02. Setting and History

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Contents

Inhuman: Things That Go Bump In The Night

Welcome to the world of the Inhuman. A world that is, for the most part, a reflection of the real world, its history and its people. But in this mirrored reflection of the world, there are spots of shadow, spots of darkness. In these spots of darkness blend the mundane and the supernatural, the fantastical and the real. In these shadows walk the Inhuman, creatures with existences and abilities beyond those of their Human counterparts. The myths and legends of humanity are real in these shadows. Maybe not in the same ways that their legends speak of them, but they have existed alongside humanity since time immemorial. Vampires, witches, shapeshifters and even Gods exist in the Inhuman world, keeping themselves apart from the masses of Humanity for their own reasons.

Even in the Inhuman world, Rome is one of the longest enduring civilizations in western European history. It is synonymous with empire, legions, dictators, gladiators and decadence. The Romans have been an inescapable influence on our lives. Much of modern law, European languages and even some political systems are based upon their legacy. In its own peculiar way, Rome is the archetypal metropolis, the original upon which our modern cultures are but a shadow. Myth and legend and a history of decadence surround Rome's memory. In this Inhuman world, we find Rome is also the origin of one of the Inhuman denizens of the world: the vampires, or those 'in the Blood' as they call themselves. Claiming to rise from the early Roman Republic, the society of the blood drinkers, the Houses of the Blood, has spread across the world with the Republic, and then the Empire, and beyond. As the centuries have passed, the Blooded have refined their existences and insinuated their decadent society alongside their Human counterparts. And in the Modern Age of the 21st Century, the Houses of the Blood continue their nightly intrigues, their self-indulgent ways, and their occasional wars with those other Inhuman denizens of the night who would see them destroyed.

Welcome to the world of Inhuman: Houses of the Blood.

Mythology of the Blood

And in this, in the early centuries of the Republic, the Blooded find their mythical origins. The origins of the Houses are, like most Roman mythology, an oral tradition and myth that has been handed down since the founding. Though some events are able to be proven historically, most of what is known of the history of the Houses is recorded by House Axius and House Claudius, through records of oral tradition, writings and the memory of the occasional ancient that rises in the world.

Cursed by the Gods: Birth of the Blood Drinker

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The mythology of the Blood Drinker, also known as the vampire, begins not in some distant time prior to the written word, but in one of her most prosperous cultures: Rome, in the years of the Roman Republic. Here, in Rome, myth was tempered with reason and religious rite; for the gods themselves were real and, throughout even the political, the gods were placated and revered. Myth was not myth as the modern Blooded know it, but a fact of life in the world.

Here, in Rome, her people absorbed the Gods and rituals of other cultures, making her stronger. Here, in Rome, the people revered their deities, drawing them close, and offering them worship, but careful to avoid their ire, handed down as fickle stories of vengeance. Here, in Rome, our story begins with three simple things: the love a man has for a woman, the religious strictures of the man and the woman, and betrayal and vengeance of the fickle gods.

The Roman Republic: The Man and Woman

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Our story starts in the early 5th Century BCE. A young man, a hunter believed to be blessed by Diana, named Titus Albinus Flavius, lived as a plebeian in Rome. He was in love with a woman he knew he could not have: a sibylline priestess of Apollo, the beautiful Licenia Macra Cornelia. Born of patricians, her gift of prophecy led her family to present her to the Temple of Apollo as a priestess. The two became familiar by chance, during forays into the city. Eventually, Titus realized he was in love with Licenia, though he could never have her. In time, Titus was to be wed; his family sought the guidance of the Sibyl of Apollo. Licenia gave a single prophecy, written in blood, and then fled.

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The prophecy: THE BLOOD WILL FLOW. THE LIFE WILL END. THE CURSE SHALL BE UPHELD. THE TWO SHALL BE ONE.

Titus did not understand, but worried for Licenia's reaction to the prophecy. He sought her out and spoke with her one night shortly after, and they spoke of the prophecy and of many things. And the two did admit that they loved each other.

The Enraged Sun: The First Curse

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All the while, the god Apollo had been listening. Jealous by nature, Apollo too loved Licenia. In his jealous rage as he heard her declare her love for Titus, but before she could speak the words of the prophecy of their doom, Apollo cursed the young man.

"NEVER SHALL YOU BE COMFORTED BY THE WARMTH OF THE SUN. BEGONE FROM MY SIGHT, AND MAY THE LIGHT OFFER NO SUCCOR!"

Immediately, Titus took ill, his skin blistering in the light of the rising sun. He fled from Licenia, who briefly followed, though was held back as Titus' pained screams drew the temple guards. Fleeing the Palatine Hill and into the woods outside the city, Titus found a cave and, burned and blistered, he fell into a fitful sleep. He dreamed of Apollo's warning, his body bursting into flame like kindling. Upon waking with the rise of the moon, his wounds had not healed, and after weeping, he resolved himself. He stole into his home and took his hunting things and, abandoning his family, fled to the woods.

His patron goddess, Diana, was the twin of Apollo. Certainly he, who had venerated her for nearly his entire life, could call upon the aid of the goddess. In the night, he hunted. Eventually, a heron presented itself, which he felled with a single shot and sacrificed upon a makeshift altar, raising his voice in praise to Diana, asking for guidance and insight. He slept, yet again, his body aching. When he awoke, he found that he wasn't alone: in the cave was a hunched old man, with a wild, unkempt beard, dark eyes and a cloak made from the skins of many animals, holding the feathers of the heron. Introducing himself as Tarquinus, he told Titus that he had watched him and his plight, and told him he saw no sign from the virginal Diana, just the cold indifference in the light of the full moon. Telling Titus of his own wasted worship of the Goddess, Tarquinus told Titus of one way he could draw the attention of Diana: a show of his hunting prowess, but not with an animal, with something that no human should, or has been, able to catch: a nymph. If Titus showed his prowess and dedication to Diana, she certainly would weigh in against Apollo's curse.

Very little is recorded of what happen to Licenia during this period. What is known is that, due to her abilities, she was kept within the Temple of Apollo by the jilted god, watched over by acolytes and attended to as an 'important person' of the temple. Essentially imprisoned in the temple, she was distraught and sought ways to escape, though none worked. Always, Apollo's avatars, the guards of the temple or Licenia's acolytes would guilt her into coming back, or find her and bring her back. Eventually, Licenia was not left alone for even a second, body slaves and others attending her at all hours of the day. She grew more distant, and in this distance, her powers of prophecy grew...

The Fickle Moon: The Second Curse

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Titus, his devotion to Diana unwavering, refused to do so. He had long felt the goddess, while distant, was fair in her dealings. And as a man who worshiped her, and viewed himself a hunter, he wanted to do things the 'right' way. Tarquinus said he felt Titus was making a mistake. Titus countered with myths of Diana's gentler nature. In the end, Tarquinus offered a deal to the young man: he had a way to restrain the nymph, a magical chain of silver. After 30 days of offering, until the next full moon, if Diana had not responded to Titus' offerings, Tarquinus would provide him with this chain to restrain the nymph. Seeing no harm in the deal, Titus agreed.

Titus, having healed some, returned home and told his family to forget him. For thirty days, he lived in the woods, hunting the animals that were sacred sacrifices to Diana, and offering them in sacrifice. He also began to write simple love letters and poems, using heron feathers and animal blood as quill and ink, eventually smuggling them to Licenia via a young boy. And as Titus only moved by night, Apollo had effectively blinded himself in his rage. Despite her devotion to Apollo, Licenia loved Titus, vows be damned... and the poems proved he was still alive and cared for her.

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On the twenty-ninth night of sacrifice, Titus was in despair, having received no word or sign from his goddess. In his anger and fury and impatience, he went to Tarquinus and took him up on his offer, and was given a net woven of a fine silver chain. Taking the chain net and directions that Tarquinus had to a pond where nymphs bathed, Titus set out. Titus sighted two beautiful nymphs bathing and put his hunting skills to the test, though he became uneasy as he went, but focused on the hunt, shutting out the nymphs' beauty with thoughts of Licenia. And as the nymphs began to dress, Titus gave chase. The nymph used the forest and her power to her advantage, but Titus was clever. Swiftly, he threw the net, capturing the nymph after chasing her for some time. The nymph begged the human to release her, and Titus told the nymph, Egeria, of his plight... and as he proceeded to collect the nymph, he called to Diana. And Titus, holding the chain, screamed in pain as the silver burned him, and a silver arrow struck him in the shoulder... Egeria, screaming, transformed into a burst of oak leaves on the wind... and blew past the angered Diana, who stood in a pool of moonlight, bow held at the ready.

"You defile my servant, human. Worse still, you defile my servant upon the brink of the completion of your task."

