The Eternal City

The Hunt
Lest a beast I become

roman-hunting-party-2nd-century-bc-HRNRJX.jpg

Having returned victorious the coterie’s reputation was elevated if marred by scandal. Returning without a single Legionare caused some to question the motivations of the coterie. When it came time to name a new Equestrian of the Legio Mortuum, it was determined to test Gaius’s worthiness and settle the rumors once and for all. Titus once again petitioned the gods for their blessing and it was a well-received offering. They were to head to the west of the city and investigate rumors and kill a reported druuger. Its depredations had come too close to the city of Alexandria and threatened the welfare of its citizens and ancients.

Dinius not fully trusting G or L after the recent expedition and determining that things always go poorly when he leaves the city to attend to other affairs opted to hire a mercenary to serve in his place. He found a well-built man who was skilled with the sword going by the name Brokus Cronkus Brokus joined the file that would accompany the coterie into the west.

A half nights journey by horse they came across the valley that held the cave of the druuger. They noted the eerie silence and the owls sitting in the nearby tree. As they approached the cave they saw a field of bleached white bones and skulls. Looking at the skulls they discovered that they were all children and babes. Then they heard a very melodic voice singing. They took cover and watched as a luminescent naked woman walked up to the cave singing her enchanting song with a sleeping child draped in her arms. As she arrived to the entrance she took a bite and feasted on the child who offered no resistance. vampire.jpg

Once secure in the knowledge that the druugr was well inside and could not escape past them the group marched in to confront her. She hissed at them as they approached and attacked the legionares in front. When it became obvious that she was outnumber she called forth large inhuman like creatures that swarmed the group as she attempted to flee down into the cave tunnels. A and T flew after her while the rest sought to fight over the creatures. Brokus proved to be a mighty champion slaughtering half the monsters single handedly. Once they had free themselves from the monsters they chased after the others in hot pursuit. They caught up with A tussling with the druugr on the ground. Surrounding her they were able to quickly dispatch her and assess the large amount of dead that she had been gathering for who knew how long.

The group returned to Alexandria in triumph. Gaius was promoted to Equestrian and Giaus promoted to the rank of Centurion. Upon hearing the contribution Brokus had performed, Dinius opted to place him on permanent retainer. With their new-found status and assets it was decided that they should begin plotting their return to Rome.

commentary

View
Dreams and Portents

Augustus-and-the-Sibyl.jpg

For the next seven days Giaus had visions. He was overseeing his lands and his father was ashamed of him. His lands were covered in fire, and Gaius was to blame. His living family members were dead, and Gaius was to blame. Their fortunes were spent and Giaus was to blame. All that Giaus was and sought to be was in ruin and his father repeated that Gaius was to blame. The solution was for Gaius to walk into the sun so this ruin would not come to pass.

Linius on the other hand was met by Porrima, the Goddess of the future. She had a dire future for him. Rome would not last. She showed him for seven nights visions of Rome’sfuture. Consumed by weak fools and civil war it would decline and collapse. His family would be scattered and diminish in prosperity and power. Once noble they would become nothing more than peasant farmers. The Camarilla would also fall, it would collapse like Rome itself and be swelled by a shadowed darkness with golden glowing orbs. The Camarailla would be forgotten and all that would be left of Rome would be ruins, a glory never to be reached. Everything he was and had dedicated himself to would be lost. The solution was simple, he would be unable to change it, to avert this fate all he could do would be to watch the decline powerless. Or he could walk into the sun while Rome remained ascendant.

After the seven days the visions ended, neither spoke to any other of these dreams and portents. I stumbled on the brief accounts having pieced together journals and private writings. It chills my undead heart to know that prophecies even unspoken may come true.

Commentary

View
Trip to Thebes

Aerial-view-of-part-of-the-Karnak-Temple-and-Luxor-East-Bank.jpg

Dinius settled into Alexandria’s Senux and began solidifying his trade and ensuring that his operations in Rome were kept under his control. Linius and Gaius worked diligently with the Legion Mortum which had a more significant need to patrol with the threats presented by the Stryx and other monstrosities. Titus moved with the Cult of Augurs and grew concerned at the emergence of propinqui that were ascribing to the catholic phenomenon.

The issue became important enough that the Cult of Augurs petitioned the Senux to root out the heathens from nearby Thebes where it was believed they gathered in secret. Titus supported the effort and through his augury determined that the greatest chance of success laid with the coterie. They prepared to travel the Nile by making a river boat journey, procured by support of the local Perigrine collegia and a full file of Legionaries to accompany the effort, led by Gaius and Linus. Linus sought out a local catholic community to attempt to locate a possible guide for the area in and around Thebes. He found a promising candidate in a young man who was raised in Thebes, a Brother Maynard.

