Through the Ages

Session 6
A Sire's Gift

The characters are summoned to Saccarias, the Prince, who resides on the garrisoned island in Antioch, atop a large watchtower. Here he explains that one of his long-time servants has been found dead. More importantly the servant's delivery – a treasured dagger gifted to Saccarias from his Sire the Prince of Tripoli – is missing. The circumstances of the ghoul's death points to Kindred involvement. The neonates are tasked with finding out who of the remaining seven Kindred in the city is a traitor. They must report only to the Prince. He trusts the characters since, he proclaims; they are too feeble to have done it themselves. He sends his servant Mekhmet along to monitor their progress however.

The ghoul shows them to the corpse, which has all the trademarks of a clawed Gangrel attack. Next, they are shown to where the murder took place. In the filthy alley they can confirm that the attacker definitely is a Protean-user and find blooded tracks across the rooftops above which lead toward the outer walls. They instruct Mekhmet to bring horses and meet them at the inn outside the gates the next night.

The following evening at the inn, Mehkmet is nowhere to be seen, although the horses are waiting in its stables. The inn owner claims to have seen him earlier on the way to the privy. The neonates get suspicious. Aziz finds drag marks in the soil behind the stables that lead into a nearby wheat field. Some thirty yards into it he finds Mekhmet dead, killed in the same way as Saccarias' other servant. Someone or something else is stalking through the wheat. Colino and Christophe come to the field's edge to look for their friend and Aziz sees an opportunity to circle the unknown assailant. The small Lasombra spots the hunter as it charges him. A chaotic fight breaks out. Their enemy is tough, but as the Toreador and the Gangrel keep it occupied, the Lasombra manages to cling onto its back and bite its neck to pieces. Christophe is drenched in vitae. The assailant slumps to the ground unmoving. Aziz moves to break off the top of a fence post and – hoping against hope that what he has been told is true – drives it into the creature's chest, staking it, with some effort.

Among its belongings they find the Prince's lost dagger, but more importantly, a leatherworked rendering of Aziz's Sire with the caption "Kadir, sire of Ilhu". The Gangrel is adamant that they should now take the incapacitated attacker to his Sire instead. The others agree. They ride around the city to Aziz's and Kadir's haven, a fortress ruin away from the roads.
They show Kadir the rendering. He explains that once he had taken Allah into his heart, he sought out all of his progeny and offered them the chance to convert to the one true faith. His childe Ilhu and her get fled before him. All others met their Final Death refusing the offer.
The Gangrel elder takes a long sniff of their catch and states:
"Ah, this must be Ahbed." and casually rips the heart out of his grand-childe, ending him.

Stunned – none more so than Aziz – the neonates agree to bring the ashes and other belongings to the Prince, telling him they were forced to kill the culprit. Saccarias is quite pleased with having the dagger returned and contented to hear that the Lasombra was instrumental in putting the thief to death. He states that the Monsignore's travel arrangements to Tripoli may yet be possible. It is the first Christophe has heard of it.

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Second downtime
Two years pass in Antioch

Aziz learns the traditional ways of the Gangrel hunt.

Colino expands his business.

Christophe is reprimanded for shaming his Sire in Jerusalem before a clan Elder no less.

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Session 5 wrap up
Return to Antioch

The characters send a letter to Antioch informing their sires that the translation is complete. They are ordered to return home. Kadir is to meet them half way.

Wanting nothing to do with his abusive sire, Christophe procrastinates for as long as he is allowed. The three neonates set their affairs in order, taking their leave of the Prince and also the Ashirra. They reassure Maria that their vow of protection will be honored and where she can find them. Christophe says farewell to Sabine, heartbroken. Colino finishes his research so far on Felix and presents it to the Seneschal. Aziz lets the Imam know where he can be reached.

On the way north, the characters are pursued by a trio of huge wolves, at least one of which is also a man. Just as they are about to be caught, Kadir emerges through the brush and takes them on. Incredibly, the Gangrel is victorious but has trouble controlling his inner Beast for the rest of the journey to Antioch.

