by Timothy Toner (8 May 93)
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"So why did you want to meet, 'Friend?'"
"Call me a fan. I was admiring your write up on the Californian problem. I take it you caught no small amount of flak."
"Yeah. They were pissed, to say the least. Not everyone likes their weakness becoming public record. They were doing such a damn good job, too."
"I take it you're not sorry."
"Heh. No. Not in the least. The bastards deserve whatever they get. So are you one of their ardent supporters, because if you are, I've got a chopstick, and I know how to use it..."
"No. Nothing so...mundane. I merely wished to correct one small mistake you made in your journal."
"Oh, what's that?"
"Your sarcasm is noted. I have done nothing to establish my credentials, while you are a legend in those who catalog the unlife, and all it holds. Suffice it to say that when I am done, all will become apparent."
"Great. Whatever. Let's cut to the chase, Gramps. I'm getting hungry."
"About the Clan. They were not the originators of Icarus. Their form is infinitely more powerful, and yet infinitely more perverse. They have twisted it from its true intent..."
"...to escape. They invoke the raptor with each false heartbeat,
instead of the swallow, with its grace and swiftness.
"You see, the story is much more complex than you could ever imagine. It begins in Greece..."
"I don't have time for stories!"
"This one involves an alliance between the Tremere, Gangrel and Lasombrans. Interested?"
"Good. Shut up.
"There was a man who went by the name of Daedalos. He was the wisest, most clever man of his generation. His inventions were seen as bordering magic, universally praised for their complexity and utility, but these he dismissed as toys. He seemed to be lacking something in life, and he found it in an invitation from Crete.
"There King Minos ruled with an iron hand, and all deemed him noble and just. He had acquired much land and spoils through conquest, and one of his most prize was his queen, the ravishing Aia.
"However, both harbored a terrible secret, and a terrible love. They were Garou. The Gods had blessed Minos so far; why not put their love into the Pantheon's hands? They decided to have a child.
"It was a monstrosity. Born Metis, its body was permanently warped by cruel fate, and a parents' lust. The light hurt its eyes terribly, and two huge horns grew from its brow. Worst of all, the creature was incredibly cunning, as if to compensate for its outward failings.
"One sight of the child, and all were mocking the boy. Rathers than Prince, or Son Of Minos, or the more traditional Minos' Boy, the court renamed the child 'Minos' Bull,' or "Minos Taurus."
"That was unwise. With the extreme cunning came an extraordinary brutality. The boy would single out one person, and then systematically tear their life to shreds over the course of weeks. They never found fault with the boy, since, for one, he was the king's son, and thus beyond reproach, and for another, most believed that the physical afflictions had affected his mind as well.
King Minos knew, however, and when the hot blood raged through his son's body, even the mighty ruler feared for his life. He cared for his son, realizing it was his own arrogance that had made the child thus. He needed a way to give the boy what he wanted, and at the same time, challenge his mind enough to stop the slaughter. Minos knew that if anyone could figure it out, it was Daedalos.
He sent for the inventor, promising a life of quiet ease, and a workroom where he could be uninterrupted by the cares of the world. Minos knew Daedalos well. No promises of trinkets would win his heart; only the thought of time alone to study undisturbed sparked his interest.
Harangued and harassed by most of the scholars in the known world, he readily fled to Minos with Ikaros, his son. There he was treated like a member of the family. Minos asked but one thing, the fulfilment of a dream. Daedalos was so full of joy and mirth, he readily assented, not caring about specifics.
"'I want a labyrinth,' said the king. Labyrinths were quite common amongst nobility, and such a simple task shocked Daedalos.
"'Is that all?'
"'This is to be a labyrinth like none other. It will be built into a huge cavern, far beneath our feet. It will have shifting wall, and hidden spaces. It should be able to challenge the most clever minds Crete has to offer.' He filled in the details, telling the size of the cavern, a space so huge, Daedalos was convinced Minos was jesting.
"'It will take ten years to fill that space.'
"'So be it. That is my dream. Fulfill it, or perish.'
"Guards seized the inventor and his son, and forced them into the very cave that would one day house the structure. Supplies would be dropped from above daily, and he was to have some formal structure done in a year. At that time, the creature would be led in, and Daedalos was expected to continue, avoiding the creature all the while.
"Ikaros bemoaned their fate, but Daedalos got right to work designing the machines he would need in order to do the work of ten men with only two.
