2075: Stormy Waters
SoP - Sian
Sian usually hides her good looks by wearing demure clothing, usually some sort of decorative kimono. She favors large, black-rimmed glasses.
Name: Sian (Tatjana Romanov)
Tatjana works in the library of the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Her employer and benefactor is the Great Dragon Schwartzkopf. Most of the time, the dragon acts as his own translator, but on occasion he requires Tatjana to fill that role when he is lecturing or at social functions. Her primary function when she is at the university is to catalog the tomes in the library and keep the artifacts hidden there safe from those who would dare rob a Great Dragon. She is most useful, however, in her role as a first class archaeologist. She travels the world, looking for new tomes and artifacts to add to her master’s collection. She tends to wear Kimonos with long, loose sleeves when alone. Her face is usually framed by large, black-rimmed glasses that do little for her. She does, however, clean up nicely for social or business events, usually wearing clothes designed to be more demure than sexy.
|Phys. Limit||10||Mental Limit||9||Social Limit||9|
|Street Cred||0||Notoriety||0||Public Awareness||0|
|Bilingual||5||Code of Honor: Path of the Samurai||15|
|College Education||4||Emotional Attachment: Sapphire Knife||5|
|Linguist||4||National SIN: Czech Republic||5|
|Sense of Direction||3||-||-|
|Technical School; Education||4||-||-|
|Counterspelling||8||19 (21)||Combat Spells|
|Spellcasting||8||19 (21)||Manipulation Spells|
|L: Egyptian||4||12 (14)||Hieroglyphics|
|L: French Canadian||2||10|
|L. Sumerian||2||10 (12)||Cuneiform Writing|
|Fourth Age Survivors||6||12|
|History||5||11 (13)||Ancient Greece & Rome (Alexander’s Empire)|
|Alleviate Allergy||M||Touch||Sustained||F-6-||–||Quickened (F10)|
|Alleviate Nausea||M||Touch||Sustained||F-4||–||Quickened (F10)|
|Ghoulish Strength||P||Touch||Sustained||F-4||–||Quickened (F10) +6|
|Improved Reflexes||P||Touch||Sustained||F||–||Quickened (F10)|
|Physical Mask||P||Touch||Sustained||F-1||–||Quickened (F10)|
|Vampiric Speed||P||Self/Area||Sustained||F-2||–||Quickened (F10) +6|
Metamagic (Initiate Grade 8)
|Extended Masking||8 Auras|
|Spell Casting F6||Combat|
|Weapon F6||Sapphire Knife|
|Enhanced Hearing, Smell, and Thermographic Vision|
|Immunity to Aging, Pathogens, and Toxins|
|Infection HMHVV I|
|Allergy, Severe (Sunlight and Wood)|
|Dietary Requirement (Human Blood)|
|Induced Dormancy (Air Loss)|
|Wild Hunt||12||Biomonitor, Chemical Protection 4, Custom Fit, Electrochromatic Modification, Gear Access, Holster, Insulation 3, Non-Conductivity 4, Radiation Shielding 3, YNT Softweave|
|Ballistic Mask||+2||Flare Compensation, Gas Mask, Image Link, Low Light Vision, Meta Link, Micro-Tranceiver|
Contacts (84/300 Points)
|Isfan Muzial||Dig Organizer||8||5|
|Yogwa||Buddhist Monk||7||5||Master of Buddhist temple in Prague|
|Victor Goropulus||Coyote||8||6||Expert at getting across national borders|
|Brigitte Mardot||Dig Crew Chief||8||6||Skilled archaeologist|
|Vasily Lemintsov||Black Marketeer||6||6|
|Leczh Wolenska||Mercenary Captain||6||4||Provider of guards for dig sites|
|Brusli Cognez||Government Official||6||3||Arranges visas and licenses|
|Lady Tanya Marisart||Yes||UCAS/Brit Agent|
|Gregory Murdoch||Yes||Media Magnate|
|Sanrit Goldstein||Yes||University Professor, Antiquities Expert, Researcher|
Associations (12 Points)
I have found that time robs even the immortals of memories and that things even a few hundred years in the past are difficult to remember. Those from farther back are almost impossible to remember unless written down and reviewed in detail on occasion. I had long ago begun putting my thoughts and experiences in books to allow me to remember, even before I came here. Sadly, those earliest books are now lost on my home plane and not available and I have trouble remembering much of who and what I was then. I have been trying to keep all of my deeds and actions in some form of writing and these diaries I have given to my current Master to keep in his great library. I have found that the study of my experiences is a good means of following my journey in this strange world. I tell you this now so you will not be surprised when I cannot remember some details of what I am telling you.
