For those who are familiar with Patricia DeMontfort, this is a serious departure from her established history. Placing Patricia - under the current name of Patrice - in medieval Europe is being done as part of the prelude for an upcoming LARP. This version of Patricia should be considered an alternate-history version of her.
Octavio is Patrice's Sire, an erratic man given to prophecy. Patrice's relationship with him is much more conventional that Trish's with
1204 - 1206
I have been forced away from Octavio for the foreseeable future. The fall of Constantinople hurt him deeply - particularly as he insists he knew it would happen and that no-one heeded his warnings. I don't want to be critical of my sire, but sometimes his visions are so obscure as to make them extremely flexible. His perception of the fall of Constantinople could have equally have been applicable to the typhus outbreak that has just racked Marseille. But when Octavio is upset - for whatever reason - it is best to stay away for a while. Not more than a year or so, I hope.
I know that the end of Christian presence in Constantinople is a serious matter to the kine - and most kindred, but I have tried to summon the energy to care and have failed. I have been more concerned with preserving my own hide.
I had been following the Crusaders - a more unholy lot I doubt you could find - to further my knowledge of man. To properly study anatomy, one needs corpses, and the Crusaders have always been very fruitful in that regard. Admittedly, I am more often examining the disease-riddled of some French lord's third son than a healthy peasant killed in skirmish, but I can't be too choosy about my subjects. Those who notice me around the edges of the women's camp - I try to remain unobtrusive - have been convinced that I am quite eccentric, but my skill as an impromptu physician have proven valuable, valuable enough that I am rarely pestered by undersexed soldiers. Of those that do pester me… whether or not they survive long past the incident depends on my mood.
My studies are somewhat perilous - creeping onto battlefields at night runs a high risk of being mistaken for a looter - not that students of the dead are any more welcome. And, of course, there is the on-going risk of the Christians being overrun and my waking up in the middle of a pack of heathens. Even if only a quarter of the tales of what the Muslims like to do to Christian prisoners are true, being captured by them would be extremely inconvenient. Although I hear that the Muslim surgeons are the best in the world - I understand their libraries in Spain are the envy of Europe. Perhaps I will manage to find my way there before an overzealous pope orders them burned down.
Met with my unusual coterie, last month. It seems that we have all been pursuing our own projects, as vampires will. The Gangrel remain essentially unchanged - obstinate and willing to follow orders if there's the possibility of a good fight. William's curiosity surprised me - although I can't blame him for wanting to learn how to hide in shadows - and I see no harm in teaching him anything he wants to know. Of course, there will be a price. For the moment, I will be satisfied if he keeps his promise to teach me his unusual stamina, later, however, I am going to need subjects to extend my studies into kindred physiology. Those two tough lads will probably be useful.
As usual, Cody remains closed-mouthed about where he has been. I haven't managed to learn much about his clan in the past few years - except that they are much given to hierarchy and noblesse oblige. Their magic interests me. Frequently, I have been accused of magic and witchcraft - just last year I barely escaped a witch hunter in Budapest - but what the common man calls magic is often a judicious application of science. I wonder how much of his clan's magic is simply science, prettified with fancy words and a bit of gunpowder and how much of it is real magic? Of course, Cody tells me he can't discuss such matters with an outsider, such a shame. He's an intelligent man, and stubborn, but I can be very patient if a thing is worth waiting for...
The good brother (Mike) is still muttering about God and God's will and I am happy to let him amuse himself with the state of my soul. Pre-determinism grates against my good sense as much as it does against his, I'm sure, but I cannot divest myself of the firm belief that we are damned and thus have an incentive to continue our existence as long as possible, at any price. The need to live a pure life - despite our state - strikes me as ridiculous and misplaced. Still, a vigorous theological argument is a good way to pass a cold evening.
The others have made no impression upon me and I have managed to forget them as quickly as last time.
1226 - 1235 Octavio is still raging, although I agree with his concern at this point. The east is being over-run by enemies. It feels like it is only a matter of time before savages of one stripe or another conquer all of Europe. Octavio and I have retreated to Paris for the meantime. I suggested Italy - as it was much closer - but the idea of going there worsened Octavio's mood by an alarming degree. I'm told the scars will heal, eventually. I suppose I should have known better.
France is so peaceful as to seem idyllic - it's hard to imagine Mongols burning the ile de citie, but Blanche of Castille - acting in the absent King's stead - has called in the lords and told them to make ready for war on the border. If that happens, I suppose Octavio and I will have to retreat to England - a country of which I have heard very little about, and all of that was bad.