Upon returning the neonates tell their sires of their time in Jerusalem. What catches their interest varies. All three though are pleased that the text is finally in their grasp. The six vampires settle in to every day unlife in Antioch.

Two years pass.

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Session 5
Easter is not for everyone

A more detailed account here.

It is Good Friday in Jerusalem and the characters are invited to celebrate it on the Temple Mount at Gilberti Grilati's request.

They go and suffer a three hour long dreary mass. Due to some unforeseen social blunders during the evening they are among the last to be released from the event, close to dawn.

While rushing home the characters are caught up in the throng along Via Dolorosa. Holy water is sprinkled upon them and presenting the signs of stigmata, Christophe and Colino are swept away by the crowd and brought to a church. Here the Lasombra finally manages to affirm his Dominate on the father and persuade him to keep the crowd out during the day.

The next night Aziz and Conrad send for Isabeau's help and locate the church. They learn from the dispirited crowd that the sainted ones have died during the day. Aziz hopes this means that the mortals simply have interpreted their daysleep as death and puts a plan into action. They convince the priest that the bodies are riddled with decease and need to be transported out of town as soon as possible. As the two vampires are carted off, still very much undead, three Knights Hospitaller come to investigate the fast spreading rumor of the previous night's miracle. They are softly persuaded that the best course of action is burial. Christophe and Colino are buried in a crypt outside of town. Aziz has just enough time to tell them that they will come for them as soon as they can.

As promised, the Lasombra and the Toreador are released from their tomb the next night.

A few nights later, Maria invites the characters to meet her sire Adam. The truly ancient Cappadocian explains that the scroll they have brought recites a verse he once heard from his own sire about how the first vampire learned what we now know as Disciplines from the being known as Lilith. He advices to be very careful with the contents. In exchange for the translation he has the characters promise that they give his childe protection should she ever need it.

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Downtime
A year passes in the Levant

The characters try to settle in.

Colino spends much time with Maria and the texts. He also tries to find time for social gatherings and the other Toreador in Jerusalem. Conrad is fed off of Colino's vitae.

Aziz strengthens his bond with the remaining Ashirra and keeps a very low profile in general in town as sole Gangrel. He tries to help the text interpretation process where he can and slowly returns to the art of astronomy.

Christophe gets intimately acquainted with Sabine and a deep bond forms between the two. She takes him under her wings and show him what he needs to know to survive. Here is a fragment that share insight into this relationship.

The characters spend sundays together catching up. Something Colino takes very seriously.

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Session 4
The search continues

A more detailed account here.

The characters learn the location of Yussuf's haven from Sabine's sire Abdullah, an enigmatic man who runs a luxury wares shop in the Armenian Quarter. Largely oblivious to Kindred ways, the characters will surely have to repay Abdullah for this information in the future.

While investigating Yussuf's home, the characters are ambushed by other Kindred; europeans posing as Ashirra, possibly Assamite. Isabeau intervenes and disappears again into the night.

A few nights later the PCs are stopped by Aram and his goons, hooded and taken through deceptive means to an Ashirra underground lair. Here they meet Suleiman, leader of the remaining Ashirra in Jerusalem, who questions them about their break-in in the home of Yussuf, who is missing.
The characters try to convince the Ashirra that a third party is trying to stir up a conflict between the groups through Felix's and Yussuf's friendship. Although threatening but civil, the Ashirra become somewhat more respectful when they learn that Aziz is the childe of Kadir of whom they have heard great things. The characters are sent on their way.

Anton is told the very same suspicion yet a few nights later, when the PCs deliver the news that both Felix and Yussuf have met their Final Deaths. No mention of a meeting with Ashirra is made. Although concerned, the seneschal allows for the characters to meet Maria, a Kindred scholar of the jewish faith, as promised. With her and possibly her sire's help the ancient hebrew scroll may be decyphered. It is soon evident however that the translation will take quite some time.

