Anthony Vane, eternally twenty-six years old, was born in Madison, Wisconsin. Smack dab in the middle of an Anarchist "Free State".
But he didn't know that at that time. Like most humans, he was blissfully unaware of the machinations of the undead and would have happily died that way.
In his own bloody way, he did.
He chuckled about it sometimes; it wasn't a drunk driver or a murderous ferret that ended his life, like a carnival psychic once predicted. It wasn't the road that had become his home in the years he spent drifting from one town to another.
And it wasn't the protests he took part in, although they did often end in violence. Sometimes perpetuated by both sides, although more often than not he had the (mis)fortune of being on the receiving side. Although there was one time he was labeled an ecoterrorist after sabotaging thousands of dollars worth of mining equipment and collapsing the mine itself. (he prefers to think of his former self as an "Activist.")
It was was an out of the blue camping trip suggested by an old friend from school, Mark. "Come on," he had said, chuckling when Anthony tried to worm out of it. "It'll be good for everyone. Good for you, besides. This'll be our last chance to see eachother before we all head off."
How could he say no?
So he made his way back. Back to Wisconsin to see his friends.. one last time.
Out there in the dark, alone in the wilderness, five humans made easy prey for a vampire. Especially for one as ancient and as monstrous as Satyral. Anthony awoke to the sound of one of his friends screaming in terror, but the scream was swiftly cut short, followed by a wet sloshing sound. He ducked out of his tent, and froze-- as he came face to face with a monster born from the very depths of hell.
Large, narrow black eyes were full of a horrible hunger, a terrible intelligence, as they looked upon him. It's mouth seemed made of jagged, sharp teeth. Each one longer than his middle finger. Blood and steam seeped out from between it's teeth as it smiled. Smiled. He'll never forget it.
Before he could unleash the scream building in his throat, the great horned beast leaned down and bit so deeply into his neck-- he could feel it's fangs upon his spine. But rather than end his misery, the beast seized him around the shoulders in an unbreakable grip and drank him of his blood.
It all happened so quickly-- Anthony can still recall the memory of the intense, burning pain. He can remember opening his mouth to scream, only for the beast to tighten the grip of it's bestial jaws around his throat, so all he could manage was a strangled gasp. He remembers tears welling up in his eyes and rolling down his cheeks, icy cold in the crisp night air. He remembers the beast pulling away from him and letting him drop to the damp earth while it loomed over him, still wearing that nightmarish red grin.
And then, darkness.
When he woke up-- or came back to life, he was buried beneath the mangled and discarded corpses of his friends; in darkness. Somehow, without his eyes, he knew he was in a deep pit carved out of the Earth. He was surrounded by the smell of blood and shit and damp soil. Horrible and wonderful at the same time, something about the scent made his gums ache and his head swim..
Despite his situation, he wasn't afraid. He was.. hungry. Staring upwards in darkness, he found himself licking his dirty lips, with but a single thought floating through his head.. "I wonder how Mark tastes.."
He recoiled-- from the thought, from the acridic smell in the stuffy air, from the stuffy darkness-- and panic overtook him like a wildfire. Underneath the weight of the bodies piled atop him and all that dirt, for a moment he feared he might die here-- obviously not yet fully grasping the depths of his situation-- through either instinct of self preservation, he tapped into a power known only to the Gangrel. To the ancient Bloodline he was now a scion of. This power, this discipline, Protean, allowed him to control the very Earth around him.
The world churned around him, and the bodies of his friends were sucked into the dirt and pulled beneath him, and at the same time the dirt was rising beneath him, underneath his feet and under his arms, pushing him towards the surface until he was free.
He sucked desperately at the cool night air when it stung his dirty face, but it offered little relief. With every shallow breath, the air threatened to snag in his constricting throat.
His skin burned.
His gums ached.
His head pounded.
If he knew then what he knows now, he might have been able to stop his descent into the Beast, a beast not unlike his Sire.
A flashlight slashed through the trees, landing on the churned earth where he'd been sitting but a moment ago.
A stranger wanderered into the havoced campsite with a troubled expression on their face. Their hand moving cautiously from the butt of the pistol they kept in a holster on their hip to the radio strapped to their shoulder.
But before they could so much as utter a single word into it, claws flashed out of the darkness and split the strangers neck in two. It took Anthony a minute to realize they were his claws, attached to his own dirty fingers.