At the moment, I am working as a nurse to a Parisian family of some small note. Their children are sickly - I suspect they are allergic to milk and cheese, but it is not yet worth my while to cure them. I am using this time as a chance to learn how a lady of proper breeding behaves - by watching the children's mother in her daily routine - and how a large household should be organized. It was not until we fled Hungary that I realized my nomadic life has taught me very little in manners and bearing. A woman can only go so far as a midwife and herbalist - my time with the other women of the Crusades has taught me that. But as a noble, or wife to a rich merchant, there are many more opportunities for learning - and a much better lifestyle to be had. Given Blanche's deft handling of her husband's affairs, the ambiance in the city is slightly more welcoming to women than it is elsewhere…
Octavio is scolding me, telling me I'm going soft for wanting to learn to be a proper lady - but he has not forbidden me this course of social study. I suspect he privately hankers for something better than an abandoned crypt for a haven, and pickings better than runaway serfs and patients I cannot save.
There is trouble brewing in the Church. The pope has been denouncing the Albigensian heresy and has formed the Dominican order with the express purpose of rooting out heretics and showing them the error of their ways. Word has it that the leader of the order is a vigorous man and rather enthusiastic. Perhaps it is time to put a little polish on my tarnished piety and visit Italy. Octavio can remain behind if it bothers him that much.
1252 - 1255
I had hoped that this Inquisition of the Dominican's might provide me some interesting material to study - and my hope was realized when I journeyed to south-western France. I had gone to investigate rumors I had heard about the Dominican's crossing the lines from theological to physical arguments in their efforts to convert heretics.
It was a very intriguing visit but very difficult. I had to pass myself off as a man, although it has been made somewhat easier by the utter lack of physical hygiene that always accompanies religious zealots. A rudimentary disguise, the concealment provided by a cowl and a few very forceful commands put me within their ranks after a few short months. Initially, I was only curious about expanding my increasingly significant knowledge of the human body, but I was distracted very easily. I should have known better - man can be so inventive when he is being cruel in God's name. Some of those enthusiasts had devised things that would turn a Tzimisce's stomach - mine certainly did.
Unfortunately, my own bad habits meant I had to move rather quickly between orders - being caught drinking the blood of heretics caused some confusion, although not as much as I would have expected. I spent my final year with the now-infamous inquisitors of Spain. By no means was I the sole vampire there - the smell of so much blood is bound to attract us - but we (perhaps unconsciously) stayed clear of each other. I never like to have anyone look over my shoulder when I'm elbow-deep in my studies.
Surprisingly, I am still aggrieved by pangs of conscience. Even though my victims are heretics and pagans and are as damned as I am, in the Church's eyes, I cannot easily justify my actions. I have certainly helped many a lost soul acknowledge the existence of God - albeit more from desperation than pure faith - but it was all done from my own selfish desires, not out of any desire to serve God.
But why should I feel guilt over that? I owe God nothing and He has seen it fit to allow me to become cursed. I must be careful not to mention this to Octavio - he doesn't take well to religious discussion. Perhaps the next time I meet with my unusual coterie-mates, they might be willing to take up the topic. I doubt it, philosophy is rarely a social subject.
1255 - 1265
A quiet decade. After I finally became sickened by my activities in Spain, I retreated to Madrid and took to the libraries. True enough, the Moors have brought much learning with them, and I almost wish I could travel to Arabia and read more of their wisdom. They are far ahead of the Europeans in many areas - astronomy, medicine and mathematics, to name a few. The Prince of this city has no objection to a bookish Malkavian and I have enjoyed my time here.
I have even taken to teaching local ladies a few things - almost all of them seemly for their station: a little medicine, midwifery, cooking and the proper application of feminine power. Well, they don't know they're learning that latter, of course, but I don't see any harm in giving these ladies a little domestic advice, when it's asked for - and it often is. The humans consider me a bit of an anomaly, but a widow of meager means eking out a living as a ladies' tutor isn't too unusual.
I rather enjoy teaching, but I have to be careful who learns about the depths of my knowledge. The vampires don't care, too much, but human men are threatened by the notion of an educated woman - the word 'unnatural' tends to be bandied about, usually followed by 'unholy' and a mob looking for some nice dry wood and a good place to hold a large bonfire. I didn't participate in the Great Inquisition to be burned for a witch. There are a few male Kindred who don't care for my bookishness and I do my best to stay out of their way.
