The Concord of Ashes
This Gangrel elder is much feared and reviled both for his combat prowess and his past history of committing diablerie. He has joined the 4th Crusade in the employ of Guy of Provence, hoping for both spiritual absolution and political amnesty.
Handsome in a rough kind of way, this pale northerner has a strong, husky build covered in scars and fine, downy blonde hair. His mane is shaggy, and he looks like he could use a shave. In spite of his good looks, there is a dangerous, animalistic cast to his features and his dark eyes gaze hungrily at those who near him. He is armed with a long hunter’s knife and a handaxe and he eschews armour, wearing only buckskins and a black cloak.
(modified from the character, as portrayed in the short story Eating Medusa, by Patrick Hadley in Dark Tyrants, pp. 77-110)
Variously known as Rollo the Frank or Rollo the Austrasian, this Gangrel has earned infamy for his exploits during the 12th century. While it is thought that he has existed for some four centuries, rumour has it that he spent a considerable portion of those years in torpor from wounds sustained in Carinthia, during the strife surrounding the decline of the Carolingian empire.
He surfaced again in the last decades of the 10th century, offering his services for pay to the Tzimisce warlords of the Balkans and the Antonian Ventrue of Constantinople. Rollo then returned to the West, and sold his axe to the Lombardic Ventrue and the Grand Court of Paris, encountering much arrogance over his weak blood and Low Clan. By the middle of the 12th century, the Gangrel had quit the Cainite courts in disgust, and fell in with a small coterie of diabolists.
For almost 50 years, Rollo travelled the lands of the Mediterranean, hunting elders in company with his coterie. Assamites, Toreador, Brujah, Ravnos, Settites, Ventrue and more fell to their fangs. Owing to the perilous nature of the enterprise, the coterie enjoyed a fairly high turnover but those who survived grew strong, battened on the ancient blood of their prey. By 1190 CE, only three members of the coterie remained. In addition to Rollo were the Cantabrian Lasombra Don Felix Lopez Aguirre de Garandabal and the Italian Settite Marchesa Viella Maria Julia di Messina. They were hated and hunted throughout the lands they stalked, but such was their power that few dared to chance hound them too fiercely, or at least in numbers too small to be sure of success.
By 1200 CE, it would appear that the coterie had come to a bad end, as one might expect, during a hunt for a particularly ancient Follower of Set (the Medusa, apparently). Whatever the case, Rollo resurfaced recently in Venice. He sought out the Fourth Crusade after being given assurances of safe conduct, and pledged his axe and loyalty to Guy of Provence. He does not draw pay and claims to have given up his foul ways, and seeks redemption by serving in the Militi Christi, saying that he only wants absolution for his sins and forgiveness from agents of the Cainite Courts that dog his steps.
He does not engage in politics at all and socialises little, seemingly happy to do his job as the chief scout of the Cainite Crusade and keep his own company. While he is handsome enough, and prefers to seduce tavern wenches instead of hunt them down, most Cainites agree that there is something… off… about the Gangrel, and most senesible mortals instinctively shy away from him. Even so, despite his taciturn nature he can be charming. When the rare mood takes him, he has a powerful basso voice and a love of bawdy songs. He is also not without a wry sense of humour, and has intimidated into quiescence at least one impertinent Ventrue crusader by intoning (in perfect Latin) the Lay of the Amaranth, recited of old by diabolists about to commit their awful crime.
O Maker, Caine of Nod,
Tonight shall bring me closer yet to Thee.
Praised be eternal Amaranth
Whose night-black blossom neither fades nor withers.
Always may I feast at her dark banquet.
The Ventrue in question (one Bertrandus d’Apt, childe of Sir Felix de Vaucluse), was suitably mortified, but Rollo thought the joke was quite funny.
Rollo has a particular wariness and dislike for the Assamites. He refuses to be drawn on why, saying only that the Turks have it in for him.
Lineage: Unknown. Rollo ceased telling it centuries ago, and those old enough to remember it rarely cared to know it. He was thought to have been of the eleventh generation when Embraced in the first years of the 9th century, but he is known to have taken the souls of no less than four elders since.