Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The Fourth Cainite Crusade
The Fourth Cainite Crusade, not unlike its mortal analogue, is the work of lesser lords rather than great kings. The first, second and third Crusades were all directly led by elders of great renown and much status, but this one is led by ancillae. Granted, all leaders present do indeed serve under the nominal pleasure of elders in France, Flanders, Lombardy and the Holy Roman Empire but they have complete autonomy in the night-to-night congress of the pilgrimage. The leadership of the Cainite Crusade initially swore to mitigate the supernatural influence on the mortal counts and barons, hoping to avoid the factious disasters of previous expeditions. They pursued the fulfillment of this oath to the best of their ability as far as Negroponte, with decidedly mixed results, before they finally relented under charges that the mortal barons were routinely going too far adrift without Cainite intercession. By the time of renewed hostilities between the city of Constantinople and the Fourth Crusade in January of 1204, it was quite clear that nearly every vampire leader was a power unto himself with unquantifiable influence over their mortal counterparts.
Those Who Lead
The Cainite Crusade was initially dominated by four major factions: the Lombardic Ventrue, the Knights of the Sable Rose, the Narsene Lasombra and the Templar Ventrue. These factions in turn were respectively dominated by the agents of four powerful Cainite Lords of the night: Dominius of Lombardy,Andrew of Normandy, Narses of Venice and Geoffroi du Temple. A fifth faction consisting of a number of Lasombra and Toreador and led by the neonate Geoffrey of Richmond (childe and servant of the great Boukephos), left the crusade before the Siege of Zara. Inside these factions resided a bewildering array of coteries, personal agendas and agents for individual elders of France, the Holy Roman Empire, Lombardy, Flanders and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. By the close of AD 1203, yet another faction had arisen within the ranks to challenge the authority of Duke Guy and his supporters- Felix of Vaucluse. In addition to subordinates of his own bloodline, Felix came to lead a large alliance of mercenaries, opportunists and a coterie of Tremere that arrived late to the pilgrimage.
At least 24 Cainites (34 if the Concord and the vassals of Vitalis of Asti are included) have sworn loyalty to (recently created) Duke Guy of Provence (representative of the elder Dominius), an influential Ventrue with many connections to the mortal and Cainite nobles of Provence, Lombardy and the Holy Land. He has taken the cross for each of the major crusades, and several of the smaller ones, and despite his relative youth he has a strong reputation and the approval of the Crusader Ventrue of Outremer. He remains, at least in principle, the driving force behind the Cainite Crusade and the other remaining factions follow his lead. Duke Guy and his supporters have people close to the nobles of Montferrat, Champagne and Provence. In addition, he can call on 100 men in his own retinue and can leverage 3 times that number through his pawns. With the support of his captains and vassals, Guy can call up perhaps 1000 men, but this support grows increasingly questionable as the health of the Fourth Crusade declines.
Duc Guy de Provence, Commander of the Fourth Cainite Crusade
A mere 6 Cainites of the Knights of the Sable Rose currently travel with the crusade, and 9 more wait in Beirut, Jaffa and Limasol.Thierry of Amiens (envoy of the Toreador methuselah Angel Andrew), Godefrey of Caen and Roderick of Rouen are the main actors on the part of the Sable Rose. Each of them has a Cainite second, as well as pawns in place amongst the lords and knights of Flanders, Picardy and Normandy respectively. In addition, they exercise considerable influence within the Knights Hospitaller through the secret order that Andrew of Normandy has propagated in their ranks. In extremis, the 6 of them claim that they can place roughly the same number of soldiers on the field as Duke Guy and all his supporters combined. With the backing of their ancient master, few doubt their power.
The Narsene Lasombra are led by Salvatore Varagine, the representative of the Archbishop of Nod and Prince of Venice, Narses. His responsibility is to safeguard the interests of Venice and see that the conditions imposed by the Great Council are met. 9 other Cainites of Venice follow his loose direction, some more cohesively than others. As well as descendants of Narses, several Cappadocians of the Giovanni family have lent their shipping experience to the effort. When they work together they can directly influence the crews of many ships, and perhaps more than 1200 marines.
Felix of Vaucluse, a wealthy ancilla of a prominent Burgundian bloodline, originally swore nominal loyalty to Guy of Provence when the Crusade gathered in Venice. Since the first battle of Constantinople in 1203 he has recreated himself as an alternative leader and few doubt that he would break the oath if it served him to do so. His original coterie of 4 subordinates has been bolstered by as many 16 mercenaries, thugs, sybarites and various other young ne’erdowells who have flocked to his banner in hopes of advantage. The addition of 6 Tremere in January of 1204 actually gave Sir Felix more personal supporters than Duke Guy, although their loyalties are even more suspect than his own. His faction can indirectly call upon perhaps 800 mortal pawns, including a number of prominent Burgundian nobles of both the duchy and county.