But that knowledge didn't do anything to help him stop-- he couldn't stop-- he was so hungry, his eyes fixated on the blood pouring from the strangers neck, and in another second he was on the man. His strength was surprising, to himself, doubly so for the man who attempted to fend him off despite the grievous wound in his neck. He pinned the males arms above their head with a single head and pressed his mouth to the wound on their neck, drinking deep of the blood. He drank until he felt their heartbeat-- through the flow of their blood-- begin to weaken. At the very edge of death, he wrenched himself away from the man and tossed them to the ground.
He felt powerful.
It was disgusting. But it was also.. so, so good.
A very human part of him was wholly disgusted by his actions. But a newer, stronger part of him -a Beast- wanted more. And the Beast's will, having only just awoken, was unshakeable.
A few days later, word of his friends having gone missing was all over the news. His face was up there too, along with the rumor of a cop disappearing who was sent to investigate a noise complaint at the local Arboretum.
Too bad Anthony was far too gone to pay any attention to something like that. It took years for him to finally regain his Humanity, and only through the intervention of a few local Anarch Kindred and the Baron of Madtown herself.
They explained his Embrace, as they called it, was not so uncommon. It was a rite that some Gangrel used to discover whether a new Kindred was worthy of the strength they were being given. If they could survive the transistion from mortal to vampire without getting burnt to a crisp by the sun, being taken by the Second Inquisition, or having the Final Death inflicted upon them by a member of their own race or one of the many other creatures of the night living among them, then they were.
Evidently, Anthony had passed his Sire's test.
But knowing he may be considered worthy has done nothing for the question burning in his undead soul. Why?
The Clan of the Beast,
Animals, Bêtes, Outlanders, Outlaws, Wolf's-Heads
Nomads and wanderers who find solace in the wilder regions less traveled by man, unlike their city bound kin. They are inherently closer to the animal nature of the Beast and thus masters of the Protean discipline, which allows them to shapeshift parts of- or their whole anatomy- into animal form. They are- or were- one of the seven clans responsible for founding the Camarilla who seeks to shape the Vampiric future for all, but a lack of faith in its once promising vision has caused the elders to sever the clans ties with the Camarilla in order to claim independence.
The common disciplines known by any Gangrel worth their vitae are, Animalism, Fortitude, and Protean.
- Animalism: Drawing one closer to their animal nature, this discipline allows the user to communicate with and gain dominion over creatures of nature, including their own internal Beast.
- Fortitude: Simply put, Fortitude grants users of this discipline a reputation for being nigh unkillable due to an unearthly toughness. Some going so far as being able to resist fire -and even sunlight.
- Protean: A discipline that will allow the user to shapeshift, anything from claws, to glowing eyes, to mist, should the user have enough skill.
Much of a Kindreds powers- physical or spiritual- can be measured by the potency of their Blood. The number of generations the individual in question is removed from the first among them, a cursed childe of God himself; Caine. There are currently thirteen generations this night, with the 14th, 15th, and even the 16th generations often being refered to as "thin-blooded" vampires. Some of which are basically humans with barely noticeable Vampiric enhancements. So naturally, they don't get to be included.
Anthony is a tenth generation Kindred, with his sire, Satyral, being a ninth.
Order and Rebellion
The formation of the Inquisition had ramifications for Kine and Kindred alike. For starters, not only were they superb when it came to stirring up dissension among human ranks, whipping up angry torch wielding mobs. A radical arm of the Holy organization was being formed in secret by a man named Leopold von Murnau in 1231 for the sole purpose of eradicating supernatural threats to humanity. He named his ideal The Order of Leopold, although it was sometimes simply referred to as The Society.
The Society didn't just target vampires, instead lashing out at every faction with non human origins they could find. Only a fewer higher ups within the Inquisition knew of its true goal, the direction it was being steered by The Order.. and many innocents died because of this indescretion.
By the time the Elders took notice, the Inquisition was already sweeping across the world.
So, the Elders wielded their young blood-bound neonates like tools and weapons and cast them at the Inquisition. Using them as fodder, distractions, and smoke screens. More young vampires met their Final Death in those early nights during the 15th century than ever before, unsure what it was they were even fighting for. Until the Brujah Patricia, a member of the Ventrue Council, pleaded with her Elders to stand up and fight against their human opressors in 1394. But they chose to ignore her, preferring to hide in the shadows and form a Masquerade.
So she changed her name to Tyler and inspired the rebellious neonates to join her cause, though most were Brujah. Together they fell onto Castle Hardestadt, and despite suffering heavy casualties, Tyler was able to disable the Prince and commit the Diablerie upon him, draining him of every last drop of his immortal blood, and devouring his soul to usurp all he was and could have been.