The coterie arrived at night at their river barge, the captain was a ghoul trusted by the Camarilla who would guard over things at night. The legionaries were present as well and then there was Brother Maynard, a very enthusiastic young fellow. Now he had been cautioned to keep matters of his belief to minimum so as not to offend those on board. Many did not take a liking to the poor fellow, perhaps it was his bookishness, his enthusiastic nature, or the clothing he had but the value he was presenting to the trip was severely questioned.

Brother Maynard did confess that he was but a child when he was last in Thebes but informed that there were several ruins and caves with wonderful grazed land on the northern sides of the city. He waxed quite poetically on the matters of sheep raising, and had suggestions on the comforting of sheep. It is unknown what set Linius off but he bared his fangs at Brother Maynard who unsurprisingly became quite frightened appealing to whom he thought would be most sympathetic, Aylith. Needled to say things only got worse as Linius grabbed the boy onto the boat and straddled him shoving a cut wrist at his throat and forcing him to swallow. The ship sett down the river with Brother Maynard strapped to a pylon.

The following evening the man was found dead, having bleed to death from wounds on his wrists and feet. The pilot heard and knew nothing. Considering the man had somehow managed to commit suicide his body was dumped into the Nile behind them as food for the crocodiles. This later proved to have been an unwise decision as the crocodiles began to trail them.
young-nile-crocodiles-eating-chunks-of-meat_4kfql3lrg__F0000.png

Prior to arriving at Thebes it was decided to stop along the shore north of Thebes and scout some of the area as well as hunt. Some stayed on the boat as others went to feed. The crocodiles were still tailing them and smelling the blood on the party when returned attacked the Legionnaires. Once they started, there was no stopping them as they proceeded to destroy four of the soldiers reducing the force by half. IT was decided all future stops were to be done at docks only.

The expedition disembarked at an old fishing dock near the old ruins of Thebes. From the information they had gathered they believed the catholics were hiding in the ruins and caves in the area. They discovered a band of bandits and descended on them. Those that hand fed earlier now took their fill and Dinious found a new toy to command. They used this meat puppet to scout the caves and discover their quarry.

The following evening, they descended on the caravan as it was attempting to flee the area. Out in the open and exposed rather than in a more defensive position. The Christian vampires revealed their vile nature by engaging in witchcraft and blood sorcery utilizing blood whips against the expedition. T. and D. attacked from distance as Aylith kept any from fleeing. It was a fierce battle that left many on the battlefield and both G and L spent to the point that they drank their fill from the dead and if rumors are true committed diablerie. All is known for certain is that the expedition returned victorious but with no other witnesses save the coterie itself.

Commentary

View
Alexandria II
Assasination and Exile

Aylith investigated for her target and found that Justinian had returned to his mortal connections the Lady Perpetua and her slave Felicitas. Felicitas was pregnant and Justinian visited them on a nightly basis to give them encouragement. Announcements declared that both women would be sacrificed to the lions in three days time for the crime of dishonor to the Gods. They refused to give the proper respect to the Gods and rejected their familial duty.

While this occurred Linius spent time perusing the library while Dinius began making connections in Alexandria for trade. They picked up rumors of Stryx activity but nothing so concrete as actual spotting.

A plan was developed to provoke a fight and then get tossed into the cells that would ensure Justinian meet the rising sun. This was successful and after the deaths of Perpetua and Felicias, Justininian met the sunlight, oddly with welcome arms.

Having achieved a resounding success on her mission, A. informed the coterie and they began to prepare their return trip. Fortunately for them, a missive from Julia Commitor advised them to stay put in Alexandria. A coup had occurred that ended in the proscription of their patron and many of their higher connected allies. If they returned to Rome they would be marked for death but in exile they would be left alone. Frustrated by their sudden exile and inability to affect the events the coterie settled into Alexandria.

Commentary

View
Alexandria I
An Ill begining

Roman-Ports-Boat-Grain.gif

Over the next decade or so the Empire saw a revolving door of would be Emperors till things stabilized (193) with Septimus Severus. The coterie utilized this time to cement themselves and flourish under patronage. Yet, as we all know there is a give and take in such relationships and it was only a matter of time before the coterie would be asked to perform a service for their support. Such was the reasoning when Sevilla Germanicus of the Peregrine Collegia did contact A. for a job.

