The Malachite Nosferatu
(modified from Constantinople by Night, pp. 68-69)
If legends of noble monsters ever held true, Constantinople’s Nosferatu are proof of those legends. Beneath these Cainites’ deformed visages lie many of the virtues forgotten by Constantinople’s other vampires. Most consider these beasts nothing more than scavengers of blood and information. In the Queen of Cities, however, the Nosferatu do more than hoard secrets – they use them to uphold the tenets of the Dream, and work against the rising tide of doom that assails it from every direction. The Malachite Nosferatu, though few in number, hold status within Constantinople as a Scion family of the Michaelite Toreador, although it is known that they serve the Patriarch directly rather than his Muses.
The Malachite family was born amidst the Iconoclast controversy of the eight century. The empire’s monastic orders were disbanded by imperial edict, putting the three core families and their adopted kin at odds with each other. Even the Michaelite Toreador, who supported the veneration of icons as symbolic and not literal, stood against its subordinate family, the Magnus Lasombra. Yet, as stout supporters of ecclesiastic and imperials authority, the Lasombra quickly quashed dissension over the issue of Iconoclasm within their own ranks.
One hapless individual undone during the clashes was a Byzantine prelate named Maleki who – though he did not support the veneration of icons – did not agree with the manner in which the monks were treated. Though Maleki had been promised the Embrace by the Lasombra, his outspoken views instead earned him cruel enmity. Through an outside ally, the Lasombra Magnus had Maleki endure the Kiss of a Nosferatu as punishment for his insolence.
The Patriarch Michael was outraged over the matter; he respected the Nosferatu and would brook no insult to their name by having someone Embraced as a form of corporal punishment. He immediately recognised Maleki as a proper kinsman and gave him family status under his protection. Magnus, though infuriated over the slight, was powerless to pursue the matter further.
While the Nosferatu elder speaks little of his first years as Michael’s chosen, a rumour regarding the founding of the Nosferatu family has circulated for many years. It goes that when Michael took the broken fledgeling under his figurative wing and began rebuilding his fractured psyche, he told Maleki that he would be the Rock of Constantinople, the unbreakable base that would stand under which the spirituality of the Dream and the reality of the substance that was the Queen of Cities. His would be the strength that endures, the rare beauty found in hidden and unlikely places, the rock that the enemies of the Dream would break themselves upon. Michael then called his adopted childe Malachite, after the rare and beautiful banded green stone that he favoured. Some believe that it was also a slight play on the word Michaelite. Regardless, the Nosferatu scion family was born that night, and they have proudly claimed their position within the Dream ever since.
Malachite took the Archangel’s words to heart, and has spent centuries looking for ways to strengthen the Dream from within, to mend cracks in its spiritual walls where he can, and plug holes where the enemies from without have found a way to insinuate themselves into the fold. The job of the Malachite Nosferatu has never been entirely clear to outsiders or, in truth, many of their fellows among the Families. If they could be said to have a mandate, it is to pick up the slack between the spheres of the rest of the families, and to solve problems that arise unexpectedly.
In these troubled nights, the plate of the Malachite Nosferatu is very full indeed.
The Malachite Nosferatu consist of only three members, a number that Patriarch Michael himself insisted upon. Having said that, a number of childer of Malachite have occasionally moved on to other cities in the empire, and it is thought that they regularly courier information back to their progenitor and his two aides. In addition, a number of powerful Nosferatu elders of the provinces, including the mystic Vanth and the anti-Islamic agitator, Alexius, are known to consider Malachite their ally.
As one might expect, the workings and organisation of the Byzantine Nosferatu are largely unknown to the other families. Malachite himself can often be found attending Elysium at the Great Palace or the Old Senate House. There he engages in the politics of the families, and is a frequent ally of Autokrator Natalya Syvatoslav of the Lexor Brujah and Baron Thomas of the Byzantine Gangrel. He is easily recognised, choosing to display his true face without shame or fear.
In contrast, Vaclav is almost never seen in Elysium and is thought to haunt the Latin Quarter, spying on the doings of the Narsene Lasombra and the various other factions and independents among the Latins. Zenobios is even more secretive, and has not been seen since the aftermath of the Latin Riots, though Malachite readily admits that he still receives reports from him.
A ROSTER OF THE MALACHITE NOSFERATU
- Malachite, the Rock of Constantinople (7th gen. Childe of Vasilli the Penitent Dog, e. mid 9th century CE)
- Vaclav, the Minstrel (8th gen. Childe of Malachite, e. early 10th century CE)
- Zenobios, the Hidden (8th gen. Childe of Malachite, e. early 11th century CE)
Disaster looms when the families of the Trinity argue or turn inwards, and the Nosferatu know it. They seek to make alliances amongst the other Scion families so that they might expand their ability to solve the numerous problems besetting the city. Currently, their appears to be an arrangement of sorts with the Lexor Brujah and the Baron’s Gangrel. Members of the three families increasingly work together, although only the most perceptive of outsiders can guess at what they are up to.
The Nosferatu are known to be deeply concerned regarding the vampiric over-population of the Latin Quarter, and the apparent nonchalance with which the the Cainites there appear to hold the Codex of Legacies. Much of their energy is currently spent attempting to gather information about Bishop Alfonzo’s plans.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER FAMILIES
The Malachite Nosferatu remain loyal only to Michael. Petronius, despite all his efforts to gain the favour of Malachite and his progeny, warrants only cool formality as far as they are concerned. It is thought that the Arbiter gave some dire, unforgiveable insult to Malachite centuries ago. The rest of the Muse’s and their subordinates receive even less regard than he, and Malachite has openly called them useless on more than one occasion. Any overtures from their direction are met with suspicion, at best, and scorn at worst.
The Nosferatu also have little time for the other primary families of the Trinity. The Obertus have ceased to perform any functional role in the Dream, and the Antonians have utterly failed in their mandate.
The ascerbic disposition of the Malachite Nosferatu towards the Magnus and the Narsene families is well known in all districts of the city. Magnus hates Malachite with a vitriol reserved for no other, and Malachite returns his hatred with equal fervour. Their progeny follow suit, and the two families actively and pointedly ignore each other at all times. Bishop Alfonzo is considered an enemy of the Dream by the Malachite Nosferatu, and they strive to keep an eye on him above all others.
As for the rest of the families, the Children of Judas are considered part of the problems besetting the city. The Nosferatu have nothing to do with them. The Lexor Brujah and the Baron’s Gangrel are considered to be allies, and the Nosferatu freely share information with them.
RELATIONS WITH OUTSIDERS
The Malachite Nosferatu are very insular outside of their informal alliances. They trust very few Cainites, especially outsiders. They work only with the Lexor Brujah and the Baron’s Gangrel, and individuals of either clan are only trusted when they are actually members of those families. Outsiders are watched and regarded with skepticism unless they prove themselves as beneficent in disposition towards the Dream. Even foreign Nosferatu are watched carefully. Winning acceptance from the Malachite Nosferatu is a long and difficult task, especially for anyone who happens to belong to the Lasombra.
Little is known of the internal relations of the Malachite Nosferatu. As far as the rest of the city is concerned, the progeny of malachite are fanatically devoted to their sire and the Dream. They are united in purpose and monolithic in disposition. Of course, as their are only two of them, this is more or less taken for granted.