"In a year, an amazing amount was done. However, a year with no sun had taken its toll on Daedalos. He did not see himself surviving the month. Ikaros, for his part, adapted remarkably well to the cavern.
"The beast was let in, and it tore around, searching for the inventor and his son, but their bolt holes were too cleverly hidden.
"The first victim to be sent down to the creature was a vampire who had been caught by Minos' pack. To make the abomination prove its allegiance, it had to hunt down the hated prey, a Gangrel who had come here quite by accident. The vampire was dropped in the hole, and left to perish.
"Without knowing its true nature, Daedalos took pity on this creature which so closely mirrored his own existence. He hid the Gangrel from the minotaur's wrath. Weak and close to starvation, the Gangrel could not emulate the same kindness. He bit deeply into Daedalos, and almost killed the genius.
"Daedalos was weakened beyond measure, however. He forgave the vampire's attack, and treated him as if nothing at all had happened. Instead of cursing, Daedalos showed the Gangrel all his wondrous inventions that no man would ever see. And all the while, his health failed.
"The Gangrel, mourning his stupidity in attacking the one being who had shown him kindness, sought out a way to stop his friends' suffering. With but a drop of blood, Daedalos would finally be free to actualize all that he had imagined. No longer would he put off the long term projects that each day of poor health made that much more impossible. He presented the idea to the inventor, and oddly, Daedalos agreed readily. To him, it made sense.
"There was, however, a problem: Ikaros. Daedalos did not want his son cursed so early in life, and yet each day the Beast grew more cunning. Further, not even Ikaros could easily survive the remaining seven years of their captivity, at least without a little help. In the end, it was Ikaros who decided. He wanted to be with his father, to the end of time, if necessarily.
"And so it was done. Ikaros and Daedalos were embraced, and their first lesson was how to summon the creatures that they would feed on, so that they need never starve.
"Eventually, it was time for the Gangrel to try his escape. Daedalos warned him against this, since Minos' pack patrolled the night, and only during the day would escape be conceivable. But he tried anyway, preferring death to imprisonment, as all Gangrel do. And he died, his head nailed to the Temple of Hekate.
"From that moment on, Daedalos prepared. He realized that the potent powers granted to him would not allow him to escape. Something more was needed to effect release. He knew the harbors were closely guarded, and the only was across the sea was a ship. But what of over the sea?
"And so he began. He called the birds to him, and studied their flight before devouring them. Watching them, he leanred much about his own abilities and nature. As he gripped them, slowly increasing pressure, he felt their fear, and their desire for release. And something happened in that moment, when, instead of feeding the hunger, he let one go. In that moment, he felt it: the joy of escape.
"It filled the decayed shell he called a body with ecstatic bliss. Nothing felt this good. Ever. And with this enlightenment, this spiritual elevation, something else came as well: flight. He could fly.
"It took a time, but eventually Ikaros too was enlightened. Freedom now burned within his blood with the intensity of the sun. Daedalos knew that soon he had to act, lest Ikaros try something rash.
"And soon a plan came to light. Minos and his pack were away, waging war on the hapless Athenians. It seemed that the Creature's appetites were growing stronger in time, and there seemed to be fewer criminals to offer up. Thus, it was necessary to fight battles to procure proper tribute. This, of course, meant that the troops that guarded the day watches now had to keep to the night, once the dominion of Minos' pack. With all his calculations, Daedalos knew that leaving during the day would give them the best opportunity to escape. But how to do this, and not be incinerated?
"It was no small mystery that Minos despised the priestesses of Hekate, goddess of primal magic. She was at times antithetical to his true love, Artemis, of the moon. Often when one of his pack rages, they were pointed in the direction of the temple, and every calamity was blamed on those who resided in that place.
"But of all these ignomities, none was more foul than the night that Minos became drunk, and freed his son to rampage through the temple proper, killing three priestesses. For this, and for many more things, the Hierophant agreed to assist Daedalos in his plan. She could not touch the Crown prince in any way, but she could take secret joy it foiling his greatest plan.
"When the sun crawled higher in the heavens, she began her magic. On and on, it droned summoning roiling clouds, dark and ominous, bearing the spectre of heavy rains to the gentle earth. But none came. Instead, when she was done, the thick cloud mass distended, and reached out for the closest bit of mainland.
