Thousand Year Old Vampire: Guillaume d'Orléans

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Coimbra, 1181

On Holy Thursday, I was on my way back from a visit to Galicia and stopped in Monção, for a new festival to São Jorge, the dragon-slaying saint, whom the Portuguese are enraptured by.

I miss the mock battle between São Jorge and Coco -- normally a pumpkin-headed monster, but repurposed now as the dragon São Jorge does battle with -- as it takes place at midday. But I go to sleep in my rented house, knowing the night will be filled with dancing, drinking and feasting.

At least, that was the plan.

Someone had thought the battle needed fire. Whether it was supposed to be the dragon breathing fire or some sort of holy fire unleashed by São Jorge, I do not know. I only knew that I woke up with the rented house in flames and that the smoke was pierced by pitiless midday sunlight.

I dove to the floor -- this was not the first fire in my long life -- and observed the screams in the street outside and the confused shouts for someone to bring buckets of water from a nearby well. So the fire was uncontrolled. And soon, the roof of this building would be gone and I would be exposed to the full light of the sun. I wondered what saint they would say had defeated me.

I tried to remember what else was located near the rented house. There was a chapel, but on Holy Thursday, it would be filled with the faithful, who would certainly notice if I raced in, my body burning from sunlight.

A street cafe would be no better.

The stable, even if it was unoccupied, would catch fire if I brought any flames there.

But there was also a school. Something with children, in any case. They would all be gone during the festival, enjoying the battle against the dragon and all the other games. Probably.

I had to risk it.

I plunged out the back window of the engulfed house, away from where the locals were apparently now organizing a bucket brigade to put out the fires burning on the street.

I burned, however, as I ran through empty alleys, holding a shutter over my head, trying to protect myself from the sunlight. I could feel my fingers blackening in the rays of the sun, and bursting into flame.

Then I was at the school. I kicked in the closed double doors and plunged into the darkened interior. There was a stone basin full of water and I thrust my hands into it, wincing as the steam surrounded me. I moved my fingers under the water. They would look hideous for a time, but they would heal, sooner if I fed well in Monção.

There was a small sound in the darkness and I whipped my head around, ready to fight.

It was a small boy, about seven or eight years old, watching me with big dark eyes.

"Are you all right?" He came towards me slowly, but without fear. "The sunlight burned you?"

"Yes." No point in lying. What could a little boy do to me? At worst, I was leaving Monção soon anyway.

"I will get you bandages."

He darted off. Again, without fear, just the desire to help and see the task done quickly.

When he returned, he gently pulled my hands from the water, and cleaned the wounds without comment.

"You are not scared," I said, stating the obvious.

"No," he said, bandaging my hands now.

"Why aren't you with everyone from the school?"

"It's an orphanage."

I looked around and saw the austere nature of the place now. A place to house children that no one wanted and whom God was only nominally invested in.

"They teach you to bandage wounds in the orphanage?"

"No. My father and brothers died fighting the Muslims. And then my mother died too. But I learned how to bandage before they did."

"And you are not scared of me, with my hands that burn in sunlight?"

"No. I pay attention. I have seen strange things before."

"And what is your name, fearless boy?"

"Juião."

"Juião, would you like to travel with me and be my servant? I own many ships and have three fine houses."

He considered this for a moment, and then nodded. He was my first mortal companion in decades.
Prompt 20 + 2 - 1 = Prompt 21

You are trapped outside when the sun rises and take shelter some place you are not supposed to be. A child discovers and befriends you. Create a mortal child Character and record a humanizing experience.

The Frenchman

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;

Resources:
a cowhorn inkwell, engraved with a knight;
a small bronze crucifix, in the French style;
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires

Characters:
Juião, a Portuguese orphan who becomes my servant

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead
4: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
5: I am le Passeur: The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Post lost.
Prompt 21 + 2 - 2 = Prompt 21

The child teaches you to appreciate the world again. You see small things, you smile. Create a Skill based on a pleasant Memory.

The Frenchman

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;

Resources:
a cowhorn inkwell, engraved with a knight;
a small bronze crucifix, in the French style;
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires

Characters:
Juião, a Portuguese orphan who becomes my servant

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead
4: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
5: I am le Passeur: The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater;
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Coimbra, 1181

"So, these people, they are bad?" Juião asked.

