Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
This Ventrue elder is hunted by the Knights of Blood of his own clan for the crime of diablerie; he cares not for their judgement, nor their agents of vengeance. He lives for battle, and the challenge of destroying his would-be executioners.
A brawny, tough looking young Dane with very pale skin, ash blonde hair, glittering, cold blue eyes and a terrible scar that runs from the bridge of his nose to his right ear. He wears the thick skins of a hunter or a northern barbarian, and is armed with a large hunting knife and very long, heavy-looking sword. He carries an air of savage danger about him.
(expanded from the character as presented in Milwaukee by Night, pp. 56-57).
This Ventrue elder was encountered by the coterie in Tihuta Pass late in the winter of AD 1197. He and his friend, Siegfried, were fleeing past the construction project with their herd, hunted by the Knights of Blood. When a horse suddenly stumbled and came up lame, the two Ventrue elected to stay behind and make a stand while their mortals fled. Hrothulf readied the largest bow any of the coterie had ever seen, and his arrows felled many of the enemy before they could even emerge from the narrow trail leading into the pass. When his arrows were exhausted, he found himself a boulder to negate the knights’ height advantage and drew an impressively large sword to await the enemy. The coterie initially offered their aid, but once it became clear that one of the pursuing knights was a fellow Templar, Alaric di Taranto felt compelled to help the fugitive’s hunters instead. The rest of the coterie felt then obliged to aid Brother Alaric in turn.
The following fight was a costly one for the coterie. The Lasombra Templar was outmaneuvered in his charge and mauled by Siegfried while Maude and Sir Gunthar took grievous wounds from Hrothulf after the Cappadocian froze Siegfried in place with her Mortis powers. Siegfried’s own injuries on the blades of both Gunthar and Mihor, Alaric’s sergeant-at-arms, were telling. After the coterie backed off, Siegfried fought Garnier de Cambrai and drove him into torpor before fairing rather more poorly against Sir Virgilio di Canobio. Hrothulf fought Sir Franz von Windisch-Grätz, the childe of Prince Gracis Nostinus Bassus of Gräz, destroying the seasoned knight with contemptuous ease before rescuing his brother in arms from the formidable Virgilio . The elder Knight of the Blood was nearly a match for Hrothulf, but the Dane prevailed. He dropped Virgilio off of the cliff’s edge near the tower project, murmuring that “perhaps if his God was kind, the knight might survive to hunt them again.”
The two fugitive elders then spoke briefly with the coterie before taking the surviving enemy horses and heading after their herd. After they took their leave, both Sir Gunther and Brother Alaric admitted that they had never seen a swordsman to equal Hrothulf.
Like Siegfried, Hrothulf is a criminal, under universal Blood Hunt by Cainites of his own clan. For centuries he and his friend have been hunted across the domains of Europe, hounded by the Ventrue wherever and whenever they settled and invariably flushed out by the Knights of Blood. Unlike his brother in arms, Hrothulf displayed no remorse for his crime, as the coterie overheard him say to the late Sir Franz that “Marius was a pig, and I’m glad that I ended him!”
In life, Hrothulf was a Danish warrior and chieftain in the north of 4th century Britain. He led his people in revolt against Roman rule and after a protracted guerilla campaign they were defeated with the aid of the Roman Ventrue Titus Marius Capito, a servant of the ancient known as Mithras. Bleeding out on the battlefield, with a spear stuck in his side and blinded by a vicious cut to his face, Hrothulf was glad when the Roman general rode up on his grand horse, for he would have the honour of a proper death, and might just take the bastard with him. The pale man dismounted, fought the Dane on foot and after a couple of passes drove his sword into Hrothulf’s chest.
The Dane was horrified to wake the next night as a vampire, and a prisoner at that.
He learned to curse the name of Marius, who Embraced him purely for sport and as an object lesson of how to break a barbarian into a tame dog. The ancilla blood bound Hrothulf, and kept him as his pet for more than fifty years, heaping indignity after indignity upon him. Finally, after a new round of abuse at the Dane’s failure to grasp the intricacies of Latin, the blood bond shattered. Hrothulf attacked Marius and Gracis Nostinus, his younger consanguineous brother. The former he diablerised but to the latter he granted mercy, remembering the small kindnesses Gracis had done him from time to time. He now regrets that decision, for in the intervening centuries Gracis’ influence has grown and as the Prince of Gräz he is a valuable vassal of Dominius. The permanent Blood Hunt that hangs over he and, to a lesser extent, Siegfried is a direct result of the machinations of Prince Gracis Nostinus Bassus. Sir Franz was just the latest pawn that Gracis had sent to bring Hrothulf down.
For his part, Hrothulf is unrepentant but he does wish for a measure of peace. The battles that come his way stir his blood and push his skill to ever greater heights, but his victories are beginning to ring hollow. The Dane wishes to settle for a while, and the northern wastes appear to be the best hope for he and Siegfried of escaping the hunt of the Knights of Blood. After taking some of the horses and supplies of their vanquished enemies, they spoke of seeing Kiev, and perhaps Bilär, and finding their road after that.
Embrace: Late 4th century AD.
Lineage: Childe of Titus Marius Capito (d), Childe of Statia Curia Gurges (d?), Childe of Gaius Menenius Lanatus (d), Childe of Mithras, Childe of Veddartha