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    The Khagan: A Ventrue Bloodline for Requiem for New Oskana


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    Join date : 2009-05-04
    Location : Regina

    The Khagan: A Ventrue Bloodline for Requiem for New Oskana Empty The Khagan: A Ventrue Bloodline for Requiem for New Oskana

    Post  Admin on Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:52 am

    The Khagan
    Parent Clan: Ventrue

    The Ventrue have always referred to themselves as "lords" of one stripe of another, always at the forefront, the rightful rulers, the uncompromising winners who'd never bow in defeat to other undead given the luxury of time. They also have a reputation for degeneracy, however, and some would say complacency in their self-assured ideas of control over others, content to let others do their dirty work.

    The Khagan, while certainly fitting the bill as "lords", are anything but complacent or uncouth, let alone ineffective. A dwindling bloodline, becoming more of an anachronism and footnote in Kindred history as time passes on and their glory days are forgotten, are still anything but complacent. While more than capable of bending, or breaking the will of others to their desires, these "Khans" are noted for a brutal will-to-power and a lead-by-example method. As content to twist the heads off an enemy before an assembled Elysium as they are subvert the minds of others to quietly work against them behind the scenes, the line is one of proud and uncompromising would-be warrior kings and queens. The Invictus and Circle of the Crone in particular find the occasional Khagan among them, though it is said those of more recent stock (recent being after the 1300's) are just as likely to have thrown in with the others.

    Only those bearing in life blood ancestry that could be traced back to the Mongol horde, no matter how distantly or dilutely, will do for their lot if one was to hear them speak of it. It is a matter of pride that they were derived from an empire larger than any other in it's time, overshadowing even the lauded Romans in territory acquired. Indeed, this fact alone brings something of a haughtiness to their line among the already haughty Ventrue, so many of which point to the glories of Rome. The Khagan have no use for these "patricians", layabouts and spoiled brats who often in their outlooks have far too much given to them, and haven't had to fight for their due, tooth and claw. Be it some Slavic Boyar with relations to the Draculesti (and Vlad Tepes in turn), or modern Mongolian chosen from a family of esteemed history to continue their traditions, the Khagan consider themselves the elite of the elite among the Ventrue, even as their namely slowly but surely is lost to the sands of time.

    History: The specific founder of the Bloodline is something of an unknown, a fact that irritates many of the Khagan given the weight they put behind genealogy. While the Khagan would dearly love to legitimize their origin with direct ties to Ghenghis Khan, one of his sons, grandsons or even wives brought under the yoke of undeath, there is simply little in the line of instact records to make such links concrete. Human history is one thing, but given the secretive nature of the undead, such confirmations are even more difficult. Instead, this tale makes the rounds, more legend than truly acknowledged fact with dubious legitimacy regarding actual historical fact, yet treated with no small amount of reverence among their lot regardless.

    A chi'ing shih, reputed for their near indestructibility among the undead sought to take one of Temujin's sons as it's chosen prey. Said to be a defamed Bjartskular in life, it chose the sons of its former allies as its sustenance. A man derived from such a potent and far-reaching ruler must have strong blood indeed to be supped, after-all. The son is occasionally referred to as Chagatai, given his notorious temper, though such changes depending on who is telling the tale and does not always match with actual history, taking a more allegorical reference.

    Stealing away in the night, it slipped into his camp and began it's feast. The son, no weakling, awoke to the nocturnal visitation, and in a grand act of will, broke free of its strength-stealing grip. A battle ensued, the chi'ing shih repeatedly wounded and struck down, only to rise again to take its due. It is said only the rising sun and the Khans men in tandem with the son were able to finally put it down, the son landing the halting blow and stopping what would have been an otherwise inevitable and horrible death. But the chi'ing shih are notoriously resilient, capable of changing form, and near unstoppable unless certain steps are taken to put them to final rest, but these steps are rarely mentioned in the tale; it's believed to be at least in part a show that the man in life could triumph over death itself, over something far greater than he.

    For all the man's tenacity the chi'ing shih rose again many nights later, enlivened by such a ferocious life-force to drain, perhaps egged on or enraged by the difficulties it encountered. The young Khan, now beside himself faced with a foe to whom mortal weapon was little permanent bane turned to sorcery after spying it in the night, moving just out of firelights reach. Finding a great sorcerer who told him the rites to deal with such a monster, he laid a trap. The chi'ing shih was allowed to enter the camp, the guards blithely ignoring it and into his tent.

