Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The Warden of Buda-Pest; a rugged, rough man who struggles to live up to knightly ideals and prove himself worthy of Ventrue blood.
A short, rugged, beetle-browed, serious looking man with unruly, stiff hair, a heavy goatee beard, and a prominent golden earring. He wears mail, carries a warhammer, and has a handaxe and dagger hanging from his belt.
The coat of arms of Balázs, a humble soldier of Buda who has been knighted and awarded administration and revenues of the royal hunting estate of Solomar.
Sir Balázs is the descendant and loyal vassal of Vencel Rikard, and has served his prince first as his scourge after AD 1167 and later as his warden (sheriff) after 1211. Born to a humble soldier and his wife, he was a mercenary for much of his life, travelling much of Hungary, the Holy Roman Empire, and Transylvania in this capacity before earning his Embrace on the battlefield. Suffering a mortal wound, he was given no choice in the matter and brought across as a matter of simple expediency. His sire, Béla, although of the Árpáds, had fallen very far from the Ventrue ideal and was nothing if not an opportunist of the highest order. As far as Béla was concerned, Balázs was simply too good a warrior to lose and he was needed to fight the Tzimisce the next night.
Béla was originally sent to the southern borders with his own sire Emeric, a number of other loyal Árpád Ventrue and their mortal vassal nobles, in order to put down a peasant uprising supported by the Brujah warlord Dominic and his followers. Things did not go well. Numerous defeats, privations, and humiliations suffered in a war of attrition eroded Bela’s loyalty and sense of duty. By the time Balázs was Embraced, Sir Emeric had fallen into torpor from wounds sustained in battle and Béla had abandoned his fellows to eke out an existence as little better than a bandit lord. He was in need of good men to put between himself and the enemy, and Balázs was his best man for that purpose.
Béla blood bound the proud Balázs, and the two continued an ignominious existence as swords for hire. As a mercenary captain in the great eastern Hungarian expansion, Béla became known as “the Cruel” for his treatment of the Vlachs and Slavs in night raids on Tzimisce holdings. When he finally fell to the fangs of the Fiends in AD 1162, Balázs felt the blood bond shatter and he immediately quit the field. Remembering Béla’s tales of his lineage, and sick for home, the freesword then left Transylvania and travelled west in search of a worthy master and teacher. He found both in Vencel Rikard.
As Scourge of Buda and Pest, Balázs was responsible for seeing to the integrity of his prince’s domain over the difficult years when the two settlements divided by the Danube began to merge into one identity. He dealt harshly with those who did not observe the Traditions and present themselves upon entering the city, but his reputation was one of fairness then as it is now. Although he was willing to hear out any reasonable excuses for tardiness, he was merciless towards those that knowingly flouted his prince’s authority. For years, he was subordinate to the older and more experienced warden, a Nosferatu known as Luther the Hound, and the two of them became friends despite the distance of clan and station. The only significant failure on their part was with regards to Havnor, an ancient vampire who consistently foiled their attempts to flush him out or drive him from the city.
In AD 1211, the neonate Ulrich von Wettin arrived in the city to undertake his fosterage under Prince Vencel. The prince assigned the childe of Hardestadt the Younger as an assistant to both warden and scourge, the better to gain an understanding of the responsibilities of protecting a city. Balázs’ initial dislike for the younger Ventrue’s arrogance soon evolved into profound respect for his intellect but a confirmed disgust for his ingrained conceit. In the course of these duties, Ulrich discovered that Luther had illegally sired progeny. This childe, whom the abusive Nosferatu had kept chained in his cellar for years and called Hund-Sheise (Dog-Shit), had recently escaped and was trying to exact her revenge on her sire and the other vampires of the Pest.
Hund-Sheise escaped after attacking Erzsébet Árpád and her cousin, István , but Luther was apprehended peacefully enough after being convinced by Ulrich to throw himself on the mercy of the prince. Luckily for him, Vencel was appreciative of his many years of loyal service, and he passed a light sentence on Luther: a drink of the prince’s blood, and demotion to the assistant of Ulrich, who would serve out the remainder of his fosterage as scourge while Sir Balázs would be promoted the warden. Gratefully, the Nosferatu swallowed his pride and accepted his punishment.
After Ulrich left for the Siebenburgen late in 1213, Luther’s punishment ended and he was promoted to scourge. He continues to serve in this role, now subordinate to Balázs. The Ventrue warden’s kindness to the Nosferatu throughout the length of his punishment was not lost on Luther, and he is an ardent supporter of Balázs in his promoted role. Together they continue to keep Buda-Pest secure, and much is made of their capacity to keep an eye on the city without anyone being the wiser. Rumour has it that the Ventrue soldier has learned a few tricks from the Nosferatu over their many years of working together.
Balázs became known to the mortal authorities of Buda-Pest, having saved Duke Antal’s life in an assassination attempt in AD 1195. The duke knighted him for his heroics, and he has much respect and not a few friends among the city watch and Ducal Guard for his actions. In 1206, Duke Antal also demonstrated appreciation for Sir Balázs’ continued service as a knight-officer of the City Guard by awarding him with the administration and revenues of the royal hunting preserve of Solomar, some ten miles to the north-west of the city. Adhering to the Silence of the Blood, he grew concerned about his obvious agelessness and he publicly retired to the estate in 1216. Obviously, Balázs secretly remains in the city to be of service to his prince, but he now takes care to see that his fame does not endanger the Cainites of Buda-Pest.
Embrace: AD 1124.
Lineage: Balasz of Buda is of the 10th generation. He is the childe of Béla the Cruel (d), childe of Sir Emeric (d?), childe of Vencel Rikard, childe of Bulcsú, childe of Heinrich of Volstag, childe of Erik Eigermann (d?), childe of Ventrue.
(d) = destroyed
(d?) = probably destroyed