Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The Other Clans of Transylvania
While the Tzimisce, the Ventrue, and the Tremere have dominated political firmament of the nights of Transylvania throughout the Long Night and into the War of Princes, a number of other clans are present in large numbers and several of them have the potential to disrupt the power of those three clans. In particular, the Gangrel and Nosferatu are strong in the Old Country and the lands that neighbour it, and both the Brujah and Malkavians are common enough in the region, though they have seldom boasted any true might in the past. Other clans have a small presence in Transylvania. While individuals of considerable potency do exist, they are but a drop in the pond when counted against the might of the more prolific clans.
CLAN GANGREL: The Animals have long boasted significant numbers in the Old Country, especially after the Barbarian Invasions of Rome brought a profusion of tribal societies through the region. In addition to Gangrel who Embraced the descendants of the Dacians, local bloodlines of Gangrel count ancestors of Scythian, Goth, Hun, Gepid, Avar, Bulgar, Magyar, Székely, Pecheneg, and Cuman extraction. Generally speaking, the Gangrel of Transylvania can be divided into two camps.
Most commonly, the Gangrel can be found as individuals or in small packs existing independently of the extant praxes of the Tzimisce and their rivals among the Ventrue and Tremere. They dwell in the forests and among the hills and mountains far away from the Saxon cities and the fortifications of the Magyars, and they tend to take a rather savage view of visitors who encroach upon their territory unannounced. These Gangrel come together only for seasonal Gathers where they work out their pecking order, share stories and news, and reaffirm friendships and ties of blood. Historically, few of these Animals have had any interest in clan unity or the doings of the other Children of Caine. These lone wolves and small packs have been most heavily hit by the Tremere, who have carried away many to suffer rebirth as Gargoyles, and slowly the disposition of these independents is beginning to verge towards sentiments of cooperation.
Not quite so numerous are the Gangrel who willingly serve the Tzimisce as wardens, war leaders, hunt-masters, and scouts. Frequently, these Animals are descended from those who vied with and later capitulated to the Fiends upon their arrival in Transylvania and Pannonia centuries ago. These Gangrel have never known any existence other than blood-oath bound vassalage to the Tzimisce, and they have stood against the Tremere and the Ventrue from the earliest nights of the Warlocks and the Árpáds. They also think nothing of attacking other Animals who disrespect the authority of their lords, or stand on opposite battle lines when conducting Trials by War. Their existence is rarely dull, and some of the strongest of the clan in all of Transylvania and the surrounding lands stand among the numbers of these Gangrel. The other Animals typically scorn them however, calling them “chained dogs” for their slavish devotion to the Fiends.
Gathers are common in Transylvania, taking place at least once each season. Both kinds of Gangrel readily attend, and games of dominance are fierce and bloody as the wolves and those that they would style as dogs work out their resentments. Even more than other lands, it is common for the strongest among them to call a Revel at the close of festivities to funnel all that animosity against a common enemy. In times past, the black-furred vârcolaci (Lupines) of the Carpathians have been the most common focus of their rage. However, over the last century the enemies of the Gangrel have multiplied, and Árpád Ventrue strongholds, invading packs of Nosferatu, the odd Ravnos interloper, and the strongholds of the Warlocks have also been targeted. The Tremere in particular have suffered from Revels since the truth of their abduction of Gangrel to fuel the creation of Gargoyles became known. Erik Long-axe was particularly revered by the Transylvanian Gangrel, and mention of his loss still stirs them into a great rage.
In the early years of the 5th century, the Hunnic elder Matasuntha called a Great Gather and the local Dacian and Scythian Animals were conspicuous among her followers during the Gothic Sack of Rome in AD 410. In the 13th century, while perhaps half-a-dozen elders and four times that many ancillae of truly formidable strength lair in the region, only a couple might claim anything approaching the sort of influence once enjoyed by the Hun, and only a few younger Gangrel have been able to develop a following even close to theirs.