The last faction has only recently joined with the Fourth Crusade, though the shadow of their influence has been upon it from the outset. Geoffrey of the Temple (childe of the methuselah Alexander, Prince of Paris) is based in the valley of Clairvaux in Champagne, attempting to use his contacts to drum up further support amongst the high nobility of the French heartlands. His favoured childe, Sir Hugh, busied himself raising a secondary army of veteran Templars from the fortified island of Ruad, west of the Crusader stronghold of Tortosa, while a smaller contingent was raised at the Cypriot port of Famagusta. With him waited 18 other Templar Ventrue and more than 1600 men retained from the fallen Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Emperor’s Crusade of 1197. Perhaps 6 more ancillae of the Crusader Ventrue, and several hundred of their thralls, stoodd ready to assist the Templars when they sailed for Egypt. Together this force had the power to reinvigorate the ailing pilgrimage, but they were forced to sail west to try and bring the runaway Cainite Crusade to order. Sir Hugh of Clairvaux and 9 other Templars arrived with an elite force of 600 men in December of 1203. While he is a rival of Guy of Provence they had agreed to joint leadership of the Fourth Cainite Crusade once their forces were met. Unfortunately, Brother Hugh discovered that prior agreements mattered only in principle, and his authority was virtually nil. Indeed, he was soon forced to swear loyalty to Duke Guy in order to stymie the ambitions of Felix of Vaucluse to replace the both of them. While this has granted Hugh a balance of power within Duke Guy’s faction, it has also destroyed his own political cache by virtue of his voluntary subordination. As a walker on the via equitae, the deeply honourable Hugh of Clairvaux can not break with Duke Guy without a terrible loss of face and the possibility of endangering his soul.
Sir Geoffrey of Richmond, a neonate Lasombra of exceptionally strong pedigree (he is the childe of the Ancient called Boukephos), formerly led a fifth faction. Sir Geoffrey and his men presented themselves to Narses in Venice but did not even bother arguing in council. It would appear that the young Cainite instead ambitiously sought to use his talents to push the mortal Crusade towards Palestine, and seemed happy to work beneath the smokescreen of Tommaso Brexiano’s bluster and obvious attempts at intrigue. In addition, it is also rumoured that he worked to convince certain Barons to take the ports of Marseilles and Apulia over Venice in order to force the destination of Palestine over Egypt. He is also blamed for the desertion of nearly 2000 men under the command of Simon de Montfort. It is rumoured that the Lasombra is none other than Duke Geoffrey II of Brittany, the late brother of Richard the Lionheart. If even a portion of these rumours are true, then his talent for intrigue and treachery is truly prodigious. It is unclear exactly why Sir Geoffrey and his coterie of allied Lasombra and Toreador sought to derail the pilgrimage in this way other than the rumoured enmity that Boukephos bears the Cainite Heresy. It has been said that if Narses and his cronies are involved in something, then the supporters of Boukephos would appear to stand ready to to befoul their influence. Whatever the case, Sir Geoffrey and his supporters were forced to flee the Crusade once their treachery finally became clear to Guy de Provence and his men.
Those Who Watch
The Ventrue ancilla Lanzo von Sachsen, servant of Lord Hardestadt of the Holy Roman Empire, does not belong to any faction. Instead he observes the goings on, and writes numerous reports to his master. At the same time, Lanzo is far from impartial and speaks often of the need to push on to Egypt at the first opportunity. He is nominally allied with (but not sworn to) Guy of Provence, if only because the commander has the most Cainites in his camp. However, it is likely that the opportunistic Saxon would swiftly switch his favour to a stronger contender, and Sir Felix heavily lobbied him for support. While not adjudged as particularly savvy on account of his oafish demeanour, Lanzo von Sachsen is thought to be quite honourable, and prefers the friendship of other honourable men. He has weathered the changes on the pilgrimage extremely well, and offered his patronage freely to other Holy Roman Cainites that have joined since Venice. Owing to this somewhat paradoxically quiet approach, 8 other Cainites (almost all of whom are of High Clans but relatively weak blood) now loosely answer to him. Together they can bring together nearly 500 pawns.
Father Ferox, an ancient ghoul who represents the Ventrue elder Fabrizio Ulfila, also keeps an eye on the course of the crusade. Ulfila is greatly influential in the Latin church, and has mobilised certain of his pawns amongst the abbots and bishops in service to the crusade. Ferox does not appear to engage in the incessant intrigues of the crusade himself, but he never misses a council session and gives advice freely when asked. Unknown to all but a few fellow conspirators, he also uses his command of Dominate to encourage those mortals who cross his path to behave ethically.
The Tzimisce Veceslav of Tihuta, at the urging of his coterie-mate Iulia of Weissenburg has chosen to represent herself as the de facto representative of the Arpad Ventrue of the Kingdom of Hungary, owing to his connections to Vencel Rikard of Buda-Pest. His personal friendship with Duke Guy has been a tremendous asset to the Concord, and those who hoped to see the pilgrimage safely redirected. Iulia benefits from this association as well, choosing to place herself as an intermediary with the Small Council and the Antonian Ventrue. They have made allies among Duke Guy’s people but are seen as outsiders, and their status is tentative as Hungary has pulled out of the crusade over the Zara matter. Of course, as Zara was taken from the Hungarians, Iulia and her allies serve as a pointed and uncomfortable reminder for the pilgrims to adhere to their holy mission and avoid further sin. Like her ally Father Ferox, Iulia also secretly uses her prodigious skill with Dominate to encourage peace.
