Ioannis Tarchionates

A shrewd, plain-speaking military aristocrat of Constantinople, John survived the Great Sack and the breaking of the Baron's Gangrel. He is now active in the Empire of Nicaea.


A proud and distinguished Byzantine nobleman in his middle years; his face is careworn and streaks of grey invade the chestnut of his shoulder-length hair, moustache and goatee. Steady dark brown, nearly black eyes glower beneath heavy brows. He appears to be fond of jewellery, but eschews the damask and silk robes of his apparent station in favour of leather lamellar. His spathion (sword) looks to have seen much use.


John Tarchionates, a proud descendant of generations of military and civil officers, tended to stand out among his comrades in the Baron’s Gangrel. Whereas most of Thomas’ followers, possessed of rustic or streetwise manners, were wont to slip through the lower echelons of Byzantine society, John (and to a lesser extent, Anna Sgorina) moved more easily through the circles of the noble and monied elite. Of all the Baron’s people, John tended to take after his sire as both a master of organisation and a natural leader. While Justinian was undeniably the stronger warrior, and Urbien knew the city better, neither had the sense of command or poise that comes naturally to Tarchionates. He understands how to train and lead men in battle, as well as how to influence the mortal powers that be to gain more soldiers for small periods.

For more than half a century he quietly worked towards aiding the defence of the Walls of Theodosius and the fighting fitness of the city guard, working with the Lexor senators and the Antonians where necessary. As such, he enjoyed more respect and status among the city’s Cainites and more influence among its mortals than nearly the rest of the Baron’s Gangrel combined. Indeed, to outsiders he seemed like the natural choice to succeed Baron Thomas should anything untoward befall him.

And yet, to those who know the Byzantine Gangrel well, John was far from accepted as the Baron’s heir. His brusque, direct manner and tendency to order people around when a kind request would go further alienated many of the younger Gangrel, especially those who retain some residual ill-feeling towards the privileged Byzantine aristocracy from their mortal years. For his part, John had little patience for dissent or disobedience. The Baron’s Gangrel were a military hierarchy and he expected his orders to be obeyed. Only Justinian, Urbien and, of course, the Baron himself were free to contradict or argue with him. Moreover, Thomas appreciated John’s loyalty and skills, and so complaints from the lower ranks regarding his high-handedness usually fell upon deaf ears.

Throughout the course of the troubles with the Fourth Crusade, John stoically worked to coordinate the Tzakone city guards towards patrolling and fortifying the great lengths of the walls. In this task he was aided by a number of the more soldierly members of the Baron’s Gangrel, as well as Sir Conrad de Monreal and, eventually, elements of the Scholai and Varangian guards, including several Tzimisce and Gangrel who were loyal to Belisarius rather than the Baron. This mammoth task kept him occupied for many months, and he had little to do with the Concord other than providing the odd bit of advice to Sister Maude Khlesl regarding the security and cohesion of neighbourhood fraternities should the crusade actually break into the city.

However, as the time approached for the last-ditch effort for peace at the Council of Chalki, and only Anna Sgorina (who had previously failed the Baron at Venice) seemed eager to represent the family, John took it upon himself to supervise his sister-in-blood. He attended the meeting in the Princes’ Islands, ostensibly to show the crusader delegates that some Romaioi yet had steel in their spines, and he was a no-nonsense, even obstructive, negotiator throughout the course of the evening. Regardless, an agreement had almost been reached when the gathering was attacked, seemingly by Antonian dupes. The attack failed in its apparent aim, but succeeded as a diversion. Two prominent crusader delegates, Petrus the Troubadour and Father Pietro Ancini, were slain. John did not see the shock of blonde hair that the assassin, wearing the face of Maris Argyros, briefly displayed. However, he appeared to take the opinion of several trusted Concord members in his stead and promised to pass on their account to his sire.

The Baron himself was not so understanding. Several nights later, at a meeting of the Quaesitor Tribunal, a message from Duke Guy arrived declaring a state of total war on the the Dream and the Cainites of the Families. Amidst the bitter arguments that followed, Baron Thomas accused the Antonian family, who had been pointedly excluded from the negotiations, of masterminding a plot to force the matter to war. He cited their ridiculous, short-sighted games of pointless intrigue and their hopeless faith in the (admittedly real) superhuman generalship of Belisarius to carry the day, when tens of thousands of mortal lives and the “sum and total of all human learning was at stake”. He then stalked from the chamber, dogged by his faithful captain.

Afterwards, John Tarchionates stoically returned to his duties at the Sea Wall, preparing himself for the now inevitable fight to come. He was present on the north-western walls of the Golden Horn on the blustery evening of the 9th of April, when the Venetians and crusaders attempted to storm the walls. Among the attackers was Svenin the Tall, who led his Black Lion mercenaries in attempting to take a pivotal tower. They were briefly successful in this endeavour, but John rallied the defenders and retook the fortification, only to find the huge viking bearing down on him. The two Gangrel fought each other sword to axe, and while John fought valiantly he came off second best. Svenin’s axe cleaved his heart, plunging the older Gangrel into torpor. If not for the intercession of Belisarius and his elite cadre of Varangian ghouls and Cainites, the walls may have fallen then and there. As it was, together with the poor weather, the attack became unsustainable and the crusaders were repelled.

Several nights later, a renewed attack would cause the city to fall. During the events of the Great Sack, Baron Thomas and his Gangrel were defeated by the Cainite Crusade under Duke Guy. In the wake of their disastrous defeat, Justinian and Thomas fought and the Anatolian felled the disgraced Norman. He then dissolved the Baron’s Gangrel and left the city.

Already out of the fight, and safely hidden away to recover, Tarchionates was ignorant of all these events and it was not until 1206 that he emerged from torpor. Horrified and heart-broken to learn what had become of the Dream, the city, and his Family, he wandered the city in confusion for several nights, hoping to find a sign of his sire in vain. He was then approached by Irene Stellas who offered him the hope of retribution and redemption. Her sire, Anna Comnena, had just taken the princedom of Nicaea and was hell-bent on throwing down the new Latin Empire and recovering the greatness of old. There was a place in her plans for a captain of John’s talents, if he chose to swear a new allegiance.

He left the city several weeks later, and soon found a place in her new regime.

Embrace: AD 1145.

Lineage: John Tarchionates is of the 8th generation. He is the childe of Thomas Feroux, who is the childe of Marie Feroux (d); further lineage is unknown

Ioannis Tarchionates

The Concord of Ashes Haligaunt