The Concord of Ashes
(modified from Bitter Crusade, pp. 10-12)
Called “the Most Serene Commune of Venice” (or La Serenissima), Venice is the second-largest city in Italy, with upward of 120,000 inhabitants. It is also a hotbed of Cainite intrigue. Catholic Lasombra struggle for Church influence with their Heretical brethren, and the bustling port brings Cainites from across the Mediterranean, all under the watchful eye of Narses, Prince of Venice, Lord of the State of the Sea, and Archbishop of Nod. Therefore, venice is in the unique position of of being the cross-roads of the Meidterranean world of both Cainites and kine alike. It is the neutral meeting ground where East meets West and anything can be purchased for a price. Those new to Venice might find it unsettling, even disturbing.
The beginnings of Venice itself go back to the flight of refugees to the islands of the lagoon between Chioggia and Grado, when Attila the Hun devestated northern Italy in AD 452. The islands themselves have been inhabited even longer, since Roman republican days. And it was during that era when Clan Lasombra first gained a foothold in the region. Refugees from the mainland in the fifth and sixth centuriesgreatly augmented this original population, attracting other Cainites along with them, including a few Nosferatu. The first Cainites to declare Domain and prey on the people of the lagoon where Galerius the Lasombra and Cloacina the Nosferatu. The former was the erratic and errant childe of the new Prince of Rome, Constantius. Galerius, like many Roman ancilla, had been forced out of the capital by the mass exodus of its populations to the Eastern Empire and the incessant barbarian invasions plaguing the West. Cloacina too was a refugee of Rome, having been forced out by internecine squabbles among the Nosferatu.
After the conquests if the Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius during the reign of Justinian, Venice fell under the rule of the Exarchate of Ravenna, a military outpost of the Eastern Empire. The Exarch, Narses, allowed a great measure of autonomy to the Venetians. Narses fell from grace upon the coronation of a new emperor, and he was sent into forced retirement in Italy. Embittered at his humiliating rejection by the Ancient Ventrue, Antonius the Gaul, and by the victory of his rival, the newly Embraced neonate Belisarius, Narses was soon contacted by Galerius, whose ambitions had advanced towards the Exarchate and Princedom of Ravenna. Together they worked to undermine Byzantine authority on the Italian peninsula by giving aid to the Lombards. After the successful ousting of Byzantine control of Italy, Galerius Embraced Narses and soon entrusted him with the guardianship of Venice. Within a couple of generations, the neonate would reward Galerius for this by committing the Amaranth upon him and declaring himself Prince of Venice. By doing so, he forever secured the enmity of Prince Constantius and his followers, but Prince Narses had more pressing concerns. This was a dangerous time for the city, with many Cainites (particularly rival Lasombra and Lombard Ventrue) fighting over control of the increasingly important and secure port. Cloacina also disappeared under mysterious circumstances at this time, leaving her new childe Maria as Narses’ only companion and erstwhile ally in the city.
As Venice grew, the Venetians adopted the custom of electing a Doge (or Dux, or war-leader) to provide a more efficacious defence against the Lombards and other barbarians. The custom also developed of only electing the elderly to the position, thus ensuring that the Doge would be unable to develop a monopoly of power over his fellows among the council of nobles. Instead of cultivating wasteful influence over the Doge, and instead directed his influence into the more stable spiritual life of the city. [[:Narses cultivated the Cainite Heresy in Venice, and insinuated the influence of his church pawns into the structure of the noble families themselves, thus undermining the short-sighted intrigues of Lasombra rivals. In this manner, Narses triumphed over all rivals and soon ensured his stable praxis. The prince paid lip service at first to the provincial Scion system of the Byzantine Cainites, but soon severed ties in AD 660 with the complete disintegration of Byzantine power in the west. Together with Maria and her growing spy network, Narses truly was the power of Venice.
By the ninth century, Venetian commerce was very extensive. Even the Saracens respected the Venetian flag, and Venetian factors sprang up all over the ports of the East. They traded with the Christian Slavs of the Balkans, as well as the Muslims of Al-Andalus and Africa. Behind many of these Venetian initiatives lay the insidious influence of Prince Narses and his progeny, many of whom were Embraced from among the emerging merchant noble elite. Pope’s Zacharias and Adrian tried to prevent trade with the infidels, while Charlemagne excluded them from the markets of his empire. As a sop to such feelings, Venice prohibited the sale of slaves to the Saracens and of any merchandise that could be used in their incessant wars against Christendom.
