The Book of Nod



   Good old Aristotle. You can always trust him to spin a good yarn, even if he should have known better than to believe this crap. He also should have known not to give it to Beckett. Thanks, Beckett, we'll make sure the right people see this. Yeah, right, only 200 copies. Sorry, Aristotle, its time everyone got a peek at what's been going on.

   Also, thanks for the art. Aristotle put together one hell of a collection, didn't he? Beckett said his sire went to the ends of the earth to gather every known piece of art relating to the Book of Nod. Can you believe he only wanted "a select few" to see it?

   We (that means us - the undead, the Damned, the Kindred, the blood-sucking Leeches from hell) do more damage to this world in one night than an army of Colombian drug dealers could do in their entire lives. Murder, corruption and destruction follow us wherever we go.

   Just to give you fine readers an idea of the sort of games we play with your lives, consider a nasty little incident that happened in Boston about 20 years ago. On Sept. 12, 1974 while the prince of the city took a convenient European vacation, a minor elder saw his chance to take out a neonate who had been a thorn in his side.

   He ordered his ghouls to take advantage of the racial unrest in the city to attack some of the neonate's mortal allies, who were mostly black. The ghouls followed their orders - and carried them out in the public eye. The neonate's allies had gone to help make sure recent school desegregation plans went off without a hitch. The ghouls attacked them, hoping everyone would blame Boston's racial tension for the attack.

   Well, mortals did more than blame the tension; they jumped right in. As soon as the ghouls began their attack, whites who had been protesting school bussing joined them. Maybe the protests would have ended in violence without the ghouls; maybe they wouldn't have. In any case, the elder's orders touched off a firestorm he should have predicted but didn't. Racial violence ran rampant through Boston for more than a month before things began to calm down again.

   This is just one example. We've been playing these games for centuries - millennia, if this book has any truth to it. Of course, you mortals aren't the only victims. We do even worse things to each other.

   The Elders

   The soldiers of tyranny (that has a nice ring to it) are what we call the elders. These are the old dudes who've gotten their part of the pie and are now dead set against anyone else getting anything.

   For instance, a bunch of older Kindred in Chicago became royally peeved at a bunch of Licks in Gary. Now, you wouldn't think few Indiana Licks could threaten the grear and powerful lords of Chicago, but that's not how the elders felt. Instead, they cracked down on the city, driving its industry into the dumps, terrorizing its inhabitants, blocking its trade and doing anything else they could think of to make Gary a living hell. They continue these games to this very night. They have gone to a lot of effort just to make unlife difficult for a few minor vampires.

   Of course, there are other theories on the matter. I've heard that both groups are pawns of more powerful vampires (like the ones I'll describe later) and that the fighting in Gary has just been a minor sideshow to the main fights. My favorite theory is that a Methuselah is forcing the Chicago elders to worry about Gary so that he can go about his business in Chicago unimpeded.

   This seems to be a common part of our eternal Jyhad. Older vampires manipulate younger vampires into oppressing even younger ones. This way, the real old vampires avoid any blame, and the young whippersnap-pers who might normally contend for their power become caught up in fights against each other.

   An old Cainite once told me how these games had worked in ancient Rome. Apparently, that part of Italy had long been home to a number of Ventrue. As the city grew, however, more Kindred flocked to the city. Soon Malkavians, Lasombra, Settles, Nosferatu and other freakish beings crowded into its limited confines.

  Things began coming to a head a few centuries after the destruction of Carthage (the result of another petty Brujah/Ventrue struggle). In Rome's earliest days, the vampire factions battled for control of various senators. When an emperor took over (don't ask me who or what was responsible for that), the whole game changed. One figure held most of the power, and everyone wanted a piece of that action.

  Within a few hundred years, several dozen vampires, sorcerers, demons and other creatures were fighting for control of the emperor. For instance, the demonic vampiress Tiamat always tried to stir up whatever wars and mayhem she could. A group of sorcerers called the Order of Mercury pretended to be the defenders of the empire, but were really being manipulated by demons trying to bring it down. A Setite who went by the name "Dahshur" took great pleasure in instilling intense fear in the emperors and the members of their households.

