Friday, November 22, 2013

Wickedness is a Virtue ep01 : Vampire: The Dark Ages


Wickedness is a Virtue

Episode One

Vampire: The Dark Ages

Fra Atilio played by Marvin
Lasombra, 9th Generation.  Monk of the Holy Order of Heaven.
Fra Atilio was embraced by his Sire in a bid to keep the sect alive.  Atilio was once just a Nubian slave that served the former monk.  Atilio has inherited the destroyed Sire's Herd and Influence in Jerusalem.  He is allied with a fallen knight who was meant to fight in the Crusade.

Dmitri Malakov played by Jeffrey
Toreador, 9th Generation.  Son of a wealthy merchant family, embraced into the clan by Lorelei, his Sire out of love.  He never loved her back.  Still remains in the familial estate in Frispoint, maintaining the family trade on furs, and learning more of his vampiric condition the hard way.

Stefan Wandermann played by Rocky
Tzimisce, 7th Generation.  A survivor of a forced embraced when his sire transformed him merely to be a distraction against some hunters.  Survived after learning to hide his homeland's earth in pockets in his body.  Long based in Italy where he had resumed his role as an artisan and hungry to learn more of the various art styles of the different cultures.


Stefan is travelling with his sibling in blood, Micah.  The two discuss the art styles that exist and ponder on the directions they may take in the many years to come.  While Stefan tries to minimize his feeding, Micah seems calm and indifferent to the lives they take.  When Stefan asks where they are travelling to, Micah simply tells him to trust his brother.

Elsewhere, Fra Atilio speaks with his and hears their confessions.  For months, the followers of the sect would pray to Fra Atilio for confessions, and by the taking of blood, he would absolve them of their sins. After choking a woman unconscious for her calls for a confession which he could not give (Atilio was still full), Atilio stood at the roof top of the building and surveyed his domain.  An odd monk at the street caught his eyes as the monk walked past an awning towards a dark alley were ruffians awaited, only to suddenly become a guardsman of the city.   Atilio opted to follow him from the rooftops.

Dmitri Malakov on the other hand continues watching over the family estate in his parents' absence.  His father has still not returned from a trip to Jerusalem.  One of his father's favorite clients, a Jonathan, has come to complain about the delays.  But as the guy rattles on, Dmitri is increasingly incensed by what he understands is a foul rotting odor from the man's breath.  Soon, his senses flare as he realized he can hear the mutterings of the servants across the room, who are wondering about their master who no longer eats the food they cook, nor leaves his chambers during the day.  He feels the fireplace is too strong too, and abruptly dismisses Jonathan, and walks out on the meeting to hurry back to his room.  There, he opens the window to step out onto the balcony only to find Lorelei waiting.  She asks him to invite him in, which he refuses to give, and to spite him reveals she had intercepted a letter addressed to him from Constantinople. She claims it is written in a foreign tongue, and wanting to hear word from his father, Dmitri relents and agrees to do something for Lorelei in exchange.  The letter, it turns out, isn't written in Italian, and Lorelei heads straight down to the courtyard to wait for Dmitri.  The two, it so happens are going on a trip to Jerusalem, the same place where his father was asking Dmitri for his help.   When Dmitri tries to kiss Lorelei, thinking to woo her to his favor, she slaps him and tells him, "No.  That is earned."

Micah and Stefan eventually arrive at Jerusalem, which Stefan ponders on if it was a wise idea.  He still feels uneasy about having traveled so far from Italy.  Micah, however, reminds him that in Jerusalem the very hearts of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths converge.  "You will find the grandest of art among their Churches, Mosques and Temples."  As Micah walks off to make arrangements, Stefan looks around to get some familiar bearings of the place.

Fra Atilio tracks the strange fellow to an old building which he realizes was the former headquarters of the Templar Knights.   He considers stepping inside to investigate when his attention is captured by a woman standing at the far end of the street.  She motions at him to remain quiet, and waves at him to hurry away.  Fra Atilio stares back at the Nurse, but she runs off before he can say a word.  A guard soon asks him if there's something a matter in the streets, and Fra Atilio's role as a confessor provides him enough leeway to tell the guard to leave him alone.   He steps into the stables beside the boarded up Templar headquarters and hears a male voice ask him, "You can see.  You are the one who was sent to me by Him?  You are him?"

Dmitri and Lorelei's long journey is punctuated with stops as Dmitri wars with himself on the need to feed.  Lorelei celebrates each feeding and relishes seeing the anguish in Dmitri's eyes as he tries to pull away from feeding on people and simply drink from beasts.  At one terrible moment, Lorelei feasts on a beggar she lures closer and offers her bleeding wrist to Dmitri to sup from.  Overcome by hunger, Dmitri does so, and at the last moment stop when he realizes what he's doing.  He pulls the beggar away from Lorelei and runs off to find any of the Hospitalliers who may help him.  Lorelei tries to draw him back with a Summon but he resists.

A fireball erupts into the sky from not too far away.  Stefan runs towards the flame, curious to see what caused such a display.  A crowd gathers as a building begins to burn.  The onlookers offer that it used to be a Templar headquarters.  One suggests that this is God's Sign that they have lost his grace.  None of them can see the scene that unfolds inside.

Fra Atilio confronts the speaker, who turns out to be a Nosefratu called Brother Bernardus.  He mutters strange things about four, or five, and about having been Chosen by a greater force.  He seems oblivious to the fire and is just thankful that Atilio had finally arrived.  Atilio recalls accidentally smashing the oil lamp on the ground when the Noseferatu startled him.  He completely forgot to double check if the burning wick was doused.  And as the fires rage higher, Atilio leaps out of the burning ruin and calls out to the people who have gathered.    Stefan realizes the man is a Cainite and promises to investigate this further when given a chance.