In the first decades of the 11th century, Prince Narses was approached by Augustus Giovanni, newly Embraced neonate of the Clan Cappadocian and childe of Cappadocius himself, with a new alliance. With exorbitant wealth built on the slave and pilgrim trade, the Giovanni family had long been a power in La Serenissima, and Prince Narses had considered offering the Embrace to Augustus himself. Ever since, the Cappadocians of the Giovanni family have worked loyally at the Prince’s behest on matters of trade and security, further improving Venice’s hold on the Mediterranean ports and truly catapulting the city onto the world stage of politics. Maria and her Nosferatu were rendered increasingly irrelevant as the spy network of Prince Narses grew to truly monstrous levels of efficiency.
As the commercial power of Venice inceased, the state became increasingly involved in Byzantine politics. Several Doges married into the imperial family, while others suffered because of imperial displeasure. In AD 1084, Emperor Alexius Comnenus needed Venetian support against the Norman Robert Guiscard, and he offered Venice a position of preeminence in exchange for its mercantile power. He granted the Venetians freedom from tributes and imposts, full liberty of commerce, exemption from Byzantine jurisdiction, and appropriation for the church of St. Mark and an income for the Doge, along with the title of prōtosebastos (or “First among the Venerable Ones”). Prince Narses, now also Archbishop of Nod, was invited to rejoin the Family system of Byzantine Cainite society, once more as a Scion of the Antonian Ventrue but with considerably more power.
He sent his eldest childe, Bishop Elizio, to take possession of the Venetian district. Over the next century, Elizio and his cohorts among the Latin traders would consistently outplay their Byzantine rivals in all matters mercantile. The Nosferatu Maria fell to the Wassail soon after Elizio’s departure, and Narses was forced to order a Blood Hunt against the wight. While none doubted the justice of the matter, not even her childe, Nicolo, the Nosferatu of Venice have settled into a sullen and isolationist existence in La Serenissima. They offer information on a strictly quid pro quo basis, but stay out of politics all together.
The Venetians participated in the First Crusade only when they saw the Genoese and Pisans returning from Outremer with the spoils of war. The Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus considered their actions illicit, and impounded Venteian galleys docked at Byzantine ports. The Venetians, however, defeated the Saracens near Jaffa in AD 1123 and turned against the Byzantines, ending the nominal over-lordship of Constantinople. Venice then took an active interest in the Crusades. For example, Venetian aid enabled the Crusaders to seize Tyre in AD 1124, resulting in one-third of the city being assigned to them. Similarly lucrative arrangements prevailed throughout the Middle East, making Venice one of Christendom’s richest states. Prince Narses made it a practice to send his older childer to each of these Venetian territories, ostensibly to give them their own projects to grow in power, but also to ensure their loyalty and his own reach of power. It is this that has made him a Lord of the Long Night in addition to his other titles.
In AD 1185, Byzantine resentment for the mercantile and naval dominance of the Venetians boiled over in Constantinople. Wide-spread riots in the Latin Quarter led to the death of thousands of Venetian, Genoese, Pisan, Amalfitan and also Greek citizens. The Latin Riots also led to the Final Deaths of nearly all the cainites of the Latin Quarter, including Bishop ELizio. Prince Narses, in a rare display of public wrath, railed at the ingratitude of the Byzantine Cainites. He called upon the debts of silver and prestation owed by the Antonians to secure the Latin Quarter as a separate Cainite legal entity, thus making a substantial portion of Constantinople his own territory. He then sent one of his most capable lieutenants, Bishop Alfonzo, to secure the Domain and act as his agent in the city.
Bishop Alfonzo has succeeded even beyond Narses’ hopes, and the Latin Quarter is a city within a city, with a Cainite population equal to that of the rest of Constantinople. The ascendancy of Venetian power in the East is all but complete, and Venice truly has become the centre of the world. Prince Narses is most pleased.
Titular Ruler: Doge Enrico Dandolo (born 1107); the current Doge, the 41st to hold the station, ascended the ducal throne in AD 1192, at the age of 85. He is completely blind, and exceedingly old, but he clings voraciously to his life almost as much as he clings to his power. Doge Enrico is renowned for his political acumen and cunning, as well as his skill as a diplomat and a captain-at-arms in his youth.
