Elysium: The Elder War
Journal Entry 1, Petronius
Three nights ago, I met with my closest friends in Nox's domain. He has a lovely home, plenty of room for each of us, private and quiet. Nox has become probably my closest friend over the past few weeks. We apparently share similar backgrounds, though he remains vague on the details of his own life. He has been a vampire much longer than I, he casually mentioned 35 years, while I have only months of experience, though Nox has clearly stayed away from others of our kind until recently. He is a decent person, someone of conscience and decency. His appearance is shocking at first, took a bit of time to get used to, though I remind myself that one's worth is not presented on the skin, though I still have to pretend at times not to be affected by his visage. This is my failing, not his, and I am not proud of it. I promise myself in time that I will not need to pretend.
The second of my new found friends in death is Adrasteia. She is one that I find myself pitying, for the curse of her clan has clearly completely taken her mind, though from what I hear, her clan often target those who are already suffering from mental illness. She is often in her own world, clearly hearing voices that the rest of us do not, or seeing things we do not. Often she seems confused or lonely, which sparks my pity, I desire to help her, and at least have her content in her existence, even if there is no hope for her mind. To this date, she has been nothing but kind to me, and I have never seen her be cruel, even in her state.
The last friend we met with is Marcus. Marcus is very new to Rome, and is in fact one of the Bruhah clan, which apparently are great enemies of Ventrue, the clan which I was embraced, and thus Marcus is in danger in this city. In presentation to the Senex, Marcus claimed to be Toreador, for his safety, but clearly his true heritage is known by at least one in the Senex. I managed to remove Marcus from scrutiny for the time being, but am concerned that renewed interest could come at any time. I do not know what conversation about my new friend occur behind closed doors. Marcus, of all my friends, is in fact the most enigmatic. I do not fully understand why he is in Rome, and he has made clear that he has significant martial prowess, but his intentions with these talents are unknown to me. I have been warned that the Bruhah mean Rome, and all vampires within great harm, yet I cannot abandon one who clearly needs my help, and has not betrayed any ill intentions towards Roman kindred. I cannot and will not believe that Bruhah are evil by nature, and will offer Marcus my continued friendship and protection, and I shall maintain faith that he shall provide the same in return.
My new friends and I are all new to Roman vampiric society, and we had our first invitation to a party of our kind being held in baths in the Necropolis. Tircia Julia Commotor was hosting, and we were all intrigued to discover more of how our kind socialize. The party seemed to be attended by near all vampires in Rome, it was truly as spectacle of art, music, dancing, passion and spirit. As I was already aware, many of those of our kind severely mistreat the mortals, and I carefully took note of what I saw in this regard. I lack power or influence at this time to right the wrongs that I saw, but it made it more clear to me than ever that we must change this culture. Whether it takes years or centuries, I believe we can reform how our kind interacts with the mortals. Obviously there will always be a connection between our kind, and we have powers that will clearly shape the mortal world, but this shaping must come without harm or suffering, and this is something that we shall achieve, however long it takes.
It seems that I was successful in my attempts to make a positive impression on our hostess, and she showed me special attention of surprising nature in response. Overall, I believe my performance helped to improve the position of both myself and my friends with some of the more influential powers in the city. In addition, I met Desema, a young composer, and we seemed to find each other very interesting. After the party, we got together and had a very nice time. I hope to see her again, and perhaps hear her music.
During the party, we were invited to the same event by both Titus Camillus (an obese Ventrue with questionable morality), and Tircia to the same event in two evenings, a chariot race at the Circus Maximus. We chose to attend and found that those in attendance were very invested in these races. It was during these races that Camillus approached Marcus about a favor he needed done. Marcus wisely asked to know what the favor was before agreeing, but Camillus clearly felt need to demonstrate that vampires as lowly as Marcus had no right to be placing any conditions when given the honor of doing Titus a favor. Marcus quickly backed down and begged for Titus Camillus to forgive his impertinence. I held my tongue, for cutting all potential ties with Camillus at this point would serve no purpose, but I did not enjoy watching Marcus treated with such indignity. Marcus was invited to join the chariot race and won against a very savage looking vampire of the Gangrel clan. Again I wonder at the prowess of Marcus, should I be concerned? I again convince myself that he is a friend.
