The Concord of Ashes
The Lexor Brujah
(modified from Constantinople by Night, p. 74)
While the Antonian Ventrue have ruled Byzantium through its emperors, the Lexor Brujah have overseen the mundane administration of the empire. Interested most in the plight of those who live under the weight of Ventrue and imperial ambition, the Lexor Brujah have inspired the creation of a unique and complex bureaucracy, without which life in Constantinople would grind to a halt. Led by Tribonius, a Brujah of Roman descent who survived the catastrophe of Carthage, the Brujah family of Constantinople has become an indispensable tool of the Ventrue.
The origins of the family date back to the second council of 489 CE, when Tribonius and his progeny (Theophilus and Dorotheus) were given charter to codify the old and obscure Lex Regia- Roman Law- into what would eventually be known as the Justinian Code in 530 CE. They were also assigned the task of codifying the ruling principles of the Trinity, and so established the Codex of Legacies. The Lexor Brujah have since added to the already lengthy code of Justinian, and are responsible for its contemporary incarnation.
The Lexor Brujah collectively refer to themselves as the Senate, or Gerousia. Their leader assumes the title autokrator and is held responsible for coordinating family activities. Below him are the senators, whose number constantly changes. Each senator (or gerousiastí̱s) assumes responsibility for some if the administrative branches of Constantinople, including law, trade and finance, construction and ceremony. Senators’ roles also include a number of lesser duties that change hands constantly, adding to the complexity of an already involved bureaucracy. The various codices that serve as the template for Constantinople’s bureaucratic and legal system number in the thousands. Only the late Tribonius knew them all by heart.
Natalya Syvatoslav, Autokrator and Quaesitor of the Lexor Brujah
A PARTIAL ROSTER OF THE LEXOR BRUJAH
- Natalya Syvatoslav, Autokrator (7th gen. Childe of Tribonius [d], e. first years of the 11th century CE)
- Theophilus, Gerousiastí̱s (7th gen. Childe of Tribonius [d], e. early 3rd century CE)
- Dorotheus, Gerousiastí̱s (7th gen. Childe of Tribonius [d], e. early 3rd century CE)
- Procet, Gerousiastí̱s (6th gen. Adoptive Childe of Tribonius [d], e. late tenth century CE)
- Bardas Skleros, Gerousiastí̱s (8th gen. Childe of Theophilus, e. early tenth century CE)
- Ian Musurus, Gerousiastí̱s (8th gen. Childe of Dorotheus, e. late eleventh century CE)
- Sir Conrad de Monreal, Gerousiastí̱s (7th gen. Childe of Procet, e. 1194 CE)
The execution of Tribonius after the Latin Riots of A.D. 1182 sent the Lexor Brujah into disarray. His elder progeny Dorotheus and Theophilus have fallen into deep depression, leaving Natalya with the near impossible task of deciphering Tribonius’ countless ledgers and notes. Meanwhile, the family’s control over the city’s bureaucracy is slipping, making it difficult to exert influence over key departments. In private counsel with Procet, Natalya has admitted this, but blames it on the inefficient control of the three ruling families and the two have been conspiring to find a way to improve her role of leadership in the city.
The Lexor Brujah have never maintained a particularly large presence in the city, but over the centuries Tribonius, Dorotheus and Theophilus have sired numerous childer that have spread out into the other cities of the empire. Greece, Thrace, Thessaly, Macedonia and the Balkans all contain prodigal members of the Lexor Brujah, though these bonds have weakened as the power of the Byzantine empire has waned.
Since his return to the city in A.D. 1200, the neonate Sir Conrad de Monreal has finally found his niche in the family. In the course of his duties to his sire, Procet, he has slowly insinuated himself into the Latinkon mercenary knights that have become landowners in the lands around the capital. His reputation as a valiant knight, and his advocacy of their interests in the city have gained him considerable support. This influence is minor thus far, but the Lexor Brujah hope that Sir Conrad may go some way towards subsuming the neglected power base of the Antonian elder Belisarius in the future.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER FAMILIES
Although the Lexor Brujah are an indispensible asset to the Antonian Ventrue, they were traditionally overlooked and taken for granted. Tribonius understood the role that his family played in the grand scheme of Constantinople, but the new autokrator, a Russian Brujah by the name of Natalya Syvatoslav, refuses to remain the meek servant. Over the last few years she has proven outspoken and opinionated, qualities which have not endeared her to the Ventrue.