Cainite Ruler: Prince Narses of Venice, Lord of the State of the Sea and Archbishop of Nod.
Governmental Mix: An Oligarchic Grand Council of 45 merchant nobles, who elect and then guide the Doge on matters of state. There is a Minor Council of 6 exceptionally influential merchant princes who meet with Doge daily to help properly direct La Serenissima. Most of these Minor Council members will act as patrons to less powerful Grand Council members, and power blocs rise and fall rapidly. In practice but not in principle, when a new Doge is elected he will be elected from among the Minor Council. A Venetian must be over the age of 70 to stand for election, although he will remain Doge for the term of his natural (and probably short) life.
The Doge is effective military leader of the city and serves as Head of State, but his power is dramatically curtailed to essentially make him powerless in both roles. He is forbidden to engage in matters of trade, finance or business, and members of his family may not hold any official post in the government or on either Council for the duration of his term. This ensures that nepotism cannot take hold within La Serinissima. A clever Doge, however, knows how to manipulate the Venetian mob, and so circumvent some of the checks and balances to his station.
Military Disposition: Standing city guard of 3000 men, responsible for maintaining the night watch, keeping law and order in the city, and patrolling the outlying roads, swamps, sea lanes and villages.
In addition, Venice’s many galleys are manned by between 200-300 sailors, all of whom have skill at arms. When in port, these men are oath-bound to serve as town militia. When turned out in times of crisis, this militia consists of about 20,000 able-bodied men, although in practice perhaps only one quarter of these numbers are present at any given time.
Population: c. 123 000 (85% Italian, 6% German, 3% Greek, 3% Slavic, 1% Saracen, 1% Jewish, 1% other). The vast majority live in crowded conditions on the islands of the city proper, with perhaps 3000 people living in various villages above and outside the swampy, outlying lands. Nearly all foreigners that live in Venice are traders or specialists of some sort, as well as their families.
Economy: Very strong, based on a being the locus of a confluence of sea and land trade routes bringing grain, silk and spices from the East and fine metals, wool and pilgrims from the West.
Venice is the strongest port and most prosperous city on the Mediterranean. Practically anything can be bought and sold here, providing one knows how and whom to ask. Prices are also inflated here, particularly for accommodation given the lack of space, and many visiting merchants choose to stay aboard their ships or in the warehouses that store their goods.
Cainites of Venice
Venice is one of the most heavily populated cities in the world with regards to the Children of Caine. No less than forty Cainites have permanent residence here, with another twenty-five to thirty passing through at all times. The prince, his major-domo, the sheriff and the scourge are all assiduous in making sure that all Cainites present themselves and abide strictly by the Traditions, for a slip in the Silence of the Blood here could prove disastrous for Cainites everywhere. Those found to be flouting the Traditions or failing to present themselves are dealt with very harshly indeed.
The Narsene Lasombra
- Narses, Prince of Venice, Lord of her territories, and Archbishop of Nod (6th gen Lasombra, Childe of Garlerius [d], Embraced late 6th Century CE)
- Guilelmo Aliprando, Major-domo (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. mid 11th century CE). Right-hand of Narses, and first among his Brood.
- Eduardo Orseolo, Seneschal (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. mid 11th century CE); has turned down a number of “promotions” to stay in Venice.
- Domenico Caliprini, Sheriff (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. early 12th century CE); considered to be a Venetian patriot, he dislikes Greeks.
- Tribuno Faliero, Scourge (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. late 11th century CE); is known to be pushing for a position abroad should one arise.
- Sebastiano Morisini, Keeper of Elysium (8th gen Lasombra, Childe of Guilelmo, e. mid 12th century CE); thought to be almost Toreador-like in his sensibilities, and a great lover of the architectural and artistic endeavours taking shape in Venice.
- Marianna Minotto, trade puppetmaster (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. late 11th century CE); thought to be very eager to match her predecessor, Alfonzo, in her skill at manipulating trade in Venice.
- Francesco Ziani, noble patriarch (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. late 11th century CE); a poltroon and a curmudgeon, does his duty extremely well but isn’t popular.