As news spread of Hardestadt's defeat at the hands of a younger vampire, a Brujah, at that. A sort of animal frenzy began to churn within the veins of any and all who carried the blood of Brujah. Many, if not all of the Brujah Neonates in Spain turned against their masters, officiating The Great Revolt. The rebels called themselves Anarchs, denying the laws supposedly set into place by Caine himself at the dawn of their species.
The children of the East, the Banu Haqim- were quick to heed the call of rebellion, although they had no real connection to the Anarchs. The western and Eastern Kindred had always been at each other's throats-- with many western vampires viewing the "Assamites" as little more than savages and heretics.
The Banu Haqim, legendary killers and sorcerers tipped the scales in the Anarchs favour, while simultaneously earning the Banu Haqim a reputation among Kindred as being "cannibalistic murderers" in large part due to their penchance for diablerizing their victims, an act seen as depraved by the Western Kindred.
The rebellion shifted from Spain to Italy, where the Anarchs (with Banu Haqim assistance, of course) were led to Sicily, into the realm of a Lasombra Antediluvian, bound in the half-life-half-death state one of their significant age uses to leap frog through time, in Torpor. The clan was not prepared for the full might of the Anarchs revolt to crash down upon them, leading to the near dissolution of the Lasombra clan in its entirety. Those who were spared either joined the Anarchs Revolt or fled into the night, but their Antediluvian- was not so lucky.
Drained of his blood while still asleep, or so the story goes. No one actually knows who exactly drank from the Lasombra Antediluvian but plenty of theories abound. Ever want to start an argument between a few vampires? Mention the Amaranth of Lau-Som-Beuh and ask for a definite answer to what really happened that long night ago.
And then, onto Romania, to the lands of the dreaded and beautiful Tzimisce. Now, they had an army. So they used it, decimating and destroying any and all Tzimisce Lord's who would not commit to their cause. Just as they had done with the Lasombra, the Anarchs discovered the location the the Tzimisce Antediluvian and tracked it down to one of Romania's oldest Cathedrals. Once more, those who did not covert- were slain.
As the Antediluvian was drained of its ancient Vitae, its body crumbled to dust. Almost too easily, one might say.
Now with more than a handful of Tzimisce among them, they returned to Europe with the power to break the blood bonds enforced by the Elders of the "High Clans" upon their fledglings.
In return for a pledge of loyalty to the Anarch cause, of course. Many readily agreed. Thus the fighting began in earnest, with just about everyone involved. The Elders, The Banu Haqim, The Anarchs, and The Inquisition, of course.
By 1435 the pressure had increased so intensely on the Elders that they were forced to "rally the troops" in order to deal with the threats dogging them from every angle. The coalition of Seven Clans became known as the Camarilla, initially a task force to protect them and theirs from the growing battle.
The Elders called themselves Founders, and then they became Justicars as they struggled against infighting and politics in order to keep their newborn sect from spiraling out of control. In 1486, the Camarilla called for a national conclave, in which they gave themselves the ultimate authority to punish Kindred of any origin all for the sake of upholding their Traditions, laws meant to keep them safe - and in power.
The Anarchs were outnumbered and outmatched against the full and combined might of the Justicars, but they struggled until The Convention of Thorns in 1493. A call to end the fighting, in the minds of many. A disaster in others, and a betrayal in many more.
The Banu Haqim would have been happy to continue fighting, but a ploy to capture seven of their Elders forced them to attend. Like the Anarchs, they were offered a place within the Camarilla.
The bulk of the Anarchs agreed.
But the Banu Haqim denied the invitation, however, promising to do their part to adhere to the terms of the peace treaty, even going so far as to allow clan Tremere to initiate a blood curse against them that would not allow them to consume another Kindreds soul in Diablerie. They were, however, allowed to diablerieze any member of their own clan or another vampire not belonging to the Camarilla.
The Anarchs who choose to return were forced back to their old clans, the sires whom they spited and rebelled against, as if they had never left all those years ago. The ultimate burn on a rebel- to be placated and ignored.
All who attended were forced to drink the blood of the Elders of the Camarilla, putting them right back into the position they were in before.
The Lasombra and Tzimisce Anarchs scoffed at the idea of joining the Camarilla, so they abandoned their former companions in order to create the Sabbat, and many former Anarchs from various clans went with them rather than bending the knee to kiss the ring. The Sabbat's first course of action was to turn right around and attack the town where the Convention was taking place, targeting mortal and Kindred alike.