"At the arranged time, Daedalos rolled back the boulder, and realized with horror that although the Gangrel had told him all about the weaknesses of his present form, no mention was made to his son. With time wasting, and the cloud slowly dissipating, Daedalos could only mutter to his son to fly no farther than the clouds, and not to soar near the water, as fishermen in boats could betray them with pleas to Poseidon, who would surely strike them down.
"Ikaros, having not seen the sun for 10 years, longed to stare into its face. But he had always obeyed his father, and he nodded his assent.
"Both lunged into the air, and lanced toward freedom. Whatever it was that forced them to sleep was now weighing down their minds. Both longed to crawl in a hole and sleep, but there would be no return to that prison. There was only onward, across the trackless sea.
"Perhaps it was the wearniness of his mind, perhaps it was the assumption that Ikaros would obey, as he always had done, but Daedalos lost sight of the boy for a moment, and that was all it took.
"With horror, he realized that Ikaros had succumbed to the freedom that suffused every pore of his being. The narrow track of safety, forged by magic, would not limit the freedom he found in his heart. Daedalos tried to rise, but the fear of certain death kept him down. There would be no tarrying; a moment's hesistation would be death, as the sun brined through the layer just behind them.
"He saw his son, a while later, plummeting to earth like a falling star, screaming in agony as he fell. A numbness seized Daedalos' brain, and he drove onwards, controlled by an unseen hand. His ears strained to hear the reassuring splash as his son's body slammed into the cold embrace of the sea, and Ikaros was at last free.
"He lived, survived, though why, he was never sure. Without Ikaros, all meaning was stolen from his life. Stiil, in his wandering, he came upon those like him, imprisoned in mind and body, who needed desperately to be taught the lesson he had discovewred. He cared not for politics, alliances, and affiliations. All he wanted was for the pupil to be an advocate of the personal freedom long denied in his and his son's existence.
"A few mortals seeking this freedom were blessed with the Change, but not many. With the power that flowed in their veins came the curse of Ikaros, a desire to surpass their cages, and shed all shackles of oppression, sometimes even acting very much against their own best interests. It takes much inner restraint to survive as a Daedalean."
"...so that's it."
"As the tale goes. Those who abuse it now discovered it tangentially in Greece, around 400 years before the birth of Christ. They were weak, victims of a savage curse. A single shaft, placed into the heart, brought about the Final Death, just as sure as fire or the sun. They were being hunted to extinction, and the nobility that at that time crawled in their veins would be snuffed out.
"Daedalos took pity on them, and taught them the ability, granting them opportunity to escape their oppressors. However, rather than accepting the way of the Daedalean, they instead turned petty and vengeful, and attacked those who once oppressed them."
"So Icarus isn't one of theirs, huh?"
"They had something quite like it. Realize, however, that flight has been the grandest aspiration of man since he first beheld the birds weaving in the air at the beginning of all things. However, it seemed to be the most difficult to emulate. For those who harnessed magic, the best they could do was to make the wind drive them along, buffeting them to and fro. Not very safe, I'd imagine. Although what they had was a mastery of the air, flight was denied them until they came across Daedalos, and begged him to bestow his mercy."
"You seem to know quite a lot. You're Daedalos."
"Heh. No, sorry. I'm not Daedalos. He died long, long ago, victim of Tremere treachery."
"You mentioned that before. What's that about?"
"The Tremere were magi, once, long ago. Noble souls, they feared a
growing chasm that threatened to engulf them. They decided to forego the
inevitable, and become one of the damned.
"New to the game, they were quickly put upon by all to prove their true worth. They became whipping boys, for a time, but systematically used the magic theory still burning in their brains to try to emulate each of the vampiric powers through magic. Largely, they were successful. Those that did not translate well were mixed with twinges of hermetic magic, to make the formula complete. And they were indeed poised on a takeover of the Kindred population, if not for that Daedalean.
"His name is lost to time, but his deeds will be remembered forevermore. He committed the most mundane of sins: a gloating pride. He and his kind paid for it with the Final Death.
"A, oh what do they call it, ah, a chantry newly formed in Macedonia was out gathering vis for a powerful ritual, when they noticed the Daedalean floating above them all. The best of their attempts to mimic flight allowed such a feat, so they treated him as one of their own, a wandering Tremere.