She lowered the bow, as Titus slid to the ground. Weeping, the arrow sizzling his flesh where it was sunk deep, Titus simply knelt before the goddess and laid his story out to Diana and the nymph. Egeria, in her pity, came to him and removed the arrow, for she saw that he truly meant her no harm. And Diana spoke of her desire to see the young man's devotion through, the devotion he had.

"Young one, you have been the center of a cruel jape. Tarquinus is not whom he seems."

The Broken Oath: The Third Curse

"Who...?" Titus asked, but Egeria silenced him softly. "An oathkeeper and punisher of oathbreakers," Diana said sadly, shaking her head, pointing out that Titus had broken his word, and that Titus' loss of faith, broken vows and the dedication of such things. She stated that a lesson was learned there, about piety, faith and oaths. Diana's curse was spoken aloud: he would burn at the touch of silver, until such time that Diana was pleased with his recompense. Titus, in his sorrow, begged one favor of Diana anyway: to speak of his devotion to Apollo. She told him that she would consider this. In Titus' sorrow, Egeria had seen something worth nurturing, giving him an oak wood torch, telling him it would 'burn hot enough to even burn a god'. Taking her words as a clue to Tarquinus' true identity, Titus left. Hunting one final heron, he sacrificed it to Artemis and used its blood to write a final message to Licenia. He sent it the normal way, but was forced to sleep in a crypt due to the dawn. In his sleep, he dreamed of the burnt corpse of the man Tarquinus.

In the evening, he rose and returned to the cavern, confronting Tarquinus. The bearded man smiled. "How did it go, my lad?" Tarquinus asked Titus. In barely-contained fury, Titus lit the torch. Tarquinus, smiling in a predatory and mocking manner, replied, "I take it, not as well as you hoped?" Regarding the torch, Tarquinus simply spoke to Titus.

"I see my ruse has come to a head. Fickle, fickle deities. They play with the piety and devotion of mortals, and yet do NOTHING to warn them, even their most devout followers."

A simple flick of Tarquinus' hand, and the torch, lit with a flame the color of the sun, turned in Titus' hand and burned his arm, and Tarquinus spoke that Titus was cursed to burn worse than a human with fire. And as he cursed Titus, Tarquinus changed... revealing himself to be the God of punishment of oathbreakers and the dead, Orcus. With a final word, he turned the torch on Titus, watching the flames consume the young man. As Titus died, Orcus spoke, laughing in mockery at the mortal.

"I welcome your soul to my domain. The land of the dead has much to show oathbreakers."

The next night, Licenia, waiting, was presented with the final message. As she read it, she fell to tears...

My dearest Licenia. I have sought a way for us to be together, and at every turn, I have been thwarted. I have sought clemency from the gods, and in that I have failed. My love for you is the thing keeping me alive now, and I do not wish to burden you with it any longer. Forget me. Go. And live.

In despair and anger, Licenia fled the temple that night, setting out into the forest to find Titus.

The Pity of Death: The Reprieve

Titus saw only darkness, but felt no pain, just the feeling of swift movement. And when he stopped, Titus opened his eyes and found himself whole and unburth, leading him from the retreating form of Mercury was a pale young woman with short, tousled hair, wearing a simple robe of a dark grey. All around him, the cavern glittered with gemstones and precious metal, and he knew he'd entered the realms of the Underworld. He recognized her as the goddess Mors, and felt his stomach tighten. She looked at him, not unkindly, as she led him down the path.

"You have sinned, and your soul shall be presented to the Judges. But you have sinned against Orcus. Your punishment shall be severe."

All around, the souls of the dead -- men, women, children, the elderly, soldiers, and countless others -- were making their way towards a river. Ahead lay the entrance to Avernus, the Underworld. He sat and reflected upon his fate, upon the fickle gods who betrayed him. He watched the men and women pass by, present their coin and be ferried to the other side. Again, Titus' mind wandered to Licenia. Mors turned, pressing coin into his hand. And as Titus moved to be presented to Charon at the river, both heard an even, commanding, almost fatherly voice, as a man moved out of the procession to approach the two.

"Hold." said the even, commanding, almost fatherly voice, as a man moved out of the train of souls to approach the two.

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Meanwhile, in the world above, Licenia continued to seek out Titus through the night. In the dawn, she hid from Apollo in caverns in the forests outside Rome. As she rested during the day, her powers of prophecy came unbidden in her sleep. Upon the sunset, she awoke and fled into the lowlands, finding shelter in a small cavern, surrounded by a grove of oaks that she felt would be sacred enough to Diana in her hour of need. There, she took her knife, prayed to Apollo for forgiveness for her love, and to Diana for mercy upon Titus. And she slit her wrists and stabbed herself in the stomach, and lay down to die in the cavern...

In the underworld, Titus turned to the approaching man: handsome, the man wore a black toga and mantle lined with gold and precious stones, with a curly beard. And Titus knew who he was. Every mortal did: Pluto, the God of the Underworld. Titus bent the knee almost as an afterthought, his eyes upon a particularly large ruby -- one the distinct color of blood -- in the ground before his bowed head. Mors, bowing, backed away from Pluto and Titus, disappearing into the mass of souls. He bade Titus rise with his hand, and so the young man rose.

"Titus Albinus Flavius. Rise. Clemency has been asked of me. I am Pluto, god of the Underworld and lord of the dead. All here, is my domain. Despite sharing the duties of the underworld, tasteless as they are, with others... I am the lord of all that I survey here. That includes your soul and its final reward."

Titus, looking upon Pluto and surprised at the even temper of the god, asked of the clemency, confused. Pluto's tone became one of annoyance at the situation, and Pluto spoke of Orcus' trickery and deceit, and also of Orcus' waning power, and his desire to 'bring down the strong souls he would never have claim to' in order to strengthen his own precarious position. Pluto also added that Diana had traded Titus' story, and a small favor, for Pluto's clemency; as he spoke, the god of the dead smiled kindly, like an uncle or a father, and reached out to gently touch Titus on the shoulder. Titus, on the verge of breaking down, stood, staying stoic in the face of Pluto. And the God of the Underworld spoke on.

"And I have witnessed, and been told the detail, of the treachery you were pressed to, the jealousy of Apollo and your devotion. For even in death, you thought not of yourself, but of Licenia. And so, clemency has been granted. I shall do what is within my power to return you to life... as much as I can. For while I am the God of Death, returning to you life when you have been claimed by Orcus... will not be perfect. You will live, functionally immortal. But I cannot grant the vital spark, only the force that reanimates your body. You must take small bits of life from others... their breath, their blood. And for this, Diana has offered a gift." From within his mantle, Pluto pulled out a small wispy orb. "Consume this. Your body will be healed, your soul will be returned to your body, and this gift of Diana will grant you the fangs, claws, strength and speed of a great hunting beast."

Titus took the orb in his hand, hesitant. Pluto, smiling sadly, added, "You must hurry in your decision. Time wanes for your love. She lays on the cusp of her death, and in her death, has no one to speak for her."

Shocked into action, Titus consumed the sphere. Pluto reached forward, pressing fingers to the young man's forehead... and Titus awoke, lying in a ring of oak trees near a cavern. In the light of the crescent moon, he found his vision sharper than ever... the darkness of night posed no threat to him. His tongue rolled across his teeth, finding his canines sharpened. He pushed himself to his feet, and nearly off of his feet, unaccustomed to the strength he was granted.

And in the moonlight, the smell of blood flooded his senses, from the cavern nearby. Standing, he smelled something else alongside the scent of blood: the scent of sunlight, of olives and of incense. The smell of Licenia.

Eternal Life: The Two Made One

Turning, Titus dashed into the cave, his speed surprising him. He moved quickly through the cavern, his senses honing quickly even in this short time, in his desperation. The smell of blood drew Titus to the prone form of Licenia, lying in a pool of her own blood. pale and bleeding from her slit wrists and from the blade still embedded in her stomach. Titus rushed to Licenia's side, his hand finding hers and lifting it. Licenia's hand was still so warm, even as her lifeblood pooled on the stone floor.

Her eyes fluttered open weakly, and Licenia looked at Titus with her green eyes, and she smiled sadly. "Oh, cruel and fickle gods..." she said weakly, squeezing his hand. "Now that I have flown from Apollo for love, and prayed to Diana to grant you clemency. And now I see you once more. To give my life to give you forgiveness, and to see you before I die, that's all I wish now." Her other hand raised, touching Titus face, and she shivered... and fell still, eyes staring. Her hand fell away from Titus, face, leaving a bloody smear.

