by Dark Whispers (11 Nov 94)
The following is a Bloodline that I have been working on for the past few months. This is the completed version, with their discipline, their path of enlightenment, and a new thaumaturgical path. I would appreciate some feedback, and I'd like to know what you guys think.
This offshoot of the Salubri are little known by most Kindred, which, for their sake, is a good thing; if they were to be discovered, there is no doubt that they would be quickly destroyed. It is these Kindred who lend truth to the Tremere propaganda about the Salubri, and even the peaceful Childer of Saulot seek to destroy these abberations when the opportunity presents itself. While their lineage resides with the Salubri, and certainly their powers are a corrupt version of the Salubri's own healing abilities, this is where the similarity ends. These Kindred are vengeance driven shells of their formers selves and they seek only one thing out of their unlife; the utter destruction of the House and Clan Tremere.
Their history commences during the same period as that of the Tremere. In A.D. 767, the great Magus and philosopher Bonisagus founded the Order of Hermes by unifying many of the Magi of Europe. Bonisagus was joined by a few Magi of both Celtic and Classical backgrounds, of which Tremere was one, and these Magi formed the twelve Houses of the Order of Hermes. The Order continued this way for centuries, but in the ninth century A.D. a Magus of House Tytalus founded House Ex Miscellanea, which became the thirteenth Hermetic House. Thus, the Order of Hermes now contained thirteen houses, and remained as thus until the second millenia A.D.
However, in 1003 A.D., the Order of Hermes was forever changed. House Tremere, with the aid of House Flambeau, warred upon the Hermetic House of Diedne, and by 1012 had suceeded in all but obliterating the House's existence. Rumours abounded about what reason the House Tremere had for performing such a heinous act against their brothers and sisters of the Order, but no proof or motive ever came to light. The few remaining members of House Diedne retreated into hiding, and the Order as a whole disbanded their House and denied that such a House had ever indeed existed, as the Schism War had been a messy affair, and not one that the majority of the Order were proud of, and the House was quickly forgotten.
While members of the former Hermetic House did not officially exist any longer, there were still some who managed to endure and survive the horrors that the members of House Tremere had put them through in search of some 'secret knowledge' of which they would not speak. One such member was a powerful, young Magus by the name of Dalorese. After the fall of the House Diedne, she, along with a number of her loyal apprentices and fellow Magus of the Diedne, escaped and went into hiding. Dalorese was enraged at the treatment that their House had received at the hands of House Tremere, and she swore revenge against all the Magus of that Hermetic House; that they would know pain and suffering as the Diedne had known it.
To this end, she rallied her followers, and organized them in a series of Guerilla-style strikes against the House Tremere. It was at the hands of these Magi that more than one Tremere Chantry fell, and it was during this 'war' that Dalorese discovered the true reason for the fall of House Diedne, and the dark secret of the Tremere; Tremere himself, along with his most loyal Magi, had used the knowledge that they had stolen from the Diedne during the Schism war, to become immortal. They were now Vampires.
Dalorese's rage knew no bounds. She found it incredulous that the Tremere had used the knowledge of the Druidic House of Diedne for the purpose of making themselves an abberation of nature, and she re-doubled her efforts against the Tremere, and continued the war against them for over a century by using re-vitalizing magics on herself and her followers.
While Dalorese and her 'guerilla-force' of Magi did become a rather annoying thorn in the side of the Tremere during the Eleventh century and into the Twelfth, they simply did not have the man-power or resouces to cause any substantial damage to the Tremere. In order to resolve this difficulty, Dalorese left her cabal in search of allies against the Tremere, and left her close friend and ally Telusia in charge of the cabal with explict instructions; they were to continue their war with the Tremere until her return.
However, her enthusiasm against the Tremere did not match her success in finding allies against them. Many of the surviving members of the House Diedne were fearful of moving against the Tremere, as they were aware of the amount if mystical and temporal power the Tremere had gained since the Schism War. Also, many feared reprecussions from the entire Order of Hermes; House Diedne was now an embarressment to them and the surviving members were concerned that the Order would move to destroy them if they struck back at the Tremere.
Dalorese continued her search for allies in the legions of the other Houses, and other supernatural beings, but received a similar response. It was during these journeys that she discovered the existence of the Salubri; a clan of Vampires whose founder had recently been destroyed by the and who were now being systematically wiped out by the Tremere. She saw many similarities between these Salubri and her own House Diedne, and she decided to find one of these Vampires and enlist their aid against the Tremere.