He stood on a stool, stirring the caldeirada he was making with the shrimp I had brought up from the ocean's floor earlier. His delight in me being able to wander around on the sandy bottom, picking up whatever wildlife I could find down there, without concern, had not abated, although he still found squid and octopus too wriggly for his tastes.

Despite his awareness of who and what I was, he was still ultimately a boy.

"I do what I can to make sure of it. I have always preyed on bandits and other criminals and those who do violence to those weaker than them."

Juião's eyebrows went up momentarily, but he said nothing about my hypocrisy.

"They are sending more men to fight against the Almohads. What will you do then? Can you feed off of sheep or cows?"

I had not paid attention to the movement of troops inland, as so much of my focus in those days was on shipping and ship-building.

"No, I cannot. My wife believed I needed to feed on creatures with souls. I will have to think of what to do."

How Juião reconciled what I did to feed and his persistent view of me as a good person -- as one-sided and naive as Constansia's insistence on my wickedness -- I never understood.

But his view of me was in my thoughts as I walked the darkened streets of Coimbra that night. I could hear and see blacksmiths at work, late into the night, preparing the implements of war.

I followed the sound and wandered through streets busy with late-night activity, as men young and old prepared for their departure in the morning. As "the Frenchman," there was no thought of impressing me into service.

And then I caught the overwhelming smell of blood. Little of it smelled fresh, but the scent rolled over me like a wave.

I followed it, unable to even think, until I reached its source: a series of hastily erected sheds filled with wounded men, being cared for by a few military men and a larger number of civilians I knew from Coimbra.

I smiled when I saw the field hospital, and had to change my expression when one of the military men approached, weary and blood-stained.

"I'd like to volunteer my services."
Prompt 21 + 7 - 3 = Prompt 25

Your methods for acquiring victims are no longer effective. What has changed? Lose a Resource and create a Skill which describes your new feeding technique.

The Frenchman

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;

Resources:
a cowhorn inkwell, engraved with a knight;
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires

Characters:
Juião, a Portuguese orphan who becomes my servant

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead
4: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
5: I am le Passeur: The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them;
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Coimbra, 1182

As we were not on the front lines, the wounded who showed up in Coimbra were those capable of surviving the journey, often after battlefield surgeons had done their best.

But these men needed care, whether it was battling persistent fevers or simply recovering from the loss of limbs or eyes.

They were sent to Coimbra because of the presence of the Igreja de Santa Cruz, where monks created the country's first teaching hospital. Young doctors came and went from our hospital, learning the skills they needed to be sent off to the battlefields of the reconquista.

Their comings and goings meant that many of them saw me as little other as a volunteer who would come assist at night.

In the wee hours of the morning, as I was checking wounds or the status of a fever, I would regularly find those who would not survive the night -- even with the learned doctors of the Igreja de Santa Cruz, medicine was a hit or miss proposition in those days -- and would gently speed them on their way, feeding on them as they slipped into a slumber they would never wake from.

So many men were dying on a regular basis that I was not much concerned about being caught, although I had to always pay attention to the others who were there over an extended period of time, like I was: the monks and other volunteers.

But it was nice to view my insatiable hunger as a comfort to these young men and to be able to tell Juião I had harmed no one and caused no deaths that were not already imminent and likely more painful than what I granted.
Prompt 25 + 4 - 4 = Prompt 25

What physical labors are necessary to utilize this method? Create a simple, practical Skill and strike out a Memory.

The Frenchman

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;

Resources:
a cowhorn inkwell, engraved with a knight;
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires
Diary, written in a medieval Portuguese log book

Characters:
Juião, a Portuguese orphan who becomes my servant

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
4: I am le Passeur: The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them;
5: I am le Passeur:

Diary (up to four Memories):
1: II am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Coimbra, 1182

Coimbra burns. The Muslims have made a raid inland, striking deep into territory that the Portuguese have long thought was safe.

I pack Juião away and we make for one of my ships. I always have one or two around that are not engaged in active trading, against the arrival of a day like this.

