Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
A somewhat slick and fatalistic warrior of the Vargani Szekler clan, this Nosferatu is the reluctant ally of the Ashen Band.
A wiry, squat creature with drab, tight grey skin and the face of a nightmare. He is all shrivelled angles, with sharp features, knobbly joints and elongated fingers and feet. His nose is little more than a snuffling crater, his ears are sharply pointed, and his yellow eyes are altogether inhuman. The monster wears the remnants of leather armour, intricately tooled with lightning bolts and rearing stallions on the breast. An interwoven tassle of black, red, and white horsehair is wrapped about his left upper arm. He is armed with a long knife, a sabre, and a composite bow. A quiver of arrows hangs from his belt.
This Nosferatu was among those Szekler Cainites who ambushed the Ashen Band at the mouth of the Bodza (Buzău) Pass, when they attempted to recover the impaled and drained corpse of one of their followers. Mounted on his ghoul horse during the melee, Lekszi capably held off both Helena Korosi and Kelemen Szantovitch Gutkeled. He seemed unbeatable at the time, easily deflecting their counter attacks, and causing the Brujah particular grief, driving her to the ground twice under the severity of her wounds. Then, when his chieftain and sire, Miklós Varganyi, was immolated not far away, Lekszi sighed and immediately surrendered. At the time, it appeared to be lost on the Band that the Nosferatu would have found it effortless to flee the scene, as his erstwhile coterie-mate, Filip, had already done, and he was accorded little respect or courtesy despite a surrender that he clearly felt was honourable. Of course, the spectacle of the tortured, butchered, and impaled corpse of Brother Berengar’s vassal obviously left them in no mood to offer courtesy to a savage enemy.
The Nosferatu shortly attempted to make a deal with his captor’s, asking only for a clean final death in return for providing them invaluable intelligence on the dangers of the Bodza Pass. In response, Brother Berengar roughly warned him to be silent, lest he be dragged all the way back to Bodzaforduló behind the Teuton’s horse. Lekszi subsided under the threat, and quietly endured captivity until he could be properly questioned by the enemy coterie. Berengar was in favour of making an immediate and grisly example of him in front of the garrison, both to exact vengeance for the crimes of Miklós and his childer and also to restore morale. The rest of the Band, however, voted him down for the moment, choosing instead to discover what their new prisoner knew of their path ahead.
In due course, he would be interrogated by Marius, Heinrich, and Helena, and the Nosferatu was immediately forthcoming with all that he knew about his sire, his brethren, and the road ahead. Volunteering that the Varganyi had been defeated in their sacred charge to defend the “mouth of Bodza”, that the clan was broken, and the land open for invasion, he wished to see that a strong force would replace them. To this effect, the Nosferatu was pleased to translate a rude map of the area, and offer them counsel to forearm themselves against the various inimical supernatural denizens of the pass. Again, in return he asked only for a clean final death, hoping to meet the sunrise so that he might join “Great Isten” in the sky.
Helena came to recognise the prisoner, having met him on a number of occasions when they were both still mortal. Before his Embrace, Lekszi performed a role for his clan not unlike that of a seneschal, and he was also a sworn brother to his chieftain. Back then, as Miklós Varganyi’s factotum, he was known to be something of a slick character, driving hard bargains for his clan at the expense of the townsfolk of Szentgyörgy. He was also considered an unusual Szekler, for he had travelled widely in his youth, as far as Buda-Pest and Constantinople, and received something of an education in the liberal arts. Like his chieftain and his friend, Samuka, however, Lekszi remained true to his pagan faith, and he clearly views the Christian god as nothing more than a jealous, bloodthirsty tyrant who cares nothing for His followers. When Berengar derided him for the callous execution of the Teutonic serving brother at the mouth of the pass, Lekszi simply nodded and glibly said, “that was Filip and Miklós, not I, but all gods demand blood sacrifice, some more than others, and yours most of all.” Lekszi’s own gods are a bewildering mix of family ancestors, the “winter ancestors of Bodzo” (actually an ancient circle of Winter Fae kindred), and the largely-abandoned steppe deities once worshipped by the pagan Magyar Confederation. It is particularly vexing to Lekszi that the sky god, Isten, and the god of the underworld, Ördög, have been conflated with the Christian God and the Christian Devil.
His veneration of these gods is obvious, and it is clear that Lekszi desperately wants to be free of his cursed existence so that he might be judged by the latter and given leave to join the former. Indeed, he submitted to the Embrace in the first place only because his sworn brother and leader, Miklós, demanded it of him, and the reason he surrendered to the Band was that with his chieftain’s death, he was free of his oaths. Despite his dogged insistence that he would seek suicide at the coterie’s earliest convenience, Heinrich managed to convince the Nosferatu that while the Varganyi were broken, enough of them remained in Szentgyörgy that they might yet be reforged. In company with Heinrich, Marius, and Helena, he journeyed to the town to speak with the Ventrue prince, Wiprecht von Lübben. The two of them cut a deal, whereby Lekszi would convince the more bestial Nosferatu of the Bodzo Pass to leave Szekelyland proper to the Brotherhood of the Black Stallion, and in return Wiprecht would do everything in his power to see the clan restored to their land, under the lordship of Kázmér, Miklós’ adolescent cousin.
Now, Lekszi serves as something of a prisoner-at-liberty in company with the Ashen Band, assisting them in their mission to blaze a trail through the hostile pass for a chevauchée against the forces of Kordönül. There is no love lost between he and Brother Berengar, who tolerates his presence but insists that he has merely been given a stay of execution. As for the rest of the coterie, they appear to have warmed for the most part to his sardonic, fatalistic humour. Sága, in particular, seems to have become fond of his company, and the two of them succeeded in negotiating with the elder, Hyacinta, for the coterie’s passage through her domain.
Lineage: Childe of Miklós Varganyi (d), Childe of Hyacinta, the Hag Princess, Childe of Gutka, the Salt Queen, Childe of Baba Yaga, the Iron Hag, Childe of Nosferatu. Lekszi is of the 8th generation.
Embrace: AD 1209.