My name in my native Simpiri tongue is Sian. I am not then of a caste that allowed a second name. I was born on another plane and trapped here on this one while chasing people who had betrayed the empire and fled here through a portal of their design. The last order of the Princess we served was to bring the traitors to justice and to recover the ancient tomes and artifacts they had stolen. A group of eight of my caste brothers and sisters were sent out, along with forty-two of the mortal Valoi warrior caste, to bring these traitors to justice. After some weeks of tracking these Vecni through a great wasteland and fighting several battles with their followers, two of my caste brothers and I and six of our companion warriors made it through the portal just before those we were following closed it. The traitors had separated so we did as well, with each of my brothers taking two of the warriors and following one of them while I and the last two warriors followed the third.
I arrived here near the end of the Fourth Age. The lands were still green and productive then and the arrival of what I learned to call the Horrors had not yet come to pass. The Vecni, the traitor, that I followed was good at disappearing and even better at covering his tracks………..but not quite good enough. It took me twenty of the local years, my years now, to find and kill him. That story is for another time, but the chase was long and arduous, although highly satisfactory as I stood over the smoking corpse of my foe. I took his sacred blade as a trophy and left his corpse to rot in the sunlight while I fed on the essence of his followers.
I suppose that I should make it clear at this time that I am not…………..normal. Where I came from, my people are uncommon, but we are the rulers of our lands, although my caste is one of service to the rulers. Here, some bastardization of my racial type has me called vampire. I feed off of the essence of mortals and have strengths and powers that few here can match, although I have come to know some who are far better than I am and it is a wise choice to always expect that the person I am talking to is stronger. I have created “children” of my kind here, but I believe most of them to be dead, although I am sure that some few have survived long enough to be careful about who they expose themselves to. This world is not like mine and we do not enjoy the perks of ruling. Far from it, we are actively hunted here as minions of the hell that many believe in. What I am is a closely guarded secret from most and it is a sign of the esteem I hold you in that I am telling you this about me.
After killing my target I continued to search for the others and for my companions. I also began searching for a new Master or Mistress. I was still bound by my oaths to seek out the remaining traitors, but I had long accepted that I would never be able to return to my home plane and so was masterless here; a condition which is very unsettling for one of my caste. The strongest candidates for a new Master were the various Great Dragons that seemed to rule this plane. After researching a number of these, I settled on a dragon by the name of Schwartzkopf. His goals seemed to mirror mine as he was interested in collecting ancient writings and artifacts into a great library. I approached the Great Dragon and told him my story, offering my skills and talents to him. He accepted me into his service and set me to continue my search for the other traitors, but also gave me tasks to help him recover and protect items for his library. I came to find that he had, in fact, so many items that they were stored in several places.
Once again with a master, I felt more complete……….more normal. I recovered many things for my Master and roamed the world of that age in his service, but I was unable to find any evidence of the passing of my companions or the traitorous Vecni I sought. After some centuries in service to my Master, I was summoned to his side and given distressing information. He and his dragon brothers and sisters had determined that the magic levels of this place had risen enough to attract the attention of what he called the Horrors, apparently some form of metaplanar monsters that were attracted to magic sources and arrived to lay waste to worlds. My Master was concerned about the libraries he had created and the possible loss of the information and artifacts they held. He had decided to prepare for the imminent arrival of the Horrors by moving all he could to specially prepared keeps under the ground. He could only defend one such site himself and so assigned the others to his principal lieutenants to guard.
The time of the Horrors was several centuries long. None of those inside the fortress with me knew what I was besides my current Valoi warriors and I had no desire to reveal myself by sucking people dry of essence and getting staked for my trouble. I soon realized that I could take a bit of essence from several people instead of draining one to death. With thousands of mortals to choose from, I was able to keep my true nature secret and still survive. The fastness I was guarding was found by some of the horrors, but it was late in their time here and they were mostly weakened by the time they came upon us. I killed many, losing only a few of the mortals under my responsibility, and managed to keep the fortress and the treasures it held secure from the ravages of the Horrors.
We eventually received word from my Master that it was safe to venture to the surface and did so, only to find a bleak and blasted landscape. I was immediately reminded of the wastelands of my home plane and wondered if those places of devastation were the remnants of a visit from these Horrors from before my time. Schwartzkopf could not account for all of his hidden places and I was sent to make contact with those who did not respond, only to find that some were not as fortunate as others and had been discovered and destroyed, the contents scattered and people slain. My Master tasked me to find the missing tomes and artifacts. He also told me that the power of magic was done for a time and that there was not enough power left in this world to sustain him or the other dragons. They must go into hiding and I would find it much more difficult to cast spells. He entrusted me with the location of several parts of a great horde of treasures that would be useful in my searches and charged me with finding the lost items and tomes and building a new library and guarding it. We spent a final night together then he left to go sleep in his strongest mountain fastness.