Her search continued for over twenty years, with little success. As she discovered, the Salubri had become amazingly adept at hiding their presence away from people whom they did not wish to have contact with. But, as she was beginning to lose hope of ever finding one of these elusive Kindred, one found her. A Salubri by the name of Saucius had heard about her inquiries into the presence of his bloodline, and he had become intrigued by her. He had been secretly tracking her progress for over a year, and, when he had decided the time was right, presented himself to her.
She immediately attempted to recruit his aid against the Tremere, but Saucius flat out refused, stating that the Salubri were beyond such petty conflicts, and that he had achieved a state which the Vampires called Golconda, and he was at peace with himself. However, he explained, it would soon be time for him to pass on from this immortal coil, and he required a person of good heart and quick mind to pass on what he had learned. He saw great promise in Dalorese, if she could manage to let go of all of the hatred and anger that she kept inside. He then offered to train Dalorese in the ways of the Salubri, and offered her an 'apprenticeship'. Dalorese, disappointed by Saucius's response to her petition for aid, agreed, hoping to at least learn some useful information about Vampires which she could apply to her battle against the Tremere.
For the next several years, Saucius trained Dalorese in the ways of the Salubri, Golconda, and the mystic abilities of Vampires which they called disciplines. Saucius also taught Dalorese how to let go of her anger and embrace acceptance, which Dalorese eventually did. She forgot her war against the Tremere, and became content with her existance with Saucius, and fell deeply in love with him.
However, the time for Saucius's passing on eventually arrived, and it was during this ritual of renewal that Saucius made a fatal error; instead of Embracing Dalorese, training her, and then forcing her to Diablerize him, he performed both actions at the same time. The shock of the Embrace was too much for Dalorese's mind, and the horror of draining her love's very lifeblood threw her over the edge. As she cradled her love's now lifeless body in her arms and watched it slowly crumble to dust, she snapped. All of the training and discipline that she had learned over the last few years retreated to the recesses of her mind as she succumbed to the beast and fled out into the night.
Dalorese, or at least the creature that used to be Dalorese, remained this way for over six years, living in the forests of the country-side and ripping the throats out of un-wary travellers. It continued this way until a Setite, curious about the local rumours of a 'man-beast' which roamed the woods at night, investigated for himself. When he came upon Dalorese, he was almost overcome by her fury, but he managed to restrain her. Controlling his first impulse to destroy her outright, he saw uses for a Vampire such as this, and, as a secondary interest, under her mud-caked scalp he discovered that she bore a mark of Set (as Dalorese had red hair). He took her back to his haven, and brought her back from the sway of the Beast. He trained her in controlling the Beast with a series of strongly felt beliefs, and she learned quickly. However, little did the Setite Malius know that Dalorese had, during his trainings, managed to regain her memories, and she used her hatred for the Tremere and disgust for what she had become as the basis for her control, and not this 'Path of Typhon' of which Malius spoke.
Malius was also fascinated by the powers which Dalorese had access to; he had never seen the effects of Obeah (which Dalorese now remembered), and was amazed by the potency of the discipline, as well as the third eye which Dalorese was now beginning to develope. However, Malius suggested new uses for the discipline, and he and Dalorese began to corrupt it for more offensive purposes. Dalorese's third eye turned from ice-blue (her natural eye colour) to red-black, and the whites of the eye transformed into a sickly grey-black. This signalled the true corruption of the former Salubri, and Malius suggested that Dalorese put her skills to use for the Followers of Set. Dalorese answered by paralyzing him with the very powers he had helped develop, and diabolizing him.
Dalorese then left in search of her old followers of the House Diedne. After several months search, she discovered them, still waging guerilla war against the Tremere. She Embraced them, and named her new bloodline the Avengers of Diedne. Now they would be able to battle the Tremere throughout all eternity, and they have remained a substantial thorn in the side of the Tremere ever since. The only reason that the Tremere have not been able to wipe them out are the same reaons for their lack of success against the Salubri in recent years; it is difficult to destroy that which you cannot find. There are also dark rumours which suggest that the Tremere allow the Avengers of Diedne to survive as it gives them fuel for their fire against the Salubri. As the majority of Kindred can not distiguish between the Avengers and their original line, this serves the Tremere against both of these bloodlines.
Nickname: Black Druids, Bullseyes (because if the reddish tint many of them possess in their third eye)
Appearance: More often than not, this bloodline recruits it's members from Kindred who have been wronged by the Tremere in some way. Their Weakness of damaging their vessels while they are drinking from them makes it rather difficult to create progeny. As a result, members of this bloodline can have any appearance, but many appear rather scruffy as a result of their underground war against the Tremere.
Haven: The Avengers of Diedne tend to make their havens in undeground dwellings. However, they do not co-exist well with the Nosferatu, and will remain separate from their systems of tunnels.
