The Madness of Jerusalem

[below text should be presented as an email]

! This message was sent with High importance.

From:                  eyeonyou@schreckNET.nod

To:                      beckett@schreckNET.nod

Cc:                           

Subject:               !!!GET OUT!!!

Astrid Thomas knows where you are.

Don’t reply — just move!

[above email ends]

[Art notes: Exploding aircraft hangar – Beckett recoiling / blown back by the blast]

[Below text follows in Beckett’s Diary script]

Fortuna Del Mar, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

I worried I’d lost this diary in my hurried escape. Truth be told, writing my thoughts helps keep me sane. Additionally, this diary falling into the wrong hands would draw an undesirable level of attention.

I grabbed what was to hand and sped to the private airstrip, only to arrive as my jet exploded. With Vitel’s credit line temporarily halted, my routine mode of long-distance transport destroyed, and Cesare nowhere to be found — I genuinely hope he wasn’t on board — I did what the best flight animals do and acted unpredictably. I jumped into the Adriatic, lashed myself to the hull of a departing ship, and rested, not knowing my destination. I only loosened my bonds to scale the portside and feed from a crew member occasionally, before sinking beneath the waves and binding myself again. It was a long journey.

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

If this was the work of Astrid, you can be assured the Pyramid will be extremely displeased at such an egregious display.

[Aisling margin notes end]

There's a positive to finding my ship in Tel Aviv-Yafo: knowing Anatole left for Jerusalem before my journey to Venice. He was — in his words — “called by his father.” Anatole was calm, and before now I’ve never even questioned the whereabouts of his sire. If there’s a safe haven to be had here, it’s with one I trust. Anatole is unstable in the extreme, but I trust him like a brother.

 [Above text in Beckett’s script ends]

[Art Notes: The Following extracts need to read like torn out columns from newspapers, with appropriate art to run alongside. They can be scattered throughout the first half of this chapter, and even obscured partly by other things.]

Former Orthodox educator stabs student

By Yossi Arad

Following the stabbing of student Oskar Rothstein, a former lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been arrested. Police have yet to confirm how the suspect was traced, but the suspected perpetrator was hysterically preaching about the presence of “vampires” in Jerusalem, of which Rothstein was a “blood doll.”

The attack, which left the 19-year-old Rothstein hospitalized, took place on campus grounds. Fellow students found Rothstein in the Humanities Faculty Building with grievous internal injuries, caused by a shaft of wood piercing his ribcage and left lung. The unconscious student remains at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, unable to be moved due to his critical condition.

This attack is the latest in the recent wave of violent attacks and spontaneous episodes of mental breakdowns being reported across Jerusalem, largely attributed to a cultural reaction to constant terrorist attacks launched by Hamas.

Dome of the Rock suicide attempt

By Ayelet Amir

Reports of suicides from atop the Dome of the Rock are still being investigated. Footage of a couple jumping from the shrine has been shared on social media, but due to the quality of the footage, no identities have been released or confirmed.

With no bodies found, reports of a stunt perpetrated by noted street magician Dynamite have dominated the news, despite the magician currently performing in New York City. Witness Ben al-Khayal is quoted as saying, “It looked like the couple — a man and a woman, I believe — turned to dust before they hit the ground.”

The Dome of the Rock is 114 feet above ground level at its highest point.

New illegal hallucinogen suspected in “Hysteria Attacks”

By Caroline Azur

The increase in what is being dubbed as “Hysteria Attacks” is being attributed to the distribution of a new hallucinogenic drug among the students of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The arson attacks in the southeast corner of the Student Village have been traced to several individuals now under arrest, who, while nameless until trial, are reported by individual members of the faculty as being known drug users. The University is currently under investigation.

The parents of 18-year-old Yehudit Damari of Netanya, who died in the arson attack, claim their daughter spoke to them in the days before her death regarding the increase in mania at the University. Bruno Damari states he believes a hallucinogen or psychotropic drug to have been added to the water supply of the University.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has declined to comment.

Curfew rejected as Hysteria Attacks spread

By Ayelet Amir

The public have voiced their disapproval over curfew measures mooted by the Mayor of Jerusalem, suggested as a means to curb the so-called Hysteria Attacks now occurring throughout the capital city.

Pundits, governmental bodies, and law enforcement have proposed alternative causes for the Hysteria Attacks, but so far the investigative committee has yet to publish a definitive source for the incidents. For the sake of public safety, the curfew was to immediately take effect. The police and military have been unable to enforce curfew, due to the number of citizens and tourists in Jerusalem after nightfall, when the majority of these attacks occur.

