Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The recently liberated Arpad Ventrue Prince of Mediasch; her reputation is one of beauty, brilliance, and utterly ruthless efficiency, and she has bent her will upon vengeance on those who have wronged her.
A tall, regal, imperious beauty with cascading raven hair and cold, disdainful blue eyes. There is an angry, arrogant air about her. She wears the latest in Hungarian or Byzantine court fashions. An ornamental dagger is her only weapon.
The Siebenburgen was the brain-child of Nova Arpad. She formulated the plans, laid the ground work, and expended considerable political capital to ensure that the charter was granted by the late King Geza II. With the blessings of her master, Bulscu, and with a capable and dynamic coterie behind her, Nova created the Council of Ashes in AD 1150 and forged into the wilderness of Transylvania. Through incessant Tzimisce raids, attacks by savage Lupines and the jealous plots of her own kin, Nova and her Council succeeded in hacking out the seven fortress cities: Mediasch, Bistritz, Kronstadt, Hermanstadt, Karlsberg, Schaasburg and Klausenburg. Her star rose quickly, and for a while at least, she was the most prestigious European Ventrue in the east. And then, after a few decades, things started to fall apart. Attrition and intrigue between Council members took their toll. The coterie became riven by dissent, and Lady Nova was not up to the task of restoring it. Indeed, the hatred between her and Marusca of Hermannstadt was the final nail in the coffin of the Council of Ashes.
Her passionate drive to bring proper (Latin) Christianity and the light of western civilisation to the pagan wilds of Transylvania was well known in the Cainite political circles of Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire. However, it is said that after her triumphs, Nova began to enjoy her wealth and prestige and, some say, began to rest on her laurels. Her formerly iron-clad control over the Magyar border lords and Szekler chieftains fell into question, and her control over the guilds of the seven cities appeared to be growing lax.
The truth of the matter was rather more complicated.
Early in AD 1198, the coterie paid a visit to Nova’s manse outside the walls of Mediasch in order to pay their respects. There they noted a number of discrepancies. Firstly, there were not as many guards nor servants as one might expect. Secondly, the lady of the house seemed unwilling to see elders and ancillae in person; unusual given her former enthusiasm for doing so. Moreover, when handed a note from Prince Vencel Rikard to the effect of asking her to furnish the coterie with a very large sum of silver she did not even read it or check the seal. A servant made all of the arrangements instead. Lastly, she seemed whimsically disinterested in overtures of alliance from the coterie with regards to restoring stability and cohesiveness in the Siebenburgen.
This left the coterie somewhat confused and suspicious. Surely a prince of Nova Arpad’s formidable reputation would be, well, more formidable. They formed the opinion that she was, at best, addled or at worst, under supernatural persuasion of some sort. When they later encountered Matthias ritter of the Iron Covenant, they told him of their suspicions when he mentioned that he and his comrades intended to meet with Prince Nova to pay their respects. The knight thanked them for their input, and he and his companions soon launched an investigation of Mediasch, which exposed the impostor Ruxandra and freed Nova from nearly nine years of imprisonment and degradation at the hands of the Nosferatu.
The story has emerged that in AD 1190, Mitru the Hunter (at that time still a mortal vampire hunter) staked the complacent Nova with a well-placed arrow while she was visiting her progeny in Klausenburg. Arnulf the Goth, who had just witnessed Mitru’s slaying of the Ventrue Prince of Klausenburg, realised that an opportunity was at hand that could weaken the progress of the Siebenburgen. He rewarded the young hunter with the Embrace, and then contacted Nova’s enemy, Marusca of Hermannstadt. Rather than slay Nova outright, the two cooked up a scheme. Ruxandra would assume Nova’s identity; she would unravel the central influence of the guilds over the Siebenburgen and the Ventrue influence over the Magyar nobility in Transylvania. Eventually, the weakened and divided house would fall, and civilisation would cease its march into the wilds. Arnulf quickly moved on to other subterfuges, and Mitru became his agent in the tripartite conspiracy.
The scheme was a good one, and it worked for many years. Guild cohesiveness and influence has steadily declined across the Siebenburgen, and the Saxon nobility has gained at their expense, and that of each other. Tensions between these nobles and the Magyars and Szeklers that surround them have also caused disruption and envy, nearly destroying the early cooperation and bonds of good will between the disparate forces of civilisation in the east. Indeed, if allowed to continue for another decade, the scheme may have destroyed the unity of the Siebenburgen all together. Alas, Ruxandra’s sanity appeared to slip through AD 1197, and the conspiracy was exposed. Nova Arpad has risen once more, and her former complacency and somnolence is now replaced by a fury and need for vengeance that is terrible to behold.
As her first act upon gaining freedom, Nova declared a Blood Hunt on the conspiracy of Ruxandra, Mitru and Marusca. While largely ineffective (and even damaging to her own status) this Blood Hunt has driven Ruxandra into hiding and may bring more Ventrue to the east, seeking to wrest Domain from Mitru and Marusca. Since making her proclamation, Nova has set her mind to rebuilding her power base and setting her house in order. She has thrown her support behind the Iron Covenant’s claim on the city of Schaasburg, sent word to Hungary for reinforcements, and Embraced two new childer to protect her. Guild power is on the rise once more around Mediasch, and overtures have been made to masters in other cities. Finally, she has sent for her remaining pawns amongst the Magyar nobility. Only time will tell how effective Nova can be, but her former drive has returned, and she promises to be a strong force in the Siebenburgen for years to come.
Lineage: Childe of Prince Gregor of Pressburg, Childe of Heinrich of Volstag, Childe of Erik Eigermann (d?), Childe of Veddartha
(d?)= probably destroyed