I sail southwest into the night. There are islands there, uninhabited by humans, but with caves. Even in the confusion in Coimbra, I was able to pack enough for Juião to be comfortable, along with my precious keepsakes.

Smugglers sometimes use these islands, but rarely. Our neighbors in the Berlengas will be seabirds and lizards for the most part, although Juião will keep watch during the day.

I will have to sail to show under cover of night to feed, but the boy will be safe, away from war, until it is safe for us to reemerge.

It is only later I realize I have left my inkwell behind in Coimbra, the only remaining memento I have of my long-dead father. I can remember the sight of him giving it to me, proud and tired after the work necessary for my work. But I cannot hear his voice, and must consult my diary to know what name he called me or the job the inkwell is for.
Prompt 25 + 3 - 1 = Prompt 27

Wars rage throughout the region in which you reside. You withdraw into a hidden retreat, waiting for them to pass. Lose a resource.

The Frenchman

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;

Resources:
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires
Diary, written in a medieval Portuguese log book

Characters:
Juião, a Portuguese orphan who becomes my servant

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
4: I am le Passeur: The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them;
5: I am le Passeur or "The Frenchman": I retreat to the islands off Portugal with my servant, Juião, and sail to the mainland at night, under cover of darkness, looking for prey;

Diary (up to four Memories):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The Berlengas, 1182

This was not a perfect method. Coimbra's field hospital was destroyed in the fire, forcing me to hunt elsewhere.

I grew hungry, after being forced to wait longer to feed by necessity. Eventually, hunger overcame me and I could not stand to sail up the Mondego to Coimbra, but instead hunted the village of Figueira da Foz at the mouth of the river. But I had hunted there before, and found the whole village shut up this moonless night, barred against my entry with crosses, garlic and other folk magic. Most of it had little effect on me -- although their effect on me grew over time, which bothered me -- but crashing down locked doors in a quiet village would bring too many out into the streets with torches and weapons.

Instead, I moved to the ships waiting in Figueira da Foz's simple natural harbor. Surely strangers to the area would be less cautious.

I was wrong. Boarding the first darkened ship, I was set on by multiple men, hacking at me with axes and beating me with oars. I tumbled back into the water and swam the distance to my hidden ship. I raised the sail and made my way back across the waves to the Berlengas.

Juião spies me arriving and brings me into our furnished cave, shaking in fear.

"Master, what happened?"

I am covered in blood, both the bright blood of the men aboard the ship and, distressingly, my own, darker blood.

Juião weeps and hugs me, then tries to bandage my wounds.

"You've lost so much blood ..."

I watch him in silence, knowing what I have to do, but hating the decision. I had wanted to see this boy grow up to become a man and live a normal life, untainted by his association with me. A foolish thought, I see now. Somewhere, Constansia, whom I never tainted this way, is laughing at me.

"Juião," I murmur.

The boy stops. He knows what I'm asking of him. He nods and opens his collar, leaning over me, his face pressed into my shirt, soaked in blood and sea water.

And I drink from him. I intend to just take a little, enough to heal my wounds and prepare me for another hunting expedition, perhaps further down the coast.

But it has been so long since I have properly fed. Juião's hands beat against me as he feels his life drain away and by the time I've realized what I've done, he's limp and still.

In a panic, I know what to do, dimly remembering what Carnutes did to me, so long ago in France. I open the skin of my wrist and feed Juião's blood back to him.

For a long moment, nothing happens and the blood is wasted, running across Juião's gray lips. But then he gasps, and his eyes open sightlessly, gripping my wrist and pulling it against his mouth. I eventually have to wrench him away from my wrist before he drinks more than I have to give.

Juião crouches in the shadows of our cave, panting, his face smeared with blood, panting with the bloodlust now filling him, and I wonder if I made a mistake by letting him live after he helped me that day in the orphanage.
Prompt 27 + 2 - 3 = Prompt 26

You accidentally create a vampire through sloppy feeding. Why do you not destroy them? Check a skill.

