Iulia Alpina, The Seer

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Clan Mekhet
Sire Skade
Embrace 64 A.D
Apparent Age 12
Covenant Circle of the Crone
Virtue Prudence. The Seer survived the Striges' purge of the Julii, the Fall of Rome, waves of invasions from Saxons, Danes and Normans, the Sanctified tyranny, the Great Fire and the Blitz. She's watched generation after generation of supposedly immortal Kindred reduced to dust upon the wind, but she's still here. First and foremost, she's the consummate survivor. She never takes any gamble unless she's certain that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly in her favour.
Vice Sloth. The flipside of having experienced so much is that she finds it hard to rouse herself to commit wholeheartedly to any cause. She's seen empires and even languages rise and fall; she knows that no achievement will ever truly last, not even amongst the so-called "eternal" Kindred - she was, after all, already a centuries-old elder when the Camarilla, the greatest society of undead that the Western world has ever seen, crumbled to dust. It's this languor, more than anything else, which has kept her from claiming Praxis over London, despite her immense personal power.
Mental Attributes Intelligence 7, Wits 6, Resolve 6
Physical Attributes Strength 4, Dexterity 7, Stamina 6
Social Attributes Presence 6, Manipulation 4, Composure 5
Mental Skills Academics (Theology) 5, Crafts (Stonemasonry, Horticulture) 5, Investigation 4, Medicine (Herbal remedies) 3, Occult 5, Politics (Kindred) 3
Physical Skills Brawl 5, Larceny 2, Stealth 6, Weaponry 4
Social Skills Animal Ken 3, Empathy 3, Expression (Religious ritual) 5, Intimidation (Aura of menace) 5, Socialise 3, Subterfuge 5
Merits Allies (Witch cults, Secret societies) 5, Contacts (Academia, Freemasonry) 4, Haven Size 4, Haven Security 5, Haven Location 3, Herd (Crone Kindred, Mages) 5, Resources 4, Retainers (Mortal cultists, hedge magicians) 5, Status (London Kindred, Circle of the Crone) 5, Taste of the Strange (Mages)
Disciplines Animalism 2, Auspex 5, Cruac 5, Celerity 7, Dominate 5, Majesty 5, Nightmare 3, Obfuscate 5, Protean 2, Resilience 4, Veneficia 5, Vigor 5
Devotions Knowing the Stranger, Arcane Sight, Quicken Sight, Veridical Tongue, The Cutting of the Strings (Cb: Mekhet), Spirit Sight (Cb: Mekhet), Torpid Awareness (Carthians), See the Reflected Form (Carthians), Preemptive Reflex (Ancient Mysteries), and possibly others.
Humanity 4
Willpower 10
Blood Potency 7

Cruac and Veneficia Rituals

The Seer was a member of the Cult of Augurs for several centuries from her Embrace until the fall of Rome in the fifth century. She has been formally a member of the Circle of the Crone since the Blinded Queen consolidated it at around the turn of the millennium. She can be assumed to know all or most of the rituals so far published.

Notably, she makes frequent use of the Blood Price and Wilful Vitae rituals to feed from her fellow Kindred without subjecting herself to the Vinculum. Once every half century or so, she uses the Crone's Renewal ritual to maintain her Blood Potency at its present level without needing to slip into torpor. She has been awake and active since the early ninth century without a single period of torpor, making her a true Methuselah. She sometimes uses the Blood Mask to adopt a new identity in circumstances where her youthful appearance would be a disadvantage, and she has created numerous gargoyles as guards and servants using the Child from the Stones ritual. She is herself a master sculptor, having studied under several of the great Cathedral builders (themselves secret cultists), during the High Middle Ages, and most of the gargoyles she has animated were her own creations. Her greatest power (and secret) is her knowledge of the As One ritual. This enhances her innate psychic connection to the city's genius loci to give her an unparalleled understanding of what happens within it. Although she makes extensive use of other divinatory magic, it's her deep mystical connection to the city and all that happens within it which truly earned her the title of the Seer.

Character History

The Seer is the most powerful Kindred in London and quite possibly in the British Isles. Indeed, more than any other Kindred, the Seer is London, the unliving embodiment of its two-thousand-year history. As a mortal, she was the daughter of Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus, the man who rebuilt the then-new city of London after Boudica's revolt.

She was born in July, 52 AD, and from an early age displayed a strange and bizarre psychic gift. She was able to "tune in" to the genius loci of a city - sense its moods, its health, and get some sense of its future. She foresaw the burning of Londinium at Boudica's hands, although her family dismissed her prophecies as mere fever dreams and coincidence.