Background: Members of this Bloodline can be from any background, as long as they have been wronged by the Tremere is some way. In fact, the vast majority of the Kindred of this Bloodline have been recruited by the Avengers from other Vampiric Clans and Bloodlines, so the backgrounds of these Kindred are highly varied.
Character creation: The vast majority of the Avengers have drifter-style concepts. Many have Fanatical natures, but any demeanor is useable. Those who specialize in the Magic of the Diedne tend to have Mental attributes and Knowledges as Primaries, while those who lean towards personal combat usually have Physical Attributes and Talents as Primaries. The most common background of these Kindred is Generation, although any background is applicable.
Disciplines: Fortitude, Nakyrae, Thaumaturgy
Weaknesses: This Bloodline suffers from several weaknesses. Their primary weakness is that any creature from which they drink will take an aggravated wound level for each wound level they normally inflict. Thus, if an Avenger of Diedne drank one blood point from a Mortal, they would inflict one aggravated wound instead of a regular wound. There are some Kindred who have theorized that, because of this, the Bullseyes are related somehow to the Giovanni, but they real reason lies in their saliva, which is acidic. For this reason, the Black Druids tend to drink from victims that they have killed shortly beforehand, as their saliva can no longer heal the wounds which they inflict, and a few of them have been known to bloodbank.
A secondary weakness which derives from their acidic saliva (which is developed at the first level of Nakyrae) is that these Kindred have great difficulty in producing progeny. The acid in the saliva of the vampire enters into the system of the Mortal, causing extensive damage to internal organs and the cardio- vascular system. Many of these wounds are so servere that more than half of the progeny that the members of this bloodline creates perish shortly after receiving the Embrace. Thusly, the Avengers of Diedne have taken to recruiting members of other Clans to their cause. Similarly to the discipline of Obeah, training in the discipline of Nakyrae causes the user to open up a third eye in their forehead as they learn the tenants of the discipline.
Another weakness of this Bloodline is their third eye. Unlike the Salubri, who can easily disguise their additional eye, the third eye of the Avengers is quite prominent. While open, it is often a red, black, or sickly green colour. While closed, the eye is still prominent, and will form a large bump on the Kindred's forehead that appears to be infected. Thus, it is much more difficult for an Avenger to hide their true nature from Kindred and Mortals alike than it is for the Salubri.
Finally, many members of this Bloodline possess the Vengeance and Driving Goal Flaws, the goal of course being the utter destruction of Clan Tremere. This severly hampers their dealings with other Kindred and any kind of involvement in mortal affairs.
Organization: The Avengers of Diedne have no formal organization. They tend to exist in coeteries of small numbers. This allows them to wage guerilla-style strikes against the Tremere while not being noticible enough to draw attention to themselves. Once in a while, a few of these groups will band together for an assault upon a Tremere chantry, but these occasions are very rare.
Gaining Bloodline Prestige: Not surprisingly, the best way for a Bulleye to gain prestige within the Bloodline is to wage successful attacks against the Tremere. The more daring the tactic, and the more successful the strike, the more prestige the Kindred will gain. Most follow the Path of Liadere.
Quote: " Although we are small in number, we are powerful. From the depths of destruction we grew. Even when no others would aid us in our quest, we perservered. And now, when they are more powerful then they have ever been, the Tremere shall come to fear the name... Diedne. " (Maniacal laughter)
Thaumaturgical Notes: Unlike the Tremere, the Avengers of Diedne are not very strict with their apprentices as to which Path of Thaumaturgy they should learn and in which order that they learn them. While Blood Magic does have it's importance (as the House Diedne were Druidic Magi, and were tied to the Verbena), it is not necessary that they learn it first. They may select the Path they wish to study first, instead of being forced to learn Blood Magic. As being derived from a Druidic Tradition, the Avengers learn only paths which apply to Nature and Elemental Forces. The Paths which are available to them are: Elemental Mastery, Neptune's Might, the Lure of Flames, the Taste of Blood, Weather Control, and Naturae's Touch.
They also have their own rituals which are known to them and only them. Although the Tremere gained access to many of their magics when the House was destroyed, Dalorese and her followers have since developed magics which have been quite useful in their battle against the Tremere.
StoryTeller's Notes:: Speaking as a StoryTeller, I highly recommend that you DO NOT let a player play a member this bloodline in a chronicle. The purpose of the creation of this bloodline was to develop a resource for Non-Player Characters and Plotlines. While it would be interesting to have your player's come accross a member of this little known bloodline, it would probably be disasterous to let a player play one. This, of course, is at your discretion.