Aeterna Regnum

Saturnalia - 17 December 2011
At the Gates of Memory and Time

Elysium. The word has always had a special meaning for you – more a feeling, actually, and only half remembered.

Peace. It’s a place apart. Deadlier than the Chicago streets in some ways, perhaps, but still a place of serenity. You’d considered idealism something you’d lost many, many nights ago, but the idea of words winning arguments is attractive. It’s better than fists anyway. You check the pistol at your shoulder unconsciously.

You arrive at the Chicago Museum of History a little after 11. The place is practically glowing with holiday ornamentation that fails to evoke even the slightest feeling of familiarity. You really don’t see the point. Frank at the door gives you a nod, he still owes you for that thing with the girl. He’s good for a favor though – Frank Worthing’s a valuable friend. Young enough to still be trustworthy, but not so raw as to be useless. There are certainly many among the shadowy forms that float through the museum lobby who don’t fit that description.

A young looking goth-thing slides past you, giving you a predatory once over.

You’re here to speak to negotiate hunting rights in the Chicago Theater with a representative of the Invictus. You remember dimly the area was once highly regarded property, but that was in the 30’s. Someone must have rights to the place though. Rising to the changes of the 21st century has been challenging, but you refuse to be a moribund, mewling elder. It may have been half a century ago, but this city used to know your name and it will know it again. If there’s one thing you have learned during your Requiem, it’s that the dead can adapt. They must adapt, if they are to survive. TV helps a lot.

You stalk past an advertisement trumpeting an exhibit of Roman art and stop to gaze on the marble busts of people even more dead than you. Americans love Rome, and vampires like it more still. The idea of Camerilla intrigues them. You’re not so sure. A continent spanning, undead government? It seems like some torpor addled elder’s wet dream. A myth made to justify someone’s atrocities.

The stirrings of the Beast make you aware of another of the Kindred approaching as he too admires the rows of marble effigies. You fight the Beast’s influence with practiced ease. The thinning of your blood has made you once more feel occasional terror at the approach of your fellow kindred. The sensation is new to you, and so not entirely unpleasant. You are just about to turn to greet your fellow vampire when one pale white face catches your eye. Nestled among the detritus of the ages is a slightly cracked statue. There is a vicious looking scythe carved into the bust’s base, and a plaque on column that supports this sculpture claims it was found under the temple to Saturn.

The face seems familiar somehow – as if a friend from lifetimes past. With growing certainty, you realize that is your own – your own visage preserved in stone. Or at least you think it’s what you look like. It’s been a while since you’ve seen your own face after all. You chuckle at the idea of your face being carved into stone more than a thousand nights ago.

Smiling, you reach across the velvet rope. Perhaps you’ll petition the Prince to have this piece for yourself. Frank does owe you that favor, and he said he could get you an audience.

You lay your cold hand on the equally cold stone, and memories flood your mind like the moon emerging from behind a cloud.

For the first time in nearly two thousand years, you remember who you are.

You remember everything.

AD 270
Hail Aurelian!

Palmyrene and Gallic usurpers have broken the empire into three. Aurelian is the 44th Emperor of an Empire now divided, but aims to be once again master of the world.

In the dark of Rome’s Catacombs, the city’s Kindred finds it hard to care. The wars of the living are of no interest to the dead. Emperors’ lives have been cheap during the third century, but for the kindred of Rome the authority of the Senex is still as absolute as the eternal city itself.

Still, as civil war and barbarians stalk the empire the iron grasp of the Senex begins to slip, and who can say if it will ever be sure again?


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