At least one attack has taken place each night since the 10th. Of the latest victims, one was 28-year-old Yitzchok Podell, found on Gershon Agron Street. Three eyewitnesses reported discovering Podell hung upsidedown from a lamppost, exsanguinated. The other victim has yet to be identified. The female is reported to have immolated herself in view of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Historical reports of mass hysteria in Jerusalem are included in today’s magazine,

[Newspaper clippings end]

[Art Notes: A kneeling vampire, arms outstretched, welcoming the heat blast of true faith from the church of the holy sepulchre in the background. She is being disintegrated as onlookers stand in horror]

[Art Notes: Two vampires, hand in hand, jump from the roof of the dome of the rock – we see them from ground level as silhouettes, jumping forward – one a fraction higher than the other]

[Below text follows in Beckett’s Diary script]

Gerard Behar Center, Jerusalem, Israel

The Kindred of Jerusalem have attempted to make me welcome, but even they can’t deny the grip of insanity afflicting this city. Kothar — a member of Clan Nosferatu I hold in truly high regard for his pacifism over the centuries — has attempted to calm his fellow vampires to no avail.

The Kindred political scene here is complex and steeped in cultural and religious grudges, traditions, and contests. They only amplify the enthusiastic madness among mortals and vampires alike. The ostensibly Camarilla vampires make war with the largely Islamic Ashirra Kindred one night, yet offer gifts and gestures of peace the next. The common Sabbat holds little sway here, but I’m told by Kothar the city is still a place of pilgrimage for the truly faithful of that Sect.

[Margin notes in Lucita’s handwriting]

I doubt Monçada ever made the journey.

[Lucita margin notes end]

Anarchs are few and far between. This is not a city of new ideas. Each conflict is in answer to some centuries-old feud, or over feeding rights or restrictions in select territory long disputed. Were a fledgling or neonate to appear and attempt to Anarch about, you’d witness blood enemies turning to face the newcomer. They’d assist one another long enough to drive out the whelp before going back to exchanging blows.

Surprisingly, the mortal population is fewer than a million. The Kindred who make their domain here feed primarily from tourists. Between the Camarilla, Ashirra, and occasional Setite, the natives have decreed certain districts, buildings, and individuals of certain backgrounds forbidden to our kind.

Jerusalem is a city that, since its founding, has been an epicenter of faith, and arguably the best of humankind. Concurrently, it’s ever been a city drenched in blood. I’m hard-pressed to name more than a handful of other cities so fought over by fanatics in the name of their faith.

[Margin notes in Lucita’s handwriting]

I’ve yet to find evidence pointing to faith being “the best of humankind.”

[Lucita margin notes end]

I’ve visited Jerusalem many a time, often without impediment. Visitors who observe the customs and pay respect to the natives are afforded protection. The rapid escalation in violence is new, coinciding with the arrival of at least 30 Malkavians in the last month — an alarming number of whom met Final Death by their own hand in places of religious importance, unrepentantly breaking the Masquerade.

Neither the Jerusalem Camarilla nor the Ashirra have a clue what’s driving this, and the native Malkavians — the Bay’t Majnoon — have all vanished.

I’ve been able to obtain information from various sources, pinpointing incidents mortal law enforcement may ignore due to their exclusively Kindred nature. By doing so, I’ve been able to identify the center of the collective insanity as an archeological dig site near Ketef Hinnom.    

[Above text in Beckett’s script ends]

[Art notes: Map of Jerusalem with incident markers spread around it. There needs to be around fifty or so. a few need to be at the dome of the rock, a few at the church of the holy sepulchre, more at the Hebrew university, but they ultimately need to focus on a site southwest of the old city of jerusalem, adjacent to st. andrew’s church (see ketef hinnom on wikipedia)]

[below text should be presented as a transcript of a recorded conversation – recorded differently to usual, as this is Beckett’s transcription of his own words rather than cesare’s.]

[Recording begins]

00:00:00: I can immediately tell upon entering the excavation site it’s an old dig, reopened and worked on by amateurs. Entire sections of wall and earth have been crudely carved away and redeposited. Even a cursory glance reveals disregarded pottery shards within. My records show this place was of interest to noted archeologist Benjamin Mazar before he turned to other digs. Due to the abruptness of his decision to abandon this site, it would be remiss not to suspect Kindred involvement.