Dmitri finds a Nurse waiting for him, who quickly takes the beggar, and tells him that they have been waiting for him.  Before Dmitri can ask anything more, the nurse reveals a third eye and emits some kind of light upon the injured beggar.  She reveals her name as Aisha and tells him she was the one who send his father's missive to summon him here.  Dmitri allows Aisha to guide her deeper into Jerusalem, and eventually, they come upon a building where she claims he is restrained.  Dmitri's father is in danger, but at the same time, is a danger to all others around him.  Aisha and her people have embraced the task of burning away all evil they find in the world, and Dmitri's father has an evil they cannot defeat.

As Fra Atilio runs off to vanish into the night, Stefan returns with Micah to the room they have for the trip.  Micah admits he had brought Stefan here with him for a reason.  Micah seeks to meet with a Lasombra of great influence.   And to meet with a Malkavian whose rantings relate to the Tzimisce's plans.  Micah wanted his sibling around to have someone he can trust in case things go awry.  The two head off while the night grows darker and eventually come upon a great well.   Micah shares how legends say in the Week of Blood, during the First Crusade, almost 100 years ago, this very well was filled with blood and bodies from that crazed time.  Some whisper that there is a reason such an event transpired then.  As they look below, they see a man currently in the well, inspecting its walls.  Micah calls out to the man and names him as "Anatole."  The Malkavian admits he is impressed to see two Fiends this far from the Slavic mountains but welcomes them nonetheless.

The powerful Faith emanating from certain religious landmarks forces Fra Atilio to take a longer detour.  This path leads him through a graveyard within the city.  Ignoring any fearful tales of walking ghosts and living statues, he arrives at the home of the fallen knight who serves him to find the place empty.  Shadows instead reach out to caress him.  The Lasombra realizes Obtenebration is at work!  As the two manifest tentacles in preparation of a confrontation, Atilio realizes the other Lasombra is a woman, who claims to be seeking the same man he is.  Atilio and the Lasombra woman call for a truce and bear in mind each one's presence is in the city.  Fra Atilio, however, now wonders what other things have come to his city.

Dmitri goes to the basement where his father is locked in.  Aisha and the others hurry back upstairs and lock the door behind them.  The thing that greets Dmitri is a monster that towers over nine feet tall.  The massive bear howls and attempts to tear the doors open.  Dmitri runs back upstairs but fails to get there before the bear slams him down to the ground.  Dmitri's father, it seems, has become a were-bear.

While waiting for Micah to end his discussions with Anatole, another figure comes to the well.  Stefan greets the newcomer and the newcomer offers a friendly smile.  He identifies himself as the bishop Ambrosio Moncada and thanks Stefan for his kindness in allowing him closer without the threat of injury.  Stefan senses the great destiny this man is to have in the many years to come.

As Dmitri comes to, he realizes Aisha and her people have pulled him out of the basement.  His father, the were-bear uneasily sleeps as the powers of the Salubri keep him weak.  The group bears much injuries from the struggle and Dmitri realizes his father is beyond reach.  Whatever semblance of him as the man who loved him is gone.  "We must kill it.  Destroy it.  Before it finds strength once more."  Dmitri's limbs have been severed by the bear, and Aisha had saw it fit to leave it for the bear to devour.

"Decide, and there may be enough flesh left for you to recover your arms."

Dmitri hesitates.  Aisha reminds him that his father called him to come here in order to lay him to rest.  But Dmitri is uncertain if he has the strength to do it.    The choice is nearly taken from him.  A trio step into the building, with odd powers that hint of an infernal source.  One breathes out and vermin pour from his body like a living shadow that skitter and scamper all over Aisha's people and devour them alive.  Another grins at Dmitri and from his gaze, Dmitri realizes the man reads every single unspoken sin he has ever had.

"Stay away from my Childe," Lorelei growls as she comes into the room, a crucifix brandished before her.  The three vampires pull away, repelled by the symbol of the Christian Church.  As Dmitri stares at Lorelei, she tells him that regardless of their differences, they will always be family.  And family will have to deal with blood.


"I brought you here to accompany me," Micah admits, "For I have great visions in store.  Great plans.  I seek to gain respect of the Voivodes.  And I have had dreams which whisper to me ways to do so."   Stefan listens to his brother, Micah Vykos, as he talks about a destiny where their names shall forever be remembered.

And inwardly he trembles with fear recalling Anatole's words.

"You.. your destiny was meant to come later.  Not now.  Odd.  It seems to still make sense."


And Fra Atilio, on this walk home after the encounter with the Lasombra woman, finds himself once more walking through the cemetery.  There, finds a man dressed in the clothes of a crusaders walking aimlessly among the tombs.  The man calls out "One" and cries out in what seems to be a confused state.  Atilio walks closer and attempts to help the man, but the words do not seem to register in his mind.  Instead the man continues to call out, "One" and rants about "Now there were five..." and "Something is broken.."

When Atilio mutters, "Five" the man's attention is suddenly upon him.  And when Atilio opts to attempt to feed on the man, the blood overwhelms his senses so much that by the time he comes to, he realizes the sun is rising!  Prying the grates of the nearest sewer, Atilio slides down into the muck below in hopes of finding safe cold darkness.

But instead, down beneath the cemetery, he learns he is not alone.
He finds a second crusader, lost and mad, muttering over and over again...


Fra Atilio realizes the numbers are meant to be literal.
Somewhere in Jerusalem, there are five lost crusaders seeking each other.

Why?  What for?
And what happens when they find each other again?

These are the questions he will have to face once night falls once more upon the city of Jerusalem.

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