Those Who Follow
Duke Guy has a number of captains and assistants who hold particular status in the pilgrimage. Petrus the Troubadour is his second and seneschal. Whenever Sir Guy is unavailable, Sir Petrus makes decisions on his behalf. However, his own status is not such that he could lead without Sir Guy’s own standing to back him up. Sir Guy also has three captains who assist him in managing the Cainite Crusade. Russel of Casale has long been a supporter of Guy, and while the two aren’t firm allies as such, they maintain a professional respect and the Cappadocian has sworn to follow his orders for the duration of the pilgrimage. The loyalty of the Ventrue Vitalis of Asti and Felix de Vaucluse has always been less certain, and the latter has openly sought to supplement the commander. Each has sworn an oath to Guy, in so far as those promises do not violate those given to their sires and Lords in Champagne and Burgundy respectively. By virtue of her influence over the ecclesiastical and monastic representatives of France, Champagne, Burgundy and Provence, Sister Farancina stands on a roughly equal (albeit informal) footing to these knights.
In addition to Sir Russel and Sister Farancina, other Cappadocians maintain a marked presence on the crusade. Carmine Giovanni oversees the 12 ships that his family has placed at the disposal of the pilgrimage, and he serves as one of the most ardent advocates for Venetian influence on the crusade. His cousin Justis is also present, hoping to expand the medical knowledge of both he and his sire, Roberto di Noldo. Another Giovanni Cappadocian, Umberto elected to remain behind in Zara to put family affairs in order there.
The Tzimisce Lando di Durazzo and his Lasombra ally, Remigio del Nero, serve as the resident occult advisors to Salvatore Varagine and, to a lesser extent, Duke Guy. They are sometimes called upon for their opinions, and it is thought that Remigio in particular has access to certain magics that aid the plots of the Narsene Lasombra.
Numerous mercenaries of the Low Clans and a number of High Clan Ventrue, Lasombra and Toreador eager for status have offered their services to the pilgrimage. The most well-known of these is the Gangrel diabolist, Rollo the Frank, who offered his services to Guy of Provence in return for promises of sanctuary and forgiveness for his crimes. However, as the Crusade approached Constantinople others have sailed to offer their swords and talents as well.
By February of AD 1204, some 95 Cainites were active on the Fourth Cainite Crusade, with perhaps 15 refugees from the Latin Quarter also offering their services. Nearly all of these Cainites were squeezed into the Constantinopolitan district of Galata and the camp that lies beyond its northern wall. Altogether, perhaps 75 000 mortals (romaioi, Latin and crusaders aike) huddled into the same area, making the Law of 1001 Nights a complete farce.
Duke Guy of Provence holds a small council every night, or second night if time or circumstance do not permit. This council is held on the third hour after dusk, giving each member ample time to wake, feed, tour their responsibilities, receive reports from their underlings and prepare them for council. The purpose of council is to keep abreast of logistics and news, decide matters of strategy, and debate where best to devote their resources. It is not a democracy. Each man has sworn an oath to follow Duke Guy, and his order is final. Experts on certain matters like Rollo, Carmine Giovanni, Guilabert d’Avignon (the Salubri physician), numerous Venetians in charge of the fleet (such as Lando di Durazzo) and clergy operators such as Sister Farancina all regularly give reports on their various spheres.
However, they have no voice unless it is asked for by Guy or one of the captains. That said, there is plenty of time to shine when opinions are asked for, which is often enough. As one might, the council is rife with intrigue and personality conflicts, but it is military in nature and by no means is it a farcical enterprise like the Council of Venice. Public posturing and time-wasting is not tolerated in council, but no end of back room deals and other intrigues happen ‘off-stage’. To illustrate, almost all of [[:sir- felix | Sir Felix’]] disloyal intrigues take place behind closed doors, and he appears to enjoy playing the part of the loyal councillor in public,
The small council includes:
- Duc Guy de Provence (Commander of the Fourth Cainite Crusade, Knight of the Order of the Lilly, the Hospital of St. John, and companion-brother of the Sable Rose*); This is Guy’s 4th Crusade, but the first time he has had this much authority. He started preparing this cadre around 1198, and his authority is growing increasingly shaky as the mortals continue to make one poor decision after another. His sire has commanded Guy and his vassals to refrain from using their supernatural influence to direct the pilgrimage, demanding that God alone must direct the course of the Fourth Crusade. Guy’s authority stood up to the test of Geoffrey of Richmond’s intrigues, but has eroded steadily since the Siege of Zara. He is far from a spent force, however, and still works to bring the crusade back on the road that they intended. He has nearly 100 men in his personal entourage, and can call upon nearly 1000 more through his ghouls, pawns and the exercise of his influence.