Most respected by dint of age, cunning, and ferocity is Arnulf the Goth who has haunted Carpathia for the best part of eight centuries. Arnulf despises civilisation and all its trappings, remembering fondly the nights of blood and fire over the centuries following the ultimate collapse of Rome. He would see such times come again, and he works to that end. Extremely active in the region until AD 1215, the Goth has not been seen at the Gathers in recent years and speculation holds that he has either slipped into torpor or wandered north or east. The latter is quite possible, for prior to his disappearance Arnulf seemed much enamoured of the nomadic and warlike culture of the Cumans.
Second to him is his elder progeny, Morrow, who is called the Sage for her wisdom and knowledge of the via Bestiae. Much more of a visionary than a warrior, Morrow seeks to draw the Gangrel of the region together into pacts of mutual protection and, when appropriate, packs of aggression. Morrow is quite capable in a fight, but it is her charisma, her riddle lore, and her mastery of the Road of the Beast that are her true strengths. She maintains a pack of her closest supporters, and she wanders widely throughout all of Eastern Europe with her message, and at best the Sage might appear at a Transylvanian Gather perhaps once each year or more likely every second year. Her antipathy towards the march of Christianity and the Eastern Lords who follow it is well known, and she gives her support only nominally to the Tzimisce owing to their prosecution of the Omen War.
Last of the luminaries is the one known as Grandfather, who wanders into the area from time to time. He is a loremaster for his road and his clan, and his chief concern is contemplation of the Beast and studying it in all its forms. Indeed, Grandfather will travel far just to meet a Cainite who has an unusual or powerful Beast. Perhaps the oldest active Gangrel in all of Europe, he is certainly the most knowledgeable; the reverence of his clan-mates as well as the followers of the via Bestiae follow him and ensure that he never lacks for an audience when he is in mood to tell a tale. Grandfather is no leader, but he has mentored many of his clan-mates over the centuries.
Younger than the others, but still held in awe by the other Gangrel is Milov Petrenkov, particularly by those Animals who still cleave to the via Humanitatis. The ancilla ceaselessly wanders, testing himself against the elements and seeking out the strongest quarry to hunt. Milov strives to be the perfect hunter and in his own way he is also a laconic philosopher of sorts, because he sees his Beast as just one more victim for him to dominate. Like Grandfather, Milov has little interest or aptitude for leadership, but he sometimes takes it anyway when he feels that his clan-mates are being particularly headstrong or stupid.
Although it is thought that he was assassinated (some say by agents of Jürgen von Verden) in 1214, the Cuman Gangrel known as Kordönül enjoyed a great deal of respect among the Animals of both the independent and “chained” varieties. Graced with a number of nefarious epithets such as the Devil Khan and the Wolf of Hell, Kordönül was a servant of the voivode known as Koban of Vranca, but not even his independently-minded clan-mates judged him for it. His bloody and excessively cruel conquest of Muntenia and harrowing of the Siebenburgen struck terror into the hearts of the Ventrue and the Tzimisce alike, which provided no end of amusement to his fellows. For that alone, he enjoyed the goodwill of dozens of Gangrel, including Arnulf, and the service of perhaps a score of formidable young vampires. While his formative empire disintegrated upon his disappearance, and many of his followers were slain, Kordönül is remembered with some warmth at the Gathers of Transylvania, and not a few hope that he might yet return.
The last Gangrel of note is young indeed to stand in such high esteem by his fellows. Mitru the Hunter would be considered a nominal ancilla at best by most elders and ancillae, but his successful capture of Nova Árpád as a mortal man has lent him a huge air of authority among his Transylvanian kin. Much is expected of the Hunter over the years to come. Like Milov, who has taught him much over the years, Mitru also cleaves to his humanity, which improves his appeal to many of his younger clan-mates. His praxis over the small city of Clus also cemented his prestige, but of late he has been forced out by the servants of Vladimir Rustovich, who have flooded the northernmost settlements of the Siebenburgen. Mitru and his pack rarely actually entered the town, however, and so they wait in the forests and hunt the Tzimisce who try to settle there.