"He laughed at their foolishness. To think they thought he, a free spirit, would be one of the enslavers and enslaved. This was not particularly smart. The Tremere were warned against those who practiced a form of Thaumaturgy lost long ago. If not the blood magic, what else could he be doing?
"One lashed out with power, a fist of fire designed to scare the floating vampire. Instead of being driven to the ground, he leapt forward and upward with astonishing speed. Soon he was out of sight.
"The Tremere realized that there existed a vampire who could do the impossible: fly without the aid of wind. Subsequent inquiries led them to discover that it was not one, but an entire clan who had untapped the ability to fly through sheer force of will alone.
"A few dark deals later, and they had the information they required. They tracked down the first they saw, and ask him to teach them the gift. He laughed at them, and told them they did not have it within their power. Further rubbing salt into their wounds, he fed a mortal who was with him a point of blood, and both began to rise away. The Daedalean muttered that the power lay in a mere mortal, but not in their enslaved souls. This was his final mistake.
"The Tremere, ready for this, seized him in unbreakable bonds, and staked him as he lay wimpering. Realizing that the ability did indeed lay in the blood, they performed experiment after experiment, until finally one time they went too far, and the Daedalean perished.
"Rather than becoming discouraged, those in the Macedonian Chantry reported to Vienna with the news. The Seven met, and decided a plan of action was necessary. This was too good an opportunity to let pass, so all machinations were temporarily shelved, and all eyes reverted to Greece.
"The tests the Chantry had performed led them to believe that the Daedaleans were an offshoot of Gangrel. A few made overtures in that direction, to find out their true heritage, but were mostly refused and ignored. It took a time, but enough information was discovered to show to the Genitor of Clan Gangrel. The evidence was tainted with Tremere deceit, but enough held true. Daedaleans were consummate Garou hunters, with not regard for the sanctity of the Wild, or of the purity of the Story. They were their children, but they were untrained. They were abominations. Clan Gangrel agreed to the Hunt.
"The Lasombrans were less difficult to convince. The thought of flight, a means of escaping the darkness of the abyss that lay beneath their feet, and in their soul, pleased them to no end. The Tremere needed a means of dimming the fire within the Daedaleans, and nothing was better than the dark stuff of the Lasombra.
"It was monstrously successful. Daedaleans were hunted like dogs. Those who escaped through flight were pursued by shifted Gangrel. Those who fought were held fast by Lasombran might. They did not stand a chance.
"Despite all those captured, the Tremere were no closer to the solution. When they were finished, all that was left were ashes, ashes that provided no answers. And the Gangrel were getting restless. They were not told what was happening to those they caught. The Tremere were still trusted at this time, but this was changing.
"It was then that Daedalos came forth. He was working as a laborer in the workshop of Da Vinci. He never assisted in the experiments, but rather delighted in watching the gleam of inspiration glow in the inventor's eyes.
"Daedalos, preferring to stay out of Kindred politics, discovered the hunt, and determined to put it to a stop. He surrendered to a pack of Gangrel, and told the story of he and his clan, of their love of freedom, and their devotion to the elevation of the soul, physically and spiritually.
"Convinced now of the wrongness of their action, the Gangrel called an end to the Hunt. The Tremere responded with power, engulfing the Gangrel in flames. Only Daedalos' action, flying into the heart of the flames, drawing it into himself, and exploding with a primal fury, saved those who would have hunted him.
"Word of the Tremere's treachery spread throughout Kindred society, and their position as "loyal" advisors was revealed to be a power play of the most devious sort. Nevermore would they be trusted, and, as a result, the world may have been spared Tremere domination."
"A mediocre story. Couldn't you have thought up a better one?"
"I speak truth."
"All right. If you're not Daedalos, then who are you? Why do you know so much, so much that only Daedalos knew?"
"I was...a professional mourner."
"It was quite common back then. The family was supposed to be stoic in the face of death, and thus people were paid to mourn in their place. It was all I could do. I was trapped by circumstance, and every other tear was wept for me and my plight.
"Daedalos, upon gaining his freedom, held a funeral for his fallen son. He told the tale there freely, and in doing so, created an enduring legend. Upon hearing it, for the first time, I wept not for myself, but for another. He sensed my pain, my plight, and my sincerity. And so he...freed me.
"I remained with him, all his nights, his constant companion, and his bitter reminder of the loss that weighed down his heart and soul. I wanted to remain with him, so that he would not have to face the Tremere and Gangrel alone. He compelled me to leave, saying that if I indeed cared and respected him, then I would do my job, and leave him to do his own.