A year passes.

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Session 3
Arrival in Jerusalem

The characters arrive at Lion's gate and persuade the guards to let them in with some clumsily adopted Presence and Dominate work.

Audience at the Prince's villa is an arduous process. The characters meet several other Kindred in the (waiting) library; Kether and Priamos, a Tremere and his sire who both reside in Bethlehem, and Sabine, a Toreador noble woman. The characters are eventually summoned by the Prince's seneschal Anton, and present their sires' letter. The PCs are allowed to stay for the time being and access to the jewish historians will be granted if the characters will investigate the disappearance of Felix von Bremen, a resident Kindred archeologist.

The PCs find and take over a residence near the Muslim Quarter.

The characters investigate the archeologist's home and find the remains of his Final Death. The whole house has already been searched through thoroughly by persons unknown, upturning furniture and other household items. The PCs find a hidden compartment in the study which holds correspondence that point to another Kindred situated in the Muslim Quarter; Yussuf ibn Wahid.

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Session 2
Journey to Jerusalem

The characters meet again for the first time after their Embrace, two years later. It is an emotional moment.

The PCs' sires explain that they have banded together in search of ancient texts to try to unravel the origin and true circumstance of this unlife. The scroll that poor Victor gave his life for and the PCs delivered unto them needs decyphering. Historians of the jewish faith in Jerusalem might help in such an endevour, but the sires are regrettably barred from entry to the Holy City.

The PCs are sent south with the scroll under the somber guidance of Thomas of Cornwall's trusted ghoul Conrad. The sires have composed a letter for the Prince explaining the PCs plight. A fourth member of the sires' coterie has been sent ahead to be in a position to help the group when they arrive in Jerusalem. While travelling to the city Conrad explains some of the tragic tale of Isabeau and Thomas

On the way, the group pass several guarded positions with some difficulty and eventually the muslim-christian no man's land where they ambush a party of bandits and give them a piece of their own medicine. 

Six nights out of Antioch, the characters get their first glimpse of the walls of Jerusalem.

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Individual sessions
Embrace and realization

As two years pass the characters are embraced and get the basic idea of being a vampire. Three different stories played out separately.

 

 

 

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Session 1
Where they flee into the arms of death

The characters, mere mortals, are introduced to one another when traveling south together from Constatinople in a trading caravan. Christophe is bound for Tripoli to rejoin his father. Colino is tasked with chronicling a french knight's deeds in the holy land. Aziz seeks passage to Damascus where he hopes to find an elusive cult. None of them will reach their destination. A few merchants acompany their goods, among them Victor who poses as a rare commodities trader. Also along for the trek are a group of guards/soldiers and a band of pilgrims led by a priest.

It is soon apparent that something is awry. The caravan is searched in the night, by forces unknown. More than one of the traders are overeager to negotiate a deal for wares from the others to learn what they are carrying. Tempers flare as the priest brings together people of different beliefs and motivations for "philosophical musings".

In a village along the way, the priest is found murdered. Blame for the abhorrent act is placed on the priest's mentally retarded servant Telemachos. Even though this conclusion doesn't sit right with the characters, they are unable to find evidence to the contrary and Telemachos is swiftly put to death by hanging under the authority of the french knight.

The following night, on the road, the caravan is hit by suspiciously skilled bandits. Victor, with whom the characters have struck an accord, pleads with them to take an ancient scroll he carries and flee while he protects their escape. In the chaos, Aziz is struck by a poisoned arrow. In the coming days the wound will fester, further complicating their flight. 

Several days later, frightened, hungry and desperate, the characters stumble onto a farmer's plot – Aziz now close to death – who helps them to Antioch and the house of an apothecary. Soon a strange trio arrives to aquire the scroll, learn of Victor's demise and have a closer look at the people who delivered it in his stead.

The session ends with each Sire parting with their chosen human.

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