Titus panicked, his eyes stinging as tears flowed from them. "No," he said, leaning forward to kiss her. He felt the smallest of breaths, could hear her heartbeat slowing as she died. His hand squeezed hers tighter, and his free hand raised to wipe the tears from his cheeks. And that's when he saw the tears were not simply tears, but tinged with crimson: tinged with blood. The words of Pluto came back to him in a rush. Vital spark. Bits of life. In the blood. And he resolved himself. "No. You will not die. I understand the words of Pluto now..." he whispered, and tore his wrist open with his fangs. And lifting Licenia, he kissed her neck, feeling the weakening pulse as his fangs pierced her skin.

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Even dying, the ecstatic feeling of the touch of the man that Licenia loved caused her to gasp back to near-consciousness. And Titus drank, though there was not much left. And as he drank, he pushed his torn wrist to her mouth. Lifting his own mouth a moment, he whispered, "Drink. The life is in the blood," he begged, "stay with me forever." And he returned to her throat, savoring the blood. He did not expect the taste of life to be this: it was Licenia's entire life, the spice of her food, the summer sun in her family home, the incense of the temple. He saw her as she was.

The thick blood was warm in Licenia's throat and tasted of strange spice... but Licenia did as begged, and drank And within the blood, she felt the warmth of life. And as her life ebbed, she saw Titus' own life: his devotion, his emptiness and his loneliness, and his true love. And as he drank the last drop, she took one more drink... and died.

Titus felt her die, felt the life ebb out of her... and didn't feel anything, no new spark of life. He failed. Distraught, he simply cradled her body, through the night and into the dawn. As the sun rose, Titus felt his eyes grow heavy... his body weary from his trails... and he slept. He dreamt of the things he'd tasted in Licenia's blood. The dreams comforted him, and he sought solace in those memories of his deceased beloved.

When he awoke, his eyes took time to come open, as he did not wish to see her body. But as his body rose from the sleep of death -- a side-effect of the immortality granted by Pluto -- and he came to his senses, he found that his arms were empty. Licenia was not there. Confused, Titus rose and headed out of the cave... and found Licenia, naked and atop a small rise some distance away, her skin reflecting in the starlight. It had worked. She turned to him, smiling, her eyes glistening in the starlight. And she went to Titus, taking his hand. They had so much to talk about...

Titus had passed on the blessings of Pluto and Diana to Licenia through the blood. Overcome with joy, he took her in his arms and vowed never to separate. They began to hone their new forms and powers, training in the wild places of the world. Learning to hunt, learning what would sate the hunger and bestial urges that came when they did not have blood from which to drink. Months of living in the wilds, subsisting on animals and weary travelers, they found themselves ready. And they returned to Rome, ready to build their eternity together...

Brought Into the Blood: The First Brood

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For decades, the two lived together; such a large city as Rome offered many opportunities for an eccentric master and mistress of a house to come and go as they pleased. They traveled by night, enjoying the decadence of Rome as she grew around them. They attended gatherings and parties, they supped -- as they found they could still eat and drink human food, were they full of enough blood -- and they hunted among the patricians and the plebeians. Titus was content to live with Licenia, drunk on their love, simply happy to be with her; Licenia, however, began to change. In the decades that followed being brought Into the Blood, Licenia's love for Titus did not wane, but her outlook on the rest of life grew cold. Though Titus did not see it, she grew crueler, colder. Her cruelty was tempered by her love for Titus, but as she aged in the Blood, her mercy became less and less.

It was during this period that they had their first falling out; Titus, taken aback by the growing, bestial anger within her, became concerned for his lover. And so, seventy five years into their immortality, Licenia, in her rage, struck out at Titus and injured him. Taken aback by her actions, the Founder fled from Titus, vowing to quench the fires of anger she felt, leaving Rome. Titus, hurt -- both emotionally and physically, as Licenia had used her stronger gifts of the Blood to strike him down -- stayed within Rome, slowly becoming more and more despondent.

It was here that the two began to expand their tribe. In their separation, the emotions that they both felt became stronger: Titus' ennui and Licenia's anger at the world. And the world grew more difficult, as they ran afoul of other supernatural creatures -- and those that hunted them. And in time, both were drawn to others... Titus, to stave off the ennui; and Licenia, to temper her anger at the world.

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The Witch: Genitrix Aquilia Fabia

After their falling out, Licenia's anger drove her; she sought out anything with which to douse the fires of anger in her heart. For years, she traveled Rome's provinces and towns and cities, never settling. Instead, she sought out conflict, particularly in defense of women... particularly in defense of women being persecuted in service to Apollo. She finally settled in Ostia, the primary port city of Rome. There, she used her considerable powers of personality to ingratiate herself with the rich, manipulating them to amass wealth to maintain her masquerade. In Ostia, Licenia lived comfortably for years. However, her mercies were soon tested. In her time within the city, she encountered many people; and she had her first encounter with other supernatural creatures of the world: a young woman named Aquilia Fabia. The daughter of a patrician merchant, Licenia met the young Aquilia out at night, attending her father's gatherings in the city. Long into the night they talked, and for a long time they grew closer, Aquilia considering Licenia to be an older sister of sorts.

One night, when Aquilia was not present at the gather, things changed. When Licenia attempted to find out any information about her, she found that the woman had left to attend another party. And Licenia did not think anything of it; the young woman was beset by suitors, and perhaps that was for the best. Aquilia would die, and Licenia would live... and here, Licenia found sadness tempering her anger at Titus and the world, and she began to make plans to return to him in Rome. Before she could, however, she witnessed the persecution of individuals outside the city for witchcraft. Among them was Aquilia. Her anger stoked, Licenia joined the fray and fought to defend the young woman. Her fangs and claws flashed, and her speed and strength surprised the witch-hunters... and Aquilia, despite wielding the power of nature -- witchcraft -- was struck down. As Licenia slew the last man in the fields outside of Ostia, Aquilia's life drained out from a fatal wound.

Licenia's question was simple. "Do you want to live?" Weak and dying, Aquilia nodded... and Licenia did as Titus had done to her. Taking Aquilia to her villa, Licenia left the woman in the wine cellar, and slept next to the cold body. And the next night, Aquilia arose... the first of the new tribe. Licenia took Aquilia under her wing, teaching her... and in return, Aquilia spoke to Licenia of the Witches, those who can control the laws and elements and aspects of nature, bringing them to heel. Aquilia's power grew as she shared Licenia's powerful blood, learned to hunt, learned the way of the blood drinker. For another decade, the 'sisters' led a life of decadence and indulged their monstrous appetites. And as the ennui fled from Licenia, she softened somewhat. Her mercy was tempered by the joy she felt for Aquilia, the joy that the younger woman brought to her. And the two prepared to return to Rome, to introduce the new 'daughter' to Titus...

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The Hedonist: Genitor Ignatius Julius Alexius

During this same time, Titus was thrown into a state of despondence after his falling out with Licenia. He barely attended to the necessities, including hunting. And as he fell into ennui, the world became too much. The servants were dismissed, slaves sold by household masters, and the house fell into disrepair. Titus fled to the woods and the cave where he had brought Licena into the Blood; and there, he entombed himself and slept. Thirty long years passed, according to legend.

When he awoke, Titus had dreamt of the world around him. And, while not completely recovered... Titus vowed to return to the mortal world. He vowed to himself that he would not let Licenia's leaving him define his life and, using wealth that they had hidden away in preparation for such things, returned to Rome, taking on a new identity. And he went into mortal society as a new man, determined to push of ennui by 'doing'. And so, he ingratiated himself into mortal society, becoming a patron and financier. Artists, poets, scholars... he freely invested money, hosted lavish parties, purchased slaves for a variety of tasks.

In this lavish style, during one of his gatherings, he met Ignatius Julius Alexius. An extremely wealthy patrician, even by the standards of Rome at the time, Ignatius became someone that Titus spent much time with. Ignatius lived an extremely lavish and hedonistic life, and shared many interests in the arts with Titus. They spoke well into the nights of many things, and over a few years became close friends. Eventually, Ignatius told Titus of his one biggest fear: dying.

In this, Titus became enamored with the idea of a new companion... and at the end of years of friendship, Titus revealed his immortal nature to Ignatius, and brought the hedonistic young man into the Blood. They spent many a year engaged in their hedonistic pursuits, as Titus taught Ignatius the powers and abilities of the blood. And it was Ingatius that educated Titus on a new property of the blood: a living human, drinking the blood, took on some aspects of a Blood Drinker... but stayed alive, while gaining the immortality of the Blood Drinker. In this, the first servus was created.

Interlude I: Commisceo

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A decade passed in Ostia, but eventually Licenia and Aquilia returned to Rome; in this time, Aquilia had sired another three vampires, and the small 'family' had lightened Licenia's heart considerably. Returning to their old villa and lands, Licenia was utterly surprised to find that Titus was no longer there. Aquilia brought up the fact that decades had passed, and Titus had been physically harmed by Licenia; he may have moved on. Her heart chipped away at further, Licenia vowed to her little coven that they would spend some time in Rome, establish themselves... and if Titus was out there, she would find him. She used their hidden wealth (some of which, she noted, was gone) to purchase the villa and lands, and re-establish a household.