After the race Camillus tells us of the favor he wishes. We are to travel to Mediolanum to acquire a package for Camillus and return it to Rome. He does not tell us the nature of the package, or why he wishes it, but gives us supplies, money, and a list of locations for us to rest on a 10 day journey. I am not sure we want to do Camillus any favors, but do we have a choice? Should we stay in the places he has provided, where surely he will have us watched and reported on? What of this package? It seems to me we must know what it is, and why he wants it before providing it to him, though there is not enough information at this time to draw any conclusions.
Journal Entry 2, Petronius
I open my journal to discover over a year has passed without any entries! Time moves quickly these days. I should continue where I left off, with the errand for Titus Venturus Camillus.
First I met with my companions (Lately I find they refer to us as a "Coterie" or a "Brood") and discussed how were to deal with our upcoming assignment. We reviewed Camillus's instructions, specifically we were to travel to Mediolanum, contact his servant, pick up a package and return it to Rome, and in return he would provide us with wealth and praise. He gave us a purse of gold for the statue, a seal for entry to the city and identification, and a list of places we could safely stay on the road.
As I said in my last entry, I had no desire to stay in the places he offered, for the reasons, for sake of avoiding redundancy, I will not repeat. My "coterie" (as I will now refer to as my friends Nox, Marcus and Adrasteia) seemed to agree. We also agreed that once we had the package, we would determine what it was, and why he wanted it, and decide what to do next. We left the city in secret with 2 silk carts and 2 good donkeys.
The trip to Mediolanum was uneventful, and we were granted feeding rights by Julia Africanus, whose servant gave us directions to Camillus's servant's home. After hunting we arrived at his home to discover that the package we were picking up was a large marble statue that was offense of the virtue of Pudicita (The long held Roman virtue of modesty and chastity, best explained by Titus Livius (Livy) in Ab Urbe Condita Libri). A Satyr and a Nymph in fornication. It was determined at this time that this fit what we knew of Camillus, who not only was an affront to Pudicita, but also to Frugalitas (simplicity of economy), Dignitas (simple dignity), Salubritas (cleanliness and fitness), and Severitas (self control), to name but a few.
In addition, we discovered that Camillus's servant had been subverted by Eupraxus, a local Toreador, who appears to be running some kind of blasphemous cult where he masquerades as the Messiah, replacing Joshua get Joseph of Galilee I suppose, which is of particular distaste to me, as I believe Joshua get Joseph of being the true messiah and son of God. He told us that Eupraxus warns of "monsters", but could provide little detail as to what that meant. We will keep our eyes open for more about this in the future. Eupraxus's look of innocence is clearly only a look.
The road home as also uneventful, an attack of some bandits was fortunate as it gave me a chance to feed on the road. Nox offered animals he summoned, but they of course did not fulfill my particular restriction that I have vowed never to abandon, even in times of need.
I was very suspicious of this statue, it seemed an odd thing for Camillus to take so much effort to acquire. Why take the time and effort to recruit vampires for such a mundane task? My coterie was certain it was merely a test of our loyalty, and that I was being too suspicious.
After delivering the Statue, we were rewarded with a significant amount of coin. My coterie agreed I would invest it in my merchant enterprise. Rather than commissioning ships, I now have a few small ships of my own, with crew, and I no longer am bringing in only silk and spice from China, but also many exotic spices from India as well. They harbor in both Italy and in Byzantium, which is increasingly becoming an excellent market. My revenues have increased nicely.
Despite all my efforts, the statue was delivered before I was able to determine its true purpose. My suspicions were correct, Camillus intended the vile work for public display! Worse than that, the display involved an attack on the reputation of Tertia Julia Comitor, a mocking if you will. This was unacceptable to me as we had previously managed to work our way into Comitor's good graces, and being involved in delivering the statue to Camillus would sour that. In essence it would place us with Camillus against Comitor in a rivalry which we had just discovered.
In desperation I went to my Sire for advice. Although these matters are beneath his concern, he was good enough to provide 2 possible courses of action. First was that we did nothing, Comitor would be embarrassed and we would lose any good will we had with her, but Camillus would be pleased with us. This was the safe course of action. Second was to destroy the statue and let Comitor know we had done it, but keep it from Camillus. If successful it would not only spare Comitor the embarrassment, and remove the vile statue from public view, but would not make an enemy of Camillus. However, if he were to discover we were responsible, there could be dire consequences.
I pleaded with my coterie for assistance in destroying the statue. I was convinced it was the only decent course of action, despite the risk. Unfortunately, none of my friends agreed. Nox said he was more satisfied being patroned by Camillus, as he knew his type and would rather deal with a known quantity than an unknown one (Comitor). Marcus felt he had no way to help deal with the statue, and also felt it wasn't worth any risk to do so. Adrasteia did want the statue destroyed, but was not willing to put herself at risk to do so.