CLAN NOSFERATU: The Nosferatu of the West are called Lepers, accounted such for their manner of dress, their station as outcasts, and for those who frequently serve as their herds. They lurk amidst the ruins of civilisations, making their homes in catacombs and sewers when they exist in a town blessed enough to have them, or else make rude havens in leper colonies, charnel houses, crypts, corpse pits, abandoned root cellars, or any dank hole in the ground really. Most frequently they pay their way by providing information to the High Clan princes of their settlements, and in return for their service they are given access to the lowest of the low for their sustenance, and the least desirable domains to make their own. Their lowly and accursed state often begets empathy and humility in the Lepers, and they number some of the most humane and pious exemplars among the Children of Caine.
Not so the Nosferatu of the Old Country and the Slavic East.
Indeed, most would take violent exception to being called Lepers at all for, with the exception of some of those who dwell in the Saxon Siebenburgen, the Lepers of Transylvania are an animalistic, aggressive lot. Much like the Gangrel of the region they are given to wandering the forests, hills, and mountains in small packs, taking their sustenance by cunning or by force, glorying in the horror that their appearance engenders. They are Monsters, and proud to be called so. Not a few have found themselves in the service of the Tzimisce, who value their skills as huntmasters, scouts, assassins, and warriors, adept at striking behind enemy lines without warning, sabotaging supply lines, poisoning wells, or massacring herds of kine before fading away. Indeed, whole bloodlines of the Transylvanian Nosferatu have served certain voivodes since the times of the Slavic Migrations in the 6th and 7th centuries. Whether they serve or exist independently, these Monsters tend to walk the via Bestiae or sometimes the via Peccati. Owing to the vicissitudes of the Omen War or their constant struggles with the other clans in Transylvania, they are frequently left adrift, desperately clinging to a liminal existence on the fringes of Cainite society. An unusual number of these Monsters eventually find themselves among mixed packs of marauding Furores.
Other Nosferatu of the Old Country are inducted into antiquated, pagan iterations of the via Caeli, rejecting allusions of Christianity in favour of spirits of the land or Slavic gods such as Mat Zemlya, Perun, Veles, and the fateful three: Rodjenice, Sudjenice, Sudičky. Others are inducted by elders into the worship of the ancient Dacian and Getae gods such as Zalmoxis, Bendis, Derzelas, and Kotys. Some few even hold to worship of truly ancient faerie lords who dwell in the most isolated valleys and dells of the Old Country. No matter whom they venerate, these proud Monsters see themselves to be intermediary agents of divine fury or fate rather than accepting a role as cursed or broken. They accept the vitae of their herds in return for their protection and the favour of the gods, and they proudly were their disfigurement as the price of their power. The elder Hyacinta, called the Hag Princess, is of late the most well-known of these pagan priests, but she is by no means the oldest nor the strongest in Transylvania.
Throughout the Russias, many of the Monsters claim descent from the infamous Baba Yaga, and while they are far from monolithic in organisation, they are a force to be reckoned with nonetheless. While the Iron Hag has lain in torpor for centuries, many Nosferatu elders of the north knew her firsthand, and they recall the nights not so long ago when they reigned supreme as her proxies from the Baltic to the Urals. Indeed, to the north and east of the Carpathians there are broods of Monsters who readily fight for supremacy with packs of werewolves and circles of magi in addition to the usual conflicts with Tzimisce voivodes, Gangrel khans, and certain bloodlines of Varangian and Slavic Ventrue. In some corners of the Russias, they are winning back demesnes that were lost in the wake of the defeat of Baba Yaga. The Nosferatu of these lands are truly a monstrous, savage breed who are compelled by their sires to abandon their humanity as a matter of course; their bloody and cruel existence causes most to instinctively step onto the via Bestiae within a matter of weeks after their Becoming. Even in the Siebenburgen much to the south of her hunting grounds, vampires whisper of the horror that is Berchtha the Iron-Nosed, whose pack marauds the Brodnik, Vlach, Cuman, and Rus’ settlements of the outer Carpathians bordering the demesnes of Voivodes Koban and Noriz, the Corruptor of Legions.