- Chevalier Thierry d’Amiens (Knight Captain of the Sable Rose); This Toreador says a prayer before each meeting; appears quite religious and solemn. Knows Guy and Petrus well, and is the representative of Angel Andrew and Master Alphonse des Rosiers. He exercises some influence over the Count of Perche through indirect means. His opinion is frequently asked, and Bernhard finds him competent on both tactical and strategic matters. He and his 6 brothers can call upon 20 ghoul Hospitalers, and 80 or so sergeants and squires, plus almost 1000 further men by exercising their influence on the nobles of Flanders, Picardy and Normandy. Thierry is a Veteran of the 2nd and 3rd Crusades, and appears to be a Paladin despite his faithful adherence to the Cainite Heresy.
- Chevalier Godefroi de Caen (Knight Captain of the Sable Rose); Another Toreador, he hails from Flanders, and through his pawns, Sir Godefroi has the most influence over Count Baldwin and through his coterie, also Count Hugh of St Pol. he certainly doesn’t control them by any means, but Sir Godefroi has people he can put close to them. His manpower is inlcuded in Sir Thierry’s. Godefroi is usually silent in council, following Thierry’s lead in public, though it is thought that they disagree on many matters in private. He is a veteran of the 3rd Crusade, and a Paladin.
- Lanzo von Sachsen (Hardestadt’s agent, observer); The Ventrue is a warrior, but knows well enough that he is out of his league when it comes to campaigning. His understanding of Cainite politics is quite profound, and Guy will ask his opinion on such matters. His personal entourage includes about 20 men, including several ghouls but he can call upon as many as 500 more by exercising his influence. He is a Scion.
- Salvatore Varagine (Narses’ agent and Chief Advocate for Venice); It is clear that Guy dislikes him, given his instigation of the foolish and wasteful attack on Zara, but he tolerates Salvatore’s presence. The Lasombra carries the influence of Narses and the Giovanni, and has a very advanced understanding of the minutiae of fleet operations and logistics. Altogether he can call upon 80 men directly, and nearly 1000 indirectly. He is an adherent of the philosophies of Cainite Heresy, but does not appear to follow any variant of the via caeli.
- Chevalier Martin de Toulon (Guy’s childe, Knight of Provence); The young Ventrue is expected to be quiet unless called upon for his opinion, but to pay attention. He is expected to learn command tools at these councils, and now takes minutes for them. He is a veteran of the 3rd Crusade, and aspires to walk the via equitae
- Chevalier Vitalis d’Asti (Servant of Lord Michaelis of Champagne, Knight of Champagne and Turin); Vitalis is a bit of a rogue and a dynamic force on council, often cracking a joke or telling an anecdote before proceedings begin. He is quite young, and not much of a politician. The young Ventrue also has little head for strategy, but is a capable tactician and battle leader. He has a total of 80 men under his direct command, and can influence a further 300 through his retainers and pawns. He is a veteran of the 3rd Crusade, and is a Paladin.
- Cavaliere Russel di Casale (Master of Mercenaries, Knight of Montferrat and Lombardy); A terse, tacit, honourable and deeply fatalistic fellow, Russel is a the best swordsman among Monferrat’s men. Bernhard would place him above his own level and below Hrothulf’s (5). He cares little for strategy, but something of tactics, and he excels at adapting broad orders to fluid situations. He has a reputation for being fearless in battle, as he looks forward to going to his Final Death. He has a number of ghoul knights under his command, and about 40 crazy fuckers who make up in fearlessness what they lack in skill. In theory, the mercenaries he wields can command another 150 men, but their true utility lies in their unusual suite of skills. Captain Sir Russel is a veteran of the 2nd & 3rd Crusades. He walks the via ossis.
- Chevalier Felix de Vaucluse (Servant of Lord Gaius Fabricius of Burgundy, Knight of Burgundy); this is Sir Felix’s 1st Crusade. He is ambitious and very greedy, and not much of a soldier (although he knows how to fight well enough), but he does have wealth, lineage and a total of about 200 trained fighting men to accompany him into battle. In council he comes across as the ignorant and arrogant prick that he certainly is, but his status makes his position inviolate and above reproach. A number of mercenaries (who arguably answer to Sir Russel) are in his employ, and opportunists and villains of all stripes enjoy his patronage. Despite his treacherous nature, he is a Scion. He feeds (often cruelly) on prostitutes, and appears to enjoy the company of Sinners.
- Chevalier Petrus el Troubadour (Phaedymite, friend and advisor to Guy; Knight of Montferrat); Petrus is gifted with significant powers of common sense and imagination, and cleaves wholeheartedly to the Path of Chivalry. While he is no battle commander, he has a very solid grasp of military history, both ancient and modern. This is augmented by his ability to use Chimerstry to make battle maps accurate battle portrayals, and conversations that he has had with his grandsire and warriors of his bloodline. These accounts include eye witness accounts of people who fought in the armies of Alexander the Great, Gaius Marius, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Gaius Julius Caeser, Mark Antony, Marcus Agrippa, Constantine the Great, Flavius Aetius & Charlemagne. Guy values his advice over that of everyone else. Sir Petrus has only 20 men under his direct command, but can exercise influence on perhaps 60 more. He fought on the 2nd and 3rd Crusades.
