Harbingers of Skulls

A recent addition to the Sabbat, the bloodline calling itself the Harbingers of Skulls claims a history of treachery, for which it seeks to exact a hellish vengeance. Members of the bloodline are quite powerful without exception, and they claim to have returned from their banishment to the realms of the dead. Long ago, they whisper, a rogue society of sorcerers hunted them for their blood, stealing immortality to further their own arcane lusts for power.

Few Sabbat believe this fairy tale of ancient injustice in these modern nights, but the Harbingers are afforded a wide berth nonetheless, given the immense potency of their magics and their discomforting eccentricity. The Harbingers of Skulls are necromancers on par with (and some say exceeding) the dreaded Giovanni, surrounding them selves with miasmas of death, murder and mortification, all toward the end of righting their legendary wrong. It would seem, however, that for all their polemics, something rots below the surface they present. Like the corpses they themselves resemble, something eats away at them from within.

The Harbingers of Skulls have been members of the Sabbat for only a few years, and few of the youngest members of the sect have ever heard of them, let alone seen one. Apparently, one of their number came forth with a proposition to the cardinals, prisci and regent, who conferred and welcomed the Harbingers to the Sword of Caine. Since then, the Harbingers of Skulls have amassed unheard-of power in the sect (given their small number, which is estimated in the low hundreds). The Black Hand, the Inquisition and even the ranks of the prisci now claim members of the Harbingers among them. Scions of the Sabbat appear to reap great benefits from the Harbingers' death magic, maintaining contact with fallen allies or tormenting enemies from beyond the wall of Final Death. Indeed, the Harbingers seem more than willing to offer aid to Sabbat compatriots - in exchange for favors to be determined later.

Cursed by Caine's blood with the countenances of corpses, the Harbingers often flay the tattered, grave-tainted flesh from their heads, leaving them with the grinning rictus of their namesake. Masks and ceremony play an important part in the bloodline's culture, and elders among these Cainites maintain vast collections of ritual masks and implements that they wear and use in their necromantic rites. It has been rumored that the vitae in their veins is ancient and quite potent, and perhaps their claims of grandiose history are not far from the mark. Whatever the case, the Harbingers of Skulls simply ignore inconvenient lines of questioning, preferring instead to spend their hours amid the tombstones of cemeteries or in deep contemplation of the powers of the dead.

Nickname: Lazarenes (after Lazarus, who observed Christ's return from the dead)

Appearance: The Harbingers of Skulls have an emaciated, corpselike appearance, accentuated by flesh that shrinks to fit the vampires' skulls. They are seldom seen outside their havens or the secret halls where powerful Sabbat convene to plot their intrigues. Harbingers prefer loose-fitting, flowing cloaks and burial shrouds, the better to represent their death magic and make dramatic impressions.

Haven: Harbingers of Skulls never belong to packs, and thus, they never make their havens with packs (unless doing so is temporary - the Sabbat rumor mill is rife with tales of a Harbinger calling himself the Capuchin accepting brief hospitality from certain packs, priests or ducti). Lazarenes prefer their own, private havens, which often have laboratory annexes where they may conduct their grisly studies. Such havens tend to be far from prying or mortal eyes, beneath places like cemeteries, mausoleums, morgues and slaughterhouses.

Background: The backgrounds of those who become Harbingers of Skulls is unknown - it is believed that the bloodline has not Embraced since its introduction to the Sabbat. If this is true, murmur the young members of the sect, the Harbingers must be ancient, accomplished and critical, as they seem not to deem children of the modern nights worthy of their brand of Caine's curse.

Character Creation: Harbingers of Skulls have morbid concepts, many of which are archaic or foreign to the modern nights. The bloodline favors Mental Attributes and Knowledges, and its members cultivate numerous Back grounds. Few Harbingers deign to follow the tenets of Humanity; they are more frequently attuned to the Path of Death and the Soul or some bizarre variant of the Giovanni's Path of the Bones.

Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude, Necromancy

Weaknesses: Regardless of the quantity of blood a Harbinger of Skulls consumes, her skin maintains a deathly pallor. Additionally, the Harbingers' skin shrinks to make these Cainites appear skeletal, with bony limbs and faces frozen into an immortal death's grin. Because of this decid edly unwholesome and morbid visage, Harbingers of Skulls have Appearance Traits of zero. All Social rolls involving the Appearance Trait automatically fail for Harbingers of Skulls.

Organization: The Harbingers of Skulls have little organization, and most eschew social company, preferring to be left alone to study or hatch their plots. They do gather infrequently, but to what purpose has never been confirmed. Vampires outside the Harbingers' circles suspect everything from schemes to bring down the Sabbat from the inside to symposiums on the most recent research involving the lands of the dead. The Harbingers of Skulls do maintain some form of visible hierarchy, however, as evidenced by their masks and rituals. The more esteemed or accomplished members of the bloodline wear much more elaborate masks, and they are ritually acknowledged by lesser Harbingers, though the pre cise system has eluded onlookers to date.

Quote: Nothing - nothing - burns as hot as the wound left by the knife of treachery, especially when it has been left to fester for eons.

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