The last group of Nosferatu in the region is the most pertinent to the interests of the Saxons, the Árpáds, and the Eastern Lords, for two of the Siebenburgen settlements hold coteries of the Lepers. Hermannstadt, the oldest of the Siebenburgen, has been ruled since its founding by the ancilla Marusca, who was once a prominent member of the Council of Ashes. She and most of her brood walk her unique model of the via Bestiae, seeing the people of their settlement as not just their exclusive herd but also their responsibility. To protect the health of their food, they cull the sick, the old, and those who endanger the safety of the whole with criminality or stupidity. To a lesser extent, Mühlbach follows a similar path, as Prince Octavus is the progeny of Marusca and he shares many of her views, even if he does not strictly agree with her methods. In both Hermannstadt and Mühlbach, the Nosferatu have made efforts to excavate tunnels and chambers beneath the settlements so that they can hide themselves in safety from the kine, for they subscribe to the Silence of the Blood much more sincerely than their wild kin of forest and mountain.
CLAN BRUJAH: Historically, the touch of the Zealots has been light on the Old Country and the Slavic East. They do exist there in significant numbers, but the Learned Clan has typically preferred to focus their attentions on the lands of Greece, the Adriatic Coast, and the Balkans. Small broods of Brujah have also been historically active on the Tauric Peninsula and other locations along the shores of the Black Sea that boast settlements descended from the ancient Greek colonies. Until quite recently, the Brujah have never considered it worth their time and trouble to attempt to displace the Tzimisce on the Fiends’ home ground, but since the middle of the 12th century neonates and ancillae are finding their way to the nations of Carpathia. These Zealots tend to be youthful, and of later generations than their kin in the Byzantine Remnants and the Adriatic.
For the most part, these young Zealots are attracted to the regions of northern Croatia and Slavonia, the Banate of Bosnia, the newly declared Kingdom of Serbia, and the Hungarian borderlands with the resurgent Empire of Bulgaria. In all cases these ambitious Brujah hope to dislodge the relatively light presence of the Árpád Ventrue as well as the Tzimisce voivodes before they can cement their hold on these liminal polities. Many of these young Zealots have Promethean sympathies and they seek inroads through the emerging craft guild structures in the growing towns of the area, hoping to influence the political shape of these new states. However a good number are simply belligerent, dispossessed Furore opportunists who have come north to stir conflict or stake a claim on the edge of Cainite society. Some few have no loyalties to a cause or any real designs of their own, instead merely seeking a quiet place far from the meddling of their elders to call their own.
The large numbers of dispossessed Brujah are very much the result of the designs of the Ancient known as Dominic. For centuries the Carthaginian prosecuted a vendetta against the Ventrue in general and the Árpáds in particular. Scores of young Brujah all political persuasions flocked to his banner, their fractiousness forgotten before the majesty of his extraordinary charisma and leadership qualities, and together they forged a territory that promised that they hoped would be the New Carthage. At the height of his vengeful power in the 1190s he took dominion over the county of Csanád and most of the lands between the Maros (Mureș to the Vlachs) in the north to the Danube in the south, and from the Tisza (Tisa) in the west to the Apuseni and Carpathian foothills in the east. Of course, it couldn’t last. Dominic vanished in AD 1198, and within a handful of years the Brujah state was a dream in truth, carved up by the Ventrue and the Tzimice at their expense.
In the wake of the failure of Dominic’s vision, the survivors scattered. Most returned to the towns and cities of the Adriatic and the western provinces of the Byzantine Empire, only to suffer before the wrath of the Bitter Crusade several years later. Others, now embittered like their missing hero, threw their lot in with the Tzimisce in hopes of causing as much injury to the Ventrue as possible. Many returned to their existence as Furores, making their havens in the mountains and coming together to target Ventrue and Tzimisce elders alike. As for the Prometheans, those idealistic Brujah have sought to settle in Serbia, Slavonia, Bosnia, northern Bulgaria, and other border areas for the most part, hoping to shape those fluid societies into something worthwhile. The most successful of these set himself up as the Prince of Kronstadt.