My task was daunting indeed. All of my wanderings in the early centuries of the Fifth Age showed me that civilization had collapsed in every corner of the globe, leaving only scattered tribes of peoples, most in completely barbaric and nomadic lifestyles, having forgotten even the most basic reasons for grouping together in civilization. I walked among them, learning the limits of my powers in this new age and adapting to what I could do. Magic was indeed in a low flux and I learned to stay away form those areas worst affected as I traveled. I tried to guide people to civilizations, always from the side as an adviser and never as a ruler as it is not the way of my caste to rule.
Eventually, civilization began to spring up in the Middle East and I gravitated there to see what I could do to nudge things along. I believed, correctly as I was later to find out, that Schwartzkopf would treasure the information gleaned from watching the nascent civilizations as much as he valued that from ages past and so took copious notes of what I saw and of my experiences. Many of the early works were scratched or etched on metal plates and could show these to you if you are interested. Most of these are in scripts that I would need to translate for you unless you know early Sumerian and Hittite cuneiform or Egyptian hieroglyphics. I lived hundreds of lives and moved frequently so as not to incite any of the superstitious peoples into trying to kill me. I do not want to make any claim that I was the mother of the early writing, but I certainly helped put the idea into the head of the man that did eventually invent the cuneiform alphabet. The largest collection of cuneiform tablets in the world is in the library and I would be happy to show them to you someday if you like.
Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria, and early Persia were all civilizations I visited and helped grow in their infancy, but I think my favorite of the time was early Egypt. Starting in the valley of the Upper Nile, they spread down the river and eventually amassed an empire of considerable size. I used the opportunity to do research for my Master and to put away many items that I thought would interest him, making several visits to the caverns near where I hoped to eventually build an appropriate structure to house them. These caverns were buried deep into the mountains and I found them undisturbed each time I went back to add more items to the growing collections.
At some point during my time in Egypt, a small clique of priest-sorcerers arose, using the pyramid tombs of dead pharaohs as focal points for their nascent magic resurgence. Unfortunately, these sorcerers were of the sort that dreamed of domination, not of helping others with their skills and gifts. One of the pharaohs had a man in his employ who proved particularly adept at going into the tombs and finding these people and killing them and their cultists. I toyed with the idea of contacting him but I was away in the Upper Nile excavating an even older tomb and he was gone by the time I got back down to the delta area.
I took a break from living in Egypt to travel with Alexander, called the Great during his lifetime and even after his death. I had a Master, but he was absent so I offered my service to this man, whom I and many others still consider one of the greatest military commanders of all time. He was a ruthless commander who sacked the cities that resisted him, killing all the men and enslaving the women and children in these cities. I worked from behind him and traveled to places far and wide. He was a military genius but was only a so so lover, which suited me well, as for me this was a time for exploration and conquest and I was able to spirit away some of the finest treasures of the Persians, the likes of which you might not ever see anywhere outside my Master’s museum. After Alexander’s death, I returned to Egypt with Ptolemy and served him well as an adviser and lover, although he knew not that I had also been with his friend and king, Alexander. By this time I had become quite proficient at reinventing who I was to prevent people from questioning why I never seemed to age.
Rome and Roman civilization provided some good times for me. The Pax Romana was very real and provided me with an unprecedented opportunity to explore ancient ruins and take treasures back to the site where I planned to eventually build my Master’s library. Those trips were always exciting as I had to traverse large sections of Gaul that were controlled by barbarian kings often at war with Rome. By the time Western Rome fell I had received encouraging hints as to the location of one of the Vecni traitors I still sought. I had hoped that the Horrors had killed the others, but it seems that might not be the case. I traveled from Rome to the Eastern Roman capital of Byzantium, renamed Constantinople, where I tarried a bit after determining that my foe had indeed lived here for a time. He had left three progeny behind and I and my Valoi tracked all of them down, slaying them, but not before finding out that their parent had traveled farther to the east.
