Absinthe & Thorns
In the year of Our Lord 1095, the ambition of a single Cainite set forth a chain of events that shall shake the very foundations of the world known to his kind.
From the seeds sent out to the scions of great houses and Clans, the fruits of revolution, parricide, and horror drop to Cainite descendants, and ripples spread like flames from the War of the Princes to the Great Revolt to even the Final Nights.
No, for the Damned it is never wine and roses. For them, the night brings – at best – absinthe and thorns.
A Chronicle of Ages
The story of Absinthe & Thorns stretches from Dark Medieval to the Post Gehenna Nights.
The Dark Medieval
Centuries before the War of the Princes, an elder of Clan Ventrue sought to build a structure on the very rim of the Transylvanian Basin, a task that even he could not account for wanting. To make this possible, he sends out missives to a dozen Cainites of various Clans and venerable lines, and each of these monsters – those that could do so – in turn, send their childer to answer the old Ventrue’s call. The task comes to success, but each of those vampires who take part come out of the experience worse, true monsters that still have parts to play in the Jyhad of the Damned.
More than a century later, the fortification at Tihuta Pass built, the childer of that first group of Cainites find each other, brought together seemingly by chance. Forming a loose fellowship, they follow clues and investigate mysteries that take them across Transylvania, to Germany, and into the Eastern Roman city of Constantinople. They forge bonds with heroes and villains, come to attention of monsters and holy avengers, and throughout either take part in or simply witness great moments in the history of their kind.
Drawn into the intrigues of their own Clans, events that affect the Banu Haqim, Malkavians, Tremere, Tzimisce, and even the fates of monsters unknown to Europe and – if the word of the horrors encountered are to be taken as truth – childer of Caine that never found mention in the Book of Nod. Ranging from the fall of Constantinople to the Mongol invasion of Europe, the dark acts of Kupala’s Night, the attack of the Castel d’Ombro to the assassination of Hardestadt, the Great Revolt, and the founding of the Camarilla, a group of Cainites take part in momentous events, unaware of the forces directing them toward ever more dire circumstances.
When Claudius Giovanni pulls together his horrid Conspiracy of Isaac, he and the Lady Jadviga tap the self-same Cainite monsters who had built the Tihuta Pass tower. As appropriate sacrifice to their dread scheme, the members of Giovanni’s Conspiracy bring their unruly childer to a castle on the slopes of the Transylvanian Alps, but before the final blow can fall, the Founders of the Camarilla appear to send Giovanni’s cohort scurrying. The surviving childer – at the command of the Founders – chase Giovanni and Jadviga to Rome where they fail to keep Augustus Giovani from taking the soul of his own sire, the Antediluvian Cappadocius.
Various roads bring these Cainites to the first Conclave in Silchester where the Camarilla seeks to codify its power with a document that becomes known as the Convention of Thorns. The group of Cainites, scions of disparate lines of the Damned, go separate ways; some follow the Traditions of the Camarilla while others cannot leave their sympathies for the Anarchs, and some choose to remain with their own Clans. Despite this schism, fate keeps the fate of Kindred, Cainite, Setite, and Banu Haqim connected across the centuries.
On the eve of the Camarilla’s Tenth Conclave, events in Venice bring together another odd conspiracy of young vampires, hailing from the Camarilla, the Sabbat, and the unaligned Giovanni, a group brought together by the ambition of one elder Necromancer. Between quests for their benefactor, these neonates stumble upon a plot dating from before the Fall of Rome.
From this discovery, they take part – unknowingly and unwillingly – in the final destruction of Clan Cappadocian, the founding of the dread Sabbat, and ultimately falling into the machinations of none other than Prince Vlad III of Wallachia, Dracula himself.
Treading some of the same roads as that much elder conspiracy, these younger Kindred and Cainites uncover the unsavory aspirations of their apparent benefactor, and they run afoul of monsters of a previous age.
The Victorian Age
From the halls of the Parisian Court of Prince Villon to House and Clan Tremere’s Vienna, members of both the elder and younger conspiracies find themselves embroiled in the affairs and ambitions of monsters.
The Final Nights
At the close of the twentieth century, a coterie of young Kindred meet – by accident of Embrace and geography, it would seem – in a city of the Pacific Northwest of the United States. That these neonates hold bonds to bloodlines and conspiracies far older and malign than they know leads them to become part of the larger chronicle of the ages.
Gehenna and Beyond
The Damned find their world turned upside down, and survivors of the tribulation find the night changed in ways subtle and gross. Where one clan falls to chaos, another two find new purpose. The Sword of Caine dissolves as the madness of the Gehenna Crusade takes hold, but the Camarilla closes ranks to allow Anarchs to forge new bonds of Kindred. Horrors of the long-ago past reappear, while the incubating dread of mortals’ power grows again to threaten the undead.
Adam the Savage – Elder Conspiracy
Isolde von Bingen – Elder Conspiracy
Syrah – Elder Conspiracy
Osrik/Ophelia Vladislav – Elder Conspiracy
Daenna Phuri Dae – Elder Conspiracy
Nikos of Andros – Younger Conspiracy
Father Vincenzo – Younger Conspiracy
Moreaux of Lyon – Younger Conspiracy
Sidney McCool – Final Nights Coterie
Trixie – Final Nights Coterie
Jay – Final Nights Coterie