During this same time, Titus and Ignatius continued their revelry, the ennui replaced with a renewed zest for the world; and during this time, Ignatius had also sired a handful of vampires. Ignatius' small coven was a comfort to Titus broken heart, both those brought Into the Blood and the half-vampiric servii that replaced many of their mortal slaves. It was not long, just under a year, that Titus found someone had purchased the old villa and lands that he had owned with Licenia. He and one of his nepos returned to the villa, intending to attend a party there, and use the party as cover to recover things left buried in the cellars from his and Licenia's life. Titus was not expecting the tell-tale signs of other vampires, though... and was certainly not expecting a resplendent Licenia.

A tense moment became an emotional reunion. Licenia and Titus fell into each others' embrace, their love still deep and unbroken. Explaining to Aquilia who Titus was, Licenia was ecstatic to learn that Titus had not died when she'd wounded him... And Titus was overjoyed to have Licenia back. The group spent the evening deep in discussion, the nepos dispatched back to Ignatius' villa. Over the next few weeks, the two groups were intermingled and got to know each other. For the next decade, Licenia and Titus found each other again, much to the happiness of Ignatius and the barely-contained jealousy of Aquilia. They shared knowledge and secrets between the groups, eventually conjoining into one large coven at Titus' behest.

But not all was to remain content....

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The Legionnaire Genitor Marcus Gaius Seneca

Shortly after the reunion, Titus and Licenia set the coven up in a family hierarchy, to mimic Roman tradition. Later, as they existed and hunted the fringes, three proles of Aquilia and Ignatius ran afoul of something during their hunt. One of Aquilia's proles returned, bloodied and missing an arm, stating that the man she hunted had transformed into a hulking wolf-like monstrosity, and when her allies came to her aid, more of these wolf-monsters appeared. She was the only one to get away, unsure if the others were dead or not. Licenia, Titus and Fabia returned to the scene and found one body in a state of advanced decomposition. The other proles was nowhere to be found.

The next night, shortly before sunset, Licenia was drawn to screaming outside the villa; outside, a group of people -- a mix of men and women, dressed in a range of styles but many with peregrinii stylings -- stood in semi-circle at the end of the promenade. The missing proles, who was burning in the setting sun, flesh bubbling and boiling, was bound between the two. Aquilia, incensed, stormed from the villa. Disregarding her own burning flesh, she used her gift of speed and strength to drag the burning man inside, where servii doused their flames. A man from the group stepped forward, calling himself Aulus, and simply issued one warning: "This is our territory. Do not tarry. Leave." And then they left, as the sun set.

Incensed, Licenia and Titus were united in their hatred of these beast-men, and Licenia set out with Aquilia to wreak vengeance upon this man. Titus organized the remaining vampires in their defense and consolidation in Ignatius' compound. And during the night, Licenia and Aquilia struck at the beast-men... eventually tracking them to the fringes of the city. There, bloody battle was met and ended in a draw. For years, the wolf-men of Rome and the vampires of Rome met and fought, moved and postured. The vampires had one advantage over the wolf-men: their influence in mortal society, spurred on by Ignatius' extravagance and penchant to become familiar with the rich and powerful. In this, things were not even, but the vampires had an advantage of servii to work during the day, and strings to pull to undermine the wolf-men in the city.

During this time, Titus realized that the martial prowess of their numbers was lacking. While their Gifts of the Blood gave them advantages, martial training and numbers were not on their side. It was in this revelation that he and Licenia sought out a new proles to bring into the blood, eventually bringing in a Roman legionnaire who specialized in military training, Marcus Gaius Seneca, courting him with the eventual reveal of training an army 'stronger than anything Rome had, or would, ever field'. Bringing Marcus into the Blood, Licenia brought the warrior under her thumb fairly quickly, and he set about training those in the Blood. Ultimately, Marcus' training became the turn for the subtle war, and the wolf-men (now known as the Therians) and the Blooded divided Rome under the First Accord, with the lion's share going to the Terians. The war was ended, though not without dissatisfaction among the Blooded... though unlike the territorial Therians, the Blooded could (and did, quickly) spread out to Rome's settlements.

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The Virgin: Genitrix Lucretia Claudia

Years passed, and the coven of the Blooded grew. Though Licenia and Titus did not bring over new proles, the others did. Marcus, in particular, offered immortality to soldiers (many dying of wounds from the wars that Rome fought), bringing further martial prowess. Slowly, the Blooded grew, and Titus and Licenia oversaw the burgeoning Blooded as patrons would to a family.

The Blooded were not solely focused in Rome; indeed, many of the Blooded moved with the expansion of the Republic. Licenia and a handful of Roman nepos visited one of Marcus' proles and a coven in the recently-ceded city of Corcyra. During their time there, Licenia sought out interest in further Mysteries: still she sought ways to relieve her immortal lover and brethren from the yoke of the cruel Gods' curses. She attended a myriad of religious affairs and became enamored of a young woman of distinct beauty and piety, who was rumored to have the gift of prophecy. Intrigued, Licenia spent much time observing the would-be vestal, Lucretia Claudia.

In her observation, she eventually learned that Lucretia had dedicated herself to the goddess Vesta, and composed and comported herself as would a Vestal Virgin, drawing a mixture of mockery and respect for her piety. She was well-educated for a plebeian, and she had a true gift of prophecy: she wrote what she saw, rather than the haruspexy that Licenia had performed. It was this observation of Lucretia that eventually drew the young beauty into the Blood. Licenia interrupted her defiling by a jilted lover; perhaps seeing something of what she and Titus could have become had she not been willing to go against Apollo's wishes. Licenia slew the man in a bloody dismemberment, and took Lucretia into the blood that very night.

Soon after, Lucretia returned with Marcus and Licenia to Rome proper, where she was brought into the Blood. But her spirituality never wavered and, now seeing Mysteries beyond those known to the Colleges, she set about interpreting her visions and signs, and the faith of the Republic, to serve the Blooded.

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The Politician: Genitrix Porcia Laelia

Little by little, as the Blooded spread with the conquering of territories and colonial expansion of Rome, so too did their need for governance. Conflicts between vampires happened, and the spread of the Family of the Night outstripped the ability of Titus and Licenia, despite the efforts of them and their proles to adjudicate. And so, as the Republic grew, the Family of the Night evolved.

It was Marcus Gaius Seneca, who brought up the first of two who would be brought into the Blood. He had kept up with many of the senators and the expansions of Rome, in order to maintain the Legio Mortuus to maintain peace among the Blooded, and one particular political family stuck out at him. The Laelius gens, whom he had known as a mortal in the time before being brought Into the Blood. Particularly, a woman who stood in the shadow of her Senatorial husband, Porcia Laelia, whom he'd known as a child: the daughter of a senator, and wife of a senator, she was deeply immersed in politics.

Observation of her over a long period of time exampled her keen mind and her extreme political knowledge (as she was observed advising her Senator husband) impressed the Founders; and after a period of time as one of Titus' servii, she was brought Into the Blood by Licenia. She fell into the Blooded with both feet on the ground, her wit and carriage and political acumen carrying her more than her sex. And she found herself impressing even her 'hard to impress' sibling, Aquilia. She spent only a few years acclimating to being in the Blood, before moving on to greater pursuits within the gens sanguinis.

Porcia began advising Titus and the rest of the gens sanguinis in matters of state, and set about creating the Lex Noctis in order to govern the burgeoning blood. She began eagerly codifying much of the laws of the Blooded, including the official policy of the gens sanguinis and the full defining of the Houses as somewhat-political entities.

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The Speaker: Genitor Lucius Aurelius Nerva

Porcia's creation and interpretation of laws for the Blooded would not work alone, though. Other than a show of force through the Legio Mortuus, many of the younger Blooded who would oppose such a creation would need to be soothed. In conjunction with Porcia's Lex Noctis, the Blooded sought out someone with the social graces (and honeyed tongue) to set those who may rebel against the law's establishment at ease. It became paramount as, even with the Legion and those under Porcia's tutelage diffusing tense situations, there were still bloody battles met between youngers who saw no need for the organization and laws being brought about, and those who saw the laws as necessary for the survival of their tribe.

In this, Titus looked to his first proles, Ignatius, to call upon his connections and allies within the mortal world in order to find someone. It did not take long for a speaker, a well-spoken and well-respected proconsul by the name of Lucius Aurelius Nerva, to be brought forth from Ignatius' inquiries. The man was noted to be a great speaker, who looked to the rights of the plebs even though he was a patrician. Titus, and younger Blooded loyal to Titus, found and observed the man and found him to be what was described.