I think that he must have believed himself safe after all the centuries and so did not cover his tracks as well as he might have. The trail led to China then Japan. My enemy had taken service with one of the warlords of that country and seemed surprised to see me when I showed up to kill him. Of course, that is a much simplified version of what happened. I found him in possession of the sacred sword of Hijanz, the caste brother I had sent after him. The Vecni bragged long about how he had killed Hijanz and his Valoi shortly after stumbling out of one of the underground fortresses at the end of the Fourth Age. The battle I fought then in the castle of my enemy was long and brutal. I carry a scar from his blade to this day to remind me not to be too overconfident in my abilities. In the end, my skill was greater and I took his sacred blade from his body and recovered that of my friend. My Valoi had proven better than the Vecni’s guards and the three of us left the castle’s halls running with blood. I fed well that day.
I had become interested in Buddhism while I lived in Japan looking for my enemy and stayed a few decades while learning more of its concepts. I also found that the Samurai Code sang to my soul and I adopted the teachings of masters of both. I proved myself to a woman who became Empress of Japan and she saw to it that I was given the weapons of a Samurai warrior, weapons that I proudly carried while in her service and beyond. A usurper took her throne away from her for a time, but I got it back for her and served her until her death of natural causes, at which time I left Japan to return to the city that has held my imagination from the first time I wandered its ancient streets.
Constantinople. I had known it when it was a mud brick and wattle settlement, then a great city known as Byzantium, and an even greater city known as Constantinople. I think there is no place on this plane that has captured my attention and passion more than that city. I have discussed at length that my Master should move his library there but he is just as entranced with Prague and his word is law to me. I lived there after my return from Japan until the great betrayal of the Fourth Crusade brought the empire to a low point. I was at the side of the Emperor when he retook the city and regained a measure of the power and influence of the old empire. Sadly, the fate of the empire and the city had been set by the crusade and the damage done at that time. The hated Ottomans only put the final nail in the coffin.
I fled Constantinople as it burned at the hands of the Ottomans, traveling west. I was temporarily masterless again and I was looking for justice for what had been done to my great city. The Venetian Doge had been instrumental in sealing the fate of the city and I resolved to start there. I moved to Venice and took up residence as a courtesan in one of the grand bordellos of that city. I entertained Venetian nobles and their wives, draining them little by little over the years to the point that they were left weak and susceptible to disease and the plagues took many, including the Doge himself. I became acquainted with a young man who enjoyed the favors of several noble houses and who was involved in numerous duels while I was there. I admired this man as much for his skill with a blade as well as for the fact that he was doing some of my work for me. I entertained him and some of his noble employers on more than one occasion and quickly came to realize that he was a survivor of the Fourth Age, as I was. He seemed to not realize that I was like him in some ways and I did not let him know. I have wondered many times what our lives might have been had I chosen to take him aside, but his outspoken views on vampires, combined with a rather disturbing ability to reduce the effectiveness of my powers whenever I was near him convinced me that doing that was a bad idea and he eventually left Venice after tiring of life there and hearing of vampires in Romania and Hungary..
The talk of the time was something to do with vampires in Wallachia, near the Ottoman Empire’s border with Europe. Interested in knowing more about the immortal I had found, I followed him there, staying well behind him as I did not wish to be staked by this highly effective killer. The trail led into the Carpathian Mountains to the castle of Vlad Tepes. I watched from afar as the man killed a small family of vampires there then moved on, following some trail he must have found. I waited for the man to leave then went into the castle to see what I could find and was disturbed to glean evidence that the vampires here had been created by my caste brother, Jelest. It would be unlike him to just create such creatures and leave them to do the depredations they were accused of, but that is what my investigations revealed. If Jelest had indeed gone over to this sort of madness, I could only hope that the man I had followed here would be successful in killing him so that I would not need to.
Returning to Italy, I found that the country was dragging itself out of the dark ages and entering what later historians would call the Renaissance Period. I played in Rome, Milan, and Turin for several decades, using the time to accumulate some of the Roman antiquities being dug up and currently in vogue. I also took copious notes on the new civilization and the excesses of the Catholic Church. I traveled to Prague, where I became the mistress of an influential banker and convinced him to support the idea of building a university there. Of course, the fool thought that it was all his idea and I am comfortable with that. I played the role of a wealthy widow and funneled some of the funds my Master had bequeathed me to begin work on a library wing of the university. I spent a vast amount of money making sure that the underground levels went deep and could be easily closed off, leaving their presence a secret know only to a few. I quietly began moving some of the treasures from their hidden locations around the world to their new home. It took several generations and five rebirths as a daughter or niece to get the project to be completed. It is amazing how easy it is to get a man besotted enough to let me into his bed and then “allow” him control of a large dowry that I would use to further my goal.
