said that Antonius was a tall, handsome man in his middle years, with a powerful build, a flowing mane of dark hair and a full beard. His eyes were a fearsome, flinty blue and his aspect was that of a born ruler- the very ideal of a kingly paragon. A very few icons, mosaics and busts of Antonius still survive, perhaps in the possession of Michael, the Dracon and the palaces of his descendants in the far-flung outposts of the empire that were untouched by Iconoclasm.
(expanded from the information presented in Constantinople By Night, p. 17)
Beshter the Wanderer (later known as Michael the Patriarch) first came to know the Ventrue Methuselah Antiorix in the decades before the birth of Christ, when the Roman Republic subjugated Gaul. Embraced by the Ventrue Antediluvian centuries before, the powerful and ambitious barbarian had long ruled the night as a proud warlord among the tribes of the region. Cainite historians contend that Antiorix was the last mortal to be brought across by the Ventrue progenitor, and place the date of his Embrace around 500 BC. Other claim that Erik Eigermann was last, having been Embraced around the same time. Their leadership style was similar, with both Ventrue keeping their tribes in loose affiliations that constantly strove against one another. The strong rose to the fore while the weak were bred out or killed off. In this way, the Gallic and Germanic tribes became strong. They followed the same rule with their childer, Embracing many and sending them into battle with one another across the Rhine. In any case, Antiorix and Eigermann ruled the Gallic and Germanic tribes between them, and made incessant war upon each other before the Romans began their push into Celtica and Germania in the first century BC.
When he saw the Roman tides advancing, Antiorix recognised the work of his clan and was deeply impressed with Roman culture and military ingenuity. He immediately made overtures to the Eternal Senate and received their representative, Beshter, at his stronghold in the lands in the lands of the Helvetii. The two Cainites were immediately drawn to one another. Beshter was entranced by the regal dignity and raw power of the Gaul, while Antiorix was helpless before the incomparable beauty of Arikel’s childe. Antiorix returned to Rome with Beshter, and the two gravitated around one another for a few years before becoming lovers. The desertion of Antiorix was the final blow for the Gauls, who were progressively beaten down by the armies of the Romans under the leadership of generals such as Gaius Marius, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. It is known that Antiorix, now calling himself Antonius the Gaul, hunted most of his childer down in these battles. He was extremely active in the politics of the Eternal Senate, holding his own against the the likes of Mithras, Montano, Tryphosa, Alexander, Tiamat, Julia Antasia, and Camilla.
When Beshter became fascinated by the new faith of Christianity, it was Antonius who provided the advice and support that made envisioning the Dream possible. As Beshter, now calling himself Michael, become lost in wonder, Antonius proposed the specifics of building a new and strong empire. Their relationship was not without its pitfalls, though. The most severe was the arrival of the strange Tzimisce known as the Dracon. This mutable creature of passion and vision was almost the complete opposite to the pragmatic and solid Antonius, and was equally irresistible to Michael. The ancient Toreador soon became ‘the Wanderer’ once again, travelling between the Roman palace of Antonius and the Cypriot haven of the Dracon.
Antonius busied himself with the task of forging a new empire, all the while trying to regain Michael’s undivided attention. He was unable to do so and, once the New Rome was founded n the fourth century AD, he tried to take the largest part of it for himself. Antonian pawns and progeny were directly responsible for the reclamation of Italy, North Africa and the Levant, places where the Michaelites and Draconians had only the most tentative representation. Even so, Antonius’ resentment grew into hatred, and he fought a desperate struggle for supremacy over the Dracon.
The Dream prospered for centuries, with Michael delicately playing off his lovers against one another to maintain equilibrium in the Trinity. In the seventh and eighth centuries, Antonius finally went too far. He espoused a new and radical philosophy for their kind. Following the lead of mortals who rejected the worship of icons, Antonius called himself an Iconoclast and lashed out against those Cainites who enjoyed the idolatrous worship of mortals. The Dracon was the chief target of his ire, but his call for secrecy and hiding also alienated him from his favourite childe, Septima Dominica. The Iconoclast struggles, in both the mortal and vampiric spheres, eventually became so extreme that they led to Antonius’ destruction.
In AD 796, his childer Caius and Septima Dominica asked Michael and the Dracon for a secret Fourth Council, without Antonius’ knowledge. There they outlined their fears for the Dream if the Gaul’s destructive, fanatical and obstinate behaviour were allowed to continue. They then petitioned the other two Triumvirs for their own sire’s destruction. Michael and the Dracon reluctantly agreed, and Caius staked Antonius at a Ventrue council session two nights later. Antonius was left for the dawn, and his traitorous progeny soon took over leadership as basileus of the Antonians, with Septima Dominica as his caesar magister.
Constantinople, and the Dream, were never been the same again.
Embrace: Speculated to have been about 500 BC.
Lineage: Childe of Ventrue. Antonius was of the 4th generation. Some Cainite historians argue that Antiorix/ Antonius must have been brought across much, much earlier as at least one story holds that the Ventrue antediluvian was slain in the era of the Second City. Others claim that Ventrue was active under the name of Veddartha as late as the 1st century BC, and still others claim that Veddartha was a diablerist who took the soul of Ventrue, or that Antiorix/ Antionius diablerised one of the 4th generation.