A brief note...
Notes on the Chronicle of Caine

Notes to the Chronicle of Caine


   1. The "first times" discussed in this stanza have been researched thoroughly by myself and my fellow Kindred. The original text speaks of a time "before." The oldest piece of the Book of Nod has been dated just before the time of Sumer, around 4500 B.C.

   2. I assume in this that the first stanza is the original narrator, perhaps the first translator of Caine`s story.

   3. ”Nod” in this case, meaning, the ”Unknown Lands” - supposedly the lands outside of Eden, which were not named at that time.

   4. Latin translation reads ”With a plowshare.” The translation is from the original Sumerian, and just implies a sharp thing. This could be a prehistoric ”spike” tool, used for planting seeds. It is definitely tooth-like, possibly formed of some mammal`s canines - or at least it is depicted thus in the Coonan-DeBrie fragment and the St. Clair Tapestry.   

   5. That Caine was originally a farmer would fall into line with his existence in the myth as a sun King/Dying God figure, much like the character  of Dumuzi/Tammuz in the Inanna/Ishtar myth.

   6. Blood in birth in this case. of course, perhaps being a result of the recent Fall. Note that this is the first instance of the word "blood" in the narrative. The translational sense of the word is more along the lines of what we would consider 'blood' rather than the 'vitae' cognate, which implies some extra virtue or potency

   7. The "first part" is a phrase repeated throughout the Book of Nod. It means essentially, "the best." the "cream."

   8. "Father." in this specific case, generally thought to be Adam.

   9. I am translating this as exactly as possible. Because of the nature of the myth. one can easily assume that this is the Cod of the Hebrews and later Christianity. However, because this is not specifically stated in the text. I do not wish to color the narrative with possible inter-religious complexities.

   10. "Struck from beyond" might have been a lightning bolt. In some Latinate translations, it is a "bolt from beyond."

   11. "Father", again, is probably Adam.

   12. In this case. "blood" is written as the cognate to "vitae.

   13. This stanza has confused many scholars, including myself. I have chosen to represent it as my particular translation, which is that it is Adam who is the "Father" in this stanza, and it is Adam who casts Caine out. The reasoning behind this is that the One Above never speaks directly to Caine: it is only through a medium that the One communicates Its will to Caine, as we will see. Furthermore, the word "Father" in the previous stanzas has always meant Adam. This contrasts heavily with the Genesis story, but it is internally consistent, and since Caine himself is said to have originated this particular narrative, we can take it on better authority perhaps than Noah, who penned Genesis. There are other interpretations, of course. In New York, Beckett once met a member of the Sabbat who claimed this section referred to our "true" father - Satan. He watched my childe closely when he said this, and then something which Beckett can only describe as an imp appeared on his shoulder. We have gone to great pains to not deal with this vampire again.

   14. Here. now, we get the basic idea behind the "Land of Nod." No longer is it simply "not Eden." but it is now to be considered the "Exiled Lands." "Nod" in the Hebraic translation of the text is basically "the wandering lands." This is perhaps because Adam has established himself outside of Paradise and has created a territorial boundary between himself and the rest of the world: thus "Nod" is the same wilderness he was banished to. but now it is Caine who is leaving. One would think perhaps that Adam would have been a little more sympathetic to this. his last remaining son. However, it is possible that Adam's words in this were "divinely inspired" or perhaps inspired out of rage. Thus. we see the traditional tragic, tumultuous lives of all vampires as being indicative of their origins, Beckett says this parallels the relationship all vampires have with their sires, but I like to think  our own continued alliance proves this hypothesis incorrect.

   15. This stanza is quite important to the "Dying God" myth-perspective of Caine. Caine is destined for darkness, a dark land where he will   learn much wisdom. This may refer to our own journey into death, from which our sires tear us when they feed us their own rich vitae.                  

   16. These three things, hunger, cold. and fear (or sadness) still obviously attribute Caine with human feelings and failings. Caine is not yet a "vampire" in the traditional sense. He is, however, clearly cursed.

   17. It was hard not to use Ishtar for this particular translation, for this stanza seems to speak of Ishtar: certainly her honey-voice and words of surcease are Ishtar's. Lilith would have to do, however, as many of the original works agree that it was Lilith in this narrative.

