Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Alaric di Taranto
This Lasombra has no memory of his Embrace during the storming of Jerusalem in AD 1099, or of anything else for the forty years afterwards. He serves his mentor, Santiago, as an infiltrator of the legendary Knights Templar.
A very pale, gaunt man, possessed of an air of authority and wearing the mail and surcoat of a Knight Templar. His brown eyes are so dark as to appear almost black, rendered even more unsettling by the haunted, experienced look in their inky depths. His brown beard and moustache, salted with just a little silver, is full and kept. The knight keeps a sword and dagger belted at his waist.
The uniform coat of arms of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Knights Templar.
Little is yet known of the past of this taciturn knight, save that he was a mortal of the Sicilian Normans, that he took the First Crusade and that he has no memory of the time after the walls were breached, the madness began, and the horrid slaughter of it’s citizenry commenced. He has said that while he has no memory of it, he apparently lived a bestial existence out in the desert for many years before Father Santiago and the Brujah wanderer Procet subdued the befuddled Cainite and returned him to his senses. Alaric was adopted by Santiago (whom he calls Diego), and he eventually swore loyalty to Bishop Claudius Euginio, his secretive and powerful adoptive grandsire. A strident enemy of the Lasombra who chose to use the Cainite Heresy as their tool in the Church, Claudius followed the example of his wayward progeny Montrovant in choosing to make one of the Military Orders his tools in the struggle.
Alaric spent years in a monastery near Rome, learning at the feet of the ancient Roman vampire. It was quickly realised that the combined structure of the monastic life together with a feudal martial instinct was necessary for the troubled knight to cling to his sanity. As such, he stepped onto the via regalis and took Claudius Euginio as his liege and Santiago as his master. They would find a place for him in the Templar Order under the watchful eye of his adopted sire, and together they would begin the work of suborning the knight-monks in the Kingdom of Croatia.
When Procet learned that his progeny Sir Conrad had fallen afoul of demonic influences and was taken out of play on the march to the Tihuta tower project, he had no other agent who could satisfy his obligations to Vencel Rikard. As Santiago owed him a debt, he asked his old acquaintance to send Brother Alaric to fulfill Conrad’s part in the project. The Templar arrived at the pass just a few weeks after the formative Concord arrived there themselves, and he dutifully did his part to see the mission to a successful conclusion. Throughout the course of the project, Alaric and Iulia became fast allies based on their clan ties. She found his interest in the Abyssal Mysteries to be simultaneously fascinating and dangerous, for she was hesitant to plumb such enigmas herself and indeed, she thought she might never be ready to take such a perilous step. Unlike Iulia, Alaric was strangely attracted to the study of the Abyss, for he obsessed over his lost memories and thought he might find them there.
In December of AD 1202, Brother Alaric would turn up again in Zara. He and a number of mortal Templar servants had arrived to take in the state of the sacked city, which was at that time a possession of King Emeric of Hungary and Croatia. He was pleased to see Iulia and her fellows once more, but not so much to find that the Fourth Crusade (in which he had intended to take part) had despoiled a Christian city and that the likely outcome would be the withdrawal of King Emeric and his significant armies from the pilgrimage. He believed that this would mean that his own pretext to take the cross would shortly be removed, and he was entirely correct. When the Concord rejoined the crusade in April of 1203, they found that Brother Alaric and his followers had already departed.
Over the following years he continued to serve Santiago and Claudius Euginio in their schemes to subvert the Templar Order in Croatia. In due course he would become the secret master of the commandery at Brckovljani, twenty miles east of the city of Zagreb, and he would also begin laying plans to subborn the smaller estates at Glogovnica and Gora. Eventually, he and his adopted sire planned to link these commanderies with the Templar castle at Vrana, where Santiago made his own lair. According to his correspondence with Iulia, Brother Alaric had also taken the step of becoming an initiate of the Abyssal Mysteries, thus realising a long-held ambition.
He would be encountered once again at the city of Spalato in AD 1217. This time, Brother Alaric led a much larger contingent of Templar followers to the Fifth Crusade, and he was revealed to be the leader of a potent coterie of Lasombra Templars that had dubbed themselves the Crucible of Shadows. As part of the Hungarian and Croatian contingent of the pilgrimage, they made their way to the Holy Land and were present for the fall of the curtain of True Faith around the city of Acre. In their haste to lay Domain over the strong commandery there they ran afoul of the coterie of Ventrue Templars led by Gondemar of Tortosa. Already strained along clan lines, the two rival coteries were close to coming to blows before the mediation of the Ashen Band allowed them to save face, de-escalating the situation and bringing them into an uneasy agreement that they would share access. Brother Gondemar and the Ventrue Templars of Ruad would claim dominion, but Brother Alaric and the Lasombra Templars of Brckovljani would have unfettered access and equal rights to the resources of the commandery of Acre.
Afterwards, Brother Alaric and the Crucible of Shadows set themselves to the task of making themselves useful on the crusade. They would be active in the march on Bethsan and beyond and his intimate knowledge of the terrain proved most useful on the campaign. The Crucible would be instrumental in bottling up the Ayyubid garrison at Belvoir Castle and taking the ford nearby.
Embrace: AD 1099.
Lineage: Unknown, but through exhaustive testing he is proven to be of the 7th generation.