Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
This ancilla of the Eastern Lord Ventrue serves as the envoy of his influential sire, Prince Kuritz of Lüneburg, a prominent vassal of Lord Jürgen von Verden. Sir Guy was the mortal enemy of the late, lamented Bernhard Billung.
A young, handsome, clean-shaven knight with short brown hair and glittering blue eyes. He is dressed in the fashion of a courtier rather than a warrior, though his sword and dagger look to have seen plenty of use.
The coat of arms of Guy, Chevalier d’Arles, denoting his family design as well as his loyal service to his sire, Kuritz of Lüneburg.
Guy d’Arles is a knight from a long line of knights, and he can claim King Hugh d’Arles as an ancestor (through Hugh’s legitimate daughter, Alda). He can also claim direct descent from Pope John XIX (from an obscure marriage before he was ordained) and indirectly from Popes Benedict VIII (John’s brother) and IX (John’s nephew). His mortal kin were the influential counts of Tusculum, dukes of Spoleto, and margraves of Tuscany, but their power was spent by the 13th century. In spite of his ancient pedigree, Guy’s own direct ancestors suffered reversals of fortune down through the generations to such a degree that he found himself an impoverished freelance. He had breeding and manners to burn, but no land nor any fortune beyond his horse, his arms, and whatever silver he could get for his service. He wandered much in his youth, and It transpired that he eventually came into the service of Lothair of Supplinberg, the first inheritor of the mantle of Duke of Saxony after the Billung line ended.
Sir Guy fought well but without distinction, nor much reward, in the wars between Lothair and Otto von Ballenstedt, a rival claimant to the duchy. He was soon forgotten by his victorious master as Lothair advanced to become first the King of Germany and then later the Holy Roman Emperor. Sir Guy swiftly fell on hard times, disillusioned with his already fading glory and honour. He lost himself in the bawdy houses and taverns of Lüneburg and Braunschweig, sinking into depravity and alcoholism as the years passed. He reached the ebb of his fortune when he was forced to sell his sword, a family heirloom, just to pay for a room. He decided at this point that his only remaining options were either suicide or rank thuggery.
It was here that he was found by his sire, the merchant Kuritz, who gave him a third option. Kuritz had declared himself Prince of Lüneburg, and had ample muscle in the swords-woman Lucretia von Hartz, but he needed another childe: one who could navigate the pitfalls of the high nobility with grace and poise. Kuritz would return Sir Guy’s sword, and give him access to the fortune and the halls of power that had always been denied him. All he need do was swear eternal service and become a blood-drinking monster of the night. Sir Guy accepted, even before Kuritz’ finished outlining the terms.
For Kuritz to successfully claim praxis over the growing settlement Lüneburg, he needed to eject the ancient Gangrel Lucien and his neonate, Bernhard Billung. With Lucien dwelling in the city as a free agent, no one would ever truly accept Kuritz’ claim as genuine. The Gangrel elder had not been seen for some time, and it would be Sir Guy’s unenviable task to discern whether Lucien would come to Bernhard’s defence. In order to accomplish this dangerous task, he chose to prey upon the Gangrel’s ward, Jana, and the fact that the girl turned out to be ‘just his type’ was just a happy coincidence. Guy hunted and fed from the girl and was in turn attacked by Bernhard. The resulting fight nearly cost the young Ventrue his unlife, but the danger to Kuritz’ dominion was enough to force his liege, Lord Jürgen, to intervene on their behalf. The young Gangrel’s impotence was clear, but he refused to swear fealty to Prince Kuritz and Lord Jürgen, and accepted their demand that he leave the city.
