Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The Cainite ruler of Esztergom and Vencel Rikard's rival; a scheming ancilla who eschews the title of Prince in favour of Archbishop. He is the leader of a number of of allied coteries who work to dominate the Ventrue of Hungary.
This aged, haggard nobleman is the very image of control. He has grey hair and hard, glittering brown eyes. His rich robes are in the latest of Western court fashions, although he is slightly unkempt.
(Modified from Transylvania by Night, pp. 99-100)
Géza, “Archbishop” of Esztergom, is one of just three progeny sired by Bulcsu, the self-styled Cainite Monarch of Hungary, Transylvania, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia. In life he was the ruler, or Grand Prince, of the Magyar Confederation. In that role he championed the conversion of his people to Christianity, although he was known to still offer some prayers to the old pagan gods as well, claiming to be wealthy enough to make offerings to all the gods. It was also his scheming that set up the Kingdom of Hungary. His irreverence, moral flexibility and political acumen pleased his secret patron, and Bulcsu elected to bring him into the fold. Alas it is thought that Bulcscu miscalculated regarding the aged grand prince, for in spite of his quips Géza was actually quite devout. He was looking forward to his just rewards in Heaven, and now paradise was forever denied him. The Embrace denied him the end that he expected, and the realisation that he was now numbered among the Damned was devastating to him. However, after initially raging against the injustice of his Embrace, Géza eventually settled into a dutiful, sullen silence, and he even continued as grand prince for a further 5 years before he faked his own death and slipped into the shadows.
Throughout the many years since, he has developed a reputation for being a treacherous and subtle plotter, and while he has served his sire well for over 200 years the wily Bulcsu has never had any doubts that whatever Géza does, he does for himself first. Indeed, the Man of Blood seems to approve of Géza’s penchant for self-interest and intrigue against his fellows, perhaps in the belief that it will teach the rest of the Árpáds some valuable lessons in the cruel art of rulership. Géza still maintains some kind of twisted spirituality, although few can fathom its obviously contradictory nature. Just one of his eccentricities is his decision to style himself as Archbishop and not Prince of Esztergom. The “King of the Árpáds” tolerates the oddities of his “Archbishop”, and few of Géza’s fellows are so foolish as to mock him, at least openly.
Vencel Rikard, who once served Géza as a bodyguard when he was the mortal Grand Prince of the Magyars, has a particularly acrimonious relationship with his brother-in-blood. Ever since King Bulcsu slipped into the shadows, while other magnates among the bloodline enjoy a certain amount of mass support, the two princes have vied for the loyalty of their fellows and distinct camps have formed since the advent of the War of Princes. Géza has more descendants holding rule throughout the heartlands of Hungary, whereas Vencel has been rather more particular in his choices. As a result, it might be said that Géza has quantity on his side whereas Vencel has quality. Esztergom is also the home of the King of Hungary and his court, which brings Géza much more potential influence over the nobility of the realm. To counter this influence, Rikard cultivated Prince András before he became king, although his pull over the fickle and headstrong mortal eventually failed under the manipulative clash between Heinrich von Achern and Lady Kara Lupescu.
In AD 1197, having travelled to the capital to take counsel with some of his political contacts, the Tzimisce felt obliged to adhere to the traditions and present himself to the archbishop. The Tzimisce was given a frosty reception at Géza’s strange court (made only more so by the choir of Dominated boys that serve as his herd). A Tremere envoy, Robi Tamás, openly displayed much familiarity with the archbishop, and a number of courtiers, both Ventrue and Toreador, openly smirked at the Tzimisce. Only the Lasombra Liseta Iluminada displayed any kind of warmth to him, and she later sounded out his interest regarding a possible power play in the future against the insulting “Archbishop”.
As a fledgeling and a Teutonic Order adjutant to his sire, the Ventrue dwelt in the court of Esztergom intermittently between 1205 and 1211. He would become well-acquainted with the petty intrigues and treacherous diversions of the archbishop’s court, and it was very much a test of his formative training to hide his disgust with Géza. In particular, his suspicion that the Árpád magnate used his choir of boys as his herd filled the knight with rage and made his bloody gorge rise. Brother Berengar was secretly grateful to take his leave of Esztergom in order to take up his new assignment to Kronstadt.
Embrace: AD 992.
Lineage: Childe of Bulscu, Childe of Heinrich of Volstag, Childe of Erik Eigermann (d?), Childe of Ventrue. Geza is of the 7th generation.