Cainite Conspiracies: Sand and Dust
Sand and Dust
Written by Andrew Peregrine
I knew from the start I wanted to avoid a story about the Nosferatu being ugly or finding beauty. That has been done before. Also, most Nosferatu are all about Obfuscate, so I wanted to focus on something they aren’t so renowned for, and their ability with Potence led me to consider a Nosferatu knight. Could even a Nosferatu find acceptance among the elite if he proved himself, and what would he have to give up to do so?
Originally I wanted to set the story during the Crusades, but the dates didn’t quite work, and Jerusalem was too big. I wanted to tell a smaller tale about a less important place. So that naturally led to the Reconquista and the social and religious melting pot of pre-Spain Iberia. With my main character a Spanish knight, I couldn’t resist a few Don Quixote references. In that story, the delusional knight Quixote believes he has found the beautiful and virtuous princess Dulcinea, but he is actually courting a prostitute called Aldonza. Rodrigo is almost the opposite of Quioxte, perhaps too sane he sees the Cainite games for what they are. My Aldonza and Dulcinea are a study in opposites, but prove to be much the same in the end, both manipulating Rodrigo for their own agenda.
Sand and Dust is really a story about opposites and outcasts. Several elements of the story portray two sides of the same coin: the high Clans and the low Clans, the Christians and the Muslims, the old guard and the new conquerors. The Dark Ages setting allowed me to focus on these details given how much more connected to the human world the Cainites are than their modern counterparts. I think it’s important to remember these characters were once human, and some bigotries and assumptions of the medieval world are so entrenched, they take centuries to fade.
The constraints of a short story didn’t allow me the time I’d have liked to detail how Rodrigo fell out with his Clan and his adventures in the Holy Land. It would be nice to think he might eventually find the peace he is looking for. But among the plans and conspiracies of the Cainites, a knight of his talents is unlikely to escape their plots for long.