Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The following piece revises and expands on the very fine work of Brian Campbell and Nicky Rea as written in Transylvania By Night (pp. 123-124) as well as that of Brian D. Laws in House of Tremere. I have also liberally borrowed a number of terms and chantry names from the Ars Magica sourebook Against the Dark: the Transylvanian Tribunal by Timothy Ferguson, Richard Love, Matt Ryan, and Mark Shirley. Note that like the treatment of the Clan Tzimisce, the information provided here is comprehensively far beyond current player character knowledge. Please use your discretion concerning what your player may, or may not, know.
Atop a craggy peak high in the Transylvanian Alps broods the sinister castle known as Ceoris. The home and heart of House and Clan, it is also the mightiest fortress of the Tremere, its stark face rising form the very ribs of the grey mountains, sweeping upward into contorted spires. Perched amidst the highest, least accessible peaks of the Transylvanian Alps and carved by mighty magicks from the living rock itself, the northward facing towers of the castle cast long shadows over the lands below. Fell things creep about its walls at night, and stony monstrosities flit from tower to tower, ever ready to descend like dark angels of death upon those who would approach without the leave of their masters.
Once the High Chantry and Domus Magnus (Great House) of House Tremere, magi of the Order of Hermes, Ceoris now houses Clan Tremere, the transformed thaumaturges who embraced immortality by transforming themselves into Cainites. Out of a sense of nostalgia or mere adherence to their hermetic method, the older Warlocks still think of themselves as magi and maga, and refer to both House and Clan in formal statements and missives. However, while the Tremere were once ambitious and ruthless, there can be no mistake that they are now monstrous, for while mortals once whispered fearfully of the “devil’s school”, few now dare to speak its name at all.
Occasionally, screams are heard from within its halls, echoing across the benighted mountains and instilling terror in the mortals who tend their flocks in the valleys or cling to their hovels beside the mountain trails. For generations, many of those villages served the castle, providing food and labour in return for “protection,” but in recent decades many of the kine have vanished from their homes. Black rumour among those peasants who remain holds that their neighbours and kin were carried away to the mountain-top fortress by devils, or else taken by the night demons who would seek to bring the wizards low. While they still look plaintively and ignobly to their masters for protection, as conflict increasingly embattles Ceoris those who remain more frequently too take their chances at fleeing to safer climes.
Within Ceoris’ dread halls walks the most puissant collection of Cainites in all of Carpathia. The castle’s dark reputation imparts to it the title of the deadliest fortification in Eastern Europe, even among those who merely suppose that it exists. If the fortress itself can be likened to a web of death for the uninvited, the Usurper Cainites themselves are the poisonous spiders who have spun that web. Legend has it that Ceoris seems formed wholly of lethal traps and unnameable dangers; while imagination makes it seem more perilous and dire than it is, few come to the High Chantry uninvited. And no one leaves once he has trespassed.
Though the Tremere have waged war with the other supernatural denizens of Transylvania for centuries and Ceoris has faced many attacks, only within the last fifty years has the great chantry truly come under threat. Even as the Tremere, emboldened by the success of their Gargoyle “breeding programme,” have set to an offensive stance in their Omen War against the Tzimisce and their allies among the Gangrel and Nosferatu, they have encountered a number of challenges that have seen their enemies inch ever closer to their stronghold.
Obviously, the most noteworthy of these threats is the Tzimisce Voivodate_, and the warlord known as Ioan BrancoveanuBrancoveanu in particular. A masterful captain, he is called the Hammer of the Tremere for his successes against the Warlocks, and also the Butcher for what he does with those that have the misfortune of being taken his prisoner. Other Fiends have flocked to the banner of the charismatic warlord at his stronghold in the Parâng Mountains some distance to the west of Ceoris, and not a few among them are kolduni who ache for revenge at the loss of sires and teachers in the mysteries of their own blood magic. The sounds of calamitous battle and dire sorcery often echo across the Southern Carpathians at night.
Less well known are the probes of the deadly, dark-furred vârcolaci (werewolves) known locally as the Umbra Domnii (also called the Shadow Lords), who appear to have taken dire offense at the manner in which the Warlocks have plundered the land of its inherent magical power, or vis (as the magi call it). The vârcolaci appear to have secret ways and means of their own; they strike from thin air and appear to disappear at will, and some of their savage raids have come distressingly close to the mighty edifice of Ceoris. The Tremere and their servants have come to dread the rumble of thunder across the mountains, for mischief from the black werewolves tends to follow more often than not.
Lastly, since the first decade of the 13th century, the Warlocks have had to face attack from their former brethren and sistren among the Order of Hermes. Now that their long held secret is out among their one-time colleagues, it would seem that the mortal magi have taken grave offence at the transformation of House into Clan. Although Ceoris itself has not faced any assaults in this so-called Massassa War, other Tremere chantries and initiatives throughout Europe have suffered from attacks, particularly from a group known as House Tytalus. Several of the satellite chantries of Transylvania have been destroyed at the hands of these new foes, and while the Warlocks have won the lion’s share of local skirmishes thus far, some among the clan worry that an alliance between Ioan the Butcher and House Tytalus might be in the offing.
Clan Tremere in Transylvania
Lord Tremere himself resides in the Old Country, as does Etrius and more than a dozen of the strongest magi and maga among the Warlocks. The satellite strongholds of the clan in Transylvania, called oppida (singular: oppidum), are intensely aware of their proximity to their Domus Magnus, and as a result they see themselves as little more than an extension of their masters. Lines of communication are strong, and the regents of the satellites are expected to pull their weight and coordinate with their fellows. This they have done for more than two hundred years, through initial failure and later success, even as intrigues blossomed between the Conspirator and Conservative factions of the clan. Indeed, it is precisely this trait of intertwined organisation that has allowed the Tremere to so convincingly drive their more loosely bound rivals among the Order of Hermes out of the Old Country.
Tremere, Founder and Primus of the Tremere
As a rule, the Tremere of Transylvania are stronger than their kin elsewhere, more inclined to fight and much more capable of holding their ground when they do so. Not a few of the local Warlocks have taken the souls of their enemies among the Tzimisce or, more rarely, the Gangrel and Nosferatu, and as a result they are also often of stronger generation than Tremere found elsewhere. The privations and grim realities of their struggles have left many of them with dwindling humanitas, too, and the viae have been studied and adopted in Transylvania more readily than softer demesnes in the West.
It was in these lands that the Warlocks stole the curse of Caine from the Tzimisce, and it is here where the most bitter conflicts have raged between the two clans. The Fiends are universally known for their vengeful and territorial nature, and elders of the other clans quietly wonder at the temerity and the foolishness of the Warlocks for choosing such an isolated, underdeveloped, and daunting land to plant the roots of their power. Of course, those less versed in the ways of the occult and the needs of the mortal magi fail to understand the inherent power that rests in the soil of Transylvania. In centuries past, the Tremere chose this land precisely because they found a great profusion of vis gathering in hidden dells, caves, and grottos, clinging to lonely valleys and peaks, flowing through streams and pooling in lakes. Now, the Warlocks have chosen to remain out of a sense of pride, because it is their home, and also because they know that for them to gain true legitimacy among the other clans, they must defeat the Tzimisce and take their place among the High Clans of Europe.
Once they made the transition from a house of mortal wizards to a clan of undead warlocks, the Tremere realised that they no longer had need of hunting down esoteric sources of vis. Instead, it existed in the vitae of every victim, and in their conceited ambition they knew that while they had given up much, with their immortality and newfound power it would only be a matter of time before the world would be humbled before them. Etrius and Goratrix, bitter rivals in every way, made different arguments to Lord Tremere concerning how the wizards of House should become warlocks of the Clan. Etrius argued for a conservative pace to the conversion, to move carefully and surely, so that their duplicity and betrayal of the Order of Hermes would not be discovered until it was too late. Goratrix demanded haste, believing that only with a conspiracy of the brightest minds of House Tremere behind their effort would they find a speedy conversion of their old hermetic rites into the blood sorcery that would surely come to define their clan.
This divide, between Conservative and Conspirator factions, continues to split the rank and file of House and Clan to this very night. Ultimately the master sided with the Swede, and for many years the undead of the Tremere moved slowly, granting the Embrace only to those masters of their house whom they felt would accept their new state and willingly enter into the conspiracy. After all, the Warlocks reasoned, they had nothing but time…
Wars of Omens and of Princes
Then the Tzimisce came for them.
Of course, the depredations of the strigoi, or the night creatures as the Tremere called them, had been a problem for the wizards for decades even before they seized the prize of immortality for their own. Although annoyed and at times frightened by the attacks, and a number of oppida fell here and there, the magi of House Tremere were not unduly worried. Their magick held off the worst depredations without great harm to themselves or their covenants (though the villages they had sworn to protect were scarcely so lucky). The blood sorcerers of the strigoi were observed to be undeniably powerful but also undisciplined, unsubtle, and ultimately lacking in creativity and true power in their workings. In some cases the wizards were able to ward the whole area, denying access to the night creatures and their horrifically mutated servants. Embittered by their inability to drive the House of Tremere away, the Tzimisce continued to probe for ways to around the wizard’s wards in between their own preoccupation with pursuing their own games of power and war.
However, if truth be told the magi didn’t seem to fully appreciate the level of revulsion and indignant offence that would arise among the Tzimisce at the insult given to their blood when it was stolen to transform the masters into immortals. It took some years before the Fiends understood that it was one of their own from whom the Dead Water had been stolen, but once they did fully appreciate that fact, their wrath quickly descended upon the nascent bloodline of Warlocks. Moreover, the Tremere failed to appreciate what the Becoming would do to their magick, that it would desert them with their metamorphosis into Cainites. They needed to move quickly in order to convert their modi and ritae into blood sorcery, and so they quickly Embraced some fellow luminaries of their House and got to work.
Etrius, Conservative Councillor of the Seven
The decades that followed were difficult years, as the Council of Seven raced against time to formulate the discipline that would soon become known as Thaumaturgy, while the Fiends destroyed the chantries of the Tremere wherever they found them. Lacking the strength of the Council of Seven, which once so readily came to to back them up, the lesser covenants suffered. Within a handful of years, all of the Tremere chantries within the heartland of Transylvania save Ceoris were overrun, forcing dozens of their brothers and sisters to flee to the High Chantry. The Tzimisce came for the wizards there too, sending armies of men, ghouls, and flesh-crafted monstrosities that rushed the walls or attempted to fly over them. And each time, the Warlocks and the mortal wizards rallied and forced them back at exhaustive cost. Luckily, the internecine feuding and disunited clan structure of the Tzimisce meant that they never quite capitalised on their early successes. This bought the Warlocks time. Again and again, they returned to their home covenants and refortified them, only to see them levelled a mortal generation later, or sometimes after only a handful of years. In 1040, 1046, 1062, 1066, 1086, and 1105, bastions of House and Clan were overrun by different voivozes looking to establish their name as preeminent among the Tzimisce.
