A Tzimisce warrior in service to Voivode Mircea Dzardescu of Suceava, Bogdan is the nominal leader of the formidable coterie known as the Northern Blood. He is also the younger brother of Veceslav Basarab.
A tall, lordly Romanian dressed in fine clothes and a fur cloak. He has broad, strong features, serious and confident dark eyes, black hair worn long and loose, and a carefully maintained goatee beard. A sword and dagger are worn at his belt.
Bogdan Basarab was born and raised in the borderlands between Transylvania and Bulgaria. His father Conte Razvan of Arges, has long been a powerful fixture of the political landscape in that buffer zone, and he has entertained equally long plans to propel his family into greatness. The count, like many of the illustrious Basarab noble family, is a servant of the Tzimisce. In particular the Basarabi of Arges serve the ancilla Raluca, knez of Câmpulung, who in turn is a noted vassal of the powerful Voivode Tabak Ruthven, who lairs in the highest of the Buzău mountains in the utter east of the Carpathian range.
As the third son of an ambitious father, Bogdan was always expected to either back the rule of his one of his older brothers, or else seek his fortune in the service of one of the Carpathian Tzimisce. From the moment he could walk, a weapon was placed in his hand. He could ride unsupervised by the age of five and when he was but seven, he watched his brothers Costin and Veceslav duel to the death for the pleasure and favour of Lady Raluca. Costin, as the eldest, had been trained to lead and to fight, and had grown into a hard young man of sixteen. Veceslav, a year younger than his brother, was slight of frame, and more gifted with books than swords. The outcome seemed a foregone conclusion. The Count had already given his second son up for dead, and spoke proudly to his mistress of Costin’s quality.
To the surprise of all, Veceslav discovered within himself a powerful urge to survive. He outsmarted the stronger and tougher Costin, and after a short exchange, gutted his brother before the wide eyes of Bogdan. The boy knew not to wail or show his horror, for Lady Raluca was watching. The Tzimisce smashed the Count’s jaw for the presumption of putting forward the inferior oldest brother for her patronage. She then instructed Veceslav to pack his possessions, for he would be leaving with her immediately. Costin, seemingly suffering a mortal wound, was carted away to the pig pens.
From that moment on, the legend of Veceslav Bararab grew in the mind of his younger brother. In the years that followed, Bogdan waited eagerly for every letter, hoping that his hero would spare a word of praise for him. Miraculously Costin survived his own wound, and after many years sleeping with the pigs he was even allowed to return to the castle, though never to Razvan’s favour. Instead, the Count lavished his attention on Bogdan, hoping to make him the warrior that Costin should have been. By the time Knez Raluca fell afoul of her own master, and was imprisoned for her treachery, Veceslav was studying in Constantinople. Many years later, when Veceslav returned on his way through to serving his new master, Vladimir Rustovitch (then the Voivode of Arad), he found that Bogdan too had won the favour of a distant Tzimisce lord in the north. Veceslav’s service to Rustovitch, and later to Gabor the Bulgar kept him extremely busy, and while he maintained a casual correspondence with Razvan for political advantage, he soon lost contact with his brother.
Voivode Gerlo of Suceava was at war with the hated Visya, an unorthodox, power hungry Koldun who had been displaced from his own lands by Rustovitch years earlier. Bogdan was made a ghoul, placed in charge of a small force of terrified peasants, and instructed to hold the village of Sutuilui at all costs. He performed his task well, and after a number of years he was promoted to leadership of a company of Bratovitchi shock troops under the command of the neonate Knez Mircea of Dzardescu. Over his nearly 40 years as a ghoul, Bogdan fought battle after battle in service to his Cainite masters. It was not long before he lost touch with his brothers, and only occasionally had time to send brief missives to his father, the count. Bogdan excelled in his duties to the knez, and Mircea formally Embraced Bogdan in AD 1172, making the Basarab his second in all matters.
Since his Embrace, Bogdan has largely ignored the standard clan disciplines of the Tzimisce. He instead chose to develop those disciplines that enhanced his martial capabilities (Potence, Fortitude and Celerity), reasoning that such would not only improve his chances of survival in the war with Visya, but also make him indispensable to his sire. As a result, he is a renowned warrior in the north of Transylvania, especially for one so young to the blood.
Bogdan gained a reputation for skill, talent and luck exceeded only by his insufferable pride during the final years of Gerlo’s conflict with Visya. Alas, Gerlo was losing the war, and his Domain had grown weak and hollow. The Voivode lost his Unlife defending Suceava in AD 1182, some 10 years after Bogdan’s Embrace. In the end, though, he was not killed by Visya or his servants at all. Gerlo was wounded and his bodyguard decimated by a chance encounter with a pack of silver furred varcolaci, and he was then finished off by several Tremere who sought a treasure in his possession.
