Character: Viviane Morgause Asselin
Year of Birth: 1111
Year of Embrace: 1133
“Oh, but this is all so very exciting! It’s a terrible strain on the decorum.” – Viviane Asselin, Tremere.
“Well, hell may rain down upon us, but bad manners are truly when we are damned.” – Viviane Asselin, Tremere.
“If there is going to be trouble of some sort, then you know I simply must be in the dead thick of it. You would not think me myself otherwise. And we would have to resort to that humiliating sham of a button test again to prove my legitimacy. Honestly, those were 18th century Dorset buttons last time, childer play!” – Viviane Asselin, Tremere.
Appearance: A spirited English rose of fair complexion with bright, inquisitive blue eyes the color of the Thames at dawn. She favors slightly antiquated, stark clothing of elegant decorum, often with an excessive amount of buttons, which cultivate a proper air of delicacy and schoolmarm nobility. Her lips are the shade of soft coral and call to mind the delicate colors of pink sea shells and of shining pearls hidden in the unknown depths of the ocean. Though well comported, her naturally wavy hair, the color of deeply steeped Earl Grey tea streaked with silver, is often worn loose. Her ornamentation is modest, though she is rarely seen without an opal or charm around her neck.
Personality: Viviane Morgause Asselin often is pleasant and mannerly and oh so very English. She delights in the mysteries of the world, its stories, and has sense of wonder surprising for an elder kindred. She usually cultivates an air of an antiquated, out-of-touch, kindred with her style of dress and speech, but actually takes great pains to stay current with society and is an accomplished technomancer. She can come off as fanatical in her devotion to her pursuits, but is genuinely searching for ways to make the kindred condition less hellish. And she’s not opposed to a little bloodshed to get there. She generally despises the Tzimisce, Baali, and diablerists.
The Devoted Scholar: Viviane has a rapacious hunger for knowledge and is dedicated to the endless mysteries of immortality and their preservation. Though a talented thaumaturgist, she believes that, at heart, the true power of the Tremere rests in the troves of accumulated knowledge they’ve acquired. Thaumaturgy, though a vital tool, is secondary to the pursuit of knowledge, and she views the over reliance of thaumaturgy even as detrimental to the mind.
The Impoverished Noble: Born to an impoverished, minor noble English family, Viviane, whose name refers to the Lady of the Lake of Arthurian legend, grew up in a family devastated from a withering drought which plagued local crops, internal political strife, and from financial ruin after the First Crusade drained their treasury. Consequently, she betrothed to a wealthy merchant’s son through an arranged marriage to save her family. However, before the wedding, she grew intensely ill with a raging fever. She seemed to recuperate for awhile, and the wedding plans resumed. Though, eventually, she was taken by strange spells, followed by catatonia, sleepwalking, violent fits, raving, babbling in foreign tongues, and perhaps worst of all to the mandated decorum of the English, at times, frighteningly lewd behavior. All the while her pallor grew ever more corpse-like and her thin body increasingly frail. The wedding was called off, excuses about vague maladies made to obscure the truth while her family strove to salvage the arrangement by offering up Viviane’s younger sister instead for the marriage.
An Elusive Bride: In addition to narrowly avoiding a marriage to the wealthy merchant’s son, Viviane also skirted two other arranged marriages. Though Viviane knew marriage was crucial to her family’s financial survival, she also wanted to marry well understanding her future stability would depend on this decision. It wouldn’t be until nearly a thousand years after her embrace that she actually married in a wedding of her choice to the Salubri, Hector Asselin.
Betrothed 1 – The Old Lord: One would-be marriage was slated to be with an old Lord many years Viviane’s senior who had a wealthy estate and no heirs from his previous wife who had passed away. So Viviane bribed her lady’s maid with a ring so that the maid could afford to be wed herself. In return the lady’s maid seduced the old Lord to learn about him for Viviane. And learn she did, specifically that the old man’s fortune was indebted to moneylenders and the church. And that upon his passing, Viviane would retain nothing. It was clear the old man just wanted to enjoy a young wife in the years he had left and had presented himself dishonestly toward that end. As Viviane was deciding what to do with this information, the lady’s maid continued the tryst with the old Lord and he died while they were having sex. The lady’s maid hastily left, and the matter was reported to be a natural death unfortunately timed but not totally unusual for a man of his age.