    What it found was that it stepped into a nearly a circle of iron filings, open at the door, which then was then quickly closed by the sprinkle of the sorcerer hidden outside. Trapped and unable to pass the barrier, the son interrogated the blazing, yellow-eyed creature on the root of its strength and tenacity, and on the secrets of its kind.

    He was not disappointed, told of how the life force could be stolen to unnaturally prolong ones existence, even if already dead, and one could derive strength from such unholy repasts. Rather than destroy the creature utterly, now knowing how, he let it go on a singular condition, a binding promise; It would return, following him in his conquests, sharing it's strength through it's foul blood as he traveled, making for him near unstoppable warriors under his command secretly to aid his conquest and smite his enemies. It was a bargain the son did not realize the full consequences of, let alone how deeply the contamination of the thing would root within him.

    The Chi'ing Shih did as it had promised, giving him it's Vitae and supernatural powers, all the while making him ever more loyal and strong. In turn, as they traveled further and further afield, from China and into Europe it occasionally made more of it's foul-ilk from the Mongolian Horde. While the son believed himself in control, it was the chi'ing shih in the end building a small army of vampires to uproot territories from foreign undead, hungry for new life-force. In turn, its line spread, visiting regiona after region and installing one of it's childer after the Mongol soldiers secretly destroyed the sleeping vampires by day.

    Rather than be complacent and venal, these creations of the chi'ing shih were vicious, proactive monsters, a spreading scourge upon the land. Bred as it were to be a line of warriors to their living, ghouled commander, they bore an unnatural strength even as they lacked the invulnerability of their originator. This was purportedly intentional; while a warrior that could strike down enemies was to be cherished, an uncontrollable dissident of unnatural tenacity who in turn could not be, was not. And so these instituted undead Khans spread, from Asia into Europe, taking territory for their own, cementing the rule of the living Khan by night. Only those who traced their living blood back to the Khans would do, scions of the Horde, the midnight faces to the living fighting by light of the sun. Where domains of Kindred were to weak, venal and degenerate, they would invade, crushing the old reign, and instituting their own, ever expanding their territories.

    Or so the story goes. The son of a Khan? It could be referring to any one of Temujin's, his son's or his grandson's. It could even be a reference to one of the foreign Khans with only a distant blood relation or some bastard considered an illegitimate heir. No further reference to the ghoul-Khan is made directly; it's assumed that either they were murdered by the chi'ing shih or by the Khagan undead after he outlived his usefulness by the more cynical. Others assume that he became one of the undead himself after his unnatural youth drew questions or after being laid low only to rise up as one of the very undead soldiers he commanded. Disappearing into the night and it being his noble blood that is the root of the Khagan bloodline, not some foul and savage chi'ing shih scourge.

    Such could well be true, as the "chi'ing shih" is rarely referred to in anything resembling a positive light. And what of the sorcerer? Another reference without further exploration. Is it this individual then, who may be at the root of some of their banes? A curse placed upon the chi'ing shih and living Khan alike for his unholy alliance? What secrets did they overhear in that tent, and what ends did they use them for, as surely, they used them for some gain above and beyond consequent.

    This is further muddied by stories that pass among the more erudite of the line that the chi'ing shih was no "common Ventrue"; most details point to a Strix inhabited corpse of some ilk, particularly with the breath and lifeforce-stealing references of those entities, or some far-flung vampire who bears little in common with the modern five great clans, though it occasionally poses complications on the stories using the ghouled khan as its centerpiece.

    If this were true, how then did the Khagan come to bear the blood of the Ventrue? Twisted powers of the Strix? Continual consumption of conquered Lords as directed by some Strix on a path or revenge for some slight by the clan? Or was it simply that the first among them rose up to the greatness of the Lords because they were -born- to conquer and lead, something more spontaneous and individual?

    It's anyone's real guess, though less often whispered (though in the minds of scholars of their line, the most likely) is that they were among the original Gangrel who settled in Eastern Europe into ruling individuals, the precursors who first adopted the Lordly Tongue but still who hold strongest ties to their original roots. And intermediary manifestation of The Blood between the Gangrel and the Ventrue. Unfortunately, their affinity for extreme undead strength poses the issue as to why they bore that over the resilience of the Lords and purportedly of the Chi'ing Shih's tenacity; most just believe it's the most suiting expression of The Beast for them, and think nothing more. Other's look back to those tales of Strix and stranger entities and wonder if they truly were bred as unliving scourges to bring down other Kindred, a discomforting thought that they might not truly be their own masters rather than a weapon of someone else's conquests.