After a short time, Lucius was brought into the Blood. Unlike others, it took time for Lucius to acclimate to the Blood; but ultimately, Lucius acclimated and, like Porcia, found that he was affecting greater change with the Houses, and finding a great meaning, perhaps greater than he would have in his mortal political career. Alongside his 'brother' Marcus Gaius Seneca, he worked to quell those who saw their power and immortality as a means to an end, those who were acting outside the Lex Noctis. Eventually, through his efforts, the Houses oversaw the formation of the Pactum Sanguinis, the Blooded's own Republic of the Night, a governmental entity covering Rome herself, and peace was restored to the majority of the Blooded.

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The Scholar: Genitrix Korinna Allecta Axia

Sometimes, though, the vampires do not seek one out to bring into the Blood. Sometimes, one is so observant and so well-educated, that they see the oddities in the world around them. Rome, being a city full of immigrants, slaves and others, was no stranger to strange events. Among her people lived other supernatural beings, in addition to the Blooded, and the secret was not always the best-kept. One such human who knew that there were non-human denizens of the night was a simple woman, the slave Korinna Allectae Axii servus.

A Greek slave of the patrician Allectus Axius, Korinna had a keen mind for numbers, and her Greek education made her an ideal accountant for the household. But even as she worked for her master and mistress and their household, Korinna hated her slavery, even with those benefits her education allowed her over other servii. She sought a way to escape her harsh life and used her education to earn extra money to buy her freedom. It was during these nights that she became aware of the supernatural in the midst of humanity, and kept detailed records of those she encountered.

Eventually, Korinna came to the attention of Titus and one of Aquilia's offspring during an altercation with a Bygone, a faun who masqueraded as a patrician human at an affair hosted by her mistress. Swayed by not only her keen intellect, but her knowledge of those around her -- including the goings-on of some of the Blooded working against the Republic -- Titus bought Korinna from Allectus and brought her into the Blood soon after. Korinna reveled in her freedom and dedicated herself to Titus as a surrogate father, and through mutual discussion and organization, set out to catalog the trials and tribulations of the Blooded, becoming their foremost scholar and archivist.

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Interlude II: Sodalitas

With the induction of Lucius into the Blood, the next years saw the Laws of the Lex Noctis become refined. As the Pactum Sanguinis continued to expand, each of those that Titus and Licenia brought into the Blood formed and organized among their own lines of descent. Thus were the Houses born. It was in this time that many of the Genitors, as they were beginning to be called, set down their own internal rules and regulations, for each had an outlook of what they sought and what they felt was worth adding to their line and granting immortality to.

Still, some youngers of the various lineages rebelled against the Lex Noctis, prompting the Houses and their leadership to make a surprising turn: to reject those who would not adhere to the laws of both House and Republic. Cast out, these Pariahs were exiled and their protections within the Pactum Sanguinis were stripped. Eventually, the battles of siblings and lineages died away... and the true Republic of the Night flourished, even as the Roman Republic spiraled into the Roman Empire. Within the Pactum Sanguinis the positions of Consul, Princeps, Aedile, and many others became codified, giving a government to the Blooded in the various cities and territories that those of the Houses had traveled to.

Little by little, the government of the Blooded shored up many of the issues, and strengthened the Blooded in their conflicts, particularly in helping to presented more of a unified front. For not all was peaceful. The Therians still sought to drive Blooded out of many territories, the Witches continued to run afoul of the more mystically-minded Blooded, and other creatures of the night came to the visibility of the Blooded through the works of House Axia: the monstrum, the mythological creatures such as fauns, hydra, manticores and others (who would later become known as the Bygones); the Arisen, the restless dead given form for vengeance; the Somnia, fantastical beings created by man's unconscious dreams (who would later become known as the Fae); and those who hunt the monsters in the night.

Over time, the Pactum Sanguinis transitioned from simply being the ruling body of Rome proper, and became an overarching government for the Roman vampires themselves, functioning as a central Senate of the Genitors, advising Licenia and Titus on matters of state, while the Genitors themselves were advised by the Consuls of the various territories and settlements of the Blooded.

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The Master: Genitor Publius Octavius Eclectus

As the Pactum Sanguinis spread and the Republic fell to the Empire, Titus and Licenia had another brief, and brutal falling out; the two lovers clashed over the destruction of a favored proles of Aquilia, who had broken the Law of Revelation in a city in Raetia. The ripples of this conflict were felt throughout the Houses, with Titus and Licenia coming to blows, before Licenia and Aquilia left Rome to Raetia. Accompanied by Marcus and Korinna, Titus followed the two women; indeed, those who knew of Titus' prior ennui found that he was a different vampire after these few hundred years.

A few years passed, and Titus and the others returned. It seemed that he and Licenia had made amends, though Aquilia was still incensed by the destruction of her proles. Upon their return, however, they had brought with them another Blooded: the servant of a wealthy patrician man, called Publius Octavii Eclectae servus. The new Blooded, brought Into the Blood by Titus, had served as a servus of the destroyed proles of Aquilia for years, and to the Genitors he presented himself as a man who sought a sort of unity: in Raetia, he had assisted heavily in running a ludus, a school for gladiators and trained many fine men to battle and die. But his true strength was of the assessment of others, and finding the niche in which they fit.

But, Publius said, there was something more: the ability to look beyond only those traits that his sibling Genitors looked for. Titus had seen this and, in an attempt to bring more balance to the Houses, brought Publius over. Despite the rocky beginning and the consistent animosity with Aquilia, Publius flourished and pledged his help to the other houses. And he saw to his word, helping to not only cultivate mortals of natures that the other Houses might find useful, but also those outside of the spheres of influence of the individual Houses he brought into the Blood himself, drawing from all walks of life due to his philosophy. He soon became renowned among the Blooded for his keen ability to provide a man or woman for almost any situation, and it was his influence that instituted further guidelines and laws into the Lex Noctis regarding servii and humans themselves.

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The Hostage: Genitor Marius Asinius Firmus

As the Empire grew from the Republic, the influence and connection of various Genitors throughout was tested. The changeover from Republic to Empire was not the smoothest, and during this time the Blooded encountered more conflict with other supernaturals. In their nights in Rome proper, the Blooded had their first major conflict with the Somnia, leading to a conflict known as the Hunters' War. It is not known what caused this conflict; however, the Blooded came into conflict with what scholars determined were Germanic in origin. In response, those of House Axius began a gathering of knowledge, and House Fabia began mystical research. However, it was a vampire of House Octavius that brought a potential new avenue of information to light.

A Roman Equestrian, who was in reality a Germanic 'prince' taken as a hostage, was a fixture in Rome. Known as Marius Asinius Firmus, he had been raised among the Roman elite and trained as a soldier. Though he was brought under the direct control of one of Axia's proles, it was shown that he had no real knowledge of the mystical; however, his vague recollections of legends of childhood led to some new developments. Further impressed by his martial prowess, Marius presented a secondary angle to warfare: where Marcus Gaius Seneca led the Legio Mortuus in the traditional Roman style, Marius' fine memory of his Harii training as a youth allowed him to advise the Legion on the movements of the Therians, Bygones and Fae who fought and warred in a similarly non-regimented manner. Impressed by this and, legend has it, his comeliness, Licenia drew him to her and brought him into the Blood.

Marius' change to a Blooded was the start of a number of internal conflicts. Over a short period of time, Marius had brought a number of others into the Blood, all extremely loyal to Licenia above all. It was also rumored that Licenia had taken Marius as a consort, though those who had access to the Divina Parente saw no difference in the way that Licenia and Titus acted towards each other. Marius' attitude, freed from his Roman yoke, slowly slid into his more Germanic barbarian roots, bringing him into conflict with Marcus, Allecta and Lucretia. Indeed, even as others were bringing non-Romans into the Blood by dint of merit and need, Marius went out of his way to bring in those who might be more undesirable; he was known for taking strong barbarians from his travels, bringing Visigoths, Gauls and others under the banner of the Blooded. For a time, this did not sit well with some of those elders brought in from Rome's Patricians, but the Lex Noctis upheld, and internal conflicts were soon pushed back to the status quo.

Legends of the Blood: Other Supernaturals

Myths of the Blooded during these formative years tell of encounters with other supernaturals, both within Rome and without as they traveled afield. Some of these encounters were benign and even informative; others, full of violence and conflict. Though much has been lost to history, secrets kept even in True Death, some have been recorded by Blooded historians.