Betrothed 2 – The Young Equestrian: The next marriage was arranged with a handsome young noble from a modestly wealthy family. Some unflattering gossip surrounded his family, but nothing specific or verifiable. Still, it had reduced the family’s social standing so that they were in want of a way to stabilize their reputation with another noble name, even if the bride had little to offer financially. Viviane discovered her betrothed was fond of horseback riding so bribed the stable boy to find out more about the man. She learned that her would-be husband rode at regular intervals on certain days and so conspired to “just happen” to run into him while out riding herself so she could get to know him without the interference of a chaperone. She eventually discovered that he lusted for his horse, Elizabeth. Getting an eyeful of him mounting his favorite horse through a crack in the stable door, in disgust, she quickly conspired a way to get out of the wedding. Knowledge of this practice would mean little without proof and she wasn’t sure her desperate family would stop the marriage anyway. So she sequestered herself in prayer before the wedding, giving the young Lord plenty of time with his horse Elizabeth, then saw her husband’s food was sprinkled with salt peter on their wedding night to still his desire. Then as a crowd gathered to watch the marriage consummation, she whinnied in his ear, which shocked him past the point of any desire for her. Since the marriage could not be consummated, it was the annuled.
A Woman Possessed: Her family believed Viviane was possessed by demons, and she was quietly sent to the arms of the Catholic church for an exorcism, where she was tortured and raped at length and nearly died. However, one of the clergy, who was a Tremere in disguise, recognized Viviane’s condition for what it was. She wasn’t possessed by demons, but just spirits and was a natural medium. He drove the spirits out of her, and placed a pendant around her neck so they didn’t possess her again so easily. Then he made the necessary arrangements so it seemed as though Viviane had died during the exorcism, and he took her away.
An Embrace in the Anatolian Desert: As it turned out, she and several others like her were just what was needed for an upcoming secret ritual Tremere and his closest advisors would perform in the Anatolian desert where Saulot would be diablerized. The natural mediums were used to siphon off Saulot’s mind just long enough so Tremere could drink Saulot’s heart’s blood and share some measure of its potency with his advisors through the ritual. Each of the other mortal mediums had their minds promptly burnt to cinders and died, except Viviane, who defied the odds, barely managing to survive. As Tremere and his Councilors stood there flush with the benefits of pilfered antediluvian blood, they closed in on Viviane. The Councilors were ready to drink her up in celebration and to dispatch a witness to the events. But Tremere was impressed she had been able to withstand Saulot’s mind even briefly, and decided to embrace her that night. Whether by the force of coming into contact with Saulot’s mind or due to the embrace, her ability as a natural medium was severed.
Unlife in House Tremere: A world of knowledge opened up to Viviane as an apprentice, and she enjoyed a measure of respect as Tremere’s childe within the House. Despite how jarring her embrace had been, she found a place in House Tremere. She steadily rose through the ranks, becoming increasingly aware of the subtlety of Tremere politics, employing them when needed to unify the House and to allow scholarly pursuit to flourish. She was viewed as a teacher, a conflict resolutionist, and someone who put the ideals of the House before power. Consequently, she became a trusted Magister, and she often attended to matters of inter-chantry disputes which proved useful to the Councilors. So much so, that, in time, when Viviane ascended to the Council, most existing Councilors begrudgingly agreed she was a sensible choice.
The Third Eye (Tertia Oculus): Though she was a unifier for House Tremere, she was horrified and utterly sickened by the clan’s push to destroy and diablerize the Salubri. She used her growing connections within the pyramid to start a secret sect, the Third Eye, which focused on trying to curb and atone for the Salubri genocide. They quietly worked to preserve what they could of both Salubri and their knowledge, always in danger of discovery and being put to final death if the secret sect was discovered. Over the years, Viviane found it harder to find new members as the Salubri passed into legend, and the malicious gossip about the Salubri combined with the ties of blood made it difficult to sway Tremere. Even if many shared a bond with her as one of the Councilors through the Transubstantiation Ritual, it just often simply wasn’t enough. As war within the House and out began to escalate, she, at last, understood, that the only way to save the House and what was left of the Salubri was to purge the Tremere. Consequently, she risks exposure, and reaches out to potential allies of the Salubri, including those of the fallen Salubri, Delphine, which leads to the Ancien Regime, and yet another secret sect, one deeper and far older, the Order of the Venerable Dead. During the assault on Vienna to rescue Heinricus and end Etrius, the last of the Third Eye perished, including Astrid Thomas who died while trying to wake Tremere by using Etrius’ amulet, which had been imbued with lethal thaumaturgy to kill anyone else except its owner who should try to invoke it.