For a century, the Tremere of Transylvania fought off the Tzimisce, growing more and more exhausted and dispirited. It would be Goratrix and his subordinates Malgorzata and Virstania who came to the rescue with a new weapon: the Gargoyles. Stony constructs of enormous strength, endurance, and mobility, secretly created from a fusion of vampires of the Tzimisce, Gangrel, and Nosferatu clans of Transylvania, the Gargoyles gave the Tremere the edge they needed to even the odds against the worst of the Tzimisce servitors. At last they would be able to counter the worst of the szlachta and even the vozhd, and they would now be able to take the fight to the strongholds of the enemy. In the Transylvanian heartland, scores of knezi and some few voivozi would fall, inadvertently causing the vacuum that would later allow the Árpád Ventrue to initiate the Council of Ashes and bring about the Siebenburgen. Once more time was bought for House and Clan, and the rank and file of the Tremere were given the hope to persevere. Slowly, carefully, and surely they continued their campaign of Embracing the worthy among their own while managing all the while to keep a thin veneer of secrecy against the suspicions of their fellows in the other hermetic houses of the Order of the Hermes.
Those Transylvanian Tremere who survived that awful time became a hard-bitten and cynical lot, even amongst a house that had been known for centuries for its ruthless character. Over the course of the many battles between the two clans much was learned about the other clans of Caine, and the full extent of the mysteries of the Blood were plumbed. The hardy Warlocks of this benighted land enjoy the respect of their fellows in softer realms for these hard-won advances. It was also common in these years for the embattled Tremere to take the souls of vanquished Tzimisce in order to strengthen their blood, and while their trials made them powerful, it was the stolen growth of their strength in the generations of Caine that allowed the heady heights of the discipline of Thaumaturgy to take shape throughout the 11th and 12th centuries. This in turn would give them the edge to survive, even as the Council of Seven and other favoured servants of Lord Tremere hunted down the weak Salubri elders and battened themselves on the souls of the Unicorns.
Goratrix, Conspirator Councillor of the Seven
Although the mortal wizards remaining among their number would be ignorant of the enormity of that night, their undead puppet masters exulted when word came to Transylvania in AD 1133 that Lord Tremere had finally succeeded in doing the unthinkable. Somewhere in the East, inside a lonely cave, the master committed diablerie on the antediluvian Saulot, taking the soul of a vampire of unthinkable age and with it, the mantle of a clan founder of the Children of Caine. Slowly, surely, their will, organisation, and the versatility of their Thaumaturgy had started to turn the tide against the Fiends.
After AD 1150, Transylvania become hosts to waves of German colonisation as the Siebenburgen were formed. Several of the Saxon cities would come to host secret Tremere chantries while others became the home of their ghouls or their unwitting mortal colleagues, allowing the clever Transylvanian Warlocks to expand their network of supply and trade, while also bringing fresh blood, apprentices, and mercenaries to Ceoris and other chantry redoubts in the mountains.
Regrettably, the secret of Gargoyle creation was loosed in the final years of the 12th century. In the past some few Gangrel and Nosferatu had fought underneath the banners of Tzimisce masters, compelled by oaths of blood or vassalage, but now many of their kin who had previously cared nothing for the Omen War declared their enmity for the Tremere. Unmoved, the Warlocks of Transylvania stepped up their campaign of abduction and transformation, confident that their Gargoyles were more than equal to the mettle of the three debased clans.
As the 13th century dawned, and the calcification of the Long Night was shattered by the eruption of the War of Princes, the battle-hardened Tremere looked on the evolving situation elsewhere in Europe with ill-disguised amusement and contempt. Their lot has always been open conflict and hardship, and they find it laughable that only now have other vampires woken up to the truth of how things really are. How things must be. The weak give way or fall before the strong, and so far as they are concerned nothing is stronger than the pyramid of House and Clan.
Many of their “elders” (for no few of them have seen more than three centuries, if not all of it under the Curse of Caine) have been sent to suddenly struggling chantries elsewhere in Europe so that they might take command of their brethren and sistren who have had an easier, less exacting experience of undeath. Their task is to cut the fat from the clan, so that they will have the steel in their spines to face the conflicts that so clearly lie ahead.
In the absence of many of their sires and grandsires, the Tremere ancillae and neonates of Transylvania now have the opportunity to step forward and make their own reputations. Carpathia is ripe for change. Mortal kingdoms and empires take shape on the borders of the Old Country, and with them comes the strife of change and the opportunity for trade. The Tzimisce voivozi seem to be finally learning the benefits of cooperation in the Omen War, and some have even offered terms close to that of equality with the Nosferatu and Gangrel who would exact vengeance for the criminal creation of the Gargoyles.
However, it may be too late for the Fiends to recover, for in addition to their own natural tendency to follow their changeable nature they now face the dual challenge of not just the Árpád Ventrue but also the Eastern Lords of the Holy Roman Empire. The Tremere are banking on the likelihood that not even Ioan Brancoveanu can hold his coalition together for much longer, and it is only a matter of time before Vladimir Rustovich over-reaches and is drawn into a struggle with one of his more potent rivals. All they need to do is stay loyal to House and Clan and hang on…
A good number of the magnates of the Árpáds have been successfully wooed by enterprising Tremere ancillae, and a few of the princes of the Council of Ashes too have seen the benefit of cooperation with the Warlocks. Bistritz may belong to the Tzimisce, but there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere among the burgeoning Saxon cities. There has been a chantry in the city of Kronstadt for decades, and now Mediasch and Schäßburg also boast foundations of the clan. It seems that it will be only a matter of time before Mühlbach too boasts a chantry, for the Árpád allied Nosferatu prince there is a pragmatist who has few friends among his own clan in addition to the enmity of nearby princes. Admittedly half-hearted overtures have been made to the hostile princes of Hermannstadt and Weißenburg, but the way the Tremere see it, they have time on their side to bring the Cainites of those towns around (or to bring them down).
So far as the Tremere are concerned, Transylvania already belongs to them, and everyone else will know it before long.
The Massasa War
In the first years of the 13th century, a new belligerent emerged to trouble the Transylvanian Warlocks. In AD 1199, a cabal of mortal Tremere led by the luminary maga Tosia fled Ceoris and delivered the truth of the betrayal of their house to the rest of the Order of Hermes. The other Houses of the order met secretly and, after two years of deliberation, declared House Tremere to be anathema. They were labelled as massasa, a word that meant undead, but also souless and betrayer, and the Wizard’s March against them was declared.
The few powerful magi of the Tremere that were able to flee to the Order of Hermes were included among House Ex Miscellanea, and they prepared the other houses as much as they were able. In return for their continued survival and hopes of redemption, these worthy wizards were required to stand on the front lines against their former brethren and sistren. Backed up by House Quaesitor, House Flambeau, and House Tytalus, these Tremere apostates fought to reclaim the honour of their house. Initially, Tosia was the most strident among their leaders, but since the recovery of the Scholomance in 1212 she has distanced herself from the fighting. Indeed, no one has seen her since 1218, and rumour has it that she fled the Order of Hermes out of paranoia that elements of House Tytalus appear to have cut some sort of deal with the Tzimisce. Certainly the Fiends have not attacked that chantry since the Order of Hermes recovered it from the Tremere, so there might be some truth to the rumours.
On other fronts of the Massasa War, to the extent that they are aware of them the Tremere have destroyed or taken all of the other major covenants of the Order of Hermes in Transylvania, Muntenia, much of northern Bulgaria, and many parts of Hungary, Slavonia, and northern Croatia. Particularly, the massasa have taken pains to conquer all the houses of the arcane within thirty miles of Vienna, Esztergom, Buda-Pest, Székesfehérvár, and Pozsony, seeking to deny their former colleagues any hope of establishing influence with the great mortal powers of the land. Of course, the wily wizards of House Tytalus excel at strategy, and they have secretly established as many as a dozen new covenants throughout the Kingdoms of Hungary and Croatia as well as the resurgent Empire of Bulgaria and the nascent Kingdom of Serbia.
As matters stand, the Massasa War is at a stalemate. Exhausted, the Order of Hermes at the Scholomance and the Tremere at Ceoris stare at each other across the expanse of the Transylvanian Alps. The heat of war appears to have fallen into a lull in recent years, replaced by skirmishes and assassinations for now as Clan Tremere and the houses of the Order of Hermes regather their strength and look to meet other threats. Although for the most part they lack firsthand knowledge of what is taking place among their former colleagues, word from Goratrix and his minions in France has it that the order is reeling from the destruction of the noted covenant known as Mistridge.
- The Scholomance: south of Hermannstadt stands the Red Tower Pass, where the Alt (Olt) River cuts its way through the mountains. A picturesque land called Terra Loysta.stands high in the mountains east of the pass, isolated from the troubles to the north and the south. And standing in the mountains beyond it lies _oppidium known as the _ the Scholomance, the “Devil’s School,” a squat ivy-covered fortress wreathed in heavy fog. The school can only be seen in full when storms rage, for lightning always appears to seek out its highest tower. Long a university of esoteric knowledge where other magi of the Order of Hermes came to mix with the Tremere, its remote location and inveigling magicks kept it safe from the wrath of the Tzimisce that levelled scores of chantries to the north. Now its presence is known, for the Scholomance has been a notable point of contention in the Massasa War. Most recently House Tytalus and House Flambeau succeeded in taking this mighty chantry from Clan Tremere in AD 1212, and though heavily damaged, it stands as their staging ground for further assaults on the undead. They stockpile vis, train apprentices, and scry for weaknesses while seeking allies among the Siebenburger Saxons, the Magyar nobility, and quite likely the undead of Clan Tzimisce.