   Of course, there were also vampires (especially Ventrue) trying to keep the empire strong. Their efforts, while self-motivated, at least had the aim of keeping the people happy and secure. Their added pull, however, had the unintended result of making things even more confused and chaotic. No emperor could rule effectively while being tugged in so many different directions. Some did well, either because of strong will or a powerful patron, but most failed.

  According to the old Cainite, the intrigues of Rome pale when compared to those of ancient Persia. He said almost a thousand vampires flocked to the Persian Empire during its heyday; it was the greatest concentration of vampires the world had ever seen. Of course, they were spread out across Asia Minor, but they were all near-equal in power, and their intrigues were without comparison.

   The old Cainite didn't give me any of the names I mentioned here; they're just ones I've come across since he told me about the situation. These three aren't around any more. Others, like the Toreador Caius Petronius, who influenced Nero so much, may still be around. The rest still influence events under a host of names, whether they're known as Dimestico, Maggie Flury, McGrath, Tenga, Typee or whatever.

   Most elders aren't that old. Cainites considered elders in Rome have become today's Methuselahs. Other elders did not survive the collapse of the empire, and most who did survive met their ends during the Middle Ages, falling to the Inquisition or the Sabbat. The elders of our age will no doubt follow a similar pattern, and we can hope that whatever will destroy them does so soon.

   The elders are a great annoyance, with their self-inflated egos and insistent refusal to acknowledge that they are being controlled by others. They may take the most insane actions, have no good reason for why they acted as they did, and still insist that they acted of their own volition. For instance, a powerful Malkavian used to travel the world, challenging elders to chess games. If he won, he got to commit Diablerie upon the elder. If the elder won, the elder got to commit Diablerie upon the Malkavian. The Malkavian invariably won. Why did the elders keep playing him? Because their masters commanded it, trying to make their pieces more powerful.

   Of course, commands are not always necessary. The elders are calculating and devious, but their passions often rule them more intensely than they rule any neonate. Build up an intense hatred within an elder and she will do everything in her power to destroy the target of that anger. Convince an elder that he loves another, and nothing will come between him and the object of his desire. Often, if an elder acts without rhyme or reason, one can be sure that his long-suppressed emotions have taken over.

   Other actions cannot be explained away so easily. When a member of the primogen who has always supported the prince throws her weight behind a contender for the throne, there may be any number of reasons. Maybe her master is at odds with the prince's master. Maybe her master has always opposed the prince's master, but has used her as a double agent, waiting for just the right time to spring his surprise. Maybe a new master has seized control of her.

   The answer could be even more diabolical. Maybe her master is also the prince s master, and he hopes to force his enemies to reveal themselves by giving them this opportunity. Maybe one master controls them both, but wants a more capable prince. Perhaps their master wants to use the prince somewhere else, but does not want anyone to believe that the prince has any more usefulness. Ah, yes, you can almost pity the elders when you realize how badly they are being manipulated. Almost.

   The Methuselahs

   If the elders make up the enlisted ranks in the Jyhad, then the Methuselahs are the lieutenants. These guys are scary. They have powers I can only dream about, and they use them without hesitation. Even those in torpor - and there are a number of them - wield immense influence over the world. Marikasha, a Toreador active at least as early as ancient Crete, now sleeps under a mountain in Tanzania.

   From there he uses a small cult called the Blood Bonds. They worship him, for he possesses incredible powers of the mind and can bend others to his will. If one of his followers makes eye contact with someone outside the cult, he can Dominate that outsider through his servant. He can then give the victim telepathic commands and force him to do his bidding. His interests range across the globe, and no one knows when he may want to take control.

  Still, these fabulous abilities are only part of the reason Methuselahs are such a threat. Indeed, if their powers were the only reason to fear them, we would not worry. Instead, their big problem, and the main reason they are dangerous, is that far too many of them deny that they are being manipulated from above.