  • The First Therian War: Reportedly the first meeting between Wolf Therians and the Blooded, the First Therian War was a bloody battle over a period of years dealing with territorial disputes in Rome and her immediate surroundings. Though the specific events and terms of the war are lost to time, the Blooded and Therians eventually came to territorial division known as the Primum Pactum, or the First Agreement, believed to be the precursor to the modern-day Accords that some cities present.
  • The Headhunters: Recorded in a fairly well-kept analytical treatise by a proles of Allecta Axia, The Headhunters tells the story about the Blooded's first encounters with a large group of organized humans, led primarily by a Greek liberti who hunted them. In the treatise, it talks about how they were hunted as the monstrum, and the near-destruction of Lucretia Claudia at the hands of the hunters.
  • The Uprising: With most records wiped out during The Reckoning, information on The Uprising is scant. What is known about it comes from broken oral records put down before some vetis sanguine left to hibernate and deal with her ennui. The Uprising told of an attempt by three Blooded, whose names are stricken from record, who attempted to slay Licenia and Titus, and take their vitalis and supplant them as Divina Parente.
  • The Hunters' War: The first actual conflict with the Fae, in which the Blooded clashed in bloody battle with the night riders now known as the Wyld Hunt. Another war with information lost to the destruction of members of the Houses, the common oral myth involves the Wyld Hunt being denied of proper souls by Blooded of House Gaius bringing dying soldiers on the battlefield into the Blood, and the Hunt seeking vengeance upon the Blooded for stealing what is rightfully theirs.
  • The Second Therian War: Written records of the Second Therian War survive to this night, penned by Marius Asinius Firmus from his campaign into Britannia during the War. During the height of the Roman Empire and expansion, Blooded afield in Britannia in the city of Verulamium were engaged in bloody battle with wolf-, bear- and bird-shifter Therians during Boudica's sacking of the settlement. Marius himself is reported to have led troops amidst the Roman garrisons, but the Blooded were routed and their forces retreated to Londinium, as Boudica destroyed Verulamium.
  • The Witches' Warning: Modern copies of information on the Witches' Warning are disputed as being fact; written by a member of House Claudius known for stylings similar to ancient Greek playwrights. Many modern Blooded believe the records are a somewhat-fictionalized version of a true event, written to bolster Blooded morale. In the Roman province of Egypt, a number of Blooded had disappeared, including the Consul. It was revealed, through the combined efforts of House Claudia and House Fabia, that Egyptian Witches were stealing away with Blooded, using the vitalis that kept them in a state of immortal stasis, to fuel powerful and forbidden magics in an internal coup. The Witches were found and, after philosophical discussion between their leader, Tahena, and legendary Claudian, Neskhnum e Claudia Euphemia, she and her cohort slaughtered the Witches and used their bodies to despoil their sacred site. Along with this, it was written that Neskhnum also left an involved message to the Covens justifying her slaughter of their people.

The Society of the Night: Houses of the Blood

As vampire society grew and the Lex Noctis and Pactum Sanguinis formed, each of the nine that were brought Into the Blood by Titus and Licenia began to organize their prodigies and broods. As most of the nine were brought Into the Blood for various purposes, those purposes slowly became areas of expertise, collections of qualities that those lineages looked for. Through this, the Houses were formed, organizing in semi-political extended families, each House bringing something and adding something to the Republic of the Night.

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House Fabia: One of the smallest of the Houses, House Fabia focused on external power through the study and mastery of the mystic arts. Founded by one who was in life a Witch, House Fabia drew in those of a mystical bent: those who practiced and studied various forms of magic, such as hedge magicians, potion makers and even herbalists and healers. As a political group, House Fabia specialized in dealing with and countering other supernaturals, particularly Witches and the Fae. House Fabia gained fame (and fear) for their practice of Praecantatio, utilizing the stolen life in their blood, combined with ritual invocation, to gain limited access the magic their founder had lost when she was brought Into the Blood. Unlike the other mystical Houses, House Fabia was of a particularly martial angle throughout the early nights of the Republic, working closely with House Gaius and House Asinius in defense of the Republic.
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House Julius: The first House to organize, House Julius started out not quite what one would consider 'organized'. Those of House Julius lived in Roman decadence, whiling away their nights with wine, music, and blood. Over time, House Julius found its feet in the parts of the night that it so loved: the people of Rome. Founded by one who was a decadent patrician in life, House Julius embraced this aspect and used their nightly activities to support the Republic of the Night through their connections: the ears of a senator here, in the bed of a praetor there, in the deep discussions the Romans had in their parties well into the night. House Julius, viewed as vapid by outsiders, grew their own influence and contributions to the Republic through their influence in the mortal world around them.
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House Gaius: The defense of the Republic is paramount, and House Gaius formed from this endeavor. Originally brought into form as an alae organized by the legionnaire who was brought Into the Blood, the House began its role as the protectors of the Blooded, but quickly found its role as expanded as the Republic expanded, and the Legio Mortuus was founded. Rather than simply soldiers, those of House Gaius grew into military commanders, tacticians, and even diplomats, drawing from mortals of like-minded and able-bodied stock. House Gaius' political clout and importance reflected the Roman era in which they were founded: their martial strength (they made up the majority of the Legio Mortuus throughout the Republic's territories) and their advice on policies as the Republic expanded, working in tandem with House Aurelius and House Laelia, led to their angle in the politics of the Republic.
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House Claudia: The spiritual aspects of the world are part of the life of most all intelligent beings, and vampires are no exception. The Blooded were descended from those cursed by fickle Gods and, though the Blooded considered themselves a tribe, they knew not what would happen should Pluto, the source of their immortality, become displeased with them. Nor did they understand how their existences fit into the rest of the world. And so, through the spiritual strength of one who lived as a vestalis in life, House Claudia was born, drawing in the pious, the religious and those who rever higher powers. The Blooded of House Claudia seek to reconcile the spiritual aspects of the world, particularly as the Republic expanded, with the origins and necessities of the Blooded. As in Rome proper, House Claudia's political power stemmed from the function of religion, as they codified, performed and created the rituals and worship of the Republic of the Night.
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House Laelia: Truly responsible for the formation of the gens sanguinis and the political structure of the Blooded, House Laelia held a particularly lofty position within the Republic of the Night. Under the guidance of the woman who could have been a Roman senator (and, if many who knew her believed, Empress), House Laelia kept themselves small, drawing in those of exceptionally keen mind and astute eye for politics and policy. As the first codifier of the Lex Noctis, the laws of the Blooded, House Laelia's political clout and contributions to the Republic of the Night were many and varied. Peculiarly, as the Republic expanded, and as Rome herself transitioned from Republic to Empire, so too did some of the mentality of House Laelia, veering into a mentality of the worth and right to rule, becoming more authoritarian in their advice and contributions to the Republic. While still valued, this brought them into conflict with their political siblings within House Aurelius.
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House Aurelius: While the founder of House Laelia codified the laws of the Blooded in the Lex Noctis, it was the efforts of the speaker-turned-Blooded that truly created the Republic of the Night, the Pactum Sanguinis. From this speaker grew House Aurelius, drawing in those who exhibited great leadership qualities, a keen eye (and to an extent, fair mind) for the execution of law, and the mind to traverse labyrinthine political situations. As the Republic expanded, House Aurelius invariably found themselves in leadership positions, or advisory positions to others, in executing now only the Lex Noctis but also creating ordinances for the various provinces when the Lex Noctis was not enough. The House itself became the focus of intense rivalries, as Blooded jockeyed for position and prestige, one-upped each other in recognition and began the intrigues of the night which push along Blooded society to the modern nights.
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House Axia: Scholarly pursuits with a common thing among the rich of Rome. Though the human slave-turned-vampire was taken because of her keen intellect and knowledge of things in the night, the scholar saw no reason to keep her education and learning from all of the Blooded. Her house, House Axia, sought to not only catalog the night and the history of the Blood, but to research their condition from a non-mystical angle, and spread appropriate education, including the Lex Noctis throughout the Republic of the Night. House Axia took to this with fervor, drawing on the educated, the enlightened, the philosophers and the genius to fill their ranks. Working with Houses Fabia and Claudia, House Axia was ever debating with the other two, espousing logic to counterbalance the mysticism, meeting with some success with House Claudia and ridicule from the ritualistic House Fabia.
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House Octavius: The formation of House Octavius was the most fraught with conflict, due to the concepts behind their founder. He bought his concepts on people and ability into the way House Octavius looks for new members. Rather than taking from particular qualities and taking in people whose specialty matches the House outlook, those of House Octavius look for people from many walks of life with exceptional ability and court them Into the Blood. This leads House Octavius to have a plethora of individuals with a wide range of skills, intentionally placing themselves as 'jacks of all trades, masters of none' after a fashion. The House also maintained relations with the other houses by trading information on likely new Blooded, making them grand information brokers in addition to having savvy members themselves. Many of House Octavius jockey for position with the best of the other Houses, giving the Octavians a very competitive bent to immortality.
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House Asinius: The second of the martial branches of the Houses, where House Gaius focuses on the regimented Roman military, the military aspects of House Asinius are far more down to earth. The Harii history of their hostage-turned-Eques-turned-founder, and his penchant for bringing barbarians and other Roman foreigners Into the Blood led to them becoming rivals of House Gaius. Like the other martial House, House Asinius bought in those of stout body and fighting prowess; however, those of House Asinius had been almost exclusively drawn from what many Patricians might deem undesirables. Their people focusing almost solely on martial might, they incorporated the more wild aspects of warfare: berserkers, spies and assassins, and other combat training from tribes and peoples far and wide. Due to this, House Asinius was quite small, but supremely insular and quite dedicated to their founder and his maker. Ever at odds with House Gaius, House Asinius did the jobs that much of the Legio Mortuus found distasteful.