Things were progressing quite well until 1618 and the start of the Thirty Years War in Europe. Armies went back and forth across Bohemia, and Prague was under siege or sacked several times as Catholic armies of the Holy Roman Empire and its Spanish Hapsburg ally contested with Protestant armies. At various times the British, French, Danish, and Swedes jumped in on one side or the other. Factions and fortunes changed like the wind, but the constant was death. Death from fighting. Death from mercenary armies looting and savaging the people in the way. Death from the diseases and plagues brought on by the war. I think that I caught hints of the whereabouts of the other Fourth Age man several times in reports of a mercenary band fighting for the Imperialists against the French and Swedish, but I never made an effort to find him as I was far too busy in Prague. The war delayed the building of the university but it did give me time to complete several of the below-ground levels.
A few idiots thought that they had a gift for magic and tried to influence what was happening and were caught, starting a series of massive witch hunts that served to devastate even more families and lands. Several thousand people were put to death by torture and fire simply for being suspected of witchcraft, or because their neighbors wanted their lands and saw this as a way to get it. The Simpiri Empire I had come from may have been brutal, but there were no wars of this sort within its borders.
Even though there was a relative peace after the war ended, the constant of human evolution seemed to be warfare. Unfortunately, Prague seemed to be always in the path of one would be conqueror or another and I saw the university damaged time and again as one side or another sought to control the city. Fortunately, my Master’s wealth proved up to the task of repairing the outer structure and allowing me to complete the lower levels to my satisfaction. I moved the remainder of our treasures into their new home and secured them.
The Napoleonic era was interesting. I arranged to become the mistress of one of his generals and traveled with them to Egypt, where I found that my language skills came back quite quickly. I took the opportunity to get some things out of the Great Library there and stayed behind when the French left as I had found the tomb of a pharaoh that promised an artifact that I knew my Master would like. Returning to Europe after Napoleon was exiled, I was able to watch his return and subsequent second exile. Again, more warfare followed, usually between the French and the Germans and I tired of that after a bit. Some of my research pointed to Siam and some ruins in the jungle there and I traveled that to corner of Southeast Asia to look at them. It turned out to be lots of ruins and I spent forty-seven years there organizing digs and unearthing interesting things. I did not get back to Prague until just before World War I.
The War To End All Wars was of course anything but, however it was as deadly as anything that had come before it. I watched the implosion of the Hapsburg dynasty, a family that had ruled my part of the world for generations. I was not sad to see them go, but neither was I overly glad. I enjoy stability as it allows me the time to work on the university and do my research. It took over a decade to get the university repaired yet again and to get back to more normal activity. There were rumors out of Germany of a new leader rising from the ashes of what the Treaty of Versailles and a crippling economic depression had wrought on that nation. Adolph Hitler came out of obscurity to lead his new order to power. I had returned to Siam, now Thailand, in pursuit of another artifact and things were radically changed by the time I returned. My belief, even now, is that the Nazis were a front for an immortal looking for artifacts, much like I was. I was tempted to expose myself to this Hitler, but I was hearing rumors of his activities that dissuaded me from doing that. And I now consider myself fortunate for staying in the shadows.
In my opinion, World War II was much less about the German nation succeeding in a war to conquer as it was a means to allow this immortal to find and collect artifacts of power. The depredations of the Nazis are still echoing throughout the world, although time seems to dull the memories of most humans about what happened. My Master had given me no real guidance of what to do in a situation like this but I knew that he would want me to follow my heart. I started seeing signs of a looming disaster and came to feel that I could help and. quietly began moving stores of food and other supplies into the mountain fastness that was located near Prague, making it ready to be used again if necessary.
Sadly enough, it did become necessary and I began moving Jews into the mountain to hide them there. Unfortunately, few took advantage of my earlier offers, refusing to believe that anything like I was talking about could happen in this day and age. The take over of part of Czechoslovakia in 1938 brought more Germans to Prague and intensified the anti-Semitism feelings prevalent in that culture at the time. Even with their presence, I was able to smuggle a number of the Jews of Prague to safety; eventually 327, not counting the children born inside the mountain. I was also able to smuggle another 193 people in from outside Prague to the mountain. I have maintained contact with many of the families of these survivors and wish that I had been able to do more.
At one point in 1944, the Nazis determined somehow that there might be artifacts hidden in the university. They found the clever forgeries I had left for thieves to find and took them away. Three months later, they returned, looking for more. Fortunately, they were new to Prague and the university and I knew the place from years of familiarity and I was able to use that knowledge to waylay the invaders and kill them. They sent more and they died as well. And again. My informants in the community gave me information that the German Reich was collapsing to the Russians from the east and that they were abandoning the city before they were surrounded and captured. Still, they made one final attempt to find things in the university that I was able to turn back as well and then they left. And the Russians came. And forty-five years of Communist depravity.