- The Tablinum: Once a mere library and museum dedicated to the Hermetic arts, this oppidum has the distinction of being the only stronghold left to the Order of Hermes in northern Bulgaria. Situated in the southern Danube delta, quite close to the shores of the Black Sea, it now looks to be a blasted ruin of a village. Early on in the hostilities of the Massasa War, the Tremere razed the village, scorched the already marshy earth, and made off with the keystones to certain archways. This was done to deny the ground to the enemy, for most of the Tablinum exists in realms beyond the perception of mortal eye and beyond the reach of the Thaumaturgical arts. Only the High Magick that the Tremere abandoned in their pursuit of immortality could have allowed them to traverse the ways to the true oppidum, so they thought only to deny it to the enemy as well. Little did they know that the paranoid regent of the Tablinum, a master of their own House, had long suspected treachery among the Council of Seven, and he had prepared alternative points of access for the conflict he sensed would soon be in the offing. He would join House Ex Miscellany along with a handful of other Tremere masters, and the Tablinum now exists as a secret armoury and storehouse for the Order of Hermes.
The High Chantry
The exact location of the High Chantry is unknown to nearly all save the Tremere themselves and their chief aggressors among the Tzimisce, for the mountain valleys for leagues around are heavily patrolled by mortal mercenaries, ghouls, and magical servitors, while the skies are thick with Gargoyles and other savage creatures created or summoned by the magics of the Warlocks. It can be said with reliability that Ceoris lies somewhere among the loftiest heights of the Transylvanian Alps, to the east of the great mountains of Minda (called Moldoveanu in the modern nights) and Negoiu and “not so very far” west of the Tör (Bran) Pass as the crow flies. Secret, twisted mountain paths ascend from secluded valleys in the counties of Făgăraș to the north and Argeș to the south, and it is also thought that via occluded ways the Margraviate of Hermannstadt, the valleys of the Parâng Mountains, and the Tör Pass itself can all be reached.
Ceoris, the High Chantry of the Tremere
Even before the Warlocks stole the mantle of immortality, Ceoris was the mightiest of their chantries. Established as their stronghold and primary headquarters by the mortal magi of House Tremere in AD 980, it was intended to be a more secure and vis-rich location than Lycaneon, which itself had only stood as their Domus Magnus for a handful of generations. Existing under a common set of laws, but divided into various groups (or houses), the magi wielded great power and extended their life spans through imbibing magical elixirs and forging pacts with denizens of the aethers. Their studies and magical workings took them all over Europe, and wherever they found access to large amounts of magical essences (called vis), they built chantries to house their covens.
Due to the deeply preternatural nature of many locations throughout Transylvania, several Tremere covenants were founded there- the most magnificent was Ceoris, which would come to house the brightest minds of their order. The magi soon realised that they shared the land with supernatural creatures such as vampires (or strigoi as the local Vlachs called them), werewolves (vârcolaci), and faeries (known by a host of local names), but most covenants weren’t too close to such creatures’ lairs, so they felt secure enough from attack. Rather than necessarily looking to build castles, they constructed houses of learning that looked more akin to monasteries than fortresses. Most Tremere relied on their magic and secrecy for their protection, and while they avoided the creatures of the night, they feared them but little.
Lack of central authority in the region allowed the magi to locate their strongholds near several small villages on both sides of the Carpathians, offering the folk their protection and assistance in return for supplies, guards, and the right to search for apprentices. Many of the Vlachs readily agreed, glad for the protection against supernatural threats, human marauders, and the politically charged atmosphere surrounding the establishment and rapid expansion of the Kingdom of Hungary. Others were too apprehensive of the magi themselves to deny them, fearful that “the agents of evil” would harm their loved ones or raze their villages if they refused.
Even in those days, the magi knew of the legends of the strigoi and the vârcolaci, and they saw much evidence of their presence in Transylvania. It is debatable as to whether the mortal magi knew or cared that vampires or werewolves already laid claim to many such locations, for it was always the way of House Tremere to scheme, connive, and seize that which they desired. Frequently, they would establish covenants close to untapped sources of vis, or they would work to remove whatever supernatural threat claimed it in their stead. These oppida were intended to provide a gathering point for those energies, as well as a fortified base equipped with libraries, laboratories, and quite often armouries. These houses were protected by their magicks in addition to more mundane means, and while they preferred a certain distance, they were usually within a few miles of the nearest village or trade route.
Ceoris too, encompassed several villages under its dominion, but in all else, this single covenant house proved the exception.
This Domus Magnus of the Tremere was constructed as a fortress meant to defend against the vârcolaci and strigoi who frequented the area. The tremendous magical emanations near Ceoris made the founding there worthwhile, despite the threat. Although Ceoris fell nominally under the control of Lord Tremere, actual leadership and much of the daily work fell to his two most ardent supporters, the feuding Goratrix and Etrius.
Goratrix, the senior magus in charge of Ceoris’ defence, recruited experienced fighting men to guard the exterior fortifications. An egotistical and scheming man, it is said that it was he who first discovered the immensely potent site, and that he spent much of his time engineering the construction of the great chantry. Etrius, an equally proud but pious mage from Sweden, crafted more grandiose and elaborate defences. At his command, magical workings created a cleft hundreds of feet deep in the ground before the gates – a chasm spanned only by the fortresses’ drawbridge. Goratrix, acknowledged as chief architect for the chantry’s defences, became the butt of snide remarks from the magi of other foundations, who accused him of lacking faith in his powers to defend Ceoris. Although much was made of their differing methods, both approaches would prove to be decisive in repelling the wrath of the Tzimisce over the following centuries.
Not even the Lycaneon, which had stood as the High Chantry briefly before it, could match Ceoris for the ostentation of its appointments. Only the very finest of materials went into its construction and adornment. As Lord Tremere was always fond of gold, much of it was in evidence adorning the furnishings, fittings, and decorations of the High Chantry. Awe-inspiring stained glass windows depicting the heroic scenes of the history of the Tremere as well as mythic figures revered by the Order of Hermes. Wondrous paintings of scenes and beings witnessed among the aethers adorned the walls, and busts of the greatest members of House and Clan stood in halls and within shadowy alcoves, studies, and libraries. Tables, chairs, and benches of the most exotic and exquisitely carved woods could be found in every room. Velvet and silk was everywhere, hanging from walls, lining chairs, and draping the bodies of conceited and preening magi.
After centuries of hardship, the High Chantry now resembles a haunted mausoleum. The stained glass windows are gone, either smashed from sieges or deliberately bricked over to provide greater security. Without them, shadows gather thickly in the corners and the vaulted ceilings, lending a sinister air to every room. Gold, silver, silk, and velvet have long since been pawned to purchase supplies,mercenaries, and fleeting influence, while many of the once fine drapings and furnishings have fallen into threadbare ruin or sacrificed for heat by the servants and apprentices who are too often neglected by the Cainites who still dwell in the High Chantry.
Two dozen vampires make their home at Ceoris, placing a dire burden on the remaining villages in the area, and near constant hunts further afield are staged to bring in more vessels to sate their thirst. Although Etrius is now regent of the High Chantry, the large numbers of apprentices mean that he is advised by a council composed of a number of officers such as the castellan, his master of spies, the mistress of the hunt, the inquisitrix, the chief alchemist, and the warmaster. As Goratrix’ proxy, Malgorzata also holds a seat on the council, although she grows increasingly isolated as time passes because of her unsubtle politicking, insubordination, and tendency to pursue grudges without considering the long game. In addition to the Warlocks, more than a score of Gargoyles roost at Ceoris, and two score mortal apprentices tremble at the whims of their vicious masters, serving as herd as much as prospective candidates for the Becoming.
- A HOUSE OF PAST AND PRESENT: Unlike their former peers in the West, the Tremere have always had a slightly different lexicon for their strongholds. Like elsewhere, the magi and maga organised themselves into covenants of like-minded wizards. However, they looked askance at the notion of calling their physical strongholds chapter-houses, finding the term altogether too monkish for their secular tastes. Instead, they preferred the Latin term oppida (singular oppidum), but they retained the liking for naming their main stronghold the Domus Magnus. As time passed, however, and Clan Tremere brought across more and more childer who lack history with the Order of Hermes, such nomenclature has begun to lose its significance. The more informal name of chantry is now used more frequently than oppidum, and Ceoris is generally known as the High Chantry rather than the Great House. The exception to this are the older Tremere, who make the distinction of continuing to call their oldest strongholds dating from their time among the Order of Hermes as oppida, while newer foundations are given the name of chantry. There is a particular bragging right in the clan for one-time magi to claim regency of an oppidum. As a matter of slang, when speaking around outsiders, the Tremere of the Old Country typically use the inclusive term of foundation for chantry (or oppidum) as well as that of covenant as code, so as not to advertise their secrets.
THE OTHER CHANTRIES
Although Ceoris is undoubtedly the home and heart of the Warlocks, at one time no fewer than four other magnificent oppida of House Tremere graced the Old Country. Lycaneon is the most notable, having once been the home of Lord Tremere, but of much importance also was Umor Mons, which anchored the presence of the wizards in western Transylvania, and Kundera, which girded the Old Country to the east. The last of the great chantries was known as Caelisica, which still stands empty north-east of the Siebenburgen city of Schäßburg. Two score other strongholds have come and gone since the 10th century, though nearly all of them were established by the mortal magi of House Tremere and they are now ruined or in the hands of the Tzimisce. Those listed here have either been reestablished since the early decades of the 12th century, founded since the turn of the 13th, or else are ruins that are still worthy of note due to past greatness.
- Lycaneon: Situated inside a mountain north of the Zazar River (Săsar to the Vlachs), this formidable oppidum has existed for nearly four centuries, albeit with a short period of desertion following a particularly vicious attack by the Tzimisce in the 11th century. The destruction wrought in that particular struggle left the surface structures of the oppidum in ruins, and they remain little more than rubble. Although it is a shadow of its former power, Lycaneaon is still a formidable bastion for the Warlocks. Indeed, before the founding of Ceoris, it served as the Domus Magnus of House Tremere. Long since abandoned by Lord Tremere for Ceoris, it is now the headquarters of the Warlocks’ in northern Transylvania, and serves as the nexus of their efforts against the surging power of Vladimir Rustovich. Lycaneon is something of a training school, where neonates and potential candidates for the Embrace are ruthlessly trained for the Omen War and indoctrinated into the service of House and Clan. No fewer than sixteen levels exist inside the mountain, each set aove the one below so as to rise in a pyramid to the summit, atop which stands the ruins of a romanesque manse. The imposing building was once protected by four free-standing towers that marked the vertex of the subterranean pyramid and Regent Shavrael looks forward to restoring the surface its former strength and beauty when the Tzimisce are finally thrown down. At any one time six other Tremere dwell with him, each tasked with training more than two score mortal apprentices who will be farmed out to other chantries once they have earned the Becoming. Currently, having already been successful in establishing their presence in Szatmár (35 miles to the west), all the canny Tremere that dwell here direct initiatives to insinuate smaller chantries into Clus and Torda (78 and 100 miles respectively to the south). Shavrael and his subordinates also seek to assist the Tremere of Nösnerland in displacing Prince Radu and Vladimir Rustovich so that they might establish themselves in Bistritz (79 miles to the south-east).