The Reckoning: Splintered Love

The Republic of the Night spread with the people of Rome, moving to distant lands and territories. And much like Rome's turmoils, so too did the Republic of the Night have their own conflicts. Throughout their first few hundred years, conflicts came in a variety of forms, from their conflicts with other supernaturals, to their continuing conflicts with humans, and even conflicts within the Blooded. Rebels rose and were put down; provinces lost their way to power-hungry Dictators and the laws had to be upheld; and personal conflicts over territory and people came to bloody heads. The Blooded also felt pressure on changes from Rome itself: the acceptance of Christianity undermining the fabric of Rome also affected the Blooded in a myriad of ways, and the split into the Eastern and Western Empires and the eventual decline of the western empire led to hardships for vampires still in those provinces.

But no such conflict was as bloody as what Blooded historians call The Reckoning. Broken historical records and documents give little detail about this period, only detailing it as the breaking point in Blooded history. Very few vampires in the Contemporary Age were alive during that time nearly two millennia ago, many of that age succumbing to ennui or their rage, or otherwise leaving to pursue their own agendas, and separating themselves from vampire society. Those few that were (such as the Founders) don't speak of the conflict in any meaningful manner. What is said is that there was a betrayal between the two lovers, but the circumstances otherwise are unknown, though theories and legends surround, ranging from Licenia vowing vengeance on Titus for sitting in judgement over her new paramour, Marius Asinius Firmus to an attempt by Licenia to move 'beyond the Curses and take the place of the Gods' and her attempt to usurp the Republic for this end. What little the Ancients let slip lends credence to one, or both, of these.

This betrayal, however, would irrevocably alter vampire society. What is known is that in the late 4th century AD, the capital of the Republic of the Night was still Rome, as the vampires attempted to hold their old traditions and ancestral home, though the Republic's people spread far and wide, with Byzantium and Alexandria being two cities in which many Blooded lived. This relative peace of Rome was broken by a conflict between Titus and Licenia, and their proles, the Founders. Divided in loyalty, the Houses Fabia, Laelia and Asinius moved to support Licenia, while the remainder threw themselves behind Titus, and Licenia and her conspirators left Rome. It is known that with the collusion of Marius and others of House Asinius, the Visigoths under Alaric sacked Rome in 410 AD. Under cover of this invasion, the assassins and warriors of House Asinius, the sorcerous combatants of House Fabia, and the mentally-dominated mortals within the Visigoths serving House Laelia struck. Though a smaller force, they had superior combat capability, though the Legio Mortuus fought bravely.

Octavius Publius Eclectus was nearly slain in the battle, set upon by a host of invaders controlled by Porcia Laelia herself. There is record of a duel between Aquilia Fabia and Lucretia Claudia in which Lucretia could not be struck, despite Aquilia's formidable magical capabilities. Marius and Marcus Gaius Seneca met at the heads of two respective units, and fought out their old grudges. Titus and Licenia met in battle in the city, Licenia's rage reportedly driving the mortals around her insane by proximity. And as the city was sacked and fell, those other vampires fled along with the humans, with Korinna Axia Allecta and most of her House and House taking what lore and materials they could escape with. Ultimately, the city was lost due to the sacking, and those Blooded who survived fled. The last words that are recorded of Licenia are a simple threat: 'Your lines will end. The Blood of your Blood will be spilled upon the earth, and the dust of your bodies will turn to mud. Wither and die, for we are coming!'

Ultimately, the Republic would bounce back, as the Houses -- now known as the Traitor Houses -- disappeared into the night. As the Republic recovered, the Founders moved the capital of the Republic to Constantinople. Titus, however, was despondent and around 450 AD disappeared into the night, accompanied by a number of the proles of the Founders. He has not been seen since Antiquity.

Ages of the Blood: Throughout the Years

The Blooded have interacted with the world around them similarly to humanity. However, being ageless and immortal, the Blooded have had their fingers on the pulse of history, watching the changes in the world unfold, adapting their nights and outlooks to the world as it changed. The Blooded have historians, primarily in House Axia, that have recorded much of their history; though not complete, just like human history, the Blooded divide the two millennia of their existence into Ages.