Before the events surrounding the capture of the exiled prince of Corfu, Aglaia, the neonate Arnaud le Brave (childe of Sir Petrus) was assigned to take minutes for the small council. Arnaud was an excellent poet with a gift for turning a phrase. Alas, Aglaia sent Arnaud to the Final Death and his duties have been assigned to his grieving friend, Sir Martin.
The great council: A larger, more informal council is held every week, on the 5th hour after dusk, once the small council concludes. A short briefing is given by Duke Guy and the captains on the state of the crusade, and any Cainite may then approach the leadership in an official and public capacity. Precedence of order is given in the following manner: those with strong status among the High Clans, then weaker High Clan status, strong Low Clan status (basically no one) then weak Low Clan status. Petrus the Troubadour decides on this order in case of conflicts.
Typical subjects are on matters of disputes of honour, feeding rights and looting rights. However matters of the Traditions also take place here (such as ghouling permission, Embracing permission, or suspicions of breaches etc.) This process takes about an hour most of the time but sometimes stretches into the entire night, or several nights, after situations like the Sack of Zara. After the official business is finished, Guy and the captains break up and may be approached over the next few hours on trifling matters, for socialising, occasions of penance or communion or whatnot. This is also when experts like Rollo teach their hand-to-hand fighting.
Obviously, this system does not preclude private audiences the rest of the time! Much, or even most, of the intrigue surrounding the crusade is accomplished in tents, houses, ship cabins, deserted and barren settlement outskirts, whorehouses, taverns, alehouses and just about anywhere 2 vampires get together. This is a gathering of the Children of Caine, after all.
The following is a roster of those who have taken the cross for the Fourth Cainite Crusade. This list is not exhaustive.
Montferrat, Champagne & Provence
- Guy de Provence (6th gen Ventrue ancilla, Childe of Dominius); Commander of the 4th Cainite Crusade, and Duke of Negroponte, Abydos, Chalcedon and Scutari. He is a servant of Dominius, the Prince of Nice and the Lord of Lombardy. He is a veteran of each major crusade and several smaller ones. He is a Scion.
- Petrus el Troubadour (7th gen Phaedymite Ravnos ancilla, Childe of Macia Felicia Licinia); Chief aide-de-camp and seneschal to Duke Guy, he is unofficially second in command despite his relative lack of status. He is known for his common sense and chivalric behaviour, and is a student of military history. A vocal advocate of the chivalric ideal, he is a Paladin.
- Martin de Toulon (7th gen Ventrue neonate, Childe of Guy de Provence); aide-de-camp to Duke Guy, he takes minutes at all small councils and runs errands on his sire’s behalf. In mourning for his boon companion, Chevalier Arnaud le Brave. Veteran of the 3rd Crusade. He is a Paladin.
- Vitalis d’Asti (7th gen Ventrue ancilla, Childe of Robert du Pont-Adhemer); Captain of the 4th Cainite Crusade, and a servant of Michaellis, Lord of Champagne. He is a charismatic joker, and a fair officer but he has little real military or political skill. Veteran of the 3rd Crusade. He is a Paladin.
- Russel di Casale (8th gen? Cappadocian ancilla, Childe of Marcus), Captain of the 4th Crusade and master of mercenaries. He is a great swordsman, who revels in death and destruction in war. He walks the Road of Bones, but is also known to be deeply honourable, despite being a secret diabolist (according to Drenis and Lotario). Veteran of the 2nd and 3rd Crusade.
- Farancina di Montferrat (7th gen Cappadocian ancilla, Childe of Clovia); advisor to Duke Guy, and uses her ecclesiastical and monastic influence on his behalf. She is unofficially on par with the captains. Farancina is in charge of the health of the 4th Crusade, though she is an inferior physician to Maude of Vienna. She is one of the Faithful.
- Guilabert d’Avignon (9th gen Salubri Warrrior ancilla, childe of Sir Robert Berenguer [d]); a warrior-medic of the Knights Hospitaller, he is also sworn to protect and serve Sister Farancina. Duke Guy’s respect for him previously ensured that the Tremere found no purchase on the pilgrimage, but the actions of Felix of Vaucluse contravened this. Brother Guilabert is a Paladin, and while he has given his oath to Guy, he now seeks honourable leave from the pilgrimage.
- Aribert de Carpentras (10th gen Brujah ancilla, Childe of Edouard de Monteux [d] ); a knight of Provence who was saved by Sir Guy on the 3rd Crusade. He is a Prodigal, and a bit of an outsider, but he serves out his life boon dutifully.
- Jean de Toulon (8th gen Ventrue ancilla, Childe of Father Raimundus); a devoted Crusader who came into Sir Guy’s service in the 3rd Crusade. He is stalwart and competent, but not particularly gifted at war. He is a Scion.