   For instance, Brunhilde, a powerful Gangrel in Northwest Europe, battles Ventrue all across the continent, blaming them for the ecological destruction the land has suffered. She does nor work with the werewolves, but uses her formidable might in much the same way, destroying factories and those who pollute the land. On the other hand, she has never risen a hand to stop the ecological catastrophes wrought by the old Soviet Union or todays Russia.

  Indeed, I have it on very good authority chat she helped the old Brujah rulers defeat Garou who tried to stop the environmental rape. Also, when Chernobyl blew up, spreading its poison across Scandinavia, she was noticeably silent. Other Gangrel yelled and screamed, threatening the Brujah, but not her.

   Now, this all leads to two conclusions. The first is that her ecological concern is only a front, a lie, but those who meet her feel the fervor other convictions. The second conclusion is that she has been manipulated by forces in Russia, an idea she would no doubt deny - but which seems to be the only acceptable assumption.

  Brunhilde is only the tip of the iceberg and certainly does not count as one of the most powerful Methuselahs. Each clan has its own

rumors of incredibly powerful ancients whose power would make your hair curl and whose actions could only be understood as being under someone else’s control.

   The Nosferatu speak in dark whispers of monstrous ancestors who inhabit the deepest caverns of the Earth. Brujah elders fear the childer of the clan founder, who despise todays Brujah as the progeny of a traitor. Young Ventrue fear masters who would control every aspect of their existence.

   The Methuselahs deserve the fear we feel for them. They make up the heart of the plots within plots with which we must deal. My own earliest encounter with a Methuselah is especially instructive. I had made my home in Peru and made the acquaintance of a group of local anarchs. These self-proclaimed freedom fighters spent most of their time fighting the Sabbat and seemed to have little conflict with the areas prince. (The prince I refer to here is not Carmalita Marie Santo, Prince of Lima, but the Kindred who was the Prince of Arequipaat the time.)

   It took me little time to realize that the same Cainite I had noticed manipulating the prince was secretly meeting with some of the anarchs about once a month. Aha! I thought, this elder supports the Camarilla in its war against the Sabbat. Then I realized that the prince had sent a number of his ghouls to support the Shining Path, a terrorist group with definite ties to the Black Hand. This would normally mean that whoever controlled the prince would oppose the enemies of the Shining Path: the government, the military and the church.

  Digging deeper, I discovered Giovanni ties to the local church and some of the government leaders, a Setite hold on much of the rest of the government, and Ventrue control of the military and bureaucracy. The Giovanni, however, had used their influence to keep the Inquisition out of Arequipa, the Setites gave the Shining Path much of its money, and the prince was a Ventrue, with close ties to other Blue Bloods.

   At this point, I decided my only hope of discovering what was really going on was to keep an eye on the elder - easier said than done. That task became simpler when I met him at a Camarilla conclave in Colombia. The elder, then going by the name Nunez, introduced himself as an old friend of the Justicar who had called the conclave. He spoke out forcefully for suppressing both anarchs and the Sabbat.

   Nunez and the Justicar spent a great deal of time in secret conferences, and by the end of the conclave, Nunez had established himself as a great defender of the Camarilla. In the next year, however, I traced his movements across Central and South America, where he met with Sabbat, werewolves, voodoo priests, business executives and even stranger beings.

   During these travels, I began to realize just how powerful Nunez was. In a single night, he appeared, seemingly without effort, in different cities a thousand miles apart. Once he traveled into the deepest parts of the Amazon, the heart of Lupine territory, and returned several nights later, none the worse for his journey. Throughout his travels, his pawns in Arequipa and other places continued to do his bidding as though he was there to give them orders.

   When I found myself forced to leave Lima, I lost track of Nunez for a while. Indeed, our paths did not cross again until last year. I had

been hunting an old Gargoyle through the Swiss mountains and stopped in Geneva to present myself to Prince Guillaume. As I waited by a window for a ghoul to announce me, I noticed two vampires lingering in the courtyard far below.