The Frenchman

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;

Resources:
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires
Diary, written in a medieval Portuguese log book

Characters:
Juião, a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (Immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
4: I am le Passeur: The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them;
5: I am le Passeur or "The Frenchman": I retreat to the islands off Portugal with my servant, Juião, and sail to the mainland at night, under cover of darkness, looking for prey; I feed on Juião when desperate for blood and accidentally turn him into a vampire;

Diary (up to four Memories):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The Berlengas, 1182

It was immediately clear that our time in the Berlengas was at an end. If there was not enough prey for me to find easily, there certainly wasn't enough for me and Juião.

I suspected the current flurry of war wasn't going to last, but I did not have the luxury of being wrong, not with Juião in a vulnerable state.

Likewise, the various Moorish taifas are supposed to be places of culture and refinement, but exploring them during wartime, especially with Juião in tow, would be reckless.

My memories of France are fragmentary -- disjointed images of my father, of Carnutes, of Constansia -- but I had no desire to return there.

We needed a fresh place, away from the battles with the Muslims, preferably a place of cloudy days and long nights, where Juião and I could wander the shadows of a great city, hunting without being spotted.

While I puzzled this out, Juião and I took our small sailing ship, Mouette Noire, north along the Portuguese coast, tying up beside other ships in harbor and boarding a lightly crewed neighbor and drinking our fill. We had one or two close calls, but no disasters like at Figueira da Foz -- the further I got from my previous hunting grounds, the less on guard the people were for things like myself and Juião.

Juião was learning control over his appetites, although he swung between resenting what I had done to him and glorying in it. I do not know which bothered me more.

But the time we reached the Rhine river, weeks later, he had gained control of himself, and I knew our destination, a place where two creatures such as us could flourish.

And so it was, as Wilhelm and Julian Black, we took up residence in Cologne in the Holy Roman Empire.
Prompt 26 + 4 - 6 = Prompt 24

You are forced to adopt a new name. Why?

Wilhelm Black

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;

Resources:
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires
Diary, written in a medieval Portuguese log book

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black, a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (Immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
3: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
4: I am "the Frenchman": The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them.
5: I am "the Frenchman": I retreat to the islands off Portugal with my servant, Juião, and sail to the mainland at night, under cover of darkness, looking for prey; I feed on Juião when desperate for blood and accidentally turn him into a vampire; we relocate to Cologne, a city of gray skies and long nights, better suited for those such as ourselves than sunny Portugal.

Diary (up to four Memories):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants;
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Cologne, 1183

Cologne was everything we hoped it would be. It was a cold, gray and dark city, where rain clouds blunted the painful rays of the sun many days and where there always seemed to be a dark shadow where an unwitting visitor to the city, of which there were many, could be pulled into to kill and devour. Bodies could be dropped into the Rhine at the dark of night and no one would know anything other than that a visiting merchant or riverboat sailor had gone missing while on shore, something which happened with or without Julian and myself every day.

But we were not alone in recognizing the virtues of Cologne.

Within a week of our arrival, a man in a heavy black coat and a large black hat nodded and winked to us on the street one night.

Two days later, a mother and daughter whispered and laughed upon spotting Julian and myself walking together, enjoying a private joke we were not in on.

And two weeks after that, we awoke at sundown in the hold of our ship to discover we had company.

"Guten abend," purred the well-dressed woman, who looked for all the world like a merchant's plump wife. Several other figures lurked in the darkened corners of the room and I could hear a footfall on the deck above. "What did you know of our city before you came here?"

"Only what any merchant knows, and that it was a cloudy city full of travelers."

The woman nodded and for a moment, I saw a flash of teeth between pursed lips -- fanged, like mine and Julian's.

"These things attract many of our kind here. Too many. The Church is powerful here and there are many returning Crusaders who have brought stories about us here."

I opened my mouth to ask about why Crusaders would know anything about us, but the woman raised a hand and kept talking.

"You have been discreet so far, so you may stay. For now. But this is a city of laws, even among the Nachtvolk. You will learn and obey these laws, which serve to keep us safe and keep the peace, or else. Do you agree?"

I nodded and I saw Julian, sitting up in his coffin with bright, curious eyes do the same.