A scion of the Senux had a delicate matter to attend to. His childe, Justinian had fallen into a bad sort of fellows. Initially the scion had been patient and considered it a passing phase, when that failed he exiled his childer and cut him off from all support. Even that had not brought the wayward childe back to the fold. The childe was now an embarrassment and needed to be dealt with, permanently. A. was to go to Alexandria where Justinian resided and perform an assassination that ensured it was untraceable and preferably appeared more accidental. It was recommended that she take the coterie with her to help conceal her true purposes.

The coterie procured ship passage amongst furniture cargo for the two-week journey to Alexandria. It was hotly debated as to how to handle the crossing seeing as there would not nearly be enough blood to sustain all five members of the coterie for the journey. Finally it was decided that A. would remain as watch dog while the others were stacked and left in cabinets to be un-staked for their arrival in the city.

There are tales that on a certain night at the docks of Alexandria a local establishment for the sailor’s ‘enjoyment’ burst into flames and several other nearby buildings were caught in the inferno. A significant number of patrons and employees were caught in the blaze, trapped inside and perished. A very common occurrence, and in no way a means of covering up one’s indiscretions after awakening extremely starved.

Commentary

View
Grabbing at Power
how to take advatage of a screw up

tumblr_ni4f3eAj3d1tgckc1o1_500.jpg

The city was in flames and while the Necropolis was clam and oddly quizzical flames raged above. The worse offense and in need of the greatest attention was the fires at the granaries that provided the bread dole. Marcus Corbollo, Julia Commitor and other sprang into action securing their allies and cementing their position waiting for the winds to blow in a certain direction.

Yet, it would be the actions of the coterie that would gain attention. Ailith and Titus would seek control of the granary and minimalized the damage and quiet the rioting. Gaius and Linus would patrol and ensure those areas below the noble hills were secure and safe.
Dinius would converse and meet with those of the Julii and see what the lay of the land was. He discovered that a few legions were declaring their commanders Ceaser. As a neutral party he would work with the factions to toss the subtle support of the ancestors towards a unified candidate. In short order the coterie and worked behind the scenes and restore order and the empire had a new Emperor.

This young coterie found itself suddenly with significant prestige as kingmakers and their patronage protected them from direct opposition. Any attacks on them were quickly struck down by the wit of Dinius, the charisma of Linius, and the auguries of Titus. They were well noted as up and comers and there were already dark whisperings on how to slow their rise.

All According to plan

View
The Tragic Death of Commodus

Maxnew_lastfight_chargerfull.jpg

In the second year of Commodus reign there were disturbing rumors about how he was running the Empire. They surrounded that he had turned over much of the running of the Empire to the ministration of his freedman that he was also serving in sexual acts. This deviancy was an affront to all of we, propinqui of the Necropolis and called for Senux on how to proceed.

The coterie had it on good authority that Commodus’ sister was scheming to replace this disgraceful Emperor. Ancient tradition held that we were to leave the Emperor alone but all knew we danced and played at the Senate itself and sought to direct the grand city on its proper path. Titus was called in to perform an augury as Dinius argued that the Necropolis should do nothing and allow the fates to run its course. The augury sought that the days of Commodus were numbered and there was wisdom and the gods favor in the words of Dinius. With the gods so directing it was know to withdraw support and guidance and wait for the wheel of fate to play out.

It would be a mere few nights before Commodus seeking to challenge the accusations against his masculinity would compete in the games of the Flavian Amphitheater. He fought a good fight with a well-trained gladiator. The gladiator fought like a man possessed and filled with fury as he kept flinging himself at Commodus’ blade. In the end he fell but Commodus was wounded. All seemed well until the Emperor appeared fatigued. He sought to return to his palace and on his way would trip and impales himself on the wooden stakes nearby designed to keep animals away from the edges of the theater. He ascended in a mere few hours.

Commodus’ manservert was attacked and killed at much the same time and this action taken cast suspicion upon Commodu’s sister Crispiina. Other Generals were equally linked and servants confessed as suddenly a conspiracy against the Emperor emerged. Crispina was isolated on her ill as Generals and Senators sought to seize control as the city descended into civil war and chaos.

Who knows how long this would last if not the coterie actions in those nights

View
Victory, Patronage, and Plots

Upon presenting their report it was confirmed that they were not in fact facing the nemesis but will o’ wisps. A supernatural creature of the barbarian lands similar to Stryx only in their ability to possess corpses. They are quite powerful and feed off dead meat, fortunately they are week to fire and a massive burn campaign would drive them if not destroy them.