Gargoyle Revolt: During the mid-15th century, Viviane along with the Third Eye took advantage of the escalating tensions between Virstania and Etrius and released some of the gargoyles so an the escape of some Salubri captives could be orchestrated at Ceoris. This situation escalated and inadvertently ignited a full blown Gargoyle Revolt that ultimately lead to the destruction of Ceoris. During the conflict one of the members of the Third Eye disguised herself as Viviane to gain access to the slumbering Tremere in a failed attempt to diablerize him so that she could take over the House and thereby stop the Salubri genocide.
The Order of the Venerable Dead: When Viviane joined the Ordo, she became dedicated to healing the fractured Innconu after the events in New York and the Tophet Well. Additionally, she was tasked with investigating the Ordo’s history. The aftermath of Moloch’s awakening and the emergence of the Unnamed left Marcel with many questions about the Ordo, especially how the Baali were able to overcome the Incognitas that obscures the Ordo, which was later determined to intentional–i.e.–the Baali should know where death comes from. Viviane has dedicated herself to uncovering the shadowed history of the Ordo, and noticed, to that end, passages formerly hidden in texts were now revealed since she’s joined, a product of the Incognitas no longer obscuring them from her. The Ordo’s library in Hunedoara Castle has also been a tremendous boon to her studies. Though she’s struggled to keep her objectivity with the combined weight of Marcel’s passions and Luthienne’s mind, these very qualities also blended with her scholarly impetus, encouraging her to search in new directions for answers. Her blood, thankfully, found a bit more balance when the True Brujah Zosime of the Eastern Ordo joined the Western Ordo. While Viviane’s general consensus is that the Ordo is not compromised any longer by the Baali, she continues to investigate its long history and see that it continues to adhere to its mission of working above kindred politics while combating the corruption of the world. During the course of her studies, the Western Ordo came into conflict with the Eastern Ordo, and hostilities have reached a fever pitch. If Viviane ultimately discovers that the Ordo has become corrupted, rather than leaving this ideal of the Ordo to wither on the vine, she would use what’s revealed to purge the Ordo itself, and rebuild it. For what makes one sect evil or good save for those who fill it.
Ceoris/Vienna: During the events surrounding Vienna and a final confrontation with Etrius, Viviane unleashed a dark fate curse on the Tremere to purge the diablerists in the House, but her intent was manipulated by Etrius so that the curse swept through all of the Tremere without mercy, except those he spared and/or the elders strong enough to resist it somehow. Additionally, Etrius unleashed a number of Baali-tainted apostate gargoyles on the chantries around the world, tying this attack to Viviane. He then made Viviane a Baali apostate, a nightmare come true for her. Etrius also tried to make Heinricus a gargoyle. Both Viviane and Heinricus were ultimately cured when Tremere/Saulot woke up and saved them. But the Tremere were devastated, as was Vienna. This greatly shook Viviane and she entered into a period of nearly shattering mourning as she tried to come to terms with all these changes and her part in everything. However, all was not lost. Viviane used the Camarilla’s resources to restore Vienna and become its Prince, and the situation with the Tremere allowed for the chance of a Salubri revival, which ultimately lead to her meeting her husband.
Convocation of Predjama Castle: While trying to create an atmosphere where what’s left of the Tremere and Salubri can flourish eventually, Viviane’s determined that basing their future endeavors soley on their bloodline might be too isolated. To that end, she announced that the Tremere were leaving the Camarilla and that in addition to what the clan is doing moving forward, that they would be creating a new sect open to those wishing to explore areas of study that lessen the Curse of Caine and move in some way to Golconda.