Some have blamed her advisor, the secretive Procet, for engendering this spirit of defiance in her. Moreover, Natalya has begun to openly cooperate with Baron Thomas Feroux and his Gangrel, looking for ways to strengthen the legitimacy of the Codex of Legacies. At court she and Malachite the Nosferatu appear to be working closely together, pushing strong rhetoric regarding the moral imperative of the Dream over the pragmatic management of the Antonians. This is causing considerable tension in the Elysiums of the city.
Procet, Natalya’s advisor
RELATIONS WITH OUTSIDERS
For centuries the Lexor Brujah were a quiet family. It diligently devoted its time to precious tomes of laws and legacies. Natalya Syvatoslav knows that the time for change is approaching, though, and is searching for allies to help weather the coming storm. The autokrator has never Embraced, but this crisis is sure to change after she becomes more active in the city and finds a need for progeny to aid and represent her.
The Lexor Brujah are rarely held in esteem by their western brethren, who see their service to a Ventrue faction as a form of betrayal to those who perished at Carthage. Tribonius was always quick to remind visitors that while he was born a Roman, he was a citizen of Carthage and worked tirelessly on its behalf. Seven centuries later he offered his services to Antonius the Gaul because that particular Ventrue was not involved with Rome during the Punic Wars, and to hold a man responsible for the crimes of his family was a folly common to Rome. As the Trinity had turned their backs on the injustices of Rome any vestigial stain upon the Antonian Ventrue honour had been cleansed. Michael, the Dracon and Antonius stood for an ideal every bit as important as Carthage- that of the Dream. Indeed, Tribonius was heard to say on many occasions that the ideal of men and Cainites, inspired by God and working together to make a lasting tribute to Heaven on Earth, was the only way the Brujah ideal could move forward in the modern world. On one occasion he publicly claimed to his colleagues in the Praedicanda that Constantinople was the spiritual successor to Carthage- in effect stating that Byzantium is the Fourth City of Caine.
Natalya is at the centre of a storm of activity, working with the Baron’s Gangrel and the Malachite Nosferatu to strengthen the city in different ways while also trying to get a handle on the monster that is the Byzantine bureaucracy. She is aware of the apathy of her two elder brothers-in-blood, and has tried numerous times to bring Theophilus and Dorotheus into this scheme or that for the good of the city but so far without success. She relies heavily on Bardas Skleros and Ian Musurus to keep a semblance of order over the legion of clients, bureaucrats and clerks in their service. Procet is a tremendous, though decidedly loaded, asset to Natalya, though he is emphatic that the Dream must continue to influence the satelite cities of the empire as much as the capital. As far as he is concerned, the Dream must do more than survive; it must expand as a dynamic force in order to return to its former strength. His opposition to the Antonian family abroad is a matter of record, however, and his increased profile in the family has helped polarise relations between the them.
Dorotheus and Theophilus have failed to exercise their duties in recent years and have largely retired from Cainite affairs. Dorotheus vacillates between brief bursts of pious energy and long bouts of melancholia. Theophilus is even worse off, and rarely leaves his haven at all. Their progeny, Bardas Skleros and Ian Musurus, labour constantly on their behalf in addition to their own duties and are frequently active in the city at Natalya’s behest. In spite of their efforts, three doing the work of five is not helping, and the Brujah slowly but steadily lose their grasp on their portfolios.
Bardas and Ian are loyal servants to the autokrator, and are skilled ancillae in their own right. However they are currently overwhelmed with their additional duties, and their loyalty is forced to contend with their own sires’ marked coolness to Natalya. In spite of their skill they are rarely accorded much respect by their fellow Byzantine Cainites, as their visibility often makes them a lightning rod for criticism of the Lexor Brujah’s failings. Procet is also active, but seems content to operate as Natalya’s assistant rather than seek a leadership role of any sort. His role is more of a trouble-shooting one, as he seeks to patch those cracks in the power base that he finds while going about his own mysterious business. He has been active in the city for about a century and a half, and was originally inducted into the family as an adoptive childe of Tribonius. Since the old one was executed, Procet has stepped up his role in service to Natalya, and serves as her envoy to their Brujah cousins abroad. He is very active in this capacity and is frequently absent from the city.