Successful in his sire’s eyes, Sir Guy would go on to become Kuritz’ envoy to the court of Lord Jürgen and other German Cainite magnates. While treating with the Prince of Braunschweig some ten years after he attacked her, Sir Guy encountered the now nearly fully grown Jana once again. He followed her home and, heedless of the danger, attacked the girl that so tormented his senses and memories. He tortured and exsanguinated her, and was in the process of watching her bleed out when Bernhard again came upon the scene. The enraged Gangrel soundly beat the French knight once again, humiliating Guy with his greater skill and If not for his loyal ghoul and squire, Thaddeus von Werl, he would have been destroyed that night. Instead, he managed to flee once more, as Billung rushed to the aid of his dying ward. Many decades later, it still brings a grin to his face to know that Jana was Embraced that night, and that she never forgave Bernhard for damning her by the act.
A number of years later, Sir Guy and Bernhard (in his adopted guise of Gunthar von Sankt Wolfgang) crossed blades once more. As the Second Crusade moved through Pressburg, they encountered each other in a brothel. This time Sir Guy, with the aid of his ally, István Árpád, got the upper hand and Billung was incapacitated. Both Cainites were punished harshly by Prince Gregor, being forced to take a draught of his blood and also that of his scourge, who just happened to be Jana von Dorsten, who had grown into being quite the “cruel baby vampire” (his words on the night) in her own right. The reception in Pressburg is still hostile towards Sir Guy, for he also suffered permanent exile as punishment for his crimes against the Traditions of Domain and the Silence of the Blood. He does not mind so much, however, for his hated enemy is also permanently exiled, and thus barred from speaking with his wayward childe.
Although eclipsed in almost every way by his elder sister in blood, Lucretia, Sir Guy has continued in this role as diplomat and agent for their sire. He has travelled constantly around the duchy and also the lands of Thuringia and Brandenburg as well as Bohemia and Hungary. He remains based in Lüneburg, but he is seldom there. Prestige and riches are his, and yet he has grown bored.
At the turn of the 13th century, Lucretia wrote to him to tell him that Gunthar von Sankt Wolfgang had staked his domain in the Siebenburgen. He looked forward eagerly to the eastward expansion of Lord Jürgen’s demesnes, and openly wondered if perhaps the Eastern Lords needed to look rather further east in the near future? The city of Kronstadt perhaps? Word would reach him of the demise of his old enemy in 1203, and Sir Guy relaxed in his intrigues. However, it would appear that his agitations bore fruit, for in 1211 the Burzenland was ceded to the Teutonic Order, and the Sword-bearer and his Order of the Black Cross soon followed their mortal brethren to Transylvania.
Sir Guy met Ulrich von Wettin during that Ventrue’s fosterage at the court of Vencel Rikard in the city of Buda-Pest. The ancilla was leading an embassy from the Eastern Lords to the Árpád Ventrue, and he hoped to use his old association with István to facilitate the success of his mission. The court of the Sword-bearer desired no ill will between the Eastern Lords and Prince Vencel over the Burzenland, for Lord Jürgen had realised that he forced the hand of Vencel and his vassal, Prince Wiprecht of Sankt Georgen, regarding the declaration of his dominion over the Burzenland. However, he felt that the Ventrue should declare their fiefs for Wiprecht ruled secretly as prince (having chosen not to paint a target over his heart) rather than making a stand with sword in hand. This was not the way of the Clan of Kings.
Even so, in the interests of securing the area, the Lord of Saxony wished to reestablish cordial ties. Sir Guy enjoyed himself immensely in the company of István and Erzsébet, for they both shared his love of sybaritic parties and sadistic hunting. Ulrich he found to be of initial interest given his obvious intelligence and talent, but his pretentious name-dropping and unwillingness to join them in their sport soon marked him as a prude and bore in the ancilla’s eyes, and Guy soon gave his attentions to more… pleasurable activities.
Embrace: AD 1119.
Lineage: Guy is of the 9th generation, and of a noble bloodline of the Ventrue. He is the childe of Prince Kuritz of Lüneburg, childe of Baron Hredel, childe of Prince Felix of Passau, childe of Hardestadt the Elder, childe of Erik Eigermann (d?), childe of Ventrue.
(d?)= Probably Destroyed.