In the end, I had to take care of it myself. I dominated a local knight who violated clementia ("mercy and gentleness", in particular to his wife) to destroy the statue and to leave Rome. I disguised myself in a heavy cloak that hid my body and face. Although the man was eventually discovered, at this time I believe that he could not provide them with information to identify me. I provided Comitor with a small piece of marble from the statue so she would know that I was responsible, for which she has been most appreciative, clearly this meant much to her as I suspected. I am convinced I did the right thing, though I am discouraged I could not get any help from my friends.
A year has passed since that event, and the year has been lovely. I now have regular intimate meetings with Desema (whom I wrote about in my last entry), and I will say we have become quite close in that time. Comitor has become my patron and she has involved me in planning and hosting many parties for our kind. This has allowed me to interact with nearly all our kind in the city. My standing in the Senex is now quite strong, with support from all sides. I now have status that puts me in league with some kindred centuries my elder. I continually get closer to the point where I can enact real change, and am becoming more familiar in the many ways that change is required.
However, recently there have been rumors regarding a missing vampire, a minor member of the Senex, no one of much importance. He was last seen near my coterie's territory, and there are rumors we had something to do with it. Our investigations led to discover that he was a retainer of Camillus, a worshipper of Bast, and perhaps on the wrong side of conflict with some kind of infernal cult. We currently investigate this disappearance to clear our names, as well as possibly identify a threat to our kind in the city. I will write more on this matter once we have gathered more information and hopefully cleared our names.
Journal Entry 3, Petronius
I am on the edge of a knife. My destination remains clear, but the path is now obscured.
Due to the testimony of the Augers, our names are cleared, however, their prophecies suggest that the time is at hand, the Stryx come at last for their vengeance, and we all may pay the price for the crimes of the line of Remus. I have begun to prepare. No longer do my arms and armor of my days as Tribuni angusticlavia remain in a chest in my haven, but I wear them under my trabea, ready for the inevitable attack.
However, just as our greatest threat comes to bear, so do the strengths I thought I held crumble to dust. I have facilitated a relationship with Warcrow, the Magistrate of the Legion of the Dead. This was to be a relationship that could provide protection to all I hold dear, but perhaps not. Desema showed me a part of the Necropolis that I had never seen, a hidden area where the destitute huddle. There, kindred unfortunate enough to have been embraced by the wrong clan hide from the Legion of the Dead, as I now understand, they are destroyed without trial, without advocacy, and as Desema indicates, without wrongdoing or ill intent. The Legion of the Dead, once my greatest protection, may in fact be my enemy.
My position in the Senex is Paracletus Autem Infirma (advocate of the weak), and for the Legion of the Dead to practice executions without providing me my right to advocate for these kindred is unacceptable. I must find and change the laws that allow this, and if no such law exists, Warcrow will face my charges on the Senex floor. This however could weaken our greatest defense. To Hell with our defense. I will not lie with the Devil. To the Stryx I say, come on then! Here I am! I have no plan, no weapons, and one other thing…I don't have anything to lose, so come on then!
The one thing that dominates my thoughts, however, is not the Stryx, not Warcrow, or the ever-increasing thoughts I have that the Inconnu may be beyond redemption. Instead my thoughts cannot escape memories of my childhood.
"Lucretus Gavrus was the next he had executed. Again, there was no trial, not even charges laid.", I remember Lactantius well, he was a Berber, a native of North Africa, a scholar, a historian, and a Christian. He was also my tutor, as well as the tutor of my childhood friend, Flavius Julius Crispus.
"Why did he kill this one?", Crispus loved stories of previous Emperors, particularly the bad ones. He would then have Lactantius explain how his father, Constantine, our current Emperor, was superior.
"They say that Gavrus had corrected Carinus in front of Aspasius Paternus, and Carinus never forgot a slight.", Lactantius seemed to always learn the most minute details of anything he taught.
"That can't be correct," I would point out, "Paternus died when Carinus was still a child. He's not going to have Gavrus executed for something he did 20 years before."
"He never forgot a slight.", Lactantius repeated.