  Concentrating, I suddenly realized that one was Nunez. I did not know the other - a tall, slender vampire of noble bearing - but I listened carefully all the same. What I heard chilled me to what remains of my soul. The two were discussing recent events in Russia, and Nunez listened as the other described, in German made even more threatening by a thick Romanian accent, the new Russian threat.

   As this unknown vampire stroked his mustache, he spun a tale or destruction and devastation unparalleled in human history. The Antediluvians had awakened one of their greatest puppets, and it would soon unleash its full fury on the world. It had already awakened some of the mightiest terrors of ancients times and now prepared to release these nightmares on an unsuspecting world.

   Then he and Nunez turned their eyes to the sliver of a moon hanging in the sky and laughed.


   The Antediluvians

   I pray to God that the Antediluvians are the generals of our petty wars, because if there is someone above them, I don't want to know about it. I have little doubt that a number of very powerful Cainites form the base of this maddening Jyhad. Whether there are 13 of them, whether they had the same sire and whether they survived some ancient flood, I don't know.

   While I have heard many stories about what these beings used to do, stories concerning their activities since the days of the Roman Empire are exceedingly rare. It seems that many of these beings either went into torpor or met their Final Deaths during this time (the former is the more likely). The Tremere, Giovanni, Tzimisce and Lasombra clan leaders are the obvious exceptions to this.

   In each of these cases, legend has it that during the Middle Ages, upstarts committed Diablerie upon the Antediluvians who used to head those clans. I've always found these stories hard to believe. After all, the oldest Kindred I've known had powers beyond belief. If a 4,000-year-old vampire had the power to level a building with a thought, what kind of terror could a 10,000-year-old (or older) Antediluvian of even mightier generation wreak? Could even an army of Methuselahs bring such a creature down?

   The paranoia begins again. Did the Antediluvians fake their own ends? Are there other powers which destroyed them and then blamed the destruction on vampires? Did the Antediluvians willingly go to their destruction? If so, why? Did they know something we dont?

  Still, the Antediluvians who were extinguished don't worry me nearly as much as the ones who still exist. There must be a purpose to this jyhad. Such powerful beings cannot be creating such devastation without a reason. What could cause such ancient, mighty and (presumably) brilliant beings to engage in such seemingly petty games?

   The most obvious motivation is power. Among the kine, those who have the most power often seem to be the ones most intent on accumulating more. The same appears to be true for the Kindred (with some exceptions), so it would make sense that the most powerful Cainites would be the ones with the greatest lust for more power.

   Thus they marshal their forces, controlling mighty vampires with Blood Bonds, Domination, rituals and other methods. They make deals with mighty (non-vampiric) entities and use these to control others. Then they send these mighty forces out to take what the other Antediluvians have built. Bit by bit, they become more powerful. One Gangrel elder even told me that they were trying to become truly godlike in their power and that the werewolves fear the time that mighty vampires become power incarnate.

   There is only problem with this theory: at some point, one of the Antediluvians would become more powerful than the others and wipe them out. This has not happened in 10,000 years (well, maybe it has, but you couldn't tell) and does not look like it will happen any time soon. Maybe their plots take an even longer time to come to fruition, or maybe the weaker ones gang up on the stronger until everyone is even, but I do not usually believe that power is their main motivation.

   More cynical vampires blame the Jyhad on boredom. The Antediluvians have been around so long, experienced so much and become so jaded that only constant warfare provides them with any stimulation. The only thing that can stir their tired brains is constant conflict with their equals. If this is true, they do not want the game to end, and the Jyhad will continue as long as the Antediluvians exist.

   This hypothesis has its weaknesses as well. Surely such mighty minds could find something else to excite them. Mysteries of all kinds exist in this world. An Antediluvian brain turned to unlocking the secrets of magick, science, art or philosophy could remain occupied for eons. Surely that would be more satisfying than endless rounds of manipulation and subterfuge.