   18. This stanza, and the others that follow here, I have seen in another form. This is the highly sought-after "Cycle of Lilith" which appears in many different forms. In looking for the original text for these stanzas, I was forced to go into the labyrinthine and saturnine depths of the world of the Diabolists. I started in Venice, where I met with some of the Order of the Black Rose. dark monks, some of whom had to communicate with sign language because their tongues had been severed and then mummified as magical talismans. I soon found that they hungered for Kindred blood, and I was able to parley some of my own vitae for information that led me to Boston. Massachusetts, in America. There I met with a woman by the name of Selina. who at first refused to speak to me about the diabolic Cycle of Lilith. but then allowed me to continue for some bizarre mystical purpose. She said that the "Dark One Herself" asked to let me pass with the knowledge. I was followed through the streets of Boston by the Dark Clan themselves (the Nosferatu) until I got to a special bookstore: it is this bookstore that had. in their back shelves, a few fragments of the Cycle of Lilith behind glass. I was allowed to view it for a few moments before the shop owner returned.

The older man cursed loudly when he saw me. and showed me the door quite firmly. I stood outside the door and heard the man bcrate his employee in some detail. They believed to be speaking confidentially because they were speaking in a dialect of Italian native to Venice, but I had learned that dialect quite fluently and was able to listen for quite some time. I discovered that they were part of a dark circle of devil-worshippers, and followed the older man later that evening back to the cemetery where they held their rites.

Although I was not able to find the devil-worshippers in the cemetery. I did have a very strange encounter in the graveyard nonetheless. A woman appeared from the fog as if by magic. By her aura I knew her to be Kindred, but could not guess how old or of what clan she was. She came to me and showed me a book bound in silver and holding a complete translation of the Cycle of Lilith. She silenced me immediately, commanding me not to ask anything as long as she stood there. I had to obey.

I was able to look at the tome and read it while she smiled at me in the light of a candle. Then she took the book. kissed me once on the forehead, and was gone into the night before I could ask her another question. I can't imagine who this mysterious woman was, but I do think that she is in some way connected with the spirit-form of Lilith, for her powers of command were great, and she had a presence about her that was ancient. I can only thank her for the opportunity to glance at that fabled volume, and I think that this translation benefits singularly from her intervention.

   19. It might be noted that Genesis speaks not at all of Lilith. the first wife of Adam. She is a creature of the Midrashim. the Hebrew parables. She is depicted as a demoness, cursed by God Himself because she would not be subservient to Adam. Lilith has apparently, at least in this narrative, spent some time in the Land of Nod, and has built up her own power in this place. She apparently has comfort where no one else could take it. This doesn't speak well for her being a demoness, and thus confined to Hell. but then again Hell wasn't a very populous place around this time in history.

   20. Here is a major inconsistency in the narrative, and I have fought for many years to retain it, for I feel that it points at the fundamental flaw of the Book of Nod translations to date: where did the blood tears of Caine come from, if not from the original Curse? Was he then a vampire at that point? When did he exactly begin crying blood? When did he become a vampire? This is a nebulous point still. But I leave the inconsistency because I do not want this point to remain "glossed over" into history. My childe Beckett uses this point to bolster his allegorical fancies. Even now, he travels to Harvard college, there to study some ancient texts discovered in a well in the Sudan. He keeps hoping to discover some more of what he calls "antediluvian" mural works, the poor boy.

   21.There has been argument on both sides of the following issue: Was Caine imprisoned in Lilith's house, under her control, or did Caine stay there as an honored guest? This question is never fully answered, but might lend an interesting perspective if it could be proved one way or the other. Perhaps, as some have suggested, the situation involved a little of both.

   22. I have translated these words specifically in this fashion out of the advice of one Haphacstus a friend of mine who was once a part of the mystical Tradition known as the Order of Hermes. He maintains that Lilith was no woman, no demonness. but rather an original mage, and that she used her own particular magickal qualities to "Awaken" Caine's magickal potential as well. This is the story of that awakening. I believe that what he says has merit, and it certainly fits in the translation of the story. If it is true that Caine was a wizard as  well as Lilith, then the Tremere may indeed be "closest to Caine: - a theory to which Beckett violently objects.

   23. Hephaestus indicates that this stanza may point to Lilith being perhaps the founder or one of the first supplicants in the magick Tradition know as Verbena, which uses blood in its rituals.

   24. This is often translated as "And then I fell into Hell." I did not feel that the original text was attempting to say this, and I felt that Abyss seemed to indicate a less Judeo-Christian sort of place of torture.