All good things have to come to an end. Julio D'Aguirre - a senior Ventrue of Madrid - didn't take kindly to my well meant advice during a party of his. He was misinformed about the construction of the world and I endeavored to correct him. I was simply startled to hear that there are still some Kindred who believe the world is flat. Julio didn't take well to being offhandedly corrected by a relative youngling and my lovely little house burned down two nights later. Fortunately, a Nosferatu realized there was a profit by warning me - I allowed him to take anything out of the house I couldn't carry on my back or my horse - and I know many of my books were saved by him. Still, I am disappointed to be leaving Madrid in such a hurry, and for such a stupid reason. That will teach me to talk out of turn, I suppose.
From bad to worse - I had tried to settle in the small town of Andorra for a short rest, only to sit down in the lap of a werewolf. Not literally, of course, but I killed three horses riding to the coast, and then had to sell one of my books - a Bible that I wasn't too fond of - to get passage up the coast to Narbonne. When are the vampires going to organize a concerted effort against those beasts?
It seems my hard-earned seemly guise will have to be put away for a while. I'm nearly penniless again and Narbonne is a traditional town - so I am back to being a midwife and dispenser of tonics to restore imbalanced humors. It's easy work, but dreadfully boring, now that I've seen what a woman can be.
I have to get out of Narbonne. This town is driving me mad. Aside from the annual harvest, this place is as dull and dreary as any place in France - surprising for such a large town. And far too many of the men are reminding me of Julio D'Aguirre. I suspect it's only a matter of time before I am accused of witchcraft. How irritating.
I wanted to go to Paris, but there is a slight chance that I might be recognized, so I have settled for Marseille, instead. In another ten years or so, I can return to Paris. In the meantime, I think it's time for me to learn more about my kind. I have spent so much time tinkering with mortal flesh that I have neglected my own. I'll need to cut a few purses to establish myself properly - why should I put on a poor face when I have alternative options - and then I'll ingratiate myself with the local kindred. I can be very ingratiating when I wish it - I just rarely wish it.
Marseille is a useful town - although the climate leaves something to be desired. I wish the nights weren't quite so short in the summer. I have managed to insert myself into the local kindred population, although Malkavians aren't terribly popular. They keep waiting for me to start foaming at the mouth - I am not sorry to disappoint them. In between their fits of disdain, they are bearable creatures, and willing to exchange knowledge with me - some of them are showing entirely too much interest in my stories of the Inquisition, while others are fascinated by the Blackamoors. I'll tell stories until my tongue turns black while it's worth my time.
I have learned so many interesting things about my fellow vampires. We're all the same really - hungry and convinced of our innate superiority to mankind, but the small difference are so vital. The Lasombra are an interesting clan - intelligent and pragmatic, although a little too introspective at times, I think. I have tried to make the acquaintance of one Lasombra in this city, but he is extremely standoffish. I have made much better progress with the Toreador, Julien Villiers - a thoroughly debauched little man. He has been only too happy to illustrate the difference between debauchery as a fine art and a pointless bloody mess. He's an interesting fellow, although he doesn't understand why I prefer to leave victims alive.
Damn it all, I'm going to have to leave Marseille - and it's entirely my fault. Well, mine and Julien's. Julien, I have discovered, likes the taste of small children - something he had kept secret from me until two nights ago. Seeking to impress me with his imagination and wit, Julien presented me with a horrid spectacle at his house in town - a half-dozen terrified wretches dressed in finery and unwitting of the unpleasant ends that Julien had in mind for each of them.
I lost my temper, severely. The children have been deposited - intact - in the church of St. Mary with no memory of the incident and a nasty stomach condition (the best I could concoct on short notice, to explain their absence). Julien is destroyed - and that is why I must leave town immediately. A stout chair, when thrashed into fragments, makes useful material for stakes.
I know it's unseemly to gloat, but the look of terrified surprise on Julien's face was priceless. He honestly thought I would enjoy tearing life from innocent children. The very idea makes me shudder.
Returning to Paris took a little longer than I thought. There has been an outbreak of disease in Orleans and I felt obligated to stay and try to help the populace. It's no doubt a lingering sense of guilt from destroying Julien - no matter how much he deserved it. I am immune to disease, of course - although I had to be very careful when I fed - and helping the kine is an obligation of my kind. After all, we're going to be in a bad way if the humans die out. The few other kindred in Orleans were concerned with looking after their vassals, so I made a point of physicking them first - it never hurts to do a vampire a small favor, I have discovered. I doubt I will ever return to Orleans, but it didn't cost me much - nor did it cost the vampires much to give me a small cash present and shove me outside the city walls as soon as the outbreak had died down. I shouldn't expect gratitude from vampires.