They returned to Rome having fulfilled a vital duty and were inducted under patronage and protection. The board was set as with Marcus Corbollo on one side and the coterie on the other. News arrived that the Emperor has passed on campaign and Commodus would be arriving in Triumph. Dinius and Linius consulted and saw opportunity in this.

A few years were spend laying the ground work. Aielith began to spin her webs deep in the tunnels. Dinius quietly observed affairs in the Senux while Linius would move between the soldiers and see where the fault lines were. Giaus spent time working the fields of his father’s lands. He worked on vineyards and began testing varietals. It was seen at the time to be the wistful musings of a naïve ancestor but it would prove to be a potent economics asset. The genius of the coterie was already in play.

In the second year of his reign, there were rumors and disgruntlement amongst the legions and guards of the Emperor. Commodus had not pressed the fight and expanded the borders enough all the while relying on his advisors. His sister if born a man would have been a natural successor to their father, if only fate had decreed otherwise. It is unknown who had the idea first, only that Dinius and Linius had come to the same conclusion, it was time to select a new Emperor, one indebted to the coterie.

kalends-of-february-1024.jpg

View
Escape from the Forest

Aielith and Titus remained still as the ghostly girl looked in their direction. She then wandered around the buildings. Once it seemed the coast was clear they returned to their companions. They moved to around and attempted to see if the girl was the only one, it was then that they saw a male who had glowing green eyes and a broken leg. They moved in closer to get a better look and the male was a corpse by the look of it and was also eating the innards of the corpses around.

Thinking that it was about time to report back the wind shifted around them. A screeching sound caused them to turn and now both male and female creatures with fangs bared came charging into the woods after them. Fearing the worst the coterie fled towards the safety of Vindobona. Some proved faster than others as Aielith found herself being flanked by the creatures.

Giaus turned to face the creatures and as he did so with a curse Linius pivoted to allow the others to get in front. Titus would run further ahead before realizing that the coterie had turned to engage a fighting withdrawal. Aielith growled at her pursuer who seemed stunned for a bit while the other dodged and weaved at Giaus. In the give and take of the battle the creatures seemed unaffected by the Legionaries attacks, as such they continued to move towards the fortifications of Vindobona.

As they left the woods and approached the banks of the river, things were looking dire for the Coterie. Then a trumpet blast echoed through the night as Dinius, who had ran on ahead, led a troop of cavalry that prepared to bear down on the unnatural creatures. Sensing the situation was against them the creatures fled into the woods and the coterie rescued retreated to the safety of the fort.

Commentary

Total-War-Rome-II-Battle-of-the-Teutoburg-Forest-Trailer_8.jpg

View
The Carnage of Battle

Arriving at Vindobona the coterie settles in. Aielith sought out the underground contacts connecting her tendrils from the front to her home base in Rome. Dinius sought out to make an appearance to the local Senux. Doing so they clearly bowed to this representative of Rome and provided a seat of honor for this member of the Julii. Meanwhile, Giaus and Linius sought out the commander of the Legio Mortuum in Vindobona. They met with Cornielia Bellator, a Primarch for the front and to the their surprise revealed that she commanded three legions, and had lost two out across the river.

She provide details that rumors of the nemesis existed and lent themselves to provide a fierce front and attempt to prevent them from coming into the Empire. Two legions had gone out with the armies of the Emperor, they were feasting from the dead of the mighty battle but were wiped out by an unknown presence. Tales of the dead walking and other odd cases contributed to their fears of the opponent. Having lost so much already they wanted the coterie to cross the river and gather clues as a smaller force to determine the nature and number of their enemy.

The coterie crossed the river however reluctantly. They found the major battle with the corpses of Roman soldiers and Barbarians littered on the fields. They found piles of ash and other clues indicating where the legionaries had fallen. Additionally, they found corpses had moved and upon closer examination had risen and slumped off to the north, deeper into the woods.

They carefully follow the trail with Titus and Aielith in front. They come up to a small village. They can smell the carnage, the villagers have been slaughtered much earlier. The eerie silence makes the coterie cautious. Titus and Aielith sneak closer to get a better look. Coming around a house they see a patch in the middle of the village. Is the middle there is a young woman survivor bent over the body of another dead body. Titus uses is unnatural sight to get a better look and realizes that the girl is eating the innards of the dead body. He stumbles back in horror, as this is beyond his experience. A twig snaps and the girls lifts her head and in the stillness of the night calls out, “Fratele Meu? Is that you?”. She looks in the direction of the Titus and Aielith and her eyes reflect an unnatural green in the night…

eyes.jpg

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.