The vampire Skade knew better. She met Iulia while the child was visiting Rome, shortly before her twelfth birthday, on the eve of the Great Fire of Rome. The ancient vampire knew that the child's prophecies of the imminent burning of the city were the product of a rare and very valuable gift, not mere youthful imagination, and offered her an eternity to explore and develop her talents. Iulia accepted the offer, and her abilities led to her induction into the Cult of Augurs shortly thereafter.

She returned to London, and remained there even during the years when it was largely abandoned following Rome's collapse. She fell into torpor for a couple of centuries following the Empire's fall, and arose to find Christianity the dominant spiritual force throughout England. She did her best to stem the tide, but ultimately without success, although she was very successful in keeping secret mortal cults of pagans active.

Her gods were the gods of Rome, but she found it easy enough to adapt her faith - and her blood magic - to the practices of the Circle of the Crone. By the turn of the ninth century, she had become the dominant force amongst the pagan vampires dwelling within a hundred miles of London. She was first called "the Seer" by a group of her mortal followers around 850 AD, and by the start of the eleventh century, it had become the only name by which she was known.

Quite a lot of the Seer's were made up of aristocrats, churchmen, or both, granting her a great deal of wealth and influence in mortal society. The Norman Conquest disrupted that temporarily, but she quickly made up lost ground amongst the new-blood aristocracy from France. Another group she cultivated, especially as the High Middle Ages flowered, were the master-masons who built the great Cathedrals that were springing up across the continent of Europe. The magnificent buildings which they constructed contained a lot more pagan sacred geometry than their ecclesiastical patrons ever knew, thanks in part to the secret influence of the Seer and her cult.

Not every Mage follows the Atlantean tradition and its Orders, and through the centuries, there have been a number in Britain who have followed the old religion. Largely under the radar of the Atlantean Orders, and not so well trained, they were nonetheless capable of some impressive feats, and formed the backbone of the Seer's mortal followers for centuries. Over time, the Seer has learned to feed on their blood as she would on a vampire's.

The prevalence of Christianity amongst the mortal population, however, gave the Lancea Sanctum a home-field advantage, and despite her personal power, she was never in a position to claim Praxis throughout the Middle Ages. Her freedom from the demands of politics did, at least, afford her the opportunity to develop her occult might, which was and is probably greater than that of any other Kindred in Britain. Her knowledge of the Crone's Renewal ritual also gave her one advantage that none of her rivals could match - the ability to stave off torpor more or less indefinitely.

When House Skade arrived in London, the Seer, with her myriad means of supernatural perception, instantly recognized the Dyad as kin - younger childer of her own sire. The sense of familial loyalty that she sensed towards them surprised even her, but she acted quietly to prevent Mercadier from moving against them as they established themselves in the city. Later, when the House's wars with the Mages erupted, the Seer discreetly eliminated a number of Mercadier's key lieutenants under cover of the fighting, knowing that the Mages would be blamed for it. In reality, the Mages didn't have the knowledge to target their attacks so precisely against Mercadier's most important supporters, but the fact that the attacks were targeted so precisely aroused the Archbishop's paranoia still further. It was partly a concern for her "siblings", as well as a desire to improve the Circle's standing and power, which led the Seer to throw her Covenant's support behind the Temple.

The Circle's position improved under the rule of the Invictus, thanks in no small measure to that support. As Marlowe's mental health deteriorated, however, the Crones lost ground, and in 1911 Marlowe actually exiled the Seer herself from London, against Wyncham's impassioned advice. The Seer decided that the Carthians could offer the Circle a better deal, and switched sides, backing the conspiracy which led to the 1941 coup.

With Christianity losing its hold over the hearts and minds of the mortal population, the Seer sees a long-term opportunity to offer her own, pagan faith as an alternative, especially to the newly Embraced. Given her personal power, she might have a chance to seize Praxis by force if she were to attempt it, but she thinks in terms of spiritual dominion, not physical. She wants the Kindred to believe in the Circle's faith, not just pay lip service to it because they feel threatened, and that kind of conversion will take time and groundwork. That doesn't bother her - as old as she is, she's used to thinking in terms of decades and centuries.

In the meantime, she's laying the groundwork. The Kindred, by and large, the Seer as an eerie, frightening mystic, utterly divorced from worldly concerns. They would be astonished - and deeply disturbed - to know just how extensive and powerful her mortal power-base actually is. Since the middle ages, she's recruited pagan cultists from the younger sons and daughters of the wealthy, from disaffected academics hungry for knowledge denied them by the Church, from warriors - and latterly, police and security services - looking for a creed that doesn't condemn the shedding of blood. It all adds up to an impressive - and dangerous - network.