- Pietro Augustino, noble councillor (8th gen Lasombra, Childe of Eduardo, e. mid 12th century CE); Francesco’s counterpart, he is a bastion of loyalty to his sire and Narses.
- Lorenzo Tron, assistant Sheriff (8th gen Lasombra, Childe of Domenico, e. mid 12th century CE). an unimaginative lackey for his sire; a talented thug and little else.
- Carmina Celsi Soranzo, noble patron (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. late 12th century CE). Completes the triad of noble meddling with Francesco and Pietro;much more talented but less experienced.
- Remigio del nero, arcane advisor (8th gen Lasombra, Childe of Eduardo, e. early 12th century). The most skilled of Narses’ brood regarding the more obscure uses of the discipline of Obtenebration. He is known to be an ally of Lando di Durazzo.
- Salvatore di Varagine (8th gen Lasombra, Childe of Tribuno, e. mid 12th century CE), an excellent administrator and leader, he hopes to replace his sire in Narses’ favour.
- Ricarda il Buia, the favoured childe (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Narses, e. late 12th century CE); Narses’ most recent Embrace, and his constant companion.
- Fiorenza della Passaglia, the fledgeling (8th gen. Childe of Marianna, e. late 12th century CE); the newest of the Narsene Lasombra, she is careful student to Marianna.
- Augustus Giovanni,family patriarch (4th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Cappadocius, e. early 11th century CE). Rarely leaves the Giovanni Loggia.
- Claudius Giovanni, his right hand (5th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Augustus, e. mid 11th century CE). Is often abroad on his father’s business,and building political connections.
- Luna Giovanni, nigrimancy experimenter (5th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Augustus, e. mid 11th century CE). Has not been seen outside the Loggia for decades.
- Giuseppe Giovanni, merchant prince (6th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Claudius, e. mid 11th century CE). A frequent guest in Narses’ court
- Ignazio Giovanni, assistant scourge (5th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Augustus, e. late 11th century CE). The most active of the family in Venice’s Cainite affairs.
- Vincenzo Giovanni, mortis experimenter (8th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Laertes, e. early 11th century CE). Liaises with Cappadocian advisors and the clan at large on experiments.
- Pietro Giovanni, merchant provocateur (9th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Vincenzo, e. mid 11th century CE). Often abroad in Croatia, Slovenia and Dalmatia on family business.
- Justus Giovanni, idealistic doctor (9th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Roberto di Noldo, e. late 12th century CE). Interested in promoting medical and scientific advances.
- Laertes, the Physician (7th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Bunderic of Vienne, e. early 9th century CE). The most influential Cappadocian advisor/observer with the clan at large.
- Roberto di Noldo, clan historian (8th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Penelope, e. early 8th century CE). Known for his understanding of Cainite and Cappadocian history and geneaology.
- Troglodytia, mercenary occultist (5th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Caius Koine, e. mid 7th century CE). A hideous creature, who interacts heavily with the Venetian Nosferatu.
- Nepotian of Galata, clan historian (9th gen. Childe of Geraldo il mietitore, e.early 11th century CE). A rival of Roberto, he has studied with the Cappadocians since 1143 CE, teaching them clan history and Cainite etiquette.
- Anselma di Lanciara, philsopher of death (10th gen Cappadocian, Childe of Marcella di Capua, e. early 10th century CE). Responsible for instructing the Giovanni on the Via Ossis.
- Sir Aimery de Versey, Ventrue Diplomat (9th gen Ventrue, Childe of Robert de Calais (d), e. 1100 CE). An adventurer and Crusader, with an interest in all Egyptian antiquity.
- Bianca de Geneve, his fledgeling (10th gen Ventrue, Childe of Aimery, e. late 12th century CE)
- Michele de Casale, a humble merchant (11th gen Ventrue, Childe of Maurizio di Alberen, e. mid 11th century CE); an importer of comestibles and exporter of spices.
- Bernardo il Lombardo, a merchant (8th gen Ventrue, Childe of Rinaldi di Mantua, e. mid 12th century CE); an importer of wool and cotton and exporter of silk with contacts in the Lombard League.
