Tusk, The Talebearer of Clan Nosferatu, begins:
I'll begin with the oldest legend - you already know how it starts. First among the vampires was Caine, damnned by God for slaying his only brother, Abel. As punishment, Caine was cursed with immortality to reflect upon his foul deed and cast out of Eden for all eternity. I am told that, in that moment, Caine either called out the name of God or a pledge to God's Adversary; either way, Caine gained the power of the Blood, supernatural abilities that are solely the province of the Damned.
Caine created three childer and dwelled with them in the First City, known to many now as Enoch. Some say Caine himself was responsible for this haven's creation. Caine's three eldest childer called more humans into Enoch, so that the vampires could harvest the humans' blood and be strengthened against the night. The youngest of these vampires was named Zillah - because she was the youngest, she was also the most distrustful of her sire. Her older brothers, Enosch and Irad, were content to stay within the walls of the First City, but Zillah was curious about the world outside it. While tribes of kine were drawn to it, others fled from Caine's creation. The earliest mortals spoke ill of the city - it was a place where sin was plentiful and the laws of God were often cast aside.
Our chapter of the legend begins with a man who also did not trust the ways of Enoch. We are told he was a great hunter, a primitive who possessed such prowess that he sought to hunt the most powerful creatures in the world. The monsters that stalk the night in these, the Final Nights, are but distant descendants of the beasts he fought. The world has forgotten their names and their ways. As this hunter sought out the worst of the monsters of the world, he eventually found Zillah, the youngest of Caine's three childe, who preyed upon the humans of the city of Enoch.
This man, whose true name has long since been lost to the past, lay in wait for Zillah for a hundred days and nights. He lured her into the wilderness, near the mouth of a deep cave. Although he could not see her, it is said that he noticed her footprints on the ground as she followed him. Once he had lured her far away from the First City, into the chaos of the wilderness, he drove a wooden spear deep into her heart. But Zillah was not so easily defeated. With the strength of the Blood, she broke his spear in two; with the power of the Blood, she slashed him across his face, marking him with a scar that would never heal; with the fury that burned in her Blood, she smashed him against the rocks of the cave with one powerful blow. His body, mind and weapon were broken, and he was close to death.
Yet Zillah was so impressed by his bravery that she thought she would reward him with the power of the Blood and Embrace him. She had come to hate her older brothers, and she knew that if she was to become more powerful than they were, she would need brave childer to aid her. And as she listened to the whispering of the Beast within her, she believed more and more that what she did was right. She looked down upon her childe with pity, and she renamed him "Nosferatu."The Downward Spiral
This hunter, Nosferatu, had once been a pinnacle among men, a titan who had triumphed over the most horrible beasts of the earth. Once he received the power of the Blood, his strength grew even more. He became mighty through drinking the blood of his prey, but he also learned to fear the three dangers we fear to this night: fire, sunlight and the treachery of men. For all this strength, he could not forgive himself for failing to slay Zillah. The mark on his face served as a reminder of his failure. Just as Zillah learned to hate her two brothers, Nosferatu learned to hate his sire as well.
Once Nosferatu gained the power of the Blood, he became a greater hunter than ever. Zillah's two brothers taught their own childer how to use the strength of their vitae, but Nosferatu was like a beast abandoned in the wilderness. In denial of his own descent from grace, he developed a terrible hatred of monsters. Nosferatu denied that he had become a monster himself, and exacted his rage on the lesser creatures of the Earth. And because he so hated the flaw ripped across his face, he learned to hide it, and himself, from any who would look.
Nosferatu soon learned to create others in his image. He taught his first childer how to hunt and how to look without fear upon the other creatures that roamed the night. While Caine's eldest childer commanded the mortals of the First City, Nosferatu preyed upon those who wandered in the wilderness. Before his Embrace, Nosferatu had become strong by destroying the most powerful creatures he could find, but after Zillah had baptized him into darkness, Nosferatu learned to become a hunter of men.Bound in Blood
Now, legend tells us that Caine wanted to maintain control over his eldest childer, so to keep them obedient, he learned of the blood bond, the surest way to enforce loyalty. By forcing them to drink his blood regularly, his eldest sons became loyal to him, but by then, Caine could not find all the childer they had spawned. In the same way, Nosferatu learned to make his childer loyal to him; by forcing them into bonds of blood, he gained a clan of obedient followers. And as he nursed his hatred of his sire, Nosferatu spawned dozens of childer.
Just as he had patiently waited a hundred days and nights to lure Zillah and destroy her, he created a brood of childer who would help him rise up and devour the monsters who had doomed him for all eternity. Just as the power of the Blood made Nosferatu strong, his hatred and remorse made him weak. When he roamed the night to hunt, he learned to treasure solitude because it was the only thing in the world that silenced the whispering of the Beast within him.
One night, in a moment of passion, he saw a beautiful woman bathing beside a stream. Again, her name has been lost from all the old stories; she now has a thousand names. He ravished her and drained her of her blood and then, because passion seized him, let her feast upon his blood as well. Before he could kill her and before he could realize what he had done, she fled. Unlike Nosferatu's other childer, she was free because she was not bound by Nosferatu's blood. Nosferatu was so furious that he gathered all his childer to him. At first, he commanded them to hunt this woman down and destroy her, but each night that they did not find her, his anger grew.