"Now, there are less than five of us in the world. We are forgotten by all but those who seek our destruction, and by those who seek to be freed. One has described us as a waystation on the path to Golconda. I wish I could believe that.
"That is my tale. That is our tale. My life is spent wandering the planet, seeking out those who need to be freed, who need to be taught how to be freed. Theyt call us cowards, but they are wrong.
"I must go. A friend, one I knew long ago, waits for me in Toronto."
"Wait...it's five minutes before sun up! You can't reach shelter in that time! Stay here!"
"I must go. I must stand in the shadows, and watch for the rising sun, the sun I know is there, but reains forever hidden from me. That is my job.
"Now wait a minute, you damn psycho, you're staying right here. I have a few questions for you...hey, put me down! HEY!
"Okay, this is really funny. I'm on a hook, twenty feet above the floor. Now get me down. Wait, where are you going...WAIT!"
"I am going to do my job. I am a mourner. And I must mourn Ikaros."
So that's it. He walked out, just like that, leaving me on a damn hook. I never saw the bastard since. However, in my spasms as he seized me, I succeeded in my true goal: obtaining a piece of flesh. It's permeated with Tzciemisce power.
He's alive. The bastard's alive.
Nickname: Icarans (Ikkers)
The few Daedaleans who remain keep to themselves. They very seldom create new Childer, seeing them as just potential prey for the Tremere. However, they seek out those who are oppressed, Kindred and kine alike, and try to free them at every opportunity.
The main belief common to all Daedaleans is freedom. Freedom comes in many forms, including Death, as most have discovered. Some seek freedom through violent actions, thrashing off the manacles, as it were, and some choose to do it through quiet introspection, meditating until the chains might not be there at all. Some choose to instigate revolutions, impersonating Brujah, while others seek out the individual, wallowing in misery.
It is believed that only five to eight Daedaleans remain after the Tremere purge. Still, their influence is felt deeply within the World of Darkness, since in their own quiet way, they try to bring everything that closer to the light.
Victims of systematic extermination, they will not hesitate to flee if a situation does not favor their side. Some call this cowardice: the call it survival.
Often they fly high in the air, hanging there for hours at a time, and turn on their Auspex, opening up to the totality of creation. To them, this is ecstacy on the level of the Kiss.
Appearance: There is no common appearance. Once, most Daedaleans were of Greek ancestry, with a few exceptions. Now they come in all shapes and sizes, often impersonating as a member of another clan.
Haven: Daedaleans prefer abandoned spires and other high places to rest. Often they will close off the intermittant floors, so that only those who can fly can reach their homes. Each has a door or opening that faces the east, toward the rising sun. Most try to dart in, just as the sun comes over the edge of the horizon, weeping in pain, sorrow, and ecstasy at being so close to true freedom.
Background: Most Daedaleans have the Generation background, to describe how few of them there really are in the world. Some make Contacts, mostly in mortal organizations such as Amnesty International. Others have made it a habit to play a small role in everything, picking up Influence right and left.
Concept: As mentioned above, Daedaleans seldom create new Childer. Most were victims of oppression, be it physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Others were embraced because of their work in freeing others. Such saints should not be allowed to perish. Usually Outsider.
Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude, Ikara.
Weakness: The Curse of Ikaros: All Daedaleans are Overconfident (gaining the flaw automatically), striving to fly higher and faster than any before. They often gloat to others, like the Tremere, who voluntarily shackle themselves to mundane, unenlightened existence. To some, they seem arrogant, but to others, they are saviours. Also, they are terminally curious, flying into danger on a whim. Also, they cannot stand to be held, whether it be physical, magical, or symbolic.
Organization: None. Some have set up a network through various relief organizations, so that news can be communicated quickly to all concerned, but nothing formal has been established.
Gaining clan Prestige: Through freeing others, one grows in the admiration of the Clan, almost as much as putting down oppressors. However, it is well known that taking down an oppressor is not enough, as the mind of the enslaved must be changed to prevent it from happening again.
Quote: "Well, Mr. Tremere, how do you like the view? I agree, the air up here is very clear. What's that? I think the Garey Steel mills, but from this high, you can't really tell. Oh dear me. I seem to have allowed my grip on you to slip. How thoughtless of me."