    It would explain their affinity for Protean and Dominate alike though, their propensity for Frenzy and does, in its own way, present a particular pedigree above the "common Ventrue". Unfortunately the story rarely goes over well among their "common" company that many of them are no more than thin-blooded descendants of the Khagan, and so is kept more tightly within their own ranks to avoid undue ruffled feathers. They're all an excessively proud lot after all. In the end, there are far more questions than truthful answers.

    The Khagan publicly refuse to act as Avus to, or Embrace childer into their bloodline that they cannot at least partially trace to having mortal ancestry members of the Mongol Empire, preferably the Khans. Luckily a large percentage of the human population does, making this something of lip service or reinforced pride to trump themselves up. It could be exceedingly distant, even without confirmed veracity, but there has to be something to say that it's likely. It's a matter of pride for them, keeping their membership "true", and selecting from the living whose blood has ties to the largest empire known to mankind.

    In practice everything from northern and eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners and individuals from various Asiatic cultures have found a place among the Khagan most predominantly, though not exclusively. While they present this as some sort of inviolate tradition, many"illegitimate" Khagan may exist who've had no confirmed mortal lineage by members who simply want what they want, tradition be damned. It's expected, however, that this is -not- brought up within their company or publicly lest it stain their reputation. Openly flouting the custom is a quick way to find bloodline censure.

    Another custom still practiced almost devoutly is that of tenure. A newly made childer of a Khagan, be they destined to become part of the line or not, are expected to inhabit a territory distant from their sire. Khagan do not take a soft approach to teaching the newly undead, they are expected to be tenacious, vicious, and above all, self-sufficient. While the Sire has rights to a portion of territory procured by the Childer, their "offspring" are expected to not require their makers constant presence. Indeed, given their inherent territoriality, this is a necessity before their broods turn on each others throats from prolonged close contact.

    In regions where the Khagan do not have large amounts of land to call their own, one often finds the territories of their progeny growing ever closer, always attempting to expand until a potentially cataclysmic conflict may arise. In areas where the Khagan sire has large tracts of domain already with little room for another would-be Khan, the childe is often expected to go nomad, to wander until they find a region to take as their own and report back to their sire of their location of their settled domain. This keeps the Khagan relatively well connected and spreading lines of dominion, even over long distances despite their somewhat solitary Requiems among their own. A Khagan who does not have a territory of its own of some prestige, be it a large amount of land, or simply a haven of repute and stature often finds themselves looked down upon and criticized rather harshly. The Khans have little room for those of their ilk that would sully their image.

    Lastly, if somewhat unofficially, the Khagan are generally deeply superstitious, something that remained intact and reinforced since their diaspora from their original mortal stock.As a result, various minor rites and customs are often practiced, sometimes being seen as something of a "debt" being repayed to the world they walk within, be it to the land itself, the spirits, gods or ancestors or other things depending on their religious or occult leanings. They realize they are undead, and that by living in the supernatural world, they must follow customs that the living do not. It's very common for the Khagan to offset Breaking Points to Humanity via Banes, especially given their often violent natures. Some of these are occasionally passed from sire to childe via reinforcement, though they are unpredictable in their manifestation as a given.

    Nicknames: "Khans" most commonly, though more region-specific monikers are often used.

    Disciplines: Animalism, Dominate, Protean, Vigor

    Weakness: As per the Ventrue in Blood and Smoke; their first Touchstone is at Humanity 7 rather than 6, which increases the costs of the Touchstone merit sooner while leaving Humanity 1 precarious. The Khagan grow callous to humans quite quickly.

    Additionally, they suffer a -3 penalty on Frenzy tests to Rage triggered Frenzies while within their "owned" territory (to a maximum of -5 with other provocations triggering the response). This could be as small as a personal haven, as large as a neighborhood, or larger still among Khagan Princes claiming cities for themselves. Their Beasts do not tolerate interlopers easily, their territoriality being part and parcel of their very blood once they settle into a region from any nomadic wanderings.

    Provoking the Beast of a Khagan in its chosen domain is the quickest means to viewing why their reputation as brutal warriors still holds true. It is also a window into why the line is dwindling, in nights where society prides itself on a more "civilized" approach, these temperamental warrior-kings are quick to alienate their courts, with knee-jerk reactions and inhuman rages when they feel thwarted, insulted or even challenged.

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