- Nicolo, leader of the Wretches of Venice (8th gen Nosferatu, Childe of Maria [d], e. early 11th century CE)
- Albero, guardian of San Michele (9th gen Nosferatu, e. late 11th century CE)
- Lorenzio di Fabrizio, assistant Sheriff (8th gen Nosferatu, Childe of Arthurias di Roma, e. mid 12th century CE)
- Venantius di Bari (9th gen Toreador, Childe of Antonio di Grasso, e. late 12th century CE), a painter in high demand for his portraits of the Lasombra.
- Jerome di Foggia (9th gen Toreador, Childe of Cassius (d), e. early 12th century CE), a sculptor also in high demand for his skills, plus his wit.* SEE BELOW
- Lando di Durazzo, occultist entrepreneur (10th gen Tzimisce, Childe of Mantarci, e. late 11th century CE); an importer of wood for ship-building through his pawns, the Grimaldi merchant family. Lando uses his flesh-crafting to earn extra income from the wealthy of Venice. He is known to be an ally of Remigio del nero.
Prominent envoys of the 4th Crusade
- Lanzo von Sachsen, envoy of the Holy Roman Ventrue (8th gen Ventrue, Childe of Guntramus, e. mid 10th century CE). High Lord Hardestadt’s agent in the Crusades.
- Sir Roland du Rochere, envoy of the Crusader Ventrue (8th gen Ventrue, Childe of Sir Udo of Kerak (d), e. mid 12th century)- DECEASED
- Tommaso Brexiano, envoy of the Sea of Shadows (8th gen Lasombra, Childe of Jermanos, e. early 11th century CE). A wealthy merchant, and Lord Montano’s chief agent in the Levant.
- Khadijah Saadeh, envoy of the Levantine Ashirra (7th gen Lasombra, Childe of Hisham, e. late 10th century CE). A Christian Arab that counsels for Crusader capitulation in the interests of peace and prosperity.
- Father Ferox, envoy of Fabrizio Ulfila (1200+ year old ghoul). Present to record events for his master, nothing more.
- Severinus di Nebolini, envoy of Dominus of Lombardy (9th gen Ventrue, Childe of Vitalis, e. early 11th century CE). A Capuan ancilla with links to the Lombard League. * SEE BELOW
- Sir Thierry d’Amiens, Knight of the Sable Rose, chief envoy of Grandmaster Andrew of Normandy (7th gen Totreador, Childe of Sir Alphonse des Rosiers, e. early 12th century)
- Sir Godefroi de Caen, Knight of the Sable Rose and envoy for the Master of Flanders (8th gen Toreador, Childe of Sir Carel van den Dreissche, e. mid 12th century)
- Sir Roderick de Rouen, Knight of the Sable Rose and envoy for the Master of Normandy (8th gen Toreador, Childe of Sir Charles de Fécamp, e. mid 12th century)
- NOTE: Both Severinus di Nebolini & Jerome di Foggia admitted to certain among the Concord of Ashes that they serve the mysterious, ancient elders of Rome, and both alluded to being rather older than they pretend to be at Narses’ court. They also appear to be opposed to each other in some manner.
Geography of Venice
(from Bitter Crusade, p. 12)
Venice is an amalgamation of 117 small islands joined by 378 bridges, mostly constructed of stone. Some of these islands are natural, while others are artificial, constructed by means of piles driven into the bottom of the shallow sea. All the houses of the city are built thus upon a network of piles. The islands are separated by a number of canals, three of which are larger than the others. These are the Grand Canal, which traverses the city in the shape of the letter S, as well as the Guidecca and the San Marco, which is the widest. Gondolas provide transport along the canals.
The lagoon of Venice is divided into the “dead” and the “living”. The former, known as the Laguna Morta, is a system of small lakes and marches formed by the sedimentary deposits of small salt lakes and marshes formed by the sedimentary deposits of the streams flowing through the Alps. The latter, called the Laguna Viva, is a shallow body of salt water out of which arise a few small islands, among them the group forming the the city itself. The Laguna Viva is separated from the Adriatic Sea by a narrow strip of land, called the Lido, that extends from Chioggia to Cortellazzo) at the mouth of the River Piave. The stripof land is reinforced at many points with marble, and it has numerous openings for the passage of ships. Therefore, there are several Lidi. The tide in the “live” lagoon sometimes rise to a height of between nine and ten feet, when it floods the streets. Six forts distributed about the Laguna Viva, and manned by the City Guard, girdle the city.