Kindred Historians call the attack Halcedema. The Field of Blood.
But inspite of that, the Traditions were accepted as law and the Convention of Thorns was upheld. Even to this day, even after multiple Anarch rebellions and even the birth of the Anarch Free State on the West Coast of America during the 1940s.
At their dawn, the Sabbat were little more than roving packs of wild saboteurs. They did not hide their inhumanity, and seemed to indiscriminately attack anyone that got in their way. However, slowly but surely, these wandering and disenfranchised bands started to unite until they were a sect large enough to actually threaten the Camarilla, and their mission was clear. Dedicated to militant strength and brute force, these Sabbat, the "Sword of Caine" sought to destroy the Antediluvians and bring down the false empires of their spawns.
The de facto leaders of the Sabbat were the Tzimisce and Lasombra clans, of course. Having already destroyed their own Antediluvians, who better to lead a sect dedicated to destroying them all? Not to mention the Lasombra already controlled Spain, and the Tzimisce occupied small portions of Eastern Europe and most of Scandinavia.
But the Camarilla, made up of seven different clans, marshalled their strength and rallied their troops in every major city across Europe in order to face the growing threat of the Sabbat.
Eventually the years long battle forced small packs of Sabbat across the sea, towards the promise of a New World. There, they flourished, all too easily remaining hidden in the presence of insurrectionests and revolutionaries.
Not without its price, however. Not only did they have to contend with Kindred who already called the land home. They faced the native born Lupine and dwindling resources as more and more Kindred ventured to the Americas to escape the European Princes and the constant fighting.
Finally, the tensions reached a boiling point..
Civil war shook the Sabbat and weakened them so severely that the Camarilla was able to simply sweep them out of their former strongholds and set down roots before the rival sect realized what was happening. With the American Revolution in full swing, no one even batted an eyelash.
The Sabbat war didn't end until September 19th, 1803. But it was not the last. They fought against themselves on four seperate occasions leading up until the present. Their last and latest war rages on a global score as Sabbat members strived to unleash their inner Beast for the "Gehena Crusade," taking place in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Ukraine.
They fear, or revel, that the Apocalypse is near, if not already taking place, and they're desperate to end the Antediluvians, once and for all. To this end, the Sabbat have all but abandoned their Domains and have joined this, their final war. Most of them, anyway. Many others have fled to join the Anarchs, and the Lasombra clan has abandoned the Sabbat altogether in order to embrace the Camarilla.
The Elders of the Camarilla feel it too-- a calling from deep in the seat of their immortal souls. Something is waking up, something is awake, and it drives them to action. Known as The Beckoning, many Elders have fallen prey too it, and find themselves almost unnaturally bound to join the Conflict in the East.
Now, America is a ramshackle consolidation of Anarchs and The Camarilla. If the City isn't run by a Camarilla Prince, you better believe there's an Anarch Baron in a very similar position of power.
The Second Inquisition
Which brings us back to the Inquisition. The Society of Leopold, if you would. Allied with the Vatican, although operated with complete autonomy while still gaining access to the Churches funding. They were well armed and well organized, but many of its members were fanatic with a very low success rate. Their belief in their cause allowed them to take any action, no matter how vile or depraved -as long as the mission was won. Over the years, they watched and waited, but it wasn't until 2004 when the Society underwent a reformation and became a serious threat again.
Why? Well. The NSA is why. In 2004 they managed to stumbled onto SchreckNet 2.0--a Kindred owned network with thousands of users and hundreds of thousands of custom webpages and years worth of vital Intel shared between private parties. From database to Social Networking suite, it was a safer alternative than young Kindred bumbling around on the internet for everyone to see.
Before the NSA was locked out of SchreckNet 2.0, it was already too late. Ten years worth of secrets on their kind and inter Clan politics, compromised.
The Camarilla ordered the Net dismantled, and that was the last of its kind. At least, the last of its kind to be allowed to grow so large.
The NSA shared their newfound knowledge of the secret races of vampires with other secret service agencies before finally contacting the Vatican with what they knew. The Church offered the service of their witch-hunters to combat the demons-- and together, the Society of Leopold, the NSA, and numerous other secret agencies pooled their resources to create the Second Inquisition, whom would be led by a collaboration of representatives from each agency known only as FIRSTLIGHT.
