The Concord of Ashes
Sir Conrad de Monreal
A veteran of the Third Crusade and a senator of the Lexor Brujah, this valiant and pious knight was forced to remove himself from the coterie for their own protection. He has returned to Constantinople, and works to further his sire's designs.
A tall, muscular knight in his middle-years, with salt and pepper in his cropped hair and chin beard. He is clad in mail and armed with a hand-and-a-half sword and a dagger. His sombre, serious expression and steady gaze lends him a compelling, mysterious quality that tends to draw the eye. A kite shield is slung over his back.
The Coat-of-Arms of Chevalier Conrad de Monreal. It depicts his ancestral home, Mount Royal, a strategic location where his family once served as Castellans of a keep belonging to the Lordship of Oultrejordain in the fallen Kingdom of Jerusalem. The five towers were added to represent his status as one of the five legendary “Towers of Arsuf”, men who were singled out for praise for their courage and leadership by Richard the Lionheart. Finally, the red cross of the Templars represents his ties to the Order, to which he undertook a penitential term of service between 1187 and 1196 for his failure at the Horns of Hattin.
A product of Norman English Crusader nobility, Sir Conrad was born in the Year of Our Lord 1154 and raised in the arid wastelands of Oultrejordain, where he and his kin held the Castle of Montreal for a succession of Lord’s. His grandfather, Fulk, served Maurice of Transjourdan and Phillip de Milly. His father Raymond served Phillip as well, and then Humphrey III de Toron, Miles de Plancy and Raynald de Châtillon. Sir Raymond was the first of the de Monreal’s to also enter the Templar Order, choosing to follow the example of his beloved mentor Lord Phillip, who became a warrior-monk in his later years.
In AD 1184, Sir Conrad himself became Castellan to Lord Raynald de Châtillon, a venal and impious man whom he despised but rarely saw. Sir Conrad ruled Krak de Monreal for Lord Raynald, who much preferred the more august seat of Krak de Kerak. Sir Conrad was a virtuous, if not passionate, Castellan, and he was well known for the respect that he extended towards the pilgrims and merchants, both Christian and Muslim, that passed through the region. He came to know the Bedouin better than most of his fellow knights, and his advice may have been of use to his lord if Raynald de Châtillon had the wisdom to accept it. Instead, de Châtillon despised his subjects, few of whom were Christian, and he over-taxed and sometimes brutalised them for petty reasons. Sir Conrad, torn between duty and justice, did his best to mitigate the worst excesses of his Lord. Advised by his clever wife, Matthilde, he managed to divert or misconstrue many of the orders given by his unjust Lord. Eventually however, Lord Raynald began ordering attacks on Musilin pilgrims, and threatened to sack Mecca itself, which prompted a war with none other than mighty Saladin. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was forced into war, and Sir Conrad was compelled to do his part.
Sir Conrad did his duty well, though he was torn by the nagging doubt that he was on the wrong side of the war, and he fought at the disastrous Battle of Hattin in AD 1187. He was one of the few to successfully flee the field after the Christians were defeated, and although he had the fleeting joy of knowing that Lord Raynald had been captured and executed for his crimes, he felt shame in knowing that he had played a part (no matter how small) in the loss of Jerusalem and so many good men. The Kingdom of Heaven had been sundered by venality and villainy, not by the Saracen, but by those men who should have protected and done honour to it. He and his family took shelter at Antioch, and when Matthilde died of a bad belly in AD 1189, Sir Conrad placed his young son, Baldwin, in the hands of his friend, Sir Hubert. He then entered the Templar Order, determined to make amends.
When the Third Crusade took place, Sir Conrad was on the front lines of the Templar ranks. He was a large and powerful man, even for a knight, and he became well-known as a gathering point in any battle in which he took part. He distinguished himself at Acre, at Jaffa and most especially at Arsuf. In that battle, along with seven other heroic knights, he was a bulwark against the pressure of Saladin’s hordes, when the courage of others had begun to fail. These stalwart men gave heart to their fellows, and when the battle was won they were lauded as the ‘Towers of Arsuf’ by none other than Richard the Lion-heart. Alas, for all their heroics, the Third Crusade was ultimately a failure, and Sir Conrad began to realise that the Kingdom of Heaven was truly gone.
It was then that Procet came to him, and told him of another place. A place where the Kingdom of Heaven could exist for eternity under the immortal guidance of the Archangel Michael himself. A place where a Dream of Heaven on Earth had truly taken shape. A place called Constantinople. Procet offered Sir Conrad a place in that Dream, a chance to defend something real and lasting. After considerable prayer and thought, Sir Conrad accepted the Embrace of the Lexor Brujah. He and his family retired from the Holy Land, and made their way to the Queen of Cities.
In the years since he became a senator of the Lexor Brujah, Sir Conrad has struggled to find a place for himself among his brothers and sisters. While certainly not a dolt, he is a warrior first and always, and struggles with establishing himself as a scholar as well. The concept of Entelechy eludes him, and so he instead throws himself into whatever task that his sire sees fit.
He became a founding member of the coterie now becoming known as the Cocord of Ashes, and toge6ther they brought the murderers of Bishop Alfonzo’s childer to justice. He later joined them on a mission set before them by the Prince of Buda-Pest, Vencel Rikard, to build a tower in in the Tihuta Pass of Transylvania. Although assured of the usefulness of the mission to the Lexor Brujah, doubt wormed its way into Sir Conrad’s heart. How could a lonely pass hundreds of miles away from the bordersof the empire be of use to the Dream?
Perhaps it was this doubt that provided the doorway for the demon to enter his soul. Sir Conrad was possessed outside the village of Vrsac, and began to hunger for not just the blood of others, but their very flesh. His temper was nigh uncontrollable, and his frenzies came often, lasted far longer, and became truly monstrous in scope. He began to despair, but salvation came in the form of a coterie of demon-hunting Cainites that subdued him outside the town of Timosoara.
Argus the Sorcerer, Sir Simon di Raguzza of the Order of Chaunticleer, and the Salubri warrior Maluziel, convinced Sir Conrad his coterie that they might find a way to exorcise the demon. They said it would take a long journey, that there was no guarantee of success, but even then any merciful Final Death that they could deliver would be better than allowing him into a town full of helpless mortals.
Sir Conrad agreed, and accompanied the trio on a long and arduous journey to the Kingdom of Portugal. There, an ancient and secretive Brujah mystic (who subsequently excised the memories of his identity from his mind) cast the demon from his soul and restored him to hope and Godliness. Sir Conrad repaid his debt to Argus, Maluziel and Sir Simon by aiding them on a mission against a Baali Pit in North Africa, and then he made the long journey back to Constantinople.
There he was welcomed once more by his sire, who informed Sir Conrad that his companions had succeeded in the mission to Tihuta Pass. Procet deflected his childe’s questions about the mission by saying that “he was merely setting pieces on a larger board than Sir Conrad could discern” and that explaining the minutiae of his intrigues would “endanger all of us”, with a knowing glance towards Exokoinion.
Mollified for the most part, Sir Conrad has rededicated himself to his sire’s schemes and the growing power of the Lexor Brujah. Since his return to Constantinople in AD 1199, he has busied himself making overtures into the Latinkon mercenaries, some of whom are knights that he knew from the wars in the Holy Land. He continues his academic progress, but focuses strongly on the martial pursuits and the honing of his physical disciplines. Sir Conrad also is also committed to seeing that his son, Baldwin, now a young man, completes his education, is gainfully employed in a manner that suits his prodigious mental talents, and is well-married.
Lineage: Childe of Procet, Adoptive childe of Tribonius (d).