Brief as it was, Karsten’s association with Dominic’s realm is little known, but he was there for the end. Afterwards he journeyed further east before settling in the Siebenburgen, inspired by the greater social mobility of its emerging craft and merchant classes. Seeing fertile ground for his Promethean ideals, he works together with his Malkavian lover, Greta Bassum, and his adopted progeny Helena Korosi to further the waxing importance of the common burgers of Kronstadt. In time, he hopes to expand his influence over the guilds of Corona to see a web of low-born alliances spread all over the Siebenburgen and from there to the other cities of Greater Hungary. So deeply does Prince Karsten care for his vision that he willingly made a devil’s bargain with Jürgen von Verden, bending the knee so that the protection of the Ventrue lord would secure the future of the kine of Kronstadt. Some have called him a traitor for doing so, but the clever Promethean gambles that it is only a matter of time before the Ventrue warlord’s appetite for conquest will bring him to ruin, and in the meanwhile the Sword-bearer’s followers fortify a Brujah domain at cost only to his reputation. A devil’s bargain indeed, but one that Karsten of Kronstadt has proved more than willing to pay.
CLAN MALKAVIAN: The Lunatics are common in Transylvania and the surrounding lands but, not unlike the Brujah, the Clan of the Moon has not often boasted individuals who have left a lasting mark on local Cainite society. Few Malkavians have found themselves as permanent residents of the Siebenburgen or the host of small cities of western Hungary where they are seen as an undesireable nuisance at best and an insidious tumour to be excised at worst. Rather, it is as if the very land itself calls to the madness within each Malkavian that wanders near, and many find themselves drifting from town to town without any clear idea as to why. Some of the Lunatics find themselves welcomed by those Tzimisce who are of a more esoteric or playful bent; whether they seek insight or amusement, the Fiends appear to harbour an affection for the Clan of Malkav, at least when compared to their Ventrue enemies. Others build their own little piece of Hell out in the wilderness, shaping the terrified peasants of a small village to reflect the scarred insights of their mad narratives. And finally, there are dark tales of dangerous flagellant cults of hysterically heretical kine led by fanatic Malkavians who see themselves as blooded prophets or the mouthpieces of pagan spirits.
The most feared Malkavian in the region is one such. Known variously as the “Black Priest” and the “Black Monk,” this elder is thought to wander the forests and hills of the Transylvanian basin, accompanied by a ragged cult of mortal and vampire followers that subscribe to his apocalyptic vision of the twisted spirits of the land rising to herald the arrival of Gehenna. They kidnap children, abduct lone travellers and shepherds, and sometimes even steal away entire hamlets to either induct further believers into their bloody and murderous consociation or to sacrifice innocents to the kupala spirits. The despoliation of Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries in particular appears to enrapture them, and their depredations have thus become of concern to Holy Mother Church. Those few who have witnessed their terrible masses and survived to tell the tale have described harrowing rituals: crucifixion together with the Embrace and immediate exsanguination of the writhing fledgeling by throngs of ecstatic cultists howling with inhuman voices. Worse, the personality cult of the Black Priest has grown over the last few centuries to the point where it has spawned imitators. This scattered agglomeration of heresy is known among Transylvanian Cainites as the Brotherhood of Kupala, and they are most definitely a growing, if still diffuse, threat. The actual identity of its leader is unknown, and indeed it might even be the case that it is a powerful kupala spirit either masquerading as a vampire or worse, actually possessing one…
It is probable that the Malkavian obsession with Kupala stems from the old creature who calls himself Havnor. For centuries the elder has haunted the Obuda settlement that stands over the foundations of Roman Aquincum, accepting the worship and blood of stubborn Magyar pagans who venerate him as their god of thunder and lightning. He and his cult often waylay Cainites in general and Malkavians in particular, charging them to go forth and fight the influence of the Kupala in the East, although sometimes the capricious “god” directs his minions to capture and sacrifice them to the demon instead. More than one Lunatic has been compelled to follow the direction of the elder, only to find their madness deepening once they reached Transylvania. Such unfortunate creatures are easily absorbed into the Brotherhood of Kupala, or else wander the wastes wherever their broken mind leads them. From time to time, Havnor himself leaves Obuda and travels to the Old Country on his own fickle initiative, there to conduct whatever holy (or unholy) mission his visions direct.