When his hatred was so fierce that he could no longer stand it, he finally gathered them to assault the First City. His eldest childer, whom he called the Nictuku, allied around him and, with the silence of the grave, stalked the streets until they found Zillah and attacked her. And there followed a terrible battle. At its end, by the mouth of the cave where Nosferatu was first Embraced, Zillah smote down Nosferatu, leaving him broken and bloodied once again. Nosferatu's childer fled, fearing the retribution that would follow.The Curse
Then Caine came to see what had happened. While Nosferatu nursed his wounds, Caine looked down upon him with the fury of a god. God himself had cursed Caine for slaying his brother, and now, Caine stood before another of his relatives, a childe who had tried to kill his sire, his mother, Caine's own daughter. At the sight of this attempted parricide, Caine was consumed with a vast and furious anger. And at that moment, Caine's hatred gave him strength: He cursed Nosferatu and all his descendants. Nosferatu and Nosferatu's childer and their childer's childer all fell down accursed by the fury of Caine, bearing a curse far more hideous than the flaw upon Nosferatu's face. And even the lone woman who had escaped into the woods, she too fell down, and her flesh withered, and her face cracked, and her bones warped, and for all eternity, she was to pass on the curse that Caine had placed upon Nosferatu.
Caine banished Nosferatu from the First City forever. Nosferatu crept away to hide in the woods once again, to return to the cave where he had first died and to sleep until he could dream of a way to atone for his great crime. Many years passed, and the Nictuku waited faithfully, bound through blood to obey his desire. And the woman who had escaped, the Matriarch of our clan, went out into the world to create her own family and become the sire of us all.
Time rolled on, and Caine's eldest childer begat 12 other childer, but that does not concern my story. A great flood came and destroyed the First City, and the Antediluvians slept beneath the waves until it passed, but neither does that concern my story. This is the end of the story: Nosferatu dreamt of a way to atone for his sin. As he slept, he summoned the Nictuku to him and commanded them to seek out the woman who had fled from him. To atone for what he had done, he would offer her up to Caine. But by that time, she had Embraced a multitude of childer, so Nosferatu pledged to destroy them all and offer them up to Caine. Nosferatu sent the Nictuku to slay them, one by one, and bring their ashes back to him so that he could make an offering to Caine and thus show his contrition.
It is said that we hide in the night because we fear the world of men. It is said that we hide from the light because we are hideous and ashamed of our cursed appearance, but this is not true. We hide in the night because we know that Nosferatu has sent out his eldest childer, the Nictuku, to destroy us all and offer our souls up to Caine. Caine's other childer know that the time will come when the Antediluvians will all realize the horror of what they have done and rise up and destroy all their childer and offer their souls up to Caine, but for us, the killing has already begun.
And that is why we crouch in the night, telling our stories, waiting and listening for the Nictuku to destroy us all. That is the story of how our clan began, and when the last of us has been found and destroyed, that will be the story of how our clan ends.
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The Nictuku Enigma
According to the Loremasters of Clan Nosferatu, the Nictuku are not a bloodline - they are eldest childer of the Nosferatu Antediluvian himself. When legendary Nosferatu rose up against his sire and her relations, he did so with the aid of his own blood bound childer. Although blood bonds have been known to wear off over time, legend also has it that Nosferatu has repeatedly renewed these bonds of blood, summoning his eldest childer to his torpid body, where they may feed and renew their loyalty. This is not without its dangers, of course: if the Nictuku did not have such a command of the Obfuscate Discipline, another vampire could attempt to follow them to their master and diablerize this Ancient. Thankfully, the Nictuku are allegedly powerful enough to erase all traces of their presence... if they exist at all.
One further aspect of the legend of the fourth-generation Nictuku has resulted in a great deal of speculation within Nosferatu society. Some legends state thar before Nosferatu's curse, he Embraced a beautiful woman out of sheer lust, one who is now the "Matriarch" for the rest of the clan. If this is true, this mysterious "Mother of All Nosferatu" has never revealed herself furthermore, she is not known by any one definitive name - Matriarch is simply the most common one employed.
Other myths claim that three such Ancients escaped Nosferatu's blood bond. This theory has some evidence to support it, since the infamous (and now deceased) sorceress Baba Yaga of Russian legend has been reputed to be a childe of the Antediluvian. If the Matriarch and Baba Yaga were the first two childer, then who was the third? Lore concerning Nosferatu's supernatural abilities provides one possible explanation: The highest levels of the Obfuscate Discipline, it is well known, can obscure all traces of a Nosferatu so thoroughly that he or she may be effectively forgotten. While there may be hints of legends that this creature once existed, many efforts to find such a monster are often forgotten or abandoned. The Nictuku Enigma remains a tantalizing glimpse of the clan's illustrious past - one as cryptic as the existence of the Nictuku themselves.