Later that day I remember Crispus and I playing swords with sticks we had found in the garden. Crispus insisted that he was the hero Diocletion, and I had to be the villian Carinus. "Give up Carinus! Your whole army has abandoned you!", "NEVER!", I would pronounce with a scowl, "I will kill you, and every good Roman! Gah!", I pretended to be wounded in the side, "Betrayed by my own bodyguard. Curse you!". Crispus would laugh as I hammed up the death scene.
Lactantius would then teach of Diocletion, the hero who defeated Carinus. He was Emperor for nearly 20 years of peace and prosperity. Born common, it was the love of Diocletion's own troops that made him Emperor. His military victories were numerous. The Samartians, the Carpi, the Alamanni, the Egyptian uprisers, and of course his great victories against the Sassanids, finally bringing peace with Persia. However, not all his accomplishments were martial. He expanded the administrative functions of government, reformed taxation, and brought the Empire, on the brink of collapse, back to stability.
"Civil war began after his peaceful abdication, Diocletion became very ill near the end of his reign, and abdicated to Maxentius. He retired peacefully to his homeland of Dalmatia. The people begged for him to resume his throne, to which he replied, "If you could show the cabbage that I planted with my own hands to your Emperor, he definitely wouldn't suggest that I replace the peace and happiness of this place with the storms of a never-satisfied greed.", Lactantius would emulate Diocletion as a great Orator, content in his retirement, tending his garden in peace.
Four years later Diocletion died, and my teacher told me it was a peaceful death from old age, well deserved from a long life of service.
Last night I learned that Carinus's death scene was nothing like the childhood games Crispus and I played all those years ago. Instead he was embraced, and became the Nosferatu Nox. When I first learned of this I was horrified, but then I couldn't help but wonder, is it true? Is everything I've claimed about reformation now confirmed? Could a villain like Carinus really have seen the error of his ways and finally embraced the virtues of Clementia, Humanitas, and Pietus?
Nox has had great interest in the influence of our kind on past Emperors. I asked him if he thought that he had been manipulated, and he said that he thought he had, though the horrible things he had done were his own. He told me that he was particularly interested in the manipulations of Diocletion, who he said had killed his family. He added that those who manipulated him would suffer and die as Diocletion did. I corrected Nox, "…but Diocletion died peacefully of old age." Nox smiled with great satisfaction. A smile that showed no regret, no mercy, only a look of one who has caused suffering and took pleasure in that suffering, "No, he died screaming, in pain." My hopes were dashed.
Nox claims that Diocletion killed his family. I can only assume he blamed Diocletion for the death of his father Carus and his brother Numerian, though this does not match what I had learned.
His father Carus, who murdered Emperor Probus to become Emperor, ruled for only one year before his death while fighting the Persians. The exact cause of death is unknown, though he may have been struck by lightning, or died of wounds of battle. The peaceful succession of power to Carinus suggests that the death was not suspicious.
His brother Numerian, was murdered by Lucius Favius Aper, his own father-in-law. Numerian was leading his army back to Rome, when he reportedly fell ill and quickly died (though we now know Aper had poisoned him). Aper then concealed Numerian's death while he positioned for his own ascent to the purple. The army discovered the death of the Co-Emperor and Aper was tried and convicted of his murder. Diocletion himself put Numerian's murderer to death by beheading.
Perhaps the historians are wrong. Perhaps Diocletion was controlled by vampires. Perhaps he, under their control, killed Carus and then killed Numerian while framing Aper. I know firsthand the power of dominate, such a feat is possible by the most powerful of our kind.
Even if that is the case, then Diocletion was not a hero as I was taught, but instead a victim, a common soldier who lost all control of his own life. Does such a victim deserve a death where he "screamed in pain"? What kind of monster would delight at that? It seems the answer may be Nox.
One who I counted on as my closest friend may in fact be a villain. Obsessed with revenge and sadism over all other concerns, just like the Stryx. The parallel is alarming to me. Just as our greatest threat comes to bear, so do the strengths I thought I had crumble to dust.
Nox told me that he was hesitant to tell me of his past lest I judge him for his past deeds. I am a Christian, I do not judge the repentant on the deeds of the past, however, Nox does not only lack repentance, he smiled when reminiscing of torture and murder, and at the plan to repeat these crimes. What will his reaction be if I challenge him on this?
The words of Lacantius repeat over and over in my head. "Carinus never forgot a slight." Lacantius didn't know how correct he was. I thought to lust for revenge for 20 years was unbelievable, but now I witness a lust spanning much longer. I can forgive Carinus for the evils he practiced in life, but can I forgive him the evils he still lusts to commit? Is there any hope that I might yet reform him? I must try, but my faith is shaken.