- Szatmár Chantry: Something of a misnomer, this chantry actually exists about ten miles north of a large castle village on the borders of northern Transylvania and the Great Hungarian Alföld. Standing on the banks of the Szamos (Someș), the settlement is growing quickly as a result of its location on a noted trade route as well as prospectors taking advantage of local alluvial gold deposits. Szatmár is known as Satu Mare to the Vlachs of the near mountains and Sathmar to the Bavarians who settled there in the reign of King István I. It also has other, more obscure names from the Kabar Khazari who settled the area long ago, the Slavs who have long traded here, and Pecheneg refugees who fled the destruction of their confederation at the end of the 11th century. Established in AD 1142, the chantry is known for reflecting the cultural diversity of the area, a strength that they use to exert influence over the settlement from afar in order to slip beneath Tzimisce notice. The regent of Szatmár Chantry is Appolonius, one of the favoured progeny of Shavrael.
- Nösnerland Chantry: Established in AD 1179, this chantry is in the very teeth of the Omen War. The foothold of the Tremere in Saxon burgraviate of Nösnerland calls for a tough and bloody existence, for these hardy Warlocks have been tasked with taking one of the Siebenburgen settlements off of the Tzimisce by force. They also call themselves the Bistritz Chantry, but in truth the claim is purely aspirational, for Tremere have never had a presence inside the walls of the town. Instead they emulate their parent chantry of the Lycaneon, choosing to exist in a fortified subterranean complex in the south-western Roda mountain ridge, close by the Vlach village of Chsech (some thirty-three miles north of Bistritz). The veteran warriors of the Nösnerland Chantry are the finest example of the efforts of Lycaneon, being a hard-bitten, stalwart lot not at all afraid to pit their offensive Thaumaturgy and the strength of their sword-arms against the Tzimisce voivozi, knezi, and kolduni. However, being clever combatants they are also skilled in the strategy of assymetrical warfare, and they are quick to fade away and return to their defensible caves after each assault.
- Burzenland Chantry: Situated in the castle-like edifice of the Stonemason’s Guild of the Kronstadt, this is the most secure stronghold within the bounds of the settlements of the Transylvanian Saxons. For decades it has also served as the primary hub for supply to the High Chantry, which stands less than 50 miles west of Kronstadt as the crow flies. Established by the brilliant Eridanus shortly after the settlement was founded in the middle of the 12th century, the chantry remained a secret from all save House and Clan until AD 1202. Eridanus belongs to the Conservative faction, and his cautious ways and nigh on paranoid desire to isolate himself from Cainite intrigues led to his success in keeping the Tremere presence in Kronstadt hidden. Even so, his stranglehold over the wealthy and influential Stonemason’s Guild makes him potentially very powerful in the mortal politics of the city should he wish to change his modus operandi. For now, he is content to maintain isolation in all his dealings save his declaration that he and his Gargoyle guardians will come to the defence of the city should it be attacked by the Tzimisce.
- Weinland Chantry: A much more recent initiative, this house was established in AD 1208 when the so-called Overlord of the Siebenburgen, Nova Árpád, struck a deal with the Tremere for cooperation and mutual protection. At the end of the 12th century, the formidable Hungarian Ventrue had spent the best part of a decade imprisoned and subjected to all manner of abuses and insults by a conspiracy of Gangrel and Nosferatu. Much of her wealth had been stolen, and in her absence the reins of her influence over the Magyar lordlings of Transylvania had been allowed to atrophy. Lady Nova burns for revenge, and the silver-tongued diplomat Ashram convinced her that the Tremere could facilitate her desires quite handily. Indeed, so great is her desire for satisfaction and so successful was Master Ashram that the Warlocks were even given the prince’s old manse for the foundation of their new chantry. Owing to the influence of Malgorzata, the Conspirator prodigy Hesintrada was made regent of the Weinland Chantry, but the impulsive and arrogant Austrian noble-woman appears to have met a kindred soul in Lady Nova, for they seem to have become fast allies. Against the expectations of her detractors, Hesintrada appears to have done well thus far to further the goals of the Warlocks in the Weinland.
- Schäßburg Chantry: The newest of the Transylvanian strongholds of the Tremere, Regent Gundolfo founded this covenant in AD 1211. Taking advantage of the bitter, stalemated struggle between Prince János and Voivode Vlad Ionescu, Gundolfo promised that he and his could definitively assist in turning the tide against the Tzimisce. Even after he had proved himself and kept his word, the regent’s position was less than comfortable until the departure of the antipathetic Gangrel warden Heinrich von Wolfsburg several years later. Now the combative Gundolfo has been fully accepted by the Árpád prince and his fellows, for he and his minions never shirk their part in actively patrolling the burgraviate alongside the other Cainites of the city. Taking a leaf from Eridanus’ book, the Schäßburg Chantry currently exists inside the Stonemason’s Guild headquarters, but Gundolfo hopes to one night establish himself in Castelul din Pumnalil, the desolate tower that was once the haven of Vlad Ionescu. Unknown to his fellow Schäßburger Cainites, the edifice was once the oppidum of Caelisica, and it would be a tremenous point of clan prestige for Regent Gundolfo to reclaim it.
- Dedevár Chantry: Situated in the Uppony Mountains, not far from the larger Bükk range, this forbidding castle chantry is the strongest on the borders of the territories of Vladimir Rustovich and his subordinates. Led by Regent Karolus, an irascible geomancer who has a great interest in mapping and tapping the ley lines of the Carpathian Basin, the Tremere of this chantry strive to make themselves useful to the Árpád princes of Eger, Rozsnyó, and Borsod in their conflicts with the noted Voivode Mok Ják. Karolus’ philosophy is simple but effective: any enemy of the Tzimisce is the friend of the Tremere, and assistance cheaply given becomes addictive. To that end, he freely sends his subordinates to the assistance of the Árpáds, believing that the Hungarian Ventrue will soon consider the Warlocks indispensible. Indeed, he may be quite right as the secret aid of Dedevár has been the deciding factor in keeping the formidable Ják on the back foot in recent years. The Ventrue now seek to press their advantage with Karolus’ aid, and the wily regent is only too happy to assist. Dedevár was established in the 1150s, although the Tremere once had a presence in the Baradla caves outside the village of Ogogteluk (just 23 miles to the north).
- Laniena: This oppidum, once considered formidable but now much diminished, stands within Baradla Cave some 34 miles north of the Hungarian market town of Miskolc. There is a wall surrounding several houses in front, guarding the entrance to a deep, heavily trapped cave that twists, climbs, and dips for some sixteen miles. Laniena held a small covenant established under the patronage of Goratrix in the late 11th century. Their goal was to understand and develop methods for hunting the strigoi who plagued House Tremere, and to this end they became well-known vampire-hunters. Of course, they were ignorant of the fact that they were being used to perfect the methods of the Council of Seven in their quest to commit the Amaranth on elder Cainites. In 1202, the oppidum of Laniena was warned that their House would be declared massasa and, disgusted by the betrayal of the other Tremere, they joined House Ex Miscellanea en mass. They were soon reinforced, and the Baradla Caves became a front in the Massasa War. After years of vicious fighting against the massasa of Dedevár, the incumbent magi were forced to flee in 1212, and Laniena has remained in Tremere hands ever since. It’s wards shattered and much of its vis destroyed, Laniena now exists as a subordinate chantry under the Regent of Dedevár, who is required to keep it out of the hands of the Order of Hermes. The regent of Laniena is Aleksandra Čierná, a formidable war wizard who has little real experience at administration, but much in seeking out and disarming the traps left by the former occupants. Even so, it will take her some years to make Laniena safe for House and Clan once more.
- Esztergom Chantry: As one of the capitals of the Kingdom of Hungary, Ezstergom was identified quite early on as being instrumental to the plans of Clan Tremere. After the loss of a number of their strongest oppida in the decade after the Ritual of Usurpation, it was understood that they would need allies among the enemies of the Tzimisce if they were to blunt the force of their rage. As such, this chantry was founded by the ever resourceful diplomat Ashram in AD 1029. After making the aquaintance of Géza of Esztergom, the astute and subtle diplomat quickly understood the interest that the Árpád prince held in the esoteric arts, and Ashram used this as leverage to establish a domain for the Tremere. He would soon move on, but a series of others have followed him. The current regent of Esztergom is Robi Tamás, a dedicated ancilla of the Conspirator faction who has managed to build a strong chantry with the favour of “Archbishop” Géza. He also recently gained clan prestige by leading a clandestine assault that finally drove the Order of Hermes out of the city.
- Pest Chantry: The Tremere presence in the town of Pest was also established by the inestimable diplomat Ashram in the late years of the 11th century, and he presided over the chantry there until Ceoris called him away to other duties in the 1150s. His hand-picked replacement, the Conservative Contionari, would represent House and Clan to Prince Vencel Rikard for more than forty years before he was destroyed by the Tzimisce in transit to Ceoris with some great prize. His replacement in turn was Locus, a Conspirator who was given the position solely because he best facilitated the negotiating strength of his sire, Theremina. His task is to keep the lines of communication open between Prince Vencel Rikard and Ceoris, and to host his sire in her bi-annual visits to Buda-Pest so that she might renegotiate terms for mutual assistance and trade. Privately, Regent Locus is under orders to also remind the occasionally reluctant Rikard of the extensive assistance that the Tremere gave to the late Jelek, his predecessor as Dux Bellorum of the Árpád Ventrue, during the War of Griffons and Dragons.
- Szeged Chantry: Established in the last years of the 11th century, this foundation was an early attempt by House and Clan to ingratiate themselves with the Árpád Ventrue who were then ascendant in all corners of the Great Alföld. Headed up by the silver-tongued negotiator Ashram, who was backed by a number of skilled ancillae from the Lycaneon, the Tremere approached Walther von Günzburg and succeeded in gaining the rights to found their chantry. They subsequently became embroiled in the War of Griffons and Dragons between the Árpáds and the Voivodate, cutting their fangs in a number of highly attritious conflicts with the minions of Vladimir Rustovich. The Szeged Chantry played a vital part in keeping the town in Ventrue hands thoughout that conflict, and Ashram used the political cache generated by their success to move on to other negotiations to establish a Tremere presence in other Árpád demesnes. Neither von Günzburg nor the chantry survived the Carthaginian Brujah Dominic, however, who took the praxis of Szeged for his own in 1175. Now that he too is gone, the new prince, Saul Kisjenő, has invited the Tremere to reestablish themselves, but no regent has yet been appointed for the task.