- Father Thibald (8th gen Ventrue ancilla, Childe of Jacme [d]); Chaplain of the 4th Crusade who spent many years in the Holy Land. He is a retiring Cainite, who does not seek a leadership role. He is one of the Faithful.
- Vincent de Nice (9th gen Ventrue neonate, Childe of Ferrand); Great-nephew-in-blood to Duke Guy, Sir Vincent crusades seeking the land, wealth and status that cannot be his in Provence. He is a Scion, though he is but an initiate on the road. Guy was deeply impressed by Vincent, and named him Protector of Negroponte when the Crusade annexed the settlement. [based in Negroponte]
- Roberre de Toulouse (10th gen Toreador neonate, Childe of Constance); a landless knight with little chance of advancement in the Courts of Love, he has sworn his sword to Sir Guy in hopes of gaining wealth, land and status. He is a Prodigal.
- Gaspar de Beziers (10th gen Toreador neonate, Childe of Garsend of Caracassone [d]); yet another landless hopeful, Gaspar is quite enamoured of the chivalric ideal. He is a Paladin initiate, and quite devout.
- Arnaud le Brave (8th gen Phaedymite Ravnos neonate, Childe of Petrus); Sir Martin de Toulon’s best friend and coterie-mate, Sir Arnaud was formerly an observer on the small council. He was slain by Aglaia, the former prince of Corfu. (DECEASED)
- Carbo di Mondova (11th gen Malkavian neonate, Childe of Bertramus [d]); perhaps the best swordsman among the neonates, he is a veteran of the 3rd Crusade and the Crusade of 1197. He has sworn his sword to Duke Guy for reasons known only to he and the commander. One of the Faithful.
- William da Milan (8th gen Lasombra neonate, Childe of Pippin the Black); an opportunistic and ambitious young Cainite, whose sire fought with Sir Guy on the 2nd and 3rd Crusades. He has good connections to the mortal nobility and is a Scion initiate.
- Asti da Milan (9th gen Lasombra neonate, Childe of William Longaxe); a shameless, greedy glory-hound whose sire long held the post of Seneschal of Milan. While he is a knight, he is not of the nobility. He was knighted by Boniface of Montferrat in the war against Naples, and retains ties to the Marquis. He is a Prodigal, though he seeks instruction on the via regalis.
Flanders, Picardy and Normandy
- Thierry d’Amiens (7th gen Toreador ancilla, Childe of Sir Alphonse des Rosiers); Knight Master of the Sable Rose for Picardy, and chief envoy of Grandmaster Andrew of Normandy. Sir As the agent of a methuselah thought to predate the founding of Rome, Thierry has considerable influence not just among his order, but also the Courts of Love and the Grand Court. He is retiring in public, choosing to make his politics known behind closed doors. A known Paladin, he is a veteran of the 3rd Crusade.
- Godefroi de Caen (8th gen Toreador ancilla, Childe of Sir Carel van den Dreissche); Knight of the Sable Rose and envoy for the Master of Flanders, Sir Godefroi is a godly Cainite who, like his brother-at-arms Sir Thierry, abstains from engaging in base politics. He has strong links to the ruling house of Flanders and Hainault. He is a veteran of the 2nd and 3rd Crusades.
- Roderick de Rouen (8th gen? Toreador ancilla, Childe of Sir Charles de Fécamp); Knight of the Sable Rose and envoy for the Master of Normandy, Sir Roderick is a born slayer who is perhaps exceeded in the 4th Crusade only by Sir Russel. His ethics lie along the skewed vision of the Cainite Heresy, and both Drenis and Lotario account him a secret diabolist. He is a veteran of the 3rd Crusade.
- Robert of Colchester (8th gen Toreador neonate, Childe of Sir Thierry d’Amiens); a quiet man with a reputation for dangerous skill with a sword, Sir Robert is one of the Heresy’s Faithful. He is an able second to his sire, and a veteran of the 3rd Crusade.
- Ancelin de Mutrécy (9th gen Toreador neonate, Childe of Sir Godefroi de Caen); a skilled poet and troubadour, with a penchant for romantic love most unbecoming a Knight Hospitaller. While he is faithful to the tenets of the Order, he is in fact a Prodigal.
- Ive de Barentin (9th gen Toreador neonate, Childe of Sir Roderick de Rouen); a master armourer, renowned for his craft, this knight is also a political animal. He has been known to disagree publicly with his sire, but he is a trusted second. He has mortal relatives in the entourage of Baldwin of Flanders.
- Ewald of Fairfaix (9th gen Ventrue neonate, Childe of Prince Aliénor de Lisieux); a very young and impulsive Prodigal of Saxon stock, this knight has undertaken the pilgrimage against the wishes of his sire. Prince Aliénor is renowned for her domineering and vengeful nature. Ewald is a Scion initiate, who backslides frequently to thinking like the spoiled young man he once was. He is sworn to Sir Guy.