Piazzo san Marco: The centre of public life in Venice, the Plaza of St. Mark has only recently been remodelled, with the area being greatly expanded since the 1170’s. Many of the finest families of Venice are pushing to move to the newest and most exclusive address in Venice.
Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco: The most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture, the Basilica of St. Mark lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge’s Palace. The basilica was consecrated in 1094, the same year in which the body of Saint Mark was supposedly rediscovered in a pillar by Vitale Faliero, doge at the time. The structure is constantly undergoing upgrades and restorations. At present a new narthex and front facade are currently under construction, and work has also begun on matching the new, lead-covered domes with the Doge’s palace.
Palazzo Ducale: One of the most elaborate displays of the ascendancy of the Venetian Republic, the Doge’s Palace is a combination of Italian and Byzantine architectural and artistic influences. The opulence of the palace is unrivalled in the lands of the Mediterranean, and exceeded only (and secretly) by that of Venice’s Cainite prince.
Arsenale di Venezia: Spanning an area of about 45 ha (110 acres), or about fifteen percent of Venice, the Arsenal is the secret of Venice’s naval success. Within its high walls, and under constant guard, laborers and shipbuilders regularly worked within the Arsenal, building ships that sail from the city’s port. Different areas of the Arsenal each produced a particular prefabricated ship part or other maritime implement, such as munitions, rope, and rigging.
Palazzo Narsete: Nearly equal in opulence to the Doge’s palace, Narses’ house sits one street back from St. Mark’s basilica, perhaps two stones throw from that of the Dandolo’s. The manse is beautifully appointed, and is considered to be the foremost site of Elysium within Venice. With the exception of the most reclusive Cappadocians (including Augustus), most Cainites of the city visit at least once every week to pay their respects to the prince and meet with their own kind on neutral ground. The floors and walls of the many rooms are covered with mosaics, containing gold, bronze, and the greatest variety of precious stones. Byzantine sculptures and paintings of various saints and martyrs, many of them well beyond the skill of even Europe’s greatest mortal artisans, can be found in places of honour throughout the building. Much of the other artwork bears the subtle perversions of traditional Christian iconography one would expect in the chambers of the Archbishop of Nod. The Cainite Council of the 4th Crusade was held within Narses’ Palace, although the irony of deciding the course of the Militi Christi in the heart of the Cainite Heresy appeared to be lost on most of the participants.
The Giovanni Loggia: The home of the Cappadocian clan in Venice, no fewer than 11 of the Graverobbers reside within this enormous manse at any given time. The Giovanni and their Cappadocian overseers assume an ancillary role in the city, assisting the Narsene Lasombra with abundant funds, extra manpower and the the benefits of their unique magic. In return, Narses looks the other way with regards to their explosion in numbers and their penchant for stealing the odd corpse in transit to San Michele.
Isola di San Michele: As Venice’s marshy ground is unsuited for burial, they have been obliged to find another way to inter their dead. The island of San Michele is essentially a large necropolis, full of private tombs for the nobility and a series of communal tombs for the commoners. It is the sole Domain of the city’s Nosferatu, and despite heavy Cappadocian lobbying, the prince persists in holding to some centuries-old treaty that he struck with Nicolo’s late sire, Maria. The necropolis is patrolled by the city guard, but they are not at all diligent, and many beggars, thieves and waifs sleep here under Nosferatu protection at night and serve as their eyes and ears during the day.
The Abbey of St. Panteleimon: A centre of power for the Cainite Heresy, this monastery is dedicated to the patron saint of physicians and midwives. Monks of the order wear seemingly black robes (that only Auspex or the brightest noonday sun will reveal as a very dark crimson), and carry the olive branch of St. Panteleimon. They work as travelling, preaching friars and have spread far beyond the borders of Venice. It is said that the Abbot is a thrall of the Archbishop of Nod, and that a great many of the monks are ghouls.
The Lido: This 11 km long sandbar separates the city from the Adriatic, and serves to shelter Venice from the worst of the weather. It was also one of two staging areas (along with Mestre on the mainland) for the 4th Crusade, and was the largest and best organised of them. A small town of 1300 souls, Malamocco, exists on the Lido. Malamocco services a number of villa’s owned by the wealthier noble families, who flee to the Lido to escape the worst of Venice’s oppressive summers.