- Osijek Chantry: Capitalising on their victory against the Tzimisce at Szeged, in 1183 Ashram convinced Beloš, the neonate would-be Árpád prince of the Slavonian settlement of Osijek, that the recovery of his ancestral home would be assured with the assistance of he and his fellows. Although Beloš’ declaration of praxis over the settlement (known as Eszék to the Magyars) was uncontested, his continued success in keeping it has been much informed by Regent Emerik Aldabarus and his apprentices. The regent has a talent for divination and accurate prognostication, and on at least one occasion he has managed to call for a war covenant to move in a timely fashion to the defence of the city in order to deal with a Tzimisce Trial by War. Aldabarus is also expected to secure trade and supply along the Drava and Danube rivers, and also to negotiate with other Slavonian Árpád princes to secure charters for more chantries throughout the region. Currently he is concentrating his efforts in securing the favour of Ilona, the noted prince of Posega, who fancies herself the “Duchess” of all Árpád demesnes in Slavonia.
- Chantry of the Golden Lane: At the foot of the walls of the sprawling, ostentatious Praha castle stands a lane famed for its goldsmiths, and it is said that alchemists stand among their number, working to build the wealth of their Přemysl patrons by working their esoteric art. The magi of Houses Tytalus and Tremere have always had a presence in “the magic city,” and they have always known that powerful vampires dwelt there too. Both careful in the extreme, the magi consorted readily but did not trust each other enough to reveal the locations of their secret oppida to each other. While Praha has thus far been untouched by the Massasa War, House Tytalus was quick to loose the rumour among the Children of Caine that the Tremere made their home among the cramped confines of the Golden Lane, beneath the very noses of the Přemysld catspaws of the Tzimisce. Of course, even their guess was off, based as it was upon a clever subterfuge from Ardan, the wily regent of Praha. In truth, the chantry is not far away, in a secret labyrinth beneath the streets, accessed by the basement of a shop elsewhere within Hradcany. Arden knows that his existence is precarious, and he has perfected many rituals of inveiglement in addition to embracing the arts of subterfuge and misinformation. His star among House and Clan is rising, for the regents of Transylvania look to the methods of both Ardan and his progeny, Claas, for inspiration on how to manage their own integration into the demesnes of other clans.
- Kraków Chantry: Established in AD 1175, like that of Praha this chantry too balances on the knife’s edge between survival and destruction, for it exists beneath the notice of the terrifying Voivode Razkoljna, who has lately stirred herself to make her entrance into the War of Princes. Regent Claas Drescher takes after his subtle sire, Ardan of Golden Lane, except that he has chosen to masquerade as a Ventrue merchant rather than opt for stealth and obfuscation. He allies himself with Konrad von Aupfholm, a Ventrue merchant who has managed to ingratiate himself with Razkoljna, and together they cautiously plumb the chaotic depths of Tzimisce politics in the East. Claas’ insights into the Voivodate have been most useful to House and Clan, and the proof of his methodology is closely studied by other young and ambitious Tremere who seek to make their mark. The Kraków Chantry exists in the cellar of an apothecary’s shop on the western slopes of Wawel Hill. Claas and his ghoul apprentices have painstakingly excavated further chambers, anticipating that their numbers will grow in due course.
- Umor Mons: Although this stronghold of House and Clan is currently in ruins, it is the hope of the Warlocks that if the tide of the Omen War continues to roll their in their favour they will reestablish themselves there in the near future, for its strategic location would serve to anchor a new expansion into the west of Transylvania. A number of efforts have been made to establish amicable relations with the nearby Lasombra prince of Weißenburg, but the Tremere have been given short shrift each time owing to her strong ties with the local Tzimisce. Established in AD 928 by the archmage Tosia as a base for those among the House who considered themselves to be pious Christians, Umor Mons was overrun by the Tzimisce three times (1105, 1135, and 1176) before it was finally abandoned as a lost cause by House and Clan. Tosia found refuge at Ceoris after each defeat, and it would ultimately be she and her one-time apprentice Omnifer who discovered and revealed the Tremere undead to the Order of Hermes, directly precipitating the Massassa War. Umor Mons stands on a ridge above the Caprei Gorge in the eastern foothills of the Apuseni Mountains, twenty-two miles west of Weißenburg.
- Kundera: Another of the once-great oppida that failed to survive the 11th century waves of Tzimisce aggression, this tower once stood above the remote gorge called Bicaz by the Vlachs and Békás by the Magyars. The covenant that founded it was known for their interest in the movements of the celestial bodies and the application of those observations to astrology, astronomy, and horology. Their library on those subjects was the envy of most of the Order of Hermes, and their instuments, gleaned from travels to Baghdad and even Kerala, were centuries beyond those available to the rest of Europe. Unfortunately, Kundera was discovered and utterly destroyed by the Fiends in AD 1026, and it was never been reclaimed by House and Clan. Rumour among the Tremere has it that some of their books and instruments were looted by discerning Tzimisce of a scientific bent, and Celestyn of Ceoris for one has expended considerable efforts to discover the truth to the tale. So far, he has discovered nothing but the research of his colleague Stromberg suggests that there may yet be a subterranean store of knowledge beneath the ruined tower. They bide their time for now, hoping that the tide of the Omen War frees Kundera so that it might be explored, and perhaps even refounded.
- Caelisica: North of the Siebenburgen city of Schäßburg (31 miles), not far from the Kis-Küküllő River (called Târnava Mică by the Vlachs) can be found a lonely vale, above which stands an alien tower on a rugged spur of granite. The manner in which it flares into a wide parapet, then tapers gradually to a point is suggestive of a dagger, and the local Vlachs have referred to it as Castelul din Pumnalil for generations. The Tzimisce voivode who dwelt there, Vlad Ionescu, encouraged his followers to think that he was responsible for the construction of the exotic edifice but in truth, the tower was once the fifth great Transylvanian oppidum of House Tremere. Like Kundera, it was taken by the Tzimisce back in 1026, but unlike the covenant of stargazers who were easily slain, the fallen Caelisica wizards exacted much more of a toll in defence of their formidable home. Suitably impressed with the fortification, Vladimir Rustovich chose not to destroy the tower, instead making it the base of his progeny’s new voivodate. Owing to the establishment of Ionescu’s extensive and formidable demesnes shortly thereafter the Warlocks were unable to muster the strength to retake it, and the Caelisica eventually became known as a Tzimisce stronghold. This finally changed in 1214 when Vlad Ionescu’s power was broken, and the voivode himself is said to have perished defending the tower from a mysterious foe. Gundolfo, the Regent of Schäßburg, has warded the tower to discourage anyone else from setting themselves up there, and in the years to come he intends to claim it for his own.
TREMERE LUMINARIES OF THE REGION
These Warlocks are among the most powerful exemplars of the House and Clan, having dwelt and prospered in the vicious climate of intra-clan intrigue and inter-clan conflict that permeates the undead firmament of Transylvania and the surrounding regions. It is worth noting that while no Tremere Cainites existed before AD 1022, quite a few of the luminaries of Clan Tremere existed for many decades or even centuries as mortal magi, and while they are considered ancillae by the other Children of Caine, they might be considered elders by other Warlocks. Such Tremere are listed as “elders” among their individual entries. Also, though they do not advertise the fact, nearly all of the earliest Tremere are quietly diaberists. Having committed the Amaranth on Roland, childe of Vladimir Rustovich, in the Ritual of Usurpation, the Council of Seven were no stronger than the 8th generation upon their Becoming, and the likes of Paul Cordwood would have been of the 10th. As such their auras are black indeed, for no fewer than four other elder Cainites each must have lost their souls to these Tremere in order for them to reach such mighty generations in the Blood. For the most part, it is the Salubri and the Tzimisce that have fed their quest for greater power, but it is possible that the souls of certain Nosferatu, Gangrel, and perhaps a Brujah or two may have strengthened these mighty Warlocks as well. In the quietest watches of the night, and during their tormented daytime sleep, not a few of the mighty among Clan Tremere are troubled by fragments of memories not at all their own…
- Tremere, Founder of House and Clan (3rd generation [diab.] “elder,” No sire, Embraced AD 1022). Although he was over three hundred years of age at the time of his Becoming, in many ways the Lord of the Warlocks is still but a babe in the woods compared to many vampire elders, let alone methuselahs or his peers among the Third Generation. When he and his subordinates seized immortality for themselves, Tremere had as good an understanding of the undead as any master magus (which is to say that his understanding was quite flawed), but over the last two centuries his power and knowledge has grown to heights all but unsurpassed among the Children of Caine. His greatest accomplishment was the diablerie of the Antediluvian Saulot in AD 1133, but even before that he was responsible for the destruction of a number of accomplished kolduni and voivozi of the Transylvanian Tzimisce and a number of Salubri elders. Like his fellows among the original conspirators, the prize sought in all his conflicts was the soul of the enemy, and Lord Tremere quickly advanced through the generations, even before the notion of diablerising and replacing the Salubri was floated by Goratrix. Since 1133, Tremere has emerged from Ceoris only rarely, and it is generally believed that he rests in torpor, assimilating the fragments of power and knowledge accrued by Saulot over millennia. Even so, the mere rumour that he has been seen is enough to cause many Tzimisce to go to ground, and the Warlocks are not above seeding such tales to their own advantage.
- Etrius, Councillor of the Seven and Regent of Ceoris (5th generation [diab.] “elder,” adopted childe of Tremere, Embraced AD 1022). Charged by his master with the oversight of the Kingdoms of Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia, the Duchy of Austria, and the lands of Ruthenia, Muntenia, Oltenia, and Małopolska, Etrius is the mastermind behind much of the Tremere agenda in Transylvania. Over one hundred and fifty years old at the time he seized (or arguably was duped into) immortality, and steeped in the treacherous culture of his hermetic house, Etrius is more powerful and capable than Cainites who have seen ten times his years. He is not without his flaws, though, which include a certain hypocritical hubris in his exalted position as an agent in God’s plan. His faith in his infallible role has propelled him to commit unspeakable deeds that he believes are fated to be. Currently, he has much on his plate, including the bloody tide of the Omen War, the loss of the Scholomance to Houses Tytalus and Flambeau, talk of rebellious Tremere in far flung corners of Europe, and the needs of his torpid master and mentor, Lord Tremere. The conflicts between the Ventrue and the Tzimisce barely rate his attention, and are left to capable underlings.