I choose to believe that Nox is still manipulated. Still a victim of the machinations of those who choose to have him tear down those who might oppose the will of his controllers. To them I say, you are parasites! Living on jealously, and envy, and longing for the lives of others. You FEED on them! On the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow and so, so, come on then, try me then! Try me, but I hope you have a big appetite. I've not lived a long life, but I've lived one that is filled with longing and loss and pain and sorrow and heartache and anguish. One that may spoil your palate you bastards! Bring it on, I'm waiting!
I am at the edge of a knife. My destination remains clear, but the path is now obscured.
Journal Entry 4, Petronius
One year I have had to discuss with Nox his past, his vengeance and his repentance, and I believe now that his salvation is not only possible, but probable. I no longer believe he lusts for revenge on those who may have manipulated Diocletion, so I have abandoned my efforts to impede his investigations on this matter.
It was during one of these very discussions when we witnessed Selbaric, a vampire and a savage of ill-repute skulk into a hidden passage within the necropolis. Andrasteia gave chase, and we followed Andrasteia. Eventually, the barbarian found himself with a heretical group of Gangrel who believed the lord would channel through them and destroy the Inconnu. Naturally, we immediately provided Warcrow with this information, and we personally aided the Legion of the dead with dispatching these fanatics. It was strange to use my sword again in actual combat after years of disuse, yet I found my arm still willing, and years of training came back to me quickly enough. Combined with the power of vitae I found that I am now a force to be reckoned with, yet remain nothing compared to Marcus, who is lightning fast and has the strength of many.
Learning all we could about the uprising we found ourselves with our first visit to the Lancea Et Sanctum indeed, once again we must speak of fanaticism. I found neither Rhetrix nor Hostilinus compelling nor worthy examples of Christians. Two fanatics who I find little in common with. I will not be attending Mass and the Lancea Et Sanctum soon.
It is these two very fanatics who came before the Senex and demanded the immediate dissolution of the Inconnu. Replaced with what? Nothing, anarchy, despotism I suppose. In response, a tired call to keep everything stagnant, in what we know is a dying world. I attempted to call for reform, not revolution. There are many traditions, laws and systems within the Inconnu that are not worth discarding. Within the Inconnu, despite all its imperfections, we have society, we have civilization. I felt my words to be some of my best, some of my most compelling in all my speeches to the Senex, but alas, moderation apparently has no place in a modern political system. We are forced in a dichotomy between fanaticism and blindness.
Afterwards, I received a letter from the Augurs asking I deliver to them a mortal, one by the name of Giaus Flavius. Seeming like an innocuous request, I agreed. Marcus received a near identical request from the Lancea Et Sanctum. What importance could one mortal have? I was horrified to learn that the demands were in fact for Flavius Julius Crispus, my old schoolmate, the successor of my father, and the son of the Emperor. Crispus appeared to be travelling incognito, and despite the obvious risk, I decided I must warn him of the danger he was in and try to escort him to a place of relative safety.
It was there that the Stryx attacked. They are all we have been warned about. Crispus’s bodyguard were dropped in an instant. Only together were my coterie and I able to eventually confine Crispus once he was possessed by one of these nightmares.
Lying dying on the street were the two bodyguards, and Marcus and I decided that we would provide them blood so they might live. The one who used my blood is Protasius, the more social of the two.
I decided we must ask for help from my sire Antonius. We were on the way to my sire when Marcus asked me if my sire was to truly be trusted. This is a difficult question to answer, for Antonius is one of the more trustworthy elders I have met, yet are any of that age not a mystery? I replied that I felt he was more trustworthy than most when Marcus made a bold statement. He claimed his sire was completely trustworthy, and that we should instead take Crispus to her. Trusting Marcus, I reluctantly agreed.
Aelia was not impressed to see us, nor what we brought, she was filled with anger. She quickly killed Crispus and embraced him, then told us that this was no longer our concern and banished us from her quarters. Crispus has not adjusted well to vampiric life, not ready to adjust to being the emperor’s son to a neonate. I believe Aelia has been dominating him, for he is no longer himself, currently finding a place with the legion. I pity my childhood friend, but do not know how to help him.
Most importantly, the Stryx have now revealed themselves, and soon, we will find ourselves at the wrong side of an old vendetta against the line of Remus. Can the Inconnu survive? Perhaps the Lanea Et Sanctum will get their wish after all.
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.