   Maybe there are higher goals at stake here. It could be a question of good versus evil. For instance, a consortium of Antediluvians, including such notorious ones as Set, Tzimisce, Tremere and Assam (whose real name, I've heard, is either Hashshan al-Safa or Hashshan ibn Canan) may strive to turn our existence into a Hell on Earth for their own nefarious purposes. Only the continued opposition of Brujah (said to be named Troile), Gangrel, Toreador and Ravnos has stopped them.

   In this scenario, the other Antediluvians become the swing players, and whichever side the other five end up on will determine the fate of the world. Of course, I have no evidence that something like this exists and base this hypothesis on imagination, not fact. Still, something like this may well exist. Rumors that some of them (especially Set) dealt with devils occur regularly.

  Considering the disparity between the clans, it is possible that each Antediluvian strives to create what he considers the best of

all possible worlds. For instance, Ventrue wants to create a world where everything is in perfect order, while Toreador wants a world of artistic vision and beauty. They see the others as obstacles to their goals and send their followers out to destroy these obstacles.

  Again, I have no direct evidence to support this idea, but such a vision could well motivate at least some of the Antediluvians. If we accept this hypothesis, we must also believe that they have our best interest in mind - albeit in a twisted way. They use us as pawns for our own good.

   Then again, maybe they all feel they are doing the bidding of Caine (or God, Odin, Gaia or whatever). We could be dealing with the equivalent of 13 different religious whackos, each one fanatical in her belief that she is the only one who knows what Caine really wants. These religious nuts, however, have the power to back up their claims, and we may be dealing with a real, religious Jyhad.

   A final conjecture as to why the Antediluvians carry out their games is the basic issue of survival. The only being powerful enough to threaten an Antediluvian is another Antediluvian. Therefore, none of them can be safe until the other 12 have been destroyed. They can't trust each other enough to stop fighting, and thus the war continues. The only time they work together is when another Antediluvian has become too powerful and they must combine forces to bring that one down.

   This would certainly explain such events as the sack of Carthage, when other clans joined the Ventrue in battling the Brujah, or World War I, when a number of clans joined forces against the Tremere and Ventrue. It would also imply that things will get worse, because if the Antediluvians have caused this much carnage with the limited weapons they have had access to so far, think what they might be able to do in the next centuries.

   Of course, there is no definite evidence that there are 13 Antediluvians. There could be more; there could be less. A Malkavian called the Dionysian told a group of Kindred that only one being was behind the Jyhad. While someone else later told me the Dionysian was speaking metaphorically, that the one being he was referring to was really each individual vampire, it is equally interesting when considered as a fact.

   What if all of this is the work of one powerful Antediluvian acting in ways we cannot even begin to fathom? What if he has manipulated everyone who has been manipulated for his own nefarious scheme? Are you prepared for what the result would be?



  Rumors involving Caine pop up regularly. Anyone who takes them seriously is a fool or a Malkavian. If Caine did return, we could all just close the coffin and turn off the lights, because that would begin the endgame. Still, different vampires have their own reasons for crying Caine.

   For instance, when a couple of South African Nosferatu wanted to force the Camarilla to take down an abusive prince, they faked a Caine sighting. Using their Obfuscation, and aided by a Toreador and her Presence, they really shook up the local Kindred- and a lot of mortals as well. Sure enough, that caught a Justicar s eye.

   The Justicar and his Archons stormed into Johannesburg, interrogated everyone and dug up a bunch of Cainites no one even knew were in town. The Justicar forced the prince to step down, all right. He also destroyed the neonates who began the whole thing, as well as number of other Kindred. A threat to the Masquerade was the official reason. The Justicars annoyance was probably the real reason.