- Shavrael, Regent of Lycaneon (5th generation [diab.] “elder,” childe of Arundinis [d], Embraced AD 1026). The oldest surviving progeny of Arundinis, a late member of the original Council of Seven, Shavrael’s niche in House and Clan has always been his talent for inveigling magic, although he was also considered an authority regarding the ancient heritage of Hebrew mysticism and its intersection with Roman and Greek hermetic practices. Indeed, his knowledge and power was such that he was touted as a candidate for the Seven himself, but as fate would have it he was rewarded with the Lycaneon when Lord Tremere elected to make Ceoris his new home. Taking possession of the ancient libaries, state-of-the-art laboratories, and proliferation of training facilities of Lycaneon was a dream come true for Shavrael. As one of the oldest members of House Tremere, he had always hoped to assume a role passing on his knowledge of certámen, history, and alchemy to the younger generations. When Arundinis paid him a visit a little while later, Shavrael did not suspect treachery in the least and he was taken by suprise when the fangs of his friend found their way into his throat. A pragmatist at heart, he adjusted to his new condition quickly, and resolved to cement his role as the most powerful Tremere of northern Transylvania. Under his astute leadership and with the benefit of his obfuscatory magics, now adapted to Thaumaturgy, the Lycaneon survived the worst of the Tzimisce raids of the 11th century, and it remains the preeminent training school for Tremere neonates in all of Europe.
- Malgorzata, the Conspirator Partisan (6th generation ancilla, childe of Goratrix, Embraced AD 1097). In life a Transylvanian noblewoman dispossessed by the Magyar invasion, the woman who would go on to call herself Malgorzata cemented her place in House Tremere by becoming the mortal protege and lover of the great magus Goratrix. She was privy to most of his schemes and magickal pursuits over the years, including his rivalries with Tremere’s other subordinates and the research into the Ritual of Usurpation. However, even though she was one of the first to become aware of the undead infiltration of House Tremere, she was not rewarded with the Becoming until seventy five years later. Once she became undead, Malgorzata became an enthusiastic proponent of the Conspirator cause and even after her lover was exiled to France she maintained her fanatical devotion to his ambitions. For decades she strove to serve as a foil to Etrius’ will, heading up the Conspirators at Ceoris and pushing for the full subornation of the mortal House to the Cainite clan. The outbreak of the Massasa War decided the matter in favour of her faction, and Malgorzata has remained smugly triumphant ever since. She now bends her significant will and wiles to forging new alliances with non-aligned clans in Transylvania, even journeying occasionally to those allied cities of the Siebenburgen that will admit a Tremere delegation. Like her most well-known progeny, Jervais, she is an imperfect diplomat but Malgorzata has learned to soften her tone and message in recent years, and she has strengthened her contacts among the Lasombra, the Cappadocians, and the Ventrue.
- Paul Cordwood, Master of Spies (7th generation [diab.] ancilla, childe of Epistatia, Embraced AD 1023). Many among the clan consider this ancilla to enjoy the special favour of Lord Tremere, for it is known that he was one of the very first Tremere to be brought across after the Ritual of Usurpation. Paul Cordwood is perhaps the most important of Etrius’ assistants, and the portfolio of this commanding ancilla has expanded dramatically in recent years. To the savvy Tremere, allies are just enemies you haven’t yet made, and perfect knowledge of the enemy makes them the instrument of your will. And since Cordwood has a gift for ferreting out the secrets of others, be they ally or enemy, his abilities are very handy indeed to the Council of Seven. He might nominally answer to his regent and lord, Etrius, but Paul is largely an independent agent expected to cultivate and manage his own assets in order to meet the challenges of the Omen and Massasa Wars, the Árpád Ventrue initiative known as the Council of Ashes, and the new front that has opened up between the Eastern Lord Ventrue and the Tzimisce Voivodate. Informally, he is also responsible for coordinating communications and security between the far-flung chantries of Hungary. On those uncommon occasions that he leaves Ceoris, even regents jump to obey the directives of the unnerving spymaster. They fear to displease him because of the secrets he holds, and Cordwood expertly wields the paranoia that is endemic to House and Clan.
- Epistatia, Mistress of the Hunt (6th generation [diab.] “elder,” childe of Goratrix, Embraced AD 1022). Appearing as a rather shabby, doughy featured old woman with an absent-minded disposition and hair the colour of sun-bleached straw, the true extent of Epistatia’s power and cruelty is easily overlooked. Her chief responsibility for Ceoris is procurement, a job that she pursues with ruthless efficiency. Far more Tremere dwell at the High Chantry than the alarmingly dwindling numbers of kine from the surrounding villages could possibly service with vitae, especially now that the Tremere have been compelled by the Massasa War to step up their campaign to bring the vast majority of their numbers across into undeath. As a result, Epistatia has been forced to coordinate with Paul Cordwood and Esoara to raid in an ever-widening spiral in order to steal more slave vessels to sate the thirst of her kin. Her efforts are much appreciated by the clan, who likewise offer her their respect for her status as the very first magus to be chosen for the Becoming after the Ritual of Usurpation. Despite being the oldest progeny of Goratrix, she appears to make a point of being apolitical in the intra-clan struggle between the Conspirators and the Conservatives, and she maintains her detached attitude as the Tremere move into a new era.
- Mendacamina, Inquisitrix of Ceoris (6th generation [diab.] “elder,” childe of Etrius, Embraced AD 1023). It is said that this imposing vampire was a nun for a time in her mortal years, and she maintains an appearance in keeping with that allusion, always composed in her white robes that seem reminiscent of the habits worn by the holy orders. Although she appears to be studiously serene, those who search her dark eyes find a terrifying rage simmering behind them. Her role at Ceoris is to supervise the dungeons, where she interrogates captives with a methodical cruelty that would quicken the most jaded of Tzimisce. Although she has never appeared to be older than a young lady in her late teens, Mendacamina was well over a century old by the time she was brought across by Etrius as the first of his progeny. They were close in their breathing years, but the Embrace shattered whatever feeling had existed between them and she soon became an avid supporter of his hated rival Goratrix. As a member of the Conspirator faction, she has brought at least dozen magi across into undeath, and she has a penchant for finding the most bitter and monstrous exemplars to stain with the Curse of Caine. Her efforts are appreciated by the Tremere, for such wicked creatures are of considerable utility in the Massasa and Omen Wars.
- Therimna, Executioner of Ceoris (6th generation [diab.] “elder,” childe of Goratrix, Embraced AD 1026). A master alchemist who until recently had barely left the great chantry since her Becoming two centuries ago, Therimna made a name for herself among the clan by tracking down and destroying those rare Warlock fledgelings who fled Ceoris once the enormity of their damnation settled about their shoulders. With the saturation of the undead among House and Clan at the end of the 12th century, she seemed to conceive of a need for a new role, and in recent years made herself available as an envoy to Vencel Rikard of the Árpád Ventrue. Semi-annually since AD 1190, she has appeared in the court of Buda-Pest to negotiate supplies, trade ties, and rights to build chantries in the settlements of his progeny and allies. Her end goal is to establish an alliance with his faction among the fractious Árpáds, just as other Tremere work separately to woo Géza in Esztergom, Gregor in Preßburg, and Nova in Mediasch. She has enjoyed some success for her progeny, Locus, is now a reluctant permanent member of Rikard’s court.
- Ashram, Diplomat and Intelligencer (6th generation “ancilla,” childe of Lotharius, Embraced AD 1074). Always a diplomat and intriguer par excellence, Ashram long served House Tremere as one of their finest envoys to the other Houses of the Order of Hermes and even farther abroad to exotic locales such as Persia, Araby, Scandinavia, and the Maghreb. In his mortal years he focused his attentions on mind magick, and this served him will in his role. It also meant that when the vampires of the Tremere began their quiet campaign of bringing others across into undeath, Ashram discovered their secret long before they decided to come for him. When they did, they found him to be agreeable to the notion, for his longevity magicks were failing just as readily as all the other great magi of the Order of Hermes. Having had plenty of time to consider his options, and more than enough to make a study of vampires in the cities he visited, Ashram was ready for the Becoming. He adapted easily and quickly to his new state, soon returning to his work with gusto. It was his initiative that led to the early foundation of new chantries in Esztergom and Pest, the latter of which he nominally ruled for many years in his role as envoy to Vencel Rikard and his sire, Bulcsú. More recently, he laid the groundwork for a Tremere embassy to the Eastern Lords (which Jervais bani Tremere soon botched) and he now directs his energies to doing the same with the mighty Hardestadt the Elder. His journies bring him back to Ceoris every few years, and he often uses such trips to renew old contacts and share news with the Árpáds and his fellow Tremere.
REGENTS AND OTHER NOTABLE WARLOCKS
The Tremere are dramatically outnumbered by their foes among the Tzimisce, Gangrel, and Nosferatu, but what they lack in numbers they more than make up in raw power, innovation, and organisation. With the addition of the Gargoyles and other stone-crafted guardians to their arsenal, the Warlocks are slowly but surely gaining ground against their enemies, all of whom are plagued by a disunited clan culture together with a lack of vision and resources. More than two score secret chantries exist within the towns or close to trade routes within Transylvania or the nearby territories of Hungary, Croatia, Slavonia, Muntenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bohemia, Silesia, and Małopolska. Their efforts in Oltenia and Ruthenia have come to naught thus far.
In the Slavic South, the grip of the Tremere is has found little purchase. In the land of Oltenia, wily elder Fiends are unusually united behind the banner of Lord Ruthven’s progeny. In Serbia the Brujah and the Gangrel are strong, and frequently allied along mortal cultural lines, and they take a dim view of new arrivals. The Tzimisce of northern Bulgaria are of a similar clan culture as their northern cousins, but the influence of the Order of Hermes is strong in those lands, and the Tremere must tread more carefully. in Slavonia and the heights of the Dinaric Alps, mighty Gangrel are quick to show their displeasure at any interloper, let alone those who have chosen to prey upon their kin in the Old Country. The ports of the Adriatic host a number of Lasombra who are open to Tremere overtures, but thus far the Order of Hermes has managed to lock the massasa out of their oppida in these city-states.