"Excellent. By very good luck, we are having a ceremony tonight. You will attend, and see what happens with those who disagree. You will attend at midnight, beneath St. Gereon's on Gereonstraße in Altstadt. Do not worry: It was our place before it belonged to the Church and you will come to no harm there, so long as you do not let them spot you. If you choose not to attend, you should flee the city immediately. I trust you understand."

And with that, she left, a blur of motion almost too fast for me to see, faster than I or Julian were then. Her companions were similar blurs of black coats and dresses, gone before we could take in any details of them.

At the appointed hour, Julian and I found ourselves standing before a church in the midst of a years-long process of being expanded into something bigger and greater, with wooden frameworks surrounding two black towers pointing up into the clouds.

Not sure where we were expected to go, we were struck by the smell of fresh blood. Heading toward it, we found it laid out like a path in the dark, impossible to see in this unlit area of the site, but as good as a beacon for vampires like us.

Following the trail led us down to what, from the outside, looked as though it led into a church basement. But as we descended the worn stone stairs, it was clear to us, by the dim light shining from below, that this was a place much older. The carvings on the wall were strange to me, depicting large men, painted with gold leaf, and shown scattering smaller, weaker Roman soldiers with their bare hands and devouring them with sharp white teeth.

The chamber at the bottom of the stairs was clearly old, with carved out spaces in the wall that looked to be cavities where bodies were once stored. And there was a stone altar, with soft rounded edges and lines that had been blurred by centuries of use.

Now, though, it was where a naked vampire, their mouth wrapped around a thick leather belt strapped around their head, writhed, his hands and feet not just bound, but pierced by spikes driven into heavy beams of wood which I guessed had been taken from the construction site above. Their eyes whipped around the room, full of rage but no fear.

The woman who had spoken to us aboard the Mouette Noire stood alongside the altar, dressed in black, holding a long sharp knife of a sort I was unfamiliar with in her hand. She met my eyes and nodded slightly, satisfied that we had appeared as ordered.

Two men stood at her elbows, one with a stone basin, the other holding a pair of clay jugs.

"This will be instructive," the woman said.

Over the course of the next two hours, she removed the vampire's organs one by one, never fully killing him. Before dawn, the shuddering husk of the vampire was carried up to the construction site, where what remains of him would burn away with the sun.

I never learned what he had done to violate the rules the Nachtvolk lived under. But I learned a lot about vampire anatomy.
Prompt 24 + 5 - 6 = Prompt 23

You master a strange new science or field of knowledge. How does your vampire nature give you special insight into these studies. Create an appropriate Skill based on a Memory.

Wilhelm Black

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;
Knowledge of vampiric anatomy;

Resources:
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires
Diary, written in a medieval Portuguese log book

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black, a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (Immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am "the Frenchman": The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them.
4: I am le Passeur or "The Frenchman": I retreat to the islands off Portugal with my servant, Juião, and sail to the mainland at night, under cover of darkness, looking for prey; I feed on Juião when desperate for blood and accidentally turn him into a vampire; we relocate to Cologne, a city of gray skies and long nights, better suited for those such as ourselves than sunny Portugal.
5: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony;

Diary (up to four Memories):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans, son of Onfroi, a novice scribe born late in the 10th Century of Our Lord; one of the joys of my youth, gardening, slips away as my touch is now fatal to plants.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: My father, Onfroi, gifts me an engraved inkwell, which he had to save for months to afford; after my father's death, Constansia and I leave Orléans by barge, after setting my house aflame and allowing my sister to believe I was destroyed there; I use my father's name when I later settle in Portugal and set myself up as a merchant and shipbuilder there.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Cologne, 1254

Although we both flourish, Julian took to being one of the Nachtvolk much more than I did. Something about their rigid hierarchy, of rules and laws that were death to violate -- the Nachtgesetz -- spoke to him.

Soon, he became one of the Dunkle Ritter, who served as Queen Sabine's enforcers. He bore me no ill will, precisely, but he soon drifted away from me, preferring to spend his time with the queen's court,

I had other ambitions.

Cologne was just getting more prosperous. Walls had been erected around the city and it was becoming increasingly independent.

While the flow of blood was assured, I came to desire other creature comforts. The Nachtgesetz forbade simply seizing assets as we wished -- those could draw the attention of the Church or drive us into open warfare among ourselves. My diary was lost in one such needless flurry of violence and insurrection, costing me my memories of my life before I was a vampire.