  • Antiquity: Covered in some detail in the direct history of the Blooded, but other developments also happened for the Republic of the Night in Antiquity.
    • The Blooded spread with the expansions of the Roman Republic and Empire, including major settlements in heavily-populated Roman territories such as Aegyptus and Britannia.
    • Records also show the Blooded spreading separate from the Empire into the near East such as Parthian Empire, the Kushan Empire, and there exist some records of the Blooded as far away as the Satavahana Empire and even Han China.
    • The highest recorded conflict between the Traitor Houses and the Republic is recorded during this era. Most records point to a particularly consistent methodology of tactics used by the Traitor Houses: a combination of moving humanity against the Republic, in addition to assassination and coordinated strikes against key Republic targets. The Traitor Houses, though smaller, also seemed to have increased their strengths... records typically imply the average Republic vampire's strength to be less than that of a Traitor.
    • The first recorded interaction between an Arisen and the Houses comes from a manifesto written by a Patrician of House Aurelius, who writes of the Arisen, who rose from the dead bearing the Curse of Orcus, decimating a detachment of Blooded single-handedly in Dacia.
  • The Middle Ages: Also called The Dark Ages due to the scarcity of even humanity's written records, the Middle Ages were a time of great discontent for even the vampires.
    • The fall of the Roman Empire and the move of the capital to Constantinople after The Reckoning caused a number of fractures, as areas of the Republic of the Night became isolated and cut off from the greater Republic. Some of these areas upheld their Roman origins and continued on in the way of the Republic. Some did not.
    • The duties and number of the Republic's Equites was expanded. Under the command of Aischylos e Octavius Aeicos, the Equites went far afield, working to reconnect the scattered Republic. These Eques would go on to be the most visible aspect of the Republic's structure above the city-state organizational level.
    • Conflict between the Traitor Houses and the Republic comes to a slow boil as the world around them burns with turmoil. Marcus Gaius Seneca disappears for a century, leaving his proles, the Celt Nareen Baclan e Gaius Justinius in his stead as Senator. Rumors from his travels tell of a battle he was to undergo on behalf of the Republic, and a 'miraculous return from the Underworld'.
    • The expansion of Christianity leads to new adaptations of spirituality into the Blooded within House Claudia and the records of House Axia. This Christianity also results in many major conflicts, including the Crusades. The Church and her holy fervor spawned the Inquisition, which would evolve into the modern Order of the Silver Cross.
    • In the early 13th Century, the Republic moved the capital from Constantinople to Bruges, after the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. This move to Bruges is reportedly due to the need for finding a more suitable central location for the Republic, and Bruges' burgeoning cultural influence and their direct and easy sea access made it an ideal location for the Republic.
  • The Renaissance: Following on humanity's trends is a constant facet of the life of a vampire; born from humans, and for the most part sustained by humans, the Blooded rely on humans. And so does their culture. As humanity began to become more enlightened, and the Renaissance began, much change came into the Blooded society as well.
    • The Republic had recovered almost all the connections to its city-states by the end of the Black Death throughout Europe, with the few outliers being reabsorbed through new leadership or reconquering over the centuries. In a few instances, where enclaves of vampires had stood, was only mortals. Some records that survived showed deep conflicts between territorial Therians in particular.
    • The revived interest in Classical Antiquity was an unexpected topic, which interested many vampires who had lived through it. In particular, the scholars of House Axia found themselves intertwined with the mortal masses through the debate and study of such.
    • As the united Papacy moves itself to Rome and begins the expensive undertaking of restoring her, so too do a number of the Blooded. Surreptitiously investing money and influence, some Ancients who lived in Rome during this time sought to return Rome to the glory of the ancient Republic and Empire.
    • In 1495, Blooded are routed from Florence during the heretical trial of Savonarola, with many casualties, by the Order of the Silver Cross. What little is recorded of the Order implies that this is the first appearance of the arma sanctorum, the weapons that the Order wield that act on a supernatural's banes.
    • The Order of the Silver Cross becomes more active during the Reformation, and records show both the Traitor Houses and the Republic are equally targeted by the Order. Further records of House Axia show that other supernaturals are targeted by
    • Terms from various legends in a variety of regions, including Slavic and Turkish, become more widely used as a wider range of peoples are brought into the Blood. Ultimately, the term 'vampire' would stick starting in the mid-18th century and moving forward, though most still refer to themselves as the Blooded, or some variation of it.
    • As Bruges declined in the 1500s, the Republic yet again moved its court. This time, the Republic would settle their capital in Paris, with provincial centers in Milan, London, Madrid and smaller enclaves farther afield in Rome, Moscow, and other cities in provinces where vampires were fewer in number.
    • An Eques of House Axia, Antonia Obraztsova e Axia al-Amin and a number of Blooded under her command venture across the Atlantic Ocean with the Dutch West India Company, reportedly the first Blooded to travel to the new continent, as the Dutch received the charter for New Amsterdam.
    • The theater troupe known as the Comédiens du Roi, a traveling group of Fae, comes into conflict with the Houses of Paris during their plays at the hôtel de Bourgogne.
    • A second expedition, led this time by a Patrician of House Gaius, Aureo Basilio e Gaius Amsel, went with the Dutch West India Company to what was then Dutch Brazil. Reports of conflit with panther- and snake-form Therians exist from that area.
    • A major conflict between the Houses and the Traitors in Venice is interrupted by the first recorded appearance of the Thousand Nights Brotherhood. The small cult takes advantage of the chaos to attempt to take a vampire captive and flee with him from the city, though they fail in this endeavor.
    • House Gaius and Traitor House Asinius come into conflict during the War of Spanish Succession, using the war as cover to breach into each others' territories.
  • Age of Revolutions/Age of Enlightenment: Due to the human strife in this era, the Blooded became much more circumspect and insular. A new focus on the Law of Revelation became paramount to the Republic, as the world around them suffered bloody human conflict.
    • The broad social and political movement of the American Revolution causes those vampires in the New World. Vampires become more and more insular, and the New World loses contact on and off with the Republic. Two Equites are sent to the New World in the middle of the American Revolution, settling in the larger cities of New York and Boston. The vampiric population is spread out, taking advantage of both the wild places and the natives to support themselves.
      • Conflict between the Houses and the Traitors was nearly non-existent in the American Revolution, though the Order did use cover to weed out the supernatural, particularly continuing to focus on the Witches, attacking vampires when and where they could. The first recorded Invocation of the Host, with the Order believed to actually summon an Incarna (as an Angel) comes from this period.
    • The rebellion against the monarchy of the French Revolution was very similar. The larger vampire population was more heavily effected by the French Revolution, particularly those Patricians who had entrenched themselves with the monarchy. A number of elder vampires are destroyed during the Revolution.
      • Other supernaturals entrenched in the monarchy, including Bygones and Fae, were effected as badly as the Blooded by the revolution.
      • The Thousand Nights Brotherhood struck at the Blooded during the Revolution, records indicating a few plebeian and a single Patrician vampire being taken by them, as recorded in the Journal de Francois de Martmontre e Octavius Erebus. This is also the first recorded instance of the Thousand Nights Brotherhood's penchant for stealing magic, as the journal details the conflict and the Brotherhood using vampiric powers of the Blood.
  • Romantic/Victorian/Gilded Age: With the expansion of the study of the human condition and the expansion of humanity, and the advancement of their achievements and technology, it was a wondrous time to be a vampire. The continued construction of cities to hold more and more humans, and the advancement of society through technological innovation made major cities such as London, Paris, New York and others even more hospitable to vampires.
    • Some technological marvels of the time were immediately adopted by the Blooded; the telegraph in particular was adopted quite quickly, the speed of messaging supplementing, and eventually heavily altering the duties of the Senate position of Cursus Publicus that was used for centuries prior.
    • Therians from within the Native tribes come into conflict with the Blooded as they move into lands where the Native Americans are being pushed out by American policies.
    • Already entrenched in India due to the British East India Company, when control was passed to the Crown, more vampires spread to the area, drawing the ire of the local Fae, the Rakshasas, and initiating a conflict known as the Great Meenakshi War. This war soon spiraled out of control, driven by interference of the Traitor Houses. Ultimately, the three-way conflict between the Rakshasas, the Blooded, and the Incarna Meenakshi was brought to a close with the destruction of Torvald Andersson e Asinius Laghari, who had instigated the conflict and summoned the Incarna.
    • Many vampires were split over the American Civil War, due to their own personal credos and interests and investments. An Edict of Non-Interference was issued by the Senate, declaring that vampires were not to attempt to influence the war in any way. That did not stop many from using it to eliminate their enemies, but the Equites assigned the United States kept as much conflict confined that they could.
    • The publishing of Dracula brought some notoriety and intrigue into the Blooded, as there were factions within House Axia and Houses Aurelius regarding the mythology and 'loose lips' of Julian vampires to their human paramours, which were believed by some to be the origin of the novel. Nothing was ever conclusively proven other than Dracula was an entirely fictitious account.
    • The capital of the Republic returned to Rome in the 1880s, where it remains to this night.
  • Contemporary Age: The modern are of humanity, the world spiraled out of control around the vampires, with two World Wars, localized conflicts, cities splitting themselves over ideology. But time continued to march on...
    • The Edict of Non-Interference held up even after another century, keeping the Blood out of direct interference in the modern World Wars and other revolutions and conflicts. Vampires end up in conflict with Traitor Houses, the Order of the Silver Cross, and the Thousand Nights Brotherhood during these conflicts, using the human-made destruction in order to strike at their foes.
    • The London Accords are ratified by the Consul Amelia du Chagne e Aurelius van Horne, along with Seelie Queen Esmeralda and Bygone representative Yshara, creating rules, regulations, and territory boundaries for the Blooded of London to follow in dealing with the other supernaturals. The Therians openly mocked the Accords, and particularly the rat-form Therians tried many times to break the Accords and set the other supernaturals against each other.
    • The New York Accords were an attempt to create something similar in the Blooded-heavy city of New York, but the onset of the Great Depression collapsed many of the consolations the Blooded were presenting to the Therians and Witches of New York. No Accords were officially reached, though conflict slowed from a boil to a simmer.

The Modern Republic: Blood in the City

Throughout the 20th and into the 21st Centuries, the Houses of the Blood have settled into a nightly routine reminiscent of the heyday of their Roman origins. Humanity enjoys an unprecedented time of lavishness, civilization and excess in the most developed places in the world, and the Blooded culture is built around this mentality. And with the rapid-fire pace of technological advancement in the human world, the Blooded are ever more connected than ever, allowing the Republic to maintain its cohesion, providing avenues for the Consuls (or their representatives) of city-states to discuss their regional matters real-time; for those of the Legion Mortuum to coordinate against the enemies of the Republic on a scale, and at speed, never before dreamed of; and the money brought about from use (and abuse) of these advancements of mortal society lines the pockets of the Blooded, facilitating their nightly intrigues. In these fast-paced nights, the modern Republic of the Blood flourishes.

Ruling from the Blooded capital of Rome, the Republic created from Roman ideals, still cleaves to Roman ways. In this, the Republic functions in the following manner:

  • Ruling from the Blooded capital of Rome, the six Founders of the Houses make up the ruling Senate. They, and their attaches and servii function as the final rule on policy and actions that affect the Blooded as a whole.
  • Below the Senate are the offices of the Eques, or Knights, that work throughout the world on behalf of the Senate, handling dangerous matters, bringing to bear the might of the Senate when it has need to. Other offices exist above what would be considered the 'city level' to assist the Senate, such as the Cursus Publicus which maintains the Senate's electronic footprint and monitors the digital world for threats to the Blooded, the Legatus Legionis who run the overarching Legion Mortuus for various regions, or the Quaestores Imperium that handles judiciary matters above the city-state level.
  • The Republic has enclaves of the Blooded in most major cities throughout the world, and these groups function as city-states in the old Roman society. The hierarchy of patrician, plebeian and peregrinus still exists, a facet of the origin of society. And within the city, the hierarchies established on ancient Roman ideals answer to the Senate. The Consul, Praetor, Aedile, and other positions are drawn from a city's vampire population, and answer to the Senate, but are mostly self-governing
  • As individual city-states, each city is at their own discretion in many matters, outside of the Lex Noctis, able to create their own local laws and customs, accords with other supernaturals and other things to support their citizens.

And so the nights flow. Full of intrigue, interactions with other supernaturals and under constant threat from their enemies, the Blooded engage in all of this and more.


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