The Slavic North and the Pontic Steppe are another matter altogether. The Tremere have penetrated those lands but have yet to establish a foothold. Throughout the Lands of Hedeon Yaroslavich and Noriz, the Corruptor of Legions, the realms of the kine are sparsely populated and dominated by near constant struggle. By day the Cuman tribes raid each other and war with the Rus’ and the Poles while pagans and Christians vie for the hearts and souls of the embattled holdouts of humanity, backed at times by disparate covenants of magi hailing from the Messianic Voices, the Old Faith, and the Spirit Talkers. And by night, the land suffers under the skirmishes of Cainites, Lupines, and Fae. The Nosferatu of these lands are particularly bold and bloodthirsty, and they prosecute their hatred of the Warlocks with brutal ferocity. Even further north and east there is little to hold the interest of the Warlocks at this time.
The following is not an exhaustive list of the regents that nominally answer to Etrius as their councillor, but they are the most prominent of a growing circle of satellite regents that is gradually pressuring the already faltering clan hierarchy of the Tzimisce throughout Carpathia.
- Robi Tamás, Regent of Esztergom (7th generation ancilla, childe of Malgorzata, Embraced AD 1121). Even in his mortal years, the smooth and agreeable Robi was often used as an envoy for House Tremere, and he often found himself seconded to diplomatic embassies headed to foundations dominated by other Houses among the Order of Hermes. As such, for the Conspirators he was a natural choice for the Becoming when Goratrix decided that the Transylvanian Tremere should aggressively expand into other domains. Malgorzata was chosen to bring him across, for despite his cunning Robi has always had a weakness for pretty faces and casual liaisons; it was a simple matter for her to lure him into a tryst and inflict the Embrace upon him. A pragmatist at heart, he adjusted quickly to his new state and after a perfunctory education in blood magic he was sent to perform as regent for the Esztergom chantry that had only recenly been established by Ashram. There he has remained ever since, making himself useful to “Archbishop” Géza in an effort expand the power of House and Clan in the kingdom. He has been quite successful in his mission of insinuating himself with the Árpáds, and he has been able to establish a chantry of significant size at a private libary near the archbishop’s palace. In 1214, he led assaults that drove the Order of Hermes both from Esztergom and also from a chapter-house in the hills to the north.
- Locus, Regent of Buda-Pest (7th generation ancilla, childe of Therimna, Embraced AD 1163). Like his neighbour, Regent Robi in Esztergom, Locus is as much a diplomatic ambassador as the master of a chantry, and in truth he is more of a placeholder than true regent material. Therimna is the true power in the Pest Chantry, having made herself the chief negotiator with Prince Vencel Rikard and his faction among the Árpáds, and Locus holds his position only by virtue of occupying her seat when she is at Ceoris. Like his sire and the regent of Esztergom, Locus is a member of the Conspirator faction, and while he is a diffident diplomat at best, he has enthusiastically embraced the ambition of accruing and peddling influence. Locus has also involved himself with the nocturnal slave auctions in Pest, gaining favour with his superiors by sending fresh kine down the Danube to feed the insatiable thirst of Ceoris. When he has the chance to pursue his studies, the regent of Buda and Pest busies himself with alchemical experimentation, looking to advance the path and rituals pioneered by his sire.
- Ardan of Golden Lane, Regent of Praha (7th generation, childe of Celestyn, Embraced AD 1107). As Bohemia has typically had stronger links to the Holy Roman Empire rather than the Slavic East and Hungary, this territory does not lie strictly within the purview of Ceoris’ immediate oversight. However, Ardan of Golden Lane maintains strong links with his sire and grandsire at the High Chantry, and he faithfully follows their directives. Like his own progeny in Kraków, he is a mild-mannered and secretive sort, content to quietly build his chantry and stay out of the political tumult that characterises the Cainites of his home. However unlike Claas, Ardan does not choose to masquerade as a member of another clan but rather he simply chooses to rely on inveigling rituals and a certain aptitude for the arts of Obfuscate. Ardan has made a number of strong allies among the alchemists, goldsmiths, and scholars of Golden Lane but he treads carefully, as House Tytalus remains strong in the “magic city.” Thus far his single failure was in preventing several neonates from breaking through his wards and attacking him in 1197, a confrontation that necessitated a hasty escape using a translocation spell.
- Eridanus, Regent of Kronstadt (7th generation ancilla, childe of Lantrios, Embraced AD 1099). A grandchilde of Etrius who has a certain knack for keeping his affairs quiet, this astronomer managed to keep his presence in the town of Kronstadt a secret for nearly forty years. Indeed, he was chosen by his sire and Etrius precisely because his ambitions lay separate from amassing political power, and his retiring disposition proved successful. From afar Eridanus watched no fewer than three princes come and go, all the while discretely funnelling supplies and intelligence to Ceoris (which lies just fifty-odd miles away as the crow flies). His secret was outed in AD 1202 by the incautious antics of Hesintrada, prompting him to change his methods and suffer a far less certain existence. Though he cannot prove it, Eridanus suspects that the whole affair was a Conspirator plot to foul his game, and he has not forgiven his Mediascher colleague for the insult. He does work with her and Gundolfo though, for Eridanus is a firm believer in putting the needs of the clan above his own personal resentments. With the arrival of Lord Jürgen and the Eastern Lords to the region, he has made assurances that the Tremere will assist Kronstadt when called upon. However, owing to the Magdeburg affair of 1211 the Sword-bearer remains less than convinced of their motives and their usefulness.
- Hesintrada, Regent of Mediasch (6th generation neonate, childe of Lotharius, Embraced AD 1195). The spoiled yet brilliant daughter of an Austrian noble vassal to the ducal Babenberg family, Hesintrada (or Hette as she was formerly known) was brought across by the prince of Vienna specifically on the orders of Etrius himself. The headstrong and impulsive young lady would have been well-served by further experience and maturity, but talents for pyromancy and ritual formulation as well as her connections among the Austrian nobility led to an expedient Becoming before she was truly ready. The proof of the ill-advised Embrace came within a few years. As a rank fledgeling her arrogance and hot temper combined to cause embarrassment to herself and Lotharius, and so she was packed off to Ceoris for “reeducation.” Unfortunately for her sire and grandsire, her resentment over her punishment led to her rebelling against their philosophies and instead cleaving to the teachings of Malgorzata. Banking on her noble connections, she would go on to serve the High Chantry as an envoy to local Ventrue interests and in 1208, she successfully established a chantry in Mediasch, the hub of the Siebenburgen. Hesintrada remains a fast ally of the beleaguered Nova Árpád and the Council of Ashes, who struggle against the belligerence of Vladimir Rustovich.
- Gundolfo, Regent of Schäßburg (7th generation ancilla, childe of Vibora [d], Embraced AD 1176). Another creature of Malgorzata and Goratrix, this Thuringian weather wizard is known for his eccentric ways and his skill in battle. Like Hesintrada and several others who were less successful, he was sent forth by Ceoris at the start of the 13th century with a charter to make alliances amidst the Siebenburgen, and to establish a Tremere presence within those settlements. He established his small chantry in 1211, promising that in return the Warlocks would aid the beleaguered Prince János and his coterie in their struggles against Voivode Vlad Ionescu of Mureș. Unlike his colleagues in Mediasch and Kronstadt Gundolfo cooperates fully with the other vampires of his city, to the extent that he actually rides forth on patrols with the prince and his warden, Matthias Granz. He has also formulated special rituals which allow he and Hesintrada to communicate at speed, allowing the Cainite courts of Mediasch and Schäßburg to coordinate with remarkable alacrity. Indeed, Gundolfo’s willingness to put his skills to the use of his prince has ensured that his reputation and that of the clan has spread beyond Transylvania.
- Vendamanus, Regent of Nösnerland (8th generation ancilla, childe of Ratibor [d], Embraced AD 1130). In the middle of the 12th century LeDuc, the one-time French Councillor of the Seven, briefly took residence in the Lycaneon before he continued on to hunt the Salubri in the East. No stranger to conflict, LeDuc taught a harshly pragmatic, mathematical philosophy of warcraft, and Vendamanus was the most apt of his pupils. Now tasked with the unenviable mission of undermining the ascendancy of the Tzimisce in northern Transylvania and taking the Siebenburgen city of Bistriz for his own, Vendamanus wages a guerilla campaign of attrition against Prince Radu and Vladimir Rustovich. The “Bistritz Chantry” has the highest attrition rate in Transylvania, but those who absorb the lessons of Vendamanus become renowned among the Tremere for their skills in the arts of war and stealth.
- Gellén Apollonius, Regent of Szatmár (7th generation ancilla, childe of Shavrael, Embraced AD 1064). The oldest known surviving progeny of the formidable Regent of Lycaneon, this ancilla served Shavrael in the role of castellan there for over a century before being tasked with the founding of a chantry in Szatmár. A skilled adminstrator with an eye for finding new economic opportunities, Appolonius and his subordinates focus on trade in order to create wealth for the financially strapped Warlocks. He also uses the waterways of the Szamos (Someș) and the Săsar (Zazar) to funnel supplies and vessels to the Lycaneon and beyond to Nösnerland, and he wastes no time preaching about the need for other regents in the region to also pull their weight to see the Tremere victorious in the Omen War. Indeed, his constant praise-seeking and needling have caused enmity to develop between he and Karolus of Dedevár, who already resented his brow-beating from their time together as apprentices.
- Karolus, Regent of Dedevár (7th generation ancilla, childe of Celestyn, Embraced AD 1067). A noted geomancer in his mortal years, this studious Tremere has transferred his interest to seeking out wellsprings of power in order to aid House and Clan in the Omen War. He has gone to considerable efforts to map out the ley lines of Northern Transylvania, the Great Alföld, and the Carpathians, for while the undead of the Tremere seldom require access to esoteric forms of vis any more, their mortal and ghoul apprentices still do. Karolus takes a dim view of those who do not appreciate the vitality of that particular asset to the clan, and in particular he is easily riled by his rival, Appolonius of Szatmár, who has been known to deride his geomantic pursuits as “lacking weight” in the Omen War. In recent years the chantry of Dedevár have been fast allies with the Árpád princes of the region, and they have also served as a base for Lycaneon war coteries in the Massasa War. For his successes Karolus has been rewarded with his oversight of the recently reclaimed foundation at Laniena.