   A Sabbat Noddist once gave me some keen insight into the stories about Caine. He noted that the one common denominator between almost all the Caine sightings was the false Caine's call for followers. Rarely does a vampire say, "I saw Caine and he just wants to be left alone." A more indicative event occurred in Madagascar, when a powerful, shining figure appeared near the capital city. He claimed to be Caine, called for followers and then disappeared with almost a third of the island s vampiric population. Nobody has offered an explanation for how or why this happened.

   The Noddist contends that these stories recall the particular circumstances of our Embrace. He claims that the actual event differs little from our original births as mortals, but while a baby has two parents, a fledgling is lucky to have even a single sire to introduce her into the new world.

   Caine then becomes a mythical father figure, capable of righting all wrongs and nullifying the tragedy of our existence. Longing for Caine is longing for a release from worry and responsibility, and hoping for a golden world of childhood.

   The Noddist said this was but one of a number of explanations for Caine. A more heretical one sees Caine as a projection created by vampires longing for perfection. By this theory, we see ourselves as imperfect, and in contemplating our own inner beings, imagine an image of perfection. Since we are not without fault, we project this outward, and this projection becomes Caine. By this reasoning, even the first vampire (Caine, if you will) had the same feelings of incomplete-ness which we have and imagined his own "Caine."


  Beware, Kindred, Beware

   So who am I, and why am I releasing all this information? Well, as my own sire, Sennacherib, always said, "You've gotta shake them up before you shake them down." I'm  tired of these ancient games. Even knowing what I know, I would prefer to see them end.

   You see, I know far more about the Jyhad than most vampires my age. My experience with it predates the century I have been a vampire, or the thirty years I was alive before that. I am one of the Jocastatians, and like Aristotle de Laurent's brethren, I know that knowledge lies at the center of our unlives. While Aristotle seeks the knowledge of his ancestors, however, we devour the memories of ours.

  Within me lives Sennacherib, his sire Ismene and more. Eyes not my own have witnessed the Jyhad in its many forms, and now these images continue on through me. Those I destroy, after drinking their "heart's blood", I keep with me forever. Their might becomes my own, and every soul I take adds to my own power.

   This also add to my confusion. Every time I do this, I learn things I never expected and see events from new perspectives. The old adage that there are two sides to every issue is not true. There are as many sides to an issue as there are people involved in the issue, and then some. I have seen this Jyhad as experienced by elders and anarchs, Sabhat and Archons, independents and willing pawns.

   The only conclusion I can make from all of this is that the war is wrong. I have seen nothing which can justify the horrors we have wrought, and 1 must say every vampire -whether Camarilla, Sabbat, Inconnu or anything else - is to blame. We do little or nothing to stop this travesty, and it continues decade after decade.

   Thus we make these documents available to everyone. I have no control over whether you believe this book or not, but it will open you eyes. Kindred and kine alike need to know that this goes on. Mortals and immortals both need to see how horribly the actions of a few powerful beings corrupts the world. Finally, these ancient manipulators need to learn fear, for their games must not continue forever.

   The question you must ask is how much you can trust me. After all, the different factions in the Jyhad have mastered the art of deception and disinformation. For all you know, I could be an elder feeding you exactly the story I want you to hear so you won't go looking for the real one.

   Now that I've planted that seed of doubt in your mind, I could be a member of the Black Hand trying to stir up discord between young and old members of the Camarilla. I designed everything negative I've written about the sect to give my words greater credibility and cover my own involvement.

   In setting you against both the Camarilla and the Sabbat, I reveal myself as a Giovanni intent on increasing the tensions between the

two groups so that my clan can seize more power. So, as you doubt all the major vampiric powers, you can come to the realization that

I'm really a Settle dedicated to setting all vampires at each others' throats.

  Actually, I'm not really a vampire at all. I'm a hunter, and by fomenting this much distrust, I ensure that vampires will continue destroying each other and make my job easier. In putting this much doubt in your mind, I can now say that I really am an elder, and I've

written these past four paragraphs to make sure you won't trust that statement.

What are you going to believe?

In celebration,

Ayisha Jocastatian