Character: Alec Durand
Quote: “It is invisible hands that torment and bend you the worst, little mortal. Oh, don’t be so emotional; that’s the true key to manipulation. More so than any dirty habit you’ve picked up.”
What truth would you like to hear? Would you like to hear that I am of noble intentions? That I never once dreamed of being like this? That I perhaps, once, yearned for a simple life? Or perhaps it is the desire for life, to live, to exist and see and shape the world of man that I now yearn for? Maybe that is now what I consider to be “a simple life.” Perhaps you would really like to believe that I am indeed two souls inhabiting one body. The truth is far more complicated, but you could be forgiven for thinking that, for sometimes I truly believe that such a proposal is not far off. Maybe I don’t recall all the facts anymore and just make it up as I go along.
So where to start? What I do remember was the sun. The kiss of warmth, the glow of a summer sun set, the beginning of the end of a life of nobility. Aleixo of Castille, a bastard of the House Aviz. That was who I was. You would not have heard of me, but you would have heard of my famous brother Juan, the eventual King of Portugal. Noble by birth, prick by nature, and undeserving of every kindness ever fostered upon him; yes I hated him. My last sunset was spent watching him in envy from the walls of Torrijos as he was encouraged to take up arms and claim his throne. The envy I felt was of born of being a bastard. A simple pleb, I often imagined, had simple worries and could live a care-free life. A bastard was forever remembered for what he was through no fault of his own, marked in the world of nobility as unclean. Juan never let me forget it.
Perhaps that is how Sacer found me. I often think I feel her presence amongst my thoughts, caressing my darkest desires in the deep pits of my mind. Perhaps that is just an excuse I use, even to this night, to explain a certain weight of opinion and the seemingly independent trains of thought slithering their way through my mind as if someone else was there. That scenario would likely mean I’m mad. My embrace was not gentle. I died on the cobblestone steps, my bodyguard dead around me, swallowed in darkness and alone. I awoke cold to kiss of moonlight and saw, truly, the world for the first time. I heard the scratching of insects, the scuttle of mice and the pumping of blood through the veins of a nameless soldier as he took a whore in the next room. My first meal, a gift from Sacer. She was always had a way of showing affection.
In those first few formative years it was Sacer who guided me on my first steps through damnation. Only now, looking back, do I recognize the signs on show of how truly different she was from us. Kindred have a certain feeling about them, a certain method to their behavior and fascination with worldly power. I would watch in the shadow courts in Portugal as she would weave and bend even the slyest Ventrue to her will. How she could charm Toreador and bring learned Tremere to their knees with the knowledge she contained. Yet, the Abyss responded to her touch as a child to a mother, some say even say with enough skill to rival Montano or even Laza Omri Baras himself. The signs were always there but in my blessed ignorance I only ever felt pride to have such a Sire; a phrase that should only really be reserved for true Kindred.
The observance and shaping of mortal power became a fascination of mine. To the most ambitious, entire nations can be manipulated. The tragic “accidental” death of my brother in 1390, for example, one could argue led to the official establishment of Portugal. This was my first lesson, and it felt rather marvelous to have his horse throw him all the same. At the urging of Sacer, who seemed preoccupied with a grand goal, I was drawn further from the Lasombra of my country and slowly began our travels up into the continent of Europe. The Inquisition soon ripped through Spain, and with it the First Anarch revolt. We watched the world burn, blood flow and the true viciousness of man exposed at the cost of the blood of many innocents. I seem to remember feeling horrified. Sacer stoked the flames in Spain, causing the spread of violence of the revolt. What resulted was the birth of the Camarilla.
But then I have seen much of our history intertwined with that of the kine. Few recognize that the brutal rivaly between Richard III and Henry VII, for example, was really the ending war of chessboard pieces between Anarchs and the Camarilla. Had Richard won, the Convention of Thorns would have been very different. Sacer left me soon after. Part of me believed that she left to join the Sabbat, but knew that I would not follow, and so left abruptly. But in reality, after centuries together, her path finally took her away from me. Centuries passed and I very gently pressed my fingers on the cords of history.
I witnessed the birth of the Republic of France though I do miss the elegant balls of thrown by the monarchs of House Bourbon. The snobbish nature of the Dukes and Duchesses, the intrigue, the political wars waged, the bloody battles on fields; God those were days! Come and gone, ruined by Ventrue wielding the Executive Council like puppet masters. As Europe dulled and became plagued by Marxism on the heels of the industrial revolution I set off for America. I flirted with Kindred society in New York and Boston, walking the halls of power but never fully investing in either the Camarilla in their ivory towers nor the Anarchs in their dockyards.
Then as we entered the Millenium and I began to grow weary and eager for the long sleep, Sacer returned. She then made me forget everything. Our personal history makes an interesting tale if you can properly weave together the correct elements to form a story. Our personality is derived from our experiences. Would you find it horrific to know that this story may not be the true story? I have long suspected Sacer’s mastery in mind manipulation. How much of this memory is real, how much of my origins are real, I can only guess. Perhaps all of it. Perhaps none of it.
For a decade I believed I was someone else. A neonate, with a foggy memory of a sire that never existed with a life I never had. Yet somehow I fathered children with a Baali and earned the ire of more powerful elders without ever knowing why until Sacer’s death awoke the shards of consciousness present in my mind; her final manipulation. Now I hold Camarilla Princes at my beck and call to keep these children safe as I piece together my own reality. But something more sinister comes to take them and I’m once again drawn from the shadows. And with every step I cannot help but feel that I am still treading a path Sacer laid out for me long ago.