Many expected the Voivodate of Suceaca to disintegrate at that point, but Mircea had been busy forming an unorthodox alliance to maintain the integrity of the late Gerlo’s lands. This tentative alliance included Mircea’s nephew in-blood Victor Armanas of Tranest, the vengeful Alexandru Taladescu of Botosani, the powerful but eccentric Taratus of Rodna and the savage Parldo Lup of Pleth. The alliance of three Tzimisce knezi with a Gangrel pretender and a Nosferatu bandit was initially spurned by other Tzimisce in the region, many of whom have since privately admitted that it has so far proven successful. As a symbol of their new bonds of loyalty, these Cainite lords each contributed one of their own circle of allies to a new coterie. The allied coterie of ancillae and elders put forward a number of their favoured servants to create De Nord Sânge (the Northern Blood). As the favoured servant of the newly declared Voivode, Bogdan was named as the leader of the coterie. As their first act, De Norde Sânge declared vengeance on Visya.
Dzardescu and his allies threw back a subsequent Trial by War instigated by Visya in the spring and summer of AD 1191. De Norde Sânge were instrumental in the war against Voivode Visya, whose conquest of Rodna, Pleth, Botosani and Suceava had once been considered a foregone conclusion by observers. Mircea’s alliance, with heavy reliance on the flexibility and power of the Northern Blood, managed to eject Visya and his allies from the late Gerlo’s lands, and have since expanded their borders further, pushing into Transylvania proper. With an army of hastily assembled conscripts and ghouls, De Norde Sânge held the northern end of the Tihuta Pass for three months against the southern Voivode’s advance forces, allowing their patron’s to gather sufficient reinforcements to repel the Trial by War.
The purpose of the Northern Blood is ostensibly to patrol the boundaries of their masters’ lands, aiding in the security and cooperation of the whole, as well as answering any challenge to the power and dignity of their masters. They perform exceptionally well in these duties, and have earned a fearsome reputation within the tirsas of north-eastern Transylvania. All of them have some degree of proficiency with Animalism, and they are quite experienced at working together to scout the lay of the land using animals, and to deny that same advantage to their enemies.
In practice, however, the coterie is far from monolithic. Bogdan’s youth and inexperience often cause some of the others to chafe under his pretentious ‘command’. None of them doubt that he has a fine mind for tactics and politics, but when his inexperience and overconfidence becomes a problem in other areas, the Gangrel Draguta and the Nosferatu Morovis must find ways to work around him. The Bratovitch Fiend Gorgu is loyal to Bogdan, and Trandafira the Koldun tends to support him too, at least in public.
In AD 1198, The Northern Blood were tasked with countering the machinations of the coterie soon to dub themselves the Concord of Ashes. At the behest of Prince Vencel Rikard of the Arpad Ventrue, these Cainites journeyed to Tihuta Pass. There they were to rebuild a fortification intended to stabilise the northern frontier of the Saxon fortress cities known as the Siebenburgen. As fate would have it, Bogdan soon learned that the leader of this coterie was none other than his long lost brother, Veceslav, now a Cainite of strong blood but a poor lineage.
The Northern Blood declared a Trial by War on the pawns of the Arpads. They then used their full gamut of abilities to terrorise the construction effort through plagues of vermin and disease, while swiftly cowing the local peasantry to use as arrow fodder. With nigh over-whelming numbers, they then advanced on the tower construction site. Bogdan’s pride then brought all of their efforts undone. He gleefully accepted his brother’s challenge of single combat to decide the matter, knowing that deep in his unbeating heart, it was the culmination of all his years of training and fighting.
As they concluded the formalities of the challenge, the older Tzimisce rapidly took on the war form of the clan. Awed by his brother’s mastery of the Zhupan form, then doubly so by the stone that rippled across his features, Bogdan smiled and saluted, trying not to display his shaken confidence. He rained blows upon Veceslav with great skill and inhuman speed, easily parrying his brothers clumsy efforts to fight back. He was clearly the better warrior, despite all of Veceslav’s sorcerous tricks. His confidence rebounded fiercely, until he saw that for all of the wounds that he inflicted healed almost as quickly as he dealt them, and did far less damage than they ought.
In the end, Veceslav’s greater potency of the blood was the deciding factor in the duel. Bogdan’s courage began to falter as the cost of his supernal strength, speed and toughness added up. The Beast rattled its chains. And then Veceslav frenzied, tearing into Bogdan with his claws. His own Beast leapt to the fore, but Bogdan lost the fight. When he was brought out of torpor some weeks later, he was told that Veceslav used the last of his will to throw himself clear rather than take Bogdan’s Unlife. Once more, his brother had been the best man on the field.
Overcome with renewed admiration, Bogdan has resumed correspondence with Veceslav. His older brother’s claim to the pass has been recognised as rightful by Dzardescu, provided that he continue to maintain a truce that he has arranged with Visya and Radu. Noriz is a far greater threat, and Mircea and his allies need to concentrate their strength east rather than south. For now, Bogdan, whose status within the coterie is much reduced due to his bungled handling of the Trial By War, guards the northern end of the pass from Pleth while the rest of the Northern Blood directs its energy in more productive and bloody ways against the Legions of the Corruptor.
Bogdan’s formal Tzimisce name is Bogdan Basarab Dzardescuvin sin Ruthven (Bogdan son of Dzardescu of the line of Ruthven)