CLAN CAPPADOCIAN: For a land that the wits of the West consider to benighted with ignorance, Transylvania harbours far more of the Graverobbers than one might think to be the case. For their part, they tend to be drawn to the region because of the incessant conflicts of the Tzimisce, which bring them consistent subjects for the study of death, the process of dying and, increasingly, the opportunity to observe the transmigration of the soul afterwards. The Fiends have a long tradition for prizing knowledge and education, and many of them make ready patrons for the scholars of death. Like their Ventrue rivals among the courts of Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire, the Tzimisce have made a practice of employing scholars of the Clan of Death to serve as their seneschals and lore-keepers. Obviously, like their clan-mates in the West, it is exceedingly rare for a Cappadocian to find themself in a position of true authority in this land, or indeed anywhere else.
One Graverobber who exploded this trend for a time was Rowena d’Alexandre, a Lëtzebuerger noblewoman who aided in driving much early migration from the Moselle Valley to Transylvania in the mid-12th century. She was a founding member of the Council of Ashes and would reign (albeit loosely) as the prince of Weißenburg for over twenty years while she made a study of the reputedly haunted Dacian ruins of Apoulon. It is thought she eventually met her end at the hands of either Voivode Kupriak of Brad or Voivode Rodica of Obrud, but her correspondence with her colleagues abroad has left a legacy of interest in the region. In particular, her association with Dietrich of Vienna would bring his progeny Sister Maude Khlesl, to Transylvania, consequently inflicting her well-meaning meddlings on the region.
Over the course of her decades-long wanderings throughout the region, Sister Maude has managed to insinuate herself and her ideas into the courts of the Siebenburgen as well as several Tzimisce knezates. While hardly a likable creature, her persistent carping and iron-clad logic have made quite the impact on the area, even inspiring several of the princes of the Council of Ashes to move their influence in order to initiate better sanitation and medical facilities in their cities. Of course, these projects move slowly, but in some ways a few of the crowded settlements of the Siebenburgen are actually cleaner than towns and cities in Western Europe. Maude does not crave power, but she likes to make use of those that do, and her intelligence has led to the odd bit of grudging authority. Most notably, her coterie-mate Iulia of Weißenburg cajoled the Cappadocian into becoming her regent when the Lasombra was compelled to take the cross for King András’ crusade. The friendship between the two has made Cappadocians unusually influential in that city.
Since the turn of the 13th century, the Siebenburgen has played host to another notable Graverobber in the merchant Pietro Giovanni. Ostensibly a visitor to the Siebenburgen in order to facilitate the creation of a trade route from Ruthenia through Transylvania to Zara and the Adriatic, he makes no secret of the fact that he craves the favour of the Árpád Ventrue of Western Hungary. Pietro bases himself in the city of Mediasch, where he has pledged to assist Lady Nova with the resurrection of her wealth and influence. Although it is but the first step in earning the kind regard of her kin, and a transparent one at that, his efforts appear to have begun to bear fruit. His welcome among Nova and her closest allies is assured, and he eagerly awaits the opportunity to grow his reputation further.