- Garcelin de Bruges (10th gen Brujah neonate, Childe of Anselm de Bruges); an unorthodox knight with great interest in matters of scholasticism and trade in addition to warfare, Sir Garcelin considers himself to be a noble adventurer, and the crusade is the great adventure of the day. He is a Prodigal and a gallant. He is sworn to Vitalis de Asti.
- Gerbod the Fleming (7th gen Brujah ancilla, Childe of Jann Berger); Enigmatic in the extreme, this Prodigal has not so much undertaken the pilgrimage as asked to travel in the same direction. He is valued by Sir Guy, who has benefitted from his skills in the past, for his knowledge of Cainite and esoteric history. Gerbod has been seen several times by Iulia (at Corfu and Abydos), but seems to come and go by his own leave.
The Duchy of Burgundy
- Chevalier Felix de Vaucluse, Seigneur de Varsantes et Vincelles (8th gen? Ventrue ancilla, Childe of Prince Rudolf of Besançon), Captain of the 4th Cainite Crusade, and a servant of Gaius Fabricius, Lord of Burgundy. He is an arrogant elitist and an inexperienced officer, but a good fighter and quite wealthy. He is a Scion and secret diabolist (according to Drenis, though Lotario could see no evidence of black veins in his aura). The 4th Crusade is his first pilgrimage, but as a prominent member of the House of Fabricius he managed to parley his status into a very strong position, rivalling that of Duke Guy.
- Chevalier Bertrandus d’Apt (9th gen Ventrue neonate, childe of Felix); aide-de-camp to his sire, and a bit of an elitist. He is not half so villainous as his sire, however, and is noted for treating his retainers and vassals with great respect. He is a Prodigal, though his sire is slowly introducing him to the tenets of the Scions.
- Wendel Ritter von Burgund (9th gen Ventrue neonate); A brutal but skilled soldier, this German knight is Felix’ most ardent supporter and frequent partner-in-villainy. He is the most eager for battle among the crusaders of the House of Fabricius. While he makes a pretense of honourable conduct in public, he cares only about the reputation of his house. He is a Prodigal, though only by default.
Chevalier Tancred l’Ours de Frasne (10th gen Ventrue neonate); A powerful warrior and an honourable knight, the Bear is the most reluctant crusader of the House of Fabricius. He frequently serves Felix as a bodyguard, and is a figure of same fame among the pilgrimage’s mortal soldiery. He is a Prodigal.
Colard, Seigneur de Parcey (8th gen Ventrue neonate); Arguably Felix of Vaucluse’ closest adviser and very much a behind-the-scenes agitator on behalf of the House of Fabricius. As the representative of the Baron of Jura and a confidant of the Countess of Burgundy, he enjoys considerable personal influence among his countrymen on the pilgrimage. He walks the Path of the Vizier on the Road of Kings.
- To be continued…
Holy Roman Empire
- Lanzo von Sachsen (8th gen Ventrue elder, Childe of Guntramus); envoy of Lord Hardestadt, a prominent elder with much influence in Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony. Lanzo represented his master on 3rd Crusade and the Crusade of 1197 and he retains many contacts and safe houses in the East. He uses these for the benefit of the pilgrimage, but is uneasy about the detour to Constantinople.
- Raynald von Bayern (10th gen Ventrue ancilla, Childe Abel von Karlsruhe); a Scion nobleman zealot from Bavaria, who has sworn to take every Crusade to the Holy Land until it is free for pilgrims once more. He is socially awkward, as he speaks little of the French tongues, no Latin and relates only on matters of faith. He and his swordbrother, Egbert, have largely kept to themselves since joining the Crusade in Abydos. They are veterans of the Crusade of 1197.
- Egbert von Basle (10th gen Ventrue ancilla, Childe of Brother Ludwig); a Faithful knight of the Kingdom of Burgundy, who speaks no Latin and only a few words of the langued’oil. Though he is one of the Faithful, Egbertis thought to have some strange, even heretical notions regarding the place of the Children of Caine. He is on an obscure quest to the Holy Land of which he speaks but little. Like his swordbrother, Johann, he is sworn to the service of Lanzo for the length of the pilgrimage.
- To be continued…
Venice, Naples and other Italian states
- Salvatore Varagine (8th gen Lasombra ancilla, Childe of Tribuno); an excellent maritime administrator and leader, and a skilled intriguer. He is known to be changeable and opportunistic in his loyalties, and his primary interest lies in seeing Venice’s debts repaid. Like his sire, the Scourge of Venice, he appears to follow the warped ideals of the Heresy’s Illuminated. He leads the Serene Brotherhood.
- Carmine Giovanni (11th gen Cappadocian ancilla, Childe of Marianne of Zara [d]); an agent of the powerful Ignazio, one of the favoured servants of Augustus Giovanni (who has contributed no less than 40 ships to the pilgrimage), Carmine represents his family’s interests. Iulia despises him, as he once held the ghost of her husband, George, in thrall.
- Remigio del Nero (8th gen Lasombra ancilla, Childe of Eduardo, e. early 12th century); the most skilled of Narses’ extended brood regarding the more obscure and arcane uses of the discipline of Obtenebration, he also follows the bizarre pseudo-Zoroastrian philosophies of the Abyss Mystics. He is known to be an ally of Lando di Durazzo.
