Elysium: The Elder War

Journal entry 5, Petronius

We are moving some of our possessions to Constantinople, preparing for the inevitable attack of the Stryx, and I come across this journal.  I had forgotten all about it, but it remained, wrapped carefully in my desk drawer.  I had intended to keep careful documentation of my time as one of the immortal, but other matters seemed more important.  Now I think I will come back to this journal when and if time permits.  This is one such occassion.

Decades have passed since my last entry.  I am now Consul in the Senex, I maintain my relationship with Decima, I am in regular contact now with the Fellowship of Judas, we have expanded Nox's domain (which we now share as a coterie), and we have prepared for our inevitable relocation to Constantinople, building domain, influence, and allies in this new place.  In other words, we have kept busy.

Protasius proved himself an able retainer, he is an able speaker, calm and reasonable.  He has maintained contacts with various parts of the Roman bureaucracy which has been quite useful to accommodate my influence, he shows what I can only describe as a pragmatic efficiency.  He asked me to make him immortal, and about 15 years ago, I complied with his request.  Having childer has proven to be a time consuming responsibility, but Protasius has shown himself worthy of the effort at this time.

There has been unrest in Rome as it struggles to adapt to Christianity, and we saw such unrest in our own domain over the past few days.  While hunting we were drawn to a large crowd around a blazing bonfire.  We discovered that it was in front of a neighborhood brothel, where the prostitutes were burning all their worldly possessions, and loudly singing the names of their past clients, which obviously included several men in the crowd.

The crowd however was enthralled by a monk, who was the only male in front of the brothel, who was clearly a religious fanatic.  He was joined by a beautiful and very pale woman I had never seen before who spoke only in scripture.  The monk turned his attention to Nox, completely ignoring his ability to conceal himself, and started accusing him of being a sinner, demanding repentance, and further aggressive accusations.  Now the entire crowd seemed able to see Nox as they all stared and began to make accusations.  I have never been so frightened of a mortal before.

I interrupted and used by presence to draw the attention of the crowd away from Nox, and I moved away from him to allow him to disappear.  "My friend, is such a spectacle really necessary?", I asked.  The Monk turned his attention to me, as the pale companion pointed at me and spouted scripture.  It was at this moment that something truly terrifying happened.  A deep well of panic rose from deep within me, and an urge to turn and run became nearly overwhelming.  I nearly succumbed, and later I was told by my companions that they had instead been filled with wild rage, again nearly to the point of falling to frenzy.  I suspect we are very fortunate that none of us obeyed our instincts.

Everything I tried against this monk was ineffective.  He showed complete immunity to all powers of dominate or presence that I attempted to use to calm him.  In the end, I engaged him in debate, but found him a challenging orarator.  In the end, when he found that he could not best me in this contest, he demanded I leave, which is an offer he did not need to repeat as my companions were now safely away.

My companions had found someone else of interest in the crowd.  A young vampire named Narses of clan Lasombra.  He asked our permission to "torment" and "perfect" the members of the convent.  I had him explain what he meant, and a monster was revealed.  Narses wished to torture them, and have them torture themselves for his pleasure.  He felt that vampires were divinely required to harm and victimize mortals, and Narses clearly was all too happy to do his part.  I was disgusted by him.  We told him that he would not have permission and he was to go.  We should have killed him when we had the chance.

The next night we found a Deacon of the Arian Christians named Damasus arrive at the convent with armed men.  There he accused the monk and his companion of witchcraft.  This is a charge, given what I had witnessed, might indeed be true.  The two left the convent, and we followed them, only to be seen by them, at which point they quickly turned about and fled into the convent through a back entrance.  I knocked on the door and asked to speak to them, to see if there was anything I could do to prevent violence, but again, there was no conversation to be had with either.  I decided going to Damasus was my only course.

I did so only to find he had a writ by the Emperor to execute all in the convent.  I dominated him to spare the nuns (the former prostitutes), and found that unlike the monk, he was susceptible.  Returning to the convent, Nox was waiting there, and told us that Narses has disobeyed our commands.  Nox had confronted him and given him one final warning, that he must leave our domain and not return.

Damasus arrived and gathered the monk, his companion and all the nuns and accused them of witchcraft and commanded his men to tie them to stakes.  Had my dominate failed to work, or had this monk somehow had my dominate dissipate into nothing?  Perhaps Narses had done something.  I quickly approached calling for the nuns to be spared, only to have half the armed men turn on me.

I managed to talk the men down, and rather than attacking me, they took me into custody and led me to the front of the convent, where Damasus had the monk and his companion put to the torch.  I stood there helpless, but relieved when the nuns were spared, though they were put to the lash with demands for repentance (had they not repented already?  I cannot believe that if indeed this monk and his companion were witches that any of these woman were aware of such trickery).

The monk screamed as he burned.  I immediately regretted not including him in the command to Damasus, but his companion seemed to not even notice the flames.  When she died all the flames went out immediately and we notice that she was barely burned at all.  Was she an angel?  A demon?  I don't think we will ever know, but I am sure that her death was either a saving grace or a tragedy.  I fear it may have been the latter.

It was then that Narses appeared, none of us, not even Nox or Adrasteia saw him coming.  He appeared behind the deacon and ripped out his throat.  We drew our weapons, but the time they were out of their sheathes, Narses took the form of a shadow and was gone.  Such power in someone so young is humbling and concerning.  We were outraged.

The Senex quickly pronounced the final death for Narses, but he was nowhere to be found.  I suspect should we ever find him that we will test his power, and either he or us shall meet our final deaths.

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