Greetings all! Matthew here, with a sneak peek of an update provided to backers of the Chicago by Night Kickstarter. Specifically, I want to show you some of the Welcome to the Night chapter, in which various Lasombra discuss their reasons for joining the Camarilla and how they intend to survive and flourish within that sect. Enjoy!
I know it grates the balls of one such as yourself to consider bending to the Cam, but it’s time to face facts: we need to take it like a trooper just this once or prepare for a permanent filleting. I know which option I favor.
There’s word the Amici Noctis reached out to trusted Keepers, those with reputations for clan over sect loyalty, and the Friends arranged diplomatic missions by these same Keepers to the Anarchs and the Camarilla. At first these representatives are to make solitary offerings of fealty to the Ivory Tower, before petitioning for the entry of the entire clan.
I know what you’re thinking, and I thought the same. The act is going to be far from easy, but get this: some domains are accepting Lasombra “refugees” in exchange for the sacrifice of Lasombra the Camarilla’s Princes deem “unsuitable.”
So understand: we sacrifice our pawns to stand alongside the Camarilla’s kings and queens. In this case, our pawns refer to any Sabbat unprepared or unable to abandon monstrosity or maintain the Masquerade. The Camarilla want those anxious to defect, not those who might cause trouble.
I suspect at least half the Lasombra will remain in the Sabbat, but will lack central authority or direction if the Amici Noctis is going full Ivory Tower. Those of us who held titles of Archbishop in the Sabbat, now attempt to do so in the Camarilla, bringing with us our manipulation of the Catholic Church. Any Lasombra ranked Cardinal are put to the torch as a gesture of good faith. Ironic, I suppose.
Few Kindred will trust us, for our betrayal of the Sabbat highlights fickle loyalties, or so the Degenerates say. The Camarilla will however value our clan’s power, ruthlessness, and sphere of mortal influence. The Ventrue despise having to contest praxis with ancient enemies, just as the Toreador loathe sharing roles in Elysium with we latecomers. Despite this, and due to the close eye all clans keep on us in their domains, it seems we Lasombra may yet make tenuous allies of the Camarilla.
I’m not done though, and neither will the Camarilla be. They’ll push and push to see what they can get out of us, and they’re already doing so in a few domains I’ve heard of. The weak cities, the ones who lost half their Kindred population to the Anarchs, they’re the ones saying we just need to deliver the staked bodies of Sabbat troublemakers, Lasombra or not. The conservative domains? The ones we want to get in on? They’ve been known to ask for the following:
- For every Lasombra joining the Camarilla, an elder Lasombra must be presented as sacrifice.
- Lasombra intending on joining the Camarilla must submit to a Blood Bond.
- A maximum of three Lasombra may exist in any one Camarilla domain.
- Lasombra are to receive no warnings regarding the Traditions; just punishment.
- The practice of our particular brand of blood arts is forbidden on pain of final death.
- No Lasombra may hold title in Camarilla domains for at least 50 years.
I could go on. The Camarilla love this new power they have over us.
I say let them. The only deal of the above that troubles me is the talk of our murdering elders to appease our new “allies.” Are the Amici Noctis really going to go for that? How long before we come for them, in that case?
Interesting nights, Mal. I hope we both survive to see the end of this turbulent period, though don’t be surprised if someone labels you a “troublemaker” for being such an infamous war criminal in the Sabbat-Camarilla wars, or an elder ripe for sacrifice. After all, don’t you have childer and younger siblings?
The Lasombra in Society
Good evening again, my perfect flock.
Let me tell you: in the domains where Magisters join with the Camarilla, the reluctant clans already holding membership at least have consolation they hold all the mortal influence cards. They reason we Lasombra will be playing catch-up for some time.
Those vampires are wrong. Before the Sabbat’s formation, we Magisters concentrated our influence on mortal religious institutions while our Ventrue and Toreador counterparts did so on mortal nobility. These manipulating tendrils never went away, they just hid a little better. Few Lasombra Embraced in the last century are even aware of our clan’s power within the Church, but this knowledge now spreads thick and fast, especially with the myriad of Protestant faiths on the rise in the United States and the Catholic Church dominant in South America.
While we Lasombra might struggle to influence doctrine, the nomination of a Pope, or a faith’s support of a war (those issues being high-profile and containing too many variables), members of our clan in Rome have easier access to the Vatican’s records than others. A vampire like myself, who preys on charity workers and missionaries, can influence the Church’s effectiveness and priests at a regional level, and a mercenary killer like Talley — you know him, yes? — benefits from the intelligence of where the Second Inquisition focuses its gaze.
As a whole, Clan Lasombra is a clan of hypocrisy and pragmatism. Oh, it’s no great fault to call us hypocrites. A certain amount of honesty is required in a chapel such as this. Most Keepers only use the Church for its power, rather than in a spiritual sense. The Amici Noctis decree that it must be this way, anyway, though you may give the finger to those dusty turds. Hiding among congregations conveys multiple benefits, from sleeping beneath churches to using priests as puppets and flocks as herds. Have you heard of the Lasombra of France and Spain who seize the catacombs of all the national cathedrals as their domain? They really piss off the Nosferatu.
Something in our blood makes an individual Magister hunger for self-aggrandizement, first of individual vampire, secondly of clan, and to prove ourselves better than everyone else. Of course, this acts as a means to power, whether spiritual, material, or governmental. We’re not dissimilar to the stereotypical Ventrue in this regard, except where the Ventrue desire to rule, we desire to triumph. Power is a symptom, not necessarily a goal. Though religion is the predominant sector in which we court influence, our clanmates seize the opportunity to dominate kine at the state level, as in the way prodigal Lasombra Moon Si-young manipulates the affairs of Busan through control of the city’s media. She does this not to lead the city but to show she’s better than other moguls in the city. The challenge becomes one of discretion.
Now many within our clan nominally hold allegiance to the Camarilla, we can’t easily claim a senator as a puppet or whisper into the ear of a monarch. In these early nights of union between Camarilla and Lasombra, we Magisters must exercise restraint or draw the collective ire of our new sect-mates. In the case of a vampire like Moon Si-young, she works entirely through mortal agents and shares none of her true influence with fellow Cainites. She is satisfied, for now, domineering over the kine. She’s a good girl.
With the recent division within Clan Tremere, many Kindred suspect we’ll be fast to occupy the Warlocks’ chair. In several domains, this has already become the case, with Magisters acting as advisors, personal bodyguards, regents, and chamberlains to Ventrue Princes. This pleases Ventrue tyrants such as Agnethe of Christiania and Camilla of Rome immensely, I’m told, as they can now lord over another clan, one they have despised for centuries. The vampires this vexes more than any other are those of Clan Toreador, who have long felt underestimated within the sect they helped found. As they see ancient enemies grabbing at posts that should be rightfully theirs, Degenerates such as Edward Williams of Denver and Annabelle of Chicago take every action to hamstring our activities.
Trust me, my little flock, that this is all for the good. We want the gaps in the Camarilla a little wider so we can fit more easily inside.