- Georgio di Renzo (9th gen Lasombra neonate, Childe of Salvatore Varragine); Salvatore’s strong right arm, Georgio serves his sire as bodyguard and second. He is a faithful, if not terribly imaginative, servant who derides Franks as boorish. He is also one of the Heretical Illuminated.
- Silvio Veccio (9th gen. Lasombra ancilla, Childe of Dario Barbolano [d]); the strongest fighter among the Serene Brotherhood, Silvio is also an experienced captain of the Venetian marines. He dislikes the Byzantine families, as his sire was destroyed in the Latin Riots of 1185. Unlike his ‘brother’, he is a Scion with little interest in the tenets of the Heresy.
- Father Pietro Ancini (8th gen Lasombra ancilla, Childe of Mario Tiepolo); the spiritual heart of the Serene Brotherhood, Pietro is a devout walker on the Heresy’s perverse doctrines. He is chaplain to the Venetian Cainites, and a close advisor to Salvatore. His brother-in-blood, Bartolemeo Giordani, was made prince of Zara in the crusade’s wake.
- Brother Carmichael Mattachio (8th gen Lasombra ancilla, Childe of Guilelmo Aliprando); more down-to-earth and active than Pietro, Brother Carmichael’s role is unclear. He seems to have many servant monks, who wear the dark robes of Panteleimon.
- Lando di Durazzo (10th gen Tzimisce ancilla, Childe of Mantarci); a wealthy scholar of the occult with a sideline in ships and timber, Lando keeps tabs on his mercantile endeavours with the aid of his canny servants, the Grimaldi family of ghouls.
- Roberto di Noldo (8th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Penelope); one of the few true elders on the pilgrimage, Roberto has undertaken the crusade to watch over his fledgeling, Justis, as well as to update his own knowledge of anatomy and battlefield medicine.
- Justus Giovanni (9th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Roberto di Noldo); quite possibly the youngest Cainite on the crusade, Justis is driven to understand the finer points of surgery. He is under the oversight of Carmine as well as his own sire, and as such he is a reluctant member of the Serene Brotherhood.
The Kingdom of Hungary
- Knez Veceslav Basarab of Tihuta (7th gen Tzimisce ancilla, Childe of Gabor the Bulgar); a remarkably congenial Shaper who, together with his coterie-mate Iulia, acts as the agent of the wronged Arpads. Sir Guy greatly enjoys the company of the exotic and charming knez from the East, and has asked him to perform as an intermediary with the Trinity Families of Constantinople.
- Prince Iulia of Weissenburg (9th gen Lasombra neonate, Childe of Katarina of Adrianople); an ambitious and talented Lasombra whose uncanny political observations has led to much respect both in Hungary and the 4th Crusade. It is said that she provides the theory behind her coterie-mates elegant presentations.
Mercenaries and other hangers-on
- Rollo the Frank (perhaps 7th gen Gangrel elder, originally thought to be 10th); Chief of Scouts. This elder is a known diabolist, under sentence of Blood Hunt through many domains in Western Europe. He has taken the 4th Crusade as an act of penance, seeking absolution for his sins. Many doubt his sincerity, believing that he lusts after the vitae of weak Byzantine elders. He is sworn to the service of Sir Guy for the length of the pilgrimage. He is probably a Prodigal, though few would take the time to find out.
- Pierre de Burgundy (11th gen Caitiff ancilla, sire unknown); a Prodigal mercenary who leads a company of French archers. Pierre is an experienced and charismatic free captain, and the other mercenary Cainites look to him for leadership despite his clanless status. He is in the employ of Sir Guy.
- Thierry de Villiers (9th gen? Nosferatu neonate, Childe of Waldo la batte); a treacherous scout who serves Sir Felix de Vaucluse, this Leper is a Prodigal, if only by default. The gifts of his blood make him a fine hunter, and both Drenis and Lotario have observed the black veins of diablerie in his aura.
- Marcel de Villiers (10th gen? Gangrel neonate, Childe of Gaëlle); apparently a friend of Thierry, this Animal brute provides the muscle for the Leper’s wicked schemes. Drenis claims that he too is a diabolist, although Lotario was unable to discern any black veins in his aura.
- “Innominatum Stulto” (Tzimisce elder? of unknown generation, Sire unknown); an enigmatic Shaper and koldun who approached Veceslav Basarab in the city of Chrysopolis. “The Nameless Fool” has little love for the Obertus Order, but seeks access (by fair means or foul) to the closed stacks of the Library of the Forgotten. He believes his clan-mate can facilitate this access, one way or the other. He has an unspecified relationship with Lando di Durazzo.
The Ancient Ghoul
- Father Ferox (Thrall of Fabrizio Ulfila); thought to be more than 1200 years old, this quiet priest performs as the eyes and ears of his influential master on the crusade. While it is true that he is a “mere mortal”, Father Ferox is granted considerable respect by those Cainites who fear his Domitor’s power.