Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Jan van Tassel
A rarity among the Warlocks, this knight is noted for his sense of honour and his integrity despite his partcipation in the ruinous 4th Crusade. He leads a coterie of crusading Tremere known as the Sodalicium of Swords.
A good-looking knight with long, auburn hair, a sparse beard and brown eyes, wearing the black and gold of the Duchy of Brabant. He looks to be a powerful, stoic man, well used to hard training and a disciplined life. His armour and weapons are scarred from much use.
The coat of arms of Jan, Ridder van Tassel.
First encountered by the Concord in AD 1203, this Brabantian knight was something of a paradox to the Concord who, owing to their loyalty to Veceslav Basarab, had come to see the Tremere as enemies at best, and as rank diablerists and usurpers to the Blood at worst. Upon their arrival in the East at the taking of Scutari, this particular Warlock, as leader of the Sodalicium of Swords, sought out the Knez of Tihuta to inform him of the arrival of his people and his dedication to the cause. He told Veceslav that although they were clan enemies, he was prepared to see the Tzimisce as a crusading brother-in-arms, and that he hoped his sentiment would be reciprocated.
Over the following months, the essentially honourable and altruistic intentions of Sir Jan would be demonstrated time and again as he argued for patience and forbearance on the part of the Cainite Crusade towards the vampires of the Familes of Constantinople. After all, he argued on a number of occasions, their destination was Egypt and they had God’s work to do.
However obvious his good character, it was soon apparent that few of his coterie necessarily shared it, for other Tremere of the Sodalicium of Swords were far less beneficent in their ambitions. Hesintrada was more interested in destroying Sister Maude Khlesl than anything, while Edgard, Augustin, and Gilbert cared more for political and material advantage than their crusading obligations. The others were more dedicated, but rather weaker or less competent in their graces. By the time of the Fall of Constantinople in April of 1204, it was clear that the Sodalicium was less than functional.
For his part, Sir Jan did participate in the terrible events surrounding the Great Sack and he was enriched by them, just like many crusaders, but he was not present for the attack on the Monastery of St. John Studius. The Concord would encounter him in the months to come, primarily as part of Hugh of Clairvaux’s renewed effort to direct the remnants of the Fourth Crusade to Egypt. However, Sir Jan was laid low in the senseless riot that broke out upon the assassination of that worthy Ventrue Templar, and he lay in torpor within the Tremere Chantry at Exokionion for many weeks afterwards.
When Jan recovered from his injuries, he discovered that without his leadership, the remnants of the Sodilicium of Swords had thrown in their lot with Regent Abetorius. He soon made his preparations, and continued on to the Holy Land for an abortive attempt to lend his sword arm to those crusaders that had decided to do their duty in the unwelcoming Second Kingdom of Jerusalem. By 1205, he had returned to the Low Countries.
Many years later, elements of the Concord and the Ashen Band heard the newly formed Primogen Council of the Fifth Cainite Crusade mention the Sodalicium of Swords as one one of the coteries that was expected to arrive in the Holy Land in the spring of 1218. It is quite likely that Sir Jan is still involved with the coterie, as pilgrims from the Low Countries were among those that had been delayed in Iberia through the winter.
Embrace: Mid 12th century. In conversation, Sir Jan was overheard to mention that his Becoming was shortly after he returned home after participating in the Second Crusade.
Lineage: Childe of Helmut Wanmaker, childe of Cimberio (d), childe of Meerlinda (diab.), nominal childe of Tremere (diab.). Jan van Tassel counts himself among the 8th generation.