- László, Regent of Terebus (7th generation [diab.] ancilla, childe of Felix Magellanicus, Embraced AD 1090). A keen politician with links to the emerging Hungarian nobility, László belongs to the Conspirator faction, and now that the secret of their conversion to the undead is known among the Order of Hermes, he has enthusiastically embraced Goratrix’ directive to vie with the High Clans in order to beat them at their own games of influencing mortal society. Felix, his sire, works to do the same in Bavaria, and they coordinate their activities in hopes of gaining a political windfall in both Cainite and kine avenues over the years to come. László’s chantry stands in the isolated Slavic north-east of Hungary about four miles east of the village of Terebus, amidst a wild grove of apple trees on the right bank of the Ondava River. The trees once bore magical fruit laden with vis each summer, but that was long ago. The regent of Terebas is particularly skilled at weather magics and divination; those who would approach his demesnes are usually discovered long before they arrive, and their welcome usually mirrors their intent. Friends are greeted by cool, refreshing winds and foes find only thick fog, punishing rain and snow, and bone-numbing winds.
- Albizellus, Regent of Dukla (7th generation ancilla, childe of Shavrael, Embraced AD 1144). As another graduate of his sire’s draconian but effective methods, Albizellus excels at training apprentices. Moreover, he is skilled at ferreting out magickal potential in unlikely places. As such, his chantry in the forested Subcarpathian foothills is the largest Tremere stronghold of Małopolska, which is otherwise overrun by Tzimisce, Gangrel, and Nosferatu. Albizellus’ school is modelled on the Lycaneum design, being inside and underneath a fortified manse some ten miles south-west of the small town of Krosno, not far from the wide pass known as Dukla. Owing to his excellence at warding and veiling rituals, the Dukla Chantry is as yet a secret from the Fiends and their allies in the Omen War, but it is unlikely that the charade will persist for much longer. The attrition rates of the conflict are punishing; increasingly Albizellus loses apprentices to the war effort, and it is only a matter of time before the creative interrogation methods of the Tzimisce unveil Dukla.
- Claas Drescher, Regent of Kraków (8th generation, childe of Ardan of Golden Lane, Embraced AD 1170). Secretive and dedicated to an extreme matched only by his sire, Drescher plays a dangerous game deep in enemy territory. He plays at being a mild-mannered, apolitical Ventrue merchant hailing from the Holy Roman Empire, interested in forging mutually beneficial trade ties across cultural and clan lines. However, in reality his unenviable task is to establish a Tremere presence within the demesnes of the cunning Razkoljna, voivode of the most powerful city in Małopolska. Discovery of his true identity would mean a fate far worse than Final Death, and if they know about his work at all, any other Warlocks travelling through this perilous territory are under strict instructions to give Class Drescher a wide berth. His methods are watched with great interest by the Inner Council, who aim to emulate them in sensitive regions elsewhere.
- Walenty, Regent of Tarnów (8th generation, childe of Krakus Vejovis, Embraced AD 1078). A furtive creature who tends to lack the courage of his more audacious colleague in Kraków, Walenty surreptitiously watches over his market town, and does his best to avoid the attention of the servants of Voivozes Razkoljna and Yaroslavich, both of whom terrify him. Motivated by his fear and paranoia, Walenty neglects to build influence over the mortal powers of Tarnów, a move which has bred laziness both in himself and his subordinates. He is also an unpleasant wretch who has yet to shed the prejudices of his breathing years, being both a mysoginst and a petty master who lords his authority over his apprentices in an attempt to stultify their growth and prevent them from turning into rivals. Originally, he was chosen to establish his chantry because of his knowledge of the area, but is only a matter of time before Ceoris decides to replace the cowardly Walenty with a more capable regent. The chantry is a discrete manse on the forested slops of Saint Martin’s Peak, just a few miles south-east of the gates of Tarnów.
- Curaferrum, Castellan of Ceoris (8th generation ancilla, childe of Percivax [d?], Embraced AD 1140). Known to have originally been a Polotski merchant of relics and exotic spell components, and a sorcerer of only middling talent, Curaferrum enjoys but scant respect among those of the clan who were once puissant magi. He owes his position purely to the favour of Etrius, who chose him for his sycophantic and doggedly loyal nature when he took over lordship of Ceoris from his suddenly out-of-favour rival, Goratrix. At that the time the great chantry was largely peopled by Warlocks of the Conspirator faction; Etrius needed to place his own Conservative agents in positions of importance, and while Curaferrum was not much of a wizard, he had a good head for organisation and numbers. That made him a natural choice for castellan, and to this night he is responsible for coordinating supply to the mountain fortress. An avid (if not terribly adroit) politician, Curaferrum actively seeks to establish a council of castellans among the emergent Tremere chantries of Transylvania, but he has had little success thus far.
- Esoara, Warmaster of Ceoris (9th generation ancilla, childe of Curaferrum, Embraced AD 1167). A true rarity among the Tremere, this giant of a warrior appears to have no interest or skill in the practice of Thaumaturgy. What he does have, however, is a lifetime of experience as a soldier in a series of conflicts from Hungary to France, and throughout the Iberian and Italian peninsulas. At the time of his Becoming his skills were sorely in demand, for while many Warlocks were seasoned in battle, few lacked any true experience captaining armies or laying out long term strategies. Throughout the balance of the 12th century, Esoara worked to turn the mercenaries of the chantry into a crack military force, but he began to grow frustrated with the defensive strategy of his masters. Now that the Massasa War has broken out, and the Tzimisce are under pressure by the Eastern Lords and the Árpáds in addition to the Tremere, the Warlocks are finally on the offensive. Esoara’s experience with warcraft is in high demand; he now advises the other Transylvanian chantries on security, strategy, and tactics, and his doctrines are making their way abroad as well. His stock is on the rise, though it will likely never ascend too high as a result of his disinterest in Thaumaturgy.
- Celestyn, Master Librarian of Ceoris (6th generation [diab.] ancilla, childe of Etrius, Embraced AD 1039). Presenting as a friendly, hale, and hearty English traveller and scholar, Celestyn knows Transylvania better than any other Warlock, for in the early years of the bloodline he travelled its length and breadth, infiltrating the dispossessed bands of Tzimisce Furores in order to learn as much as possible about the new state of he and his masters. His chief interests lie in astronomy, astrology, cartography, and geomancy, but his flair for organising and cultivating libraries has led to his important station as Master Librarian of Ceoris. He has several assistants who see to the good order of the stacks of Ceoris, though, for Celestyn frequently leaves the great chantry on his errands and adventures. His latest project — an attempt to mathematically cartograph the Old Country — has taken nearly forty years so far and it is still not quite complete. The Master Librarian is gregarious indeed, not is he half so treacherous as most Tremere, and although he travels the land in disguise for the most part, he has established an extensive web of Cainite and kine contacts throughout the land.
- Virstania, Mother of Gargoyles (8th generation ancilla, childe of Brunavog, Embraced AD 1111). Together with Goratrix and to a lesser extent Malgorzata, this ancilla masterminded the creation of the Gargoyles that have played a decisive part in turning the tide of the Omen War in favour of Clan Tremere. Always something of an ostracised loner among House and Clan, she has come to see her Gargoyle creations as nothing less than her children, and visitors to Ceoris that deign to visit the pens are treated to the unnerving sight of her get fawning over Virstania not unlike a litter of bloodthirsty kittens. The Mother of Gargoyles leaves the great chantry only rarely, but when she does it is usually either to hunt with or to assess the quality of a new brood of her creations, all of whom would suffer the Final Death to put themselves between Virstania and harm’s way.
- Jervais bani Tremere, Master of Vis and Envoy (7th generation ancilla, childe of Malgorzata, Embraced AD 1102). For many decades a full-time resident of the great chantry of Ceoris, this rotund ancilla once had the job of seeking out and securing the precious vis that fuelled the spells of the mortal magi of the Tremere. Slavishly devoted to the whims of his sire, he was also an enthusiastic member of the Conspirator faction, and indeed over the course of his existence Jervais has sired dozens of times. Of course, his sire and Goratrix rarely called upon his opinion and considered him little more than a lackey, but he enjoyed a certain status by association. At length, Jervais found his role as Master of Vis growing increasingly redundant once the Massasa War began and the debate over the speed of bringing mortal members of the House into the Clan ended. He has reinvented himself (with decidedly mixed success) as a roving diplomat of the clan in general and Ceoris in particular, and he has been seen more frequently in the towns of Mediasch, Schäßburg, and Kronstadt in recent years. His welcome in the last settlement has been frosty, considering his failed machinations in Magdeburg back 1211. It is a measure of how little the undead of the Tremere concern themselves with gathering new sources of vis that Jervais’ position has not yet been filled, despite the passage of some years.
- Rutor, Warden of Ceoris (8th generation neonate, childe of Jervais bani Tremere, Embraced AD 1200). A relatively new addition to the vampires of the great chantry, Rutor was born a revenant and bred for the interminable wars the Tzimisce waged with the Tremere, the Ventrue, and with each other. An unusually canny example of his kind, the abuse of decades in addition to his rebellious nature apparently allowed him to break the Blood Oath to his domitor at a vulnerable moment in battle with the Warlocks. After his master was dispatched he was Embraced by Jervais bani Tremere, one of the Tremere survivors of the conflict, and he was brought to Ceoris to bolster the ranks of the Conspirator faction. In return for his knowledge of the Tzimisce and the other revenant families Rutor has been given some responsibility and respect as an underling of both Esoara and Epistatia. In addition to the strength of his arm he uses his Animalism to scout for them on their missions outside the chantry, and he has been named as one of several wardens whose job is to manage patrols of the near trails. Alas, his headstrong and malcontentious ways remain, and Rutor is anxious to be gone from the High Chantry so that he might seek his destiny among the War of Princes.
Etrius by Steve Casper.
Paul Cordwood by Chad Michael Ward.
Therimna/ Uta Kovacs by John Birdges.
Ardan of Golden Lane and Etrius by Bagrada.
Art used for Shavrael by bluerainCZ.
Art used for Mendacamina by Mara Tarslanov.
Art used for Robi Tamás by Michael Komarck.
Art used for Locus by Dolores Lunasa.
Art used for Gundolfo by Richard Lithgow.
Art used for Karolus by Virginie Carquin.
Art used for Walenty by eronzki999.
Art used for Esoara by Georgi Georgiev.
DISCLAIMER: I have wandered the Web for some time gathering pieces of art to use for portraits and scenery in my games. If I have used something that belongs to you and have caused offence, please accept my apologies in advance and don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be more than happy to take it down or give credit where it is due!