No longer were they the average men and women who had taken up the cause, or fanatic extremists. They were soldiers and government officials, half of which simply thought they were a special task force designed to combat terrorist cells in and around America and Europe. After all, the higher ups could never be too sure who was already a minion of a vampire, even amongst their own. The truth was dangerous, and so it was hidden.
Due in part to their united might, and another part due to the fact that most of the clans more powerful Elders had succumbed to the Beckoning and fled into the East, most Kindred were woefully unprepared for an attack from the SI, and many fell. Many more were captured and disappeared, likely tortured and experimented upon.
In these modern nights, it is not easy. The world is electronic, full of blinking eyes and camera phones. Everything is recorded and documented. A single slip is all it takes to bring the SI down on a young Kindred. Even older, experienced vampires are no longer safe. Information is a commodity, no longer accessible via phone lest you're willing to risk the SI's ire.
He's not exactly rich, but his former job fattened his wallet for years. Running coded messages between Elders and passing along decrees, commands, and reports by hand that were either too dangerous to be done via phone-- or their senders just were too ignorant, too stubborn to learn how to properly wield this worlds ever advancing technology. Whatever the reason-- an Elder confounded, confused, or terrified by the Internet was often willing to pay whatever it took to have their voice heard by their vassels, or just as likely, a, or numerous rival(s).
Years of indepent living have taught him how to dodge the SI and handle himself in a fight when running just isn't an option.
Anthony was never afraid to take advantage of his skills, so these days-- even though he doesn't do the Courier gig anymore, he's got plenty of cash and a rep among the Anarch gangs in and around Madtown. He'd do what it takes to get the job done, and he'd fuck with anyone who fucked with him, but he's no one's leg-breaker, no matter how much he's being paid. Even the Camarilla will make use of him from time to time, knowing full well although he might technichally be an Anarch. But the truth of the matter is he is precariously balanced between both terse sects, allied with both, but loyal only to himself.
No matter who he's working for, he always demands all the info up front. Anything with-held can and often will change the terms of the set deal to whatever parameters Anthony sees fit at the time, within reason.
But as Elders are being drawn into the Gehenna Crusade and the Second Inquisition grows more and more bold by the day, and as tensions between the Camarilla and the Anarchs reach a boiling point, Anthony left Madison and his Courier job behind to cut a path across America in search of his Sire, hoping to earn the answers he should have gotten years upon years ago, when he first dragged himself out of the Earth and took his first breath as a Kindred. (He later learned the Kindred don't even need to breathe, and has since stopped putting the effort in that's required to do so, except for when a matter of subterfuge may call for it.)
He can feel his Sire, through the bond of their Blood-- calling to him across miles and miles. More than that, he can actually feel his Sire's thoughts-- jumbled and bestial as they are. His emotions, primarily hunger and fury, are almost enough to rend the self control from Anthony that he has fought so hard to maintain, all these years. And when he gives into this strange bond between them, he can almost step into his Sire's mind, become the Beast. Although incredibly dangerous, it's so far been the only successful way to track the monstrosity.
Born in 1983, he is a mere 37 years old. This marks him as incredibly young by Kindred standards, a "neonate" or a child in the eyes of the many, much older vampires.
He was Embraced in 2009, and retains his youthful vigor. Cold and pale, his skin is smooth, yet somehow incredibly resistant. His face is sharp and angular, handsome, though not unearthly beautiful like some of the Toreador of the Tzimisce can become. His deep blue eyes are cold and wary, the perfect twins to match his full lips which seem set into a constant scowl.
Slightly curling dark locks sit mused atop his head, left to their own whim. It clearly hasn't been brushed in a long time, so it's a wonder there's no knots.
Standing at 6'2", Anthony -- "Vane," to another Kindred, none of whom probably even remember his real name-- is slim and athletic looking, with lean muscles in his arms and chest. His whole right arm is covered by a tattoo sleeve of shadowy wolves running together, growing larger and more vicious the further they ascended the length of his arm to reach his shoulder, where a single wolf charges ahead of the pack, throwing back it's head to howl it's victory.
And on his left leg, a tattoo of a bear, a tiger, and an eagle rising like a totem up the entire length of his leg, with the eagle perched at the top, glaring out from behind his skin. Like dream creatures, the three animals seem to be one, single being -- but they're stretching away from eachother, almost as if they're trying to break free. The bear and the tiger's maws are wide open, as if they were caught mid roar. And the eagles wings are spread wide, wrapping around the meat of his upper thigh to encircle it.
Another tattoo sits upon the bony ridge of his right hip, of a small black coyote chasing an even smaller black fox.