Instead, I was patient. While I could not grow plants -- the grapes in the vineyard along the shores of the Rhine I had purchased would blacken under my touch -- I could grow people.

Specifically, I grew bankers.

The Church had ridiculous notions about banking that limited my options.

But not entirely.

The Itzig family knew I was not mortal. They also knew that no anti-Semites survived raising a hand to them. Their children could grow up with fear, their businesses could flourish, and their family could thrive.

But when I called, they must answer. When I sought to invest in commercial ventures, whether it be in Cologne or abroad, they would help me do so, without revealing the ageless investor behind it, and even if it conflicted with their own business concerns.

This proved to be little problem, and we grew prosperous together, for many years.
Prompt 23 + 5 - 6 = Prompt 22

Create a mortal Character. You have shaped them from infancy to be exactly what you want. Lose a Resource.

Wilhelm Black

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;
Knowledge of vampiric anatomy;

Resources:
the Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (Immortal);
The Itzig family: a Jewish family of bankers and merchants in medieval Cologne;

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them.
4: I am le Passeur or "The Frenchman": I retreat to the islands off Portugal with my servant, Juião, and sail to the mainland at night, under cover of darkness, looking for prey; I feed on Juião when desperate for blood and accidentally turn him into a vampire; we relocate to Cologne, a city of gray skies and long nights, better suited for those such as ourselves than sunny Portugal.
5: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Cologne, 1260

I watched old Josel go, stifling a yawn as he went. My hours were not those of the living, but the Itzigs never complained.

"So fragile," a voice from the shadows behind me said quietly, "yet you rely on them so much."

"Julian," I said, turning my head slightly. "All of my defenses in this grand house, and you slip right past them."

"I know how you think, old man," he said, dripping out of the shadows, into the circle of candlelight. He was dressed head to toe in black, of the finest fabrics. "You have been quiet, lately. We've barely seen you at court."

"In contrast, I hear you have been very busy. They say you should be called Julian Red, rather than black."

The thing that used to be a boy laughed a mean laugh.

"It turns out I have a knack for these things. I have learned much in Cologne."

"And these people you kill, are they bad?"

Julian gave me a sharp look.

"Don't be clever with me. I came to bring you a gift. As I recall, you have had trouble getting the blood you needed at times."

I could not tell from his tone whether any of the old anger or resentment was still there. In a way, it would have been a relief, a sign that something of human morals still resided in him.

Julian pulled something from a bag -- black, of course -- and clapped it on the table.

I stared in confusion: a beating heart.

"Whose ...?"

"The owner is long-dead," Julian smiled, pleased with my shock. "I took this from a Serbian vampire who refused to abide by the Nachtgesetz, and I thought of you. This way, when you are starving, you won't have to feast on the mortals who trust you do do no harm. Although I imagine that old man just has dust in his veins at his age."

I watched the heart beat, feeling blood rushing to my face in shame.

Julian's mocking laughter echoed through the big dark house as he left me alone, staring at the heart he had left behind.
Prompt 22 + 6 - 2 = Prompt 26

This immortal Character lurks on the fringes of your existence. They become an embodiment of one of your last savory checked Skills. How do they act when your paths cross? What disturbing gift do they give to you? Create a Resource.

Wilhelm Black

Skills
:
Skilled at navigating boats (checked);
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast;
Skilled merchant;
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;
Knowledge of vampiric anatomy;

Resources:
The Spear of Aeolius, an ancient Roman spear capable of killing vampires
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
An ever-beating heart, which magically will not die

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (Immortal);
The Itzig family: a Jewish family of bankers and merchants in medieval Cologne;

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
2: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese orphan Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on battlefield wounded as I tend to them.
3: I am le Passeur or "The Frenchman": I retreat to the islands off Portugal with my servant, Juião, and sail to the mainland at night, under cover of darkness, looking for prey; I feed on Juião when desperate for blood and accidentally turn him into a vampire; we relocate to Cologne, a city of gray skies and long nights, better suited for those such as ourselves than sunny Portugal.
4: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
5. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart;

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other heretics were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
 
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