I have re-settled in Paris and I would dearly love to stay here for a while. I have been far too much on the move, these past few years. Of course, if it had been up to me, I never would have left Madrid. The current king, Philip, has already shown his colors as a power-hungry bureaucrat, so I doubt things will be boring while I'm here.
I need to ingratiate myself with a noble or two as soon as possible. Paris is a terrible city in which to be poor. Loathe as I am to admit it, I suspect I'm going to have to take the shortest route between two sheets. Humans are so easily prey to desires of the flesh - and so easily addicted to them. The younger son of the Duke of Orleans has a reputation for occasional misbehavior, so I think I will start with him. To win a large prize demands a large risk, no?
Young Richard and I have become very good friends. It was laughably easy to render him dependent upon one of my tonics - a little thing that leaves a man feeling very vigorous and inexhaustible. It causes some rather serious damage to the imbiber over the long term, of course, but I strongly suspect the boy will be dead from the pox or an outraged husband fairly soon. Fortunately, his older brother is far more responsible, so the Duke doesn't have to worry about the family line being rendered extinct. In the meantime, Richard has introduced me to so many interesting - and gullible - people.
There are even self-described Satanists outside the city. Honestly, they are merely bored younger sons with too much money and not enough sense, and a sprinkling of disenchanted churchmen. I have heard the Tzimisce like to make particular pets of these people, but that hasn't stopped me from poaching the herd from time to time - opportunities to revel in blood are few and far between in Paris, a downside of civilization.
Regardless, I have managed to install myself as a woman of leisure in Paris. I have resorted to my usual hodge-podge of methods to earn money - from mixing tonics to teaching - but blackmail has proven the most profitable. The ability to remain unseen amongst Richard's friends and others has been very useful. There is a senior priest who would give Notre Dame itself, if I tell him to. He should have known better than to break his vow of chastity - and with a married lady at that. It has been most amusing - and enriching - to watch him squirm.
I look forward to a long stay…
The Holy Land has fallen to the infidels. The Church is in a paroxysm of grief and the stupider humans hereabouts - which is most of them - are convinced that it's only a matter of weeks before the Muslims swarm through Paris.
But, try as I might, I cannot lightly dismiss this. The past month, I have been suffering through terrible nightmares and a mocking laughter dogs my every step.
At first I thought it was only in my mind - Octavio's work, or another plane of thought being opened to me. But I quickly learned that all vampires were thus afflicted. I have spent much time not thinking about God and the implications of the existence of vampires and other damnable creatures. Some things can't be ignored, though. Perhaps one of the elders of our kind was within Jerusalem and has been destroyed? But I can't understand how that would cause such strange events amongst my kind. I suppose it might be God's laughter - although surely it's a little late for him to be exacting His vengeance against us?
Octavio's current mood defies description. I must admit that I've had to partake of some of my own medicine to keep from losing my wits and my courage in the face of his behavior. I just hope he doesn't get it in his head to go to Jerusalem, himself. I've already done the Duke of Orleans a favor by forcibly preventing his oldest son from abandoning his pregnant wife and going on a suicide mission.
I sincerely doubt the infidels will move towards Europe. They will no doubt spend the next year or so gloating over their victory and, in the meantime, that will give the European monarchs time to strengthen their borders.
All of this is costing the kings a fortune. Maybe I should follow the Jews' example and go into banking. Of course, I would need capital for that. Such a shame I can't take Notre Dame… the good bishop took poison earlier this year. I must be more careful - and perhaps a little less intimidating - with these humans.
Kupala sleeps beneath Transylvania - yet kindred across Europe are suffering at his hand. This is almost too much to bear! For months now, his madness has driven Kindred to despair or insanity. I, myself, almost starved myself into torpor to escape it - but I'm too frightened that it won't be an escape, and to be stuck listening to his voice without an escape doesn't bear consideration. And blasted Octavio has forbidden it any such escape, anyways. He says that this is all happening for a reason, and we must be present to witness it - and possibly play a part in it.
I never wanted to be the tool of another vampire's prophecy! But I daren't escape Octovio, his rages are even worse when he feels I'm being disobedient.
For the moment, I can only stay in Paris and try not to become addicted to my own concoctions.