For many years a formidable necromancer named Anata the Sogdian has advised Lord Rustovich on the spirit world and also on other matters esoteric. He is a figure of mystery and no small amount of gossip, for this strange vampire is apparently an exile from distant lands, which he variously and off-handedly refers to as Sogdia, Khujand, or Qarākhān. He goes veiled much of the time, lending further mystery to his exotic airs. Moreover, such as he has given it Anata’s lineage does not appear to intersect with that of the other Cappadocians of Europe, and his practices of the necromantic arts are apparently much more visceral than those of the Giovanni, but his obvious proficiency in the deathly arts would seem to confirm his membership among the Graverobbers. The Voivode among Voivodes appears to value his Sogdian servant greatly, for in addition to his strategic usefulness Anata’s seemingly inexhaustible store of tales of distant lands, as well as his insights into the processes of life, death, and decay, provide endlessly fascinating material for the intellectual firmament of Rustovich’s court.
CLAN LASOMBRA: The Magisters tend to favour the lands of Bulgaria, the Byzantine Remnants, and the shores of the Adriatic over Hungary, Transylvania and the Slavic lands further north. However, despite their small numbers the Lasombra cast a very long shadow indeed over Carpathia. In times past, obsessed as they were with the trappings and exercise of feudal power, most of the Árpád Ventrue failed to appreciate the opportunity that the conversion of Hungary to the Latin Rite presented. Several Lasombra slipped easily into the vacuum throughout the 12th century, and the Clan of Shadows have come to dominate Cainite influence over the religious circles of the kingdom. As in other lands Holy Mother Church is the bailiwick of the Magisters, and here they have become so entrenched after their early gains that most of the Ventrue have elected to work with them rather than risk unravelling their own power by seeking to remove the Lasombra. Only Géza of Esztergom and his bloodline have made any serious attempts to curtail this foreign entrenchment of the Church, and their success has been limited.
While the Lasombra of the Kingdom of Hungary tend to go their own way in most regards, they have learned to defer to the experience and extraordinary guile of just one elder when it comes to maintaining their preeminence over the Church. From her lair in the convent of St. Ann in Esztergom, Liseta Iluminada weaves her webs across the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the nation, and not a few of her younger clan-mates call her sire or mentor. Her rival, Géza of the House of Árpád, believes that they vie for influence over the primacy of the archbishopric of their city, and this is true, but the Lasombra know that the Ventrue prince foolishly believes that their game ends there. In fact, while he has myopically sought to counter her intrigues regarding the position of archbishop of his own city, and crowed with delight at his capacity to blunt her machinations there, Liseta has subtly endeavoured to also place her pawns in the hierarchies of the dioceses of Veszprém, Vác, Győr, Pech, and Eger. All are suffragen bishops to that of Esztergom, allowing her to subvert the wishes of Géza’s people in the archdiocese. Her strategy is proving effective, for Liseta has managed to cast her net much wider, as well as sink her influence much more deeply, into the ecclesiarchy of Hungary. She also seeks to suborn the bishopric of Csanád and the archbishops of Kalocsa and Transylvania, cooperating with her clan-mate in Weißenburg to effect the latter.
Iulia, the youthful ancilla prince of the Siebenburgen city of Weißenburg and a member of the noted coterie known as the Concord, seems well-disposed to the machinations of Liseta Iluminada for the most part. However, she has no interest in entertaining her older clan-mate’s flirtations with the Cainite Heresy, nor allowing blood cults of any other sort into her city. Her own infiltration of the church is deeply cautious; several of the recent appointees to the archbishopric of Transylvania have stood among the ranks of the Truly Faithful and the reclamation of her throne from the Nosferatu in AD 1209 necessitated force that strained the Silence of the Blood in Weißenburg. In addition to keeping a watchful eye on Holy Mother Church, her praxis calls for a delicate balancing act between the competing interests and potential hostility of neighbouring Tzimisce with the demands of her seat on the Council of Ashes. Fortuitously, in the Concord she is backed by one of the most potent coteries in all of Transylvania as well as her sire, Katerina, who has made Weißenburg her refuge against the displeasure of her erstwhile master, Marcus Licinius of Adrianople.