   25. Once again, not to cross-mythologize too much. but I could do nothing else but translate the Angels into Angels and Michael into Michael, even though the "shining ones" mentioned in the original text do not specifically seem to be angels. I was unable to come up with a cognate that would fit. Still, I feel that they do not hamper the overall "feel" of the narrative, and so they remain. Their traditional Cabalistic correspondences also remain as they were originally written.

   26. This is perhaps a strong rebuff of the "One Above." Caine seems to still be angry about his exile.

   27. This is the legendary "Curse of Fire." It is perhaps among the strongest curses of the day. It set up an eternal enmity between the Kindred and the singular source of life in the world: the fire. Fire was the mortals' way of keeping out the darkness, the wolves. It provided a center of community and allowed them to create new technologies. This put us out of that light forever, and was designed to make us outcast forever. It is perhaps this particular curse with, also made hospitality so important among the Kindred.

   28. Raphael being the Archangel of the Dawn.

   29. An early survival instinct, obviously. Caine instinctively seeks the earth.

   30. Uriel's role as the Angel of Death would place him in the ultimate position to be the vessel of Cod's judgment on Caine. Only through Uriel would God Himself choose to punish our Father.

   31. Note here that Uriel is offering not to preserve Caine, but rather to "take him to his reward." i.e.. death.

   32. Is this a mockery of the more traditional" I am that I am" phrase of the Bible?

   33. The first use of the freely translated words, "God Almighty."

   34. "Eating ashes" is thought to be a metaphor for the tragic vampire existence. I can find no other reference to "eating ashes." and can only assume it is an idiom which cannot be translated Other versions of the Book of Nod have translated "eating ashes" into "knowing only sadness."

   35. This is perhaps a poetic statement, ft certainly emphasizes that Caine is consuming his own sadness.

   36. The fact that there is an important diamond city in India also called Golconda may or may not have bearing to this particular stanza. I am beginning to think that the term was originally coined by Saulot, who was known to travel to the Far and Middle East on quests of enlightenment.

   37. I have heard of additional sections here describing more of the powers Caine developed. According to my old friend Malk Content, the original version of this went on for 1.001 stanzas Malk also claims his left pinkie is made out of chocolate mousse and answers to the name Harold, so I will stand by the version I have here.

   38. Zillah, sometimes translated as "Sylah.' This Tale is translated from a much more folklore-influenced original text. A version of this tale is told by some of the oldest of the Russian Kindred, and I have reason to believe it has roots in Russian folktalcs.

  39. Remember that, among Kindred, there is no "incest" taboo in lusting after the blood of your childe. Indeed, this is perhaps indicative of the Methuselahs' attitudes: they often create childer to feed upon.

   40. A flagrant transliterative idiom, but one that I felt had literary importance. Imagine Caine with a full, long beard, tugging on it! This is perhaps the only descriptive feature of Caine that we have on record, and its provenance is impure.

   41. This Crone remains a mystery to archaeolo-gists trying to locate the source of this story. I believe that the Crone is a shaman/ witch/priestess who perhaps knew a bit about Caine from relations with a demon or some kind of familiar spirit. In sticking with his allegorical paradigm, Beckett suggests that she may be a metaphor for the lust we have for blood and the control it has over us.

   42. Another clue: she is affiliated with the Moon. I originally believed this pointed to her origins as a Lupine shaman, but I learned from my Gangrel friends that they do not twist their spells in such fashion.

   43. Others have translated Caine's title as "Master of the Blood Fury" in this instance.

   44. In Enoch, marriage between Kindred was common. I have read fragments of the "Love Hymn to Zillah" which has led me to believe that it carried with it specific ownership of all house slaves and property, as well as special privileges such as the ability to temporarily invoke one's spouses' power.

   45. The traditional Lunar year. It is such a mythological cliche, especially among the "Wise Woman" traditions of the pagan folk. that I must count it as a purely symbolic period of time.

   46. A traditional material. Strong, sturdy. The Ark of Noah was built of it.

   47. This is perhaps the best-known part of the Book of Nod. Because of the frequent copying by the Tremere and Ventrue Clans of this fragment, there arc many colloquial versions of it. My first task was to totally disregard these "popular" versions, and go on to tackle the truth of the matter. Thus, you see my translations of the "non-traditional" verses in brackets.