00:11:23: The dig itself more resembles a mine than the careful trench work you find practiced by reputable archeologists. I can’t emphasize enough how little regard has been given to the history uncovered. There are three excavation tunnels, leading through into a central pit, the depth of which I’ve yet to ascertain. Again, this feels more akin to the digging of a gold mine than a tomb. There’s no excavation machinery nearby. This place has been uncovered wholly by use of hand tools. I will spend some time noting what I can. Hesha would pay highly for many of these artifacts.

00:58:13: As I circle the pit I sense a change in air pressure, or some alternating low-pitch audio resonance bouncing around this chamber. I’m familiar with the effect such sounds can have on kine, inducing nausea and dizziness. It makes me want to crack my neck and shake it off vigorously. Most curious. There appears to be no method of entering the pit beyond scaling the sides. This is no simple task, as the sides are extremely smooth rock. Footholds are few and far between. Why a ladder’s not affixed to allow descent, I can’t say. To be trapped down there, unable to climb out, would be as maddening as having to listen to this low “thrum.” It’s truly making my head pound. Concentration is growing difficult. I — [cuts off]

02:13:45: [partially transcribed due to whispering] [mid-sentence] — voices from the pit. Sounds of working. Tools chipping [unclear]. Voices aren’t clear. Don’t understand the language. Something in the darkness. Staring at my mind. Inside my head. [shrieking in tongues] Oh, God. [shrieking in tongues] No!

[Recording ends]

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Art Notes: Below text needs to look like a blog.]

Craziness in Jerusalem

Anyone else heard of crazy shit going down in Israel?

I was stopping over on my way east. Plane landed like it was meant to in Ben Gurion and I'd a couple of hours to kill, so I took a walk around. You know what I saw?

Mordechai Laslo — a Malkavian rabbi from Jerusalem known for his cool-headed, if not bloody sociopathic, nature — stood on a soapbox in the concourse, raving about Gehenna!

I took a photo to prove it was him, but Jesus Christ — I got out as soon as I could. If the Camarilla catch on to his madness, they’re going to kill it with fire.

—    JesusCampbell

[Above blog post ends]

[Art Notes: Crazy Malkavian rabbi in an airport concourse, on a soapbox, ranting about the end times]

[Below text follows in Beckett’s Diary script – bolded font is in beckett’s handwriting but scrawled]

St. Andrew’s Church, Jerusalem, Israel

The faith permeating this area burns, but I use it as protection. None would seek me here. Malkav.

I cannot recall exactly what took place in the excavation site. I do know the effects of the Malkavian antitribu gifts used by Aristotle de Laurent and his Sabbat brethren however, and what afflicted me was similar, albeit extremely pronounced. Malkav.

Rest is required. I will stash my belongings. I will attempt to enter the pit again. I will not be denied answers. Malkav wants his sister back.

One of the phrases I uttered whilst rambling was “Tal’Mahe’Ra.” Familiar. Investigate.

Malkav wants his Malakai.

[Above text in Beckett’s script ends]

[below text should be presented as a transcript of a recorded conversation – recorded differently to usual, as this is Beckett’s transcription of his own words rather than cesare’s.]

[Recording begins]

00:00:00: The dig has continued. I recognize my own tools laying down by a freshly-excavated alcove. Did someone use them? Did I use them? I must revisit the pit.

01:12:35: The pit took longer to find. I know not how that could be. The tunnels were so short last night. Was it last night? It seems like longer? Who’s there?

Anatole: You shouldn’t be here.

Beckett: Anatole? Where is here? What’s going on? Your voice —

Anatole: You shouldn’t be here. You need to leave.

Beckett: But there’s something down here! Someone down here! Something to be excavated! Please, Anatole! He’s in my head! He's in my head and I can't stop the screams!

Anatole: You shouldn’t be here. We feed from Him to awaken Her. He will destroy your soul. You must away from here.

Beckett: I don’t know where I am. He’s in my head.

Anatole: This is the fountainhead. The blood of the moon becomes one this night.

Beckett: Tal’Mahe’Ra.

Anatole: They will not enslave Him.

Beckett: Who are they? Who is He? Who am I?

Anatole: Behind you.

[Recording ends]

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Art Notes: Below text needs to look like an online Chatlog]

sleepingwiththe started the conversation

jjp joined the conversation

badjuju joined the conversation

sleepingwiththe: Topic of the night is Jerusalem.

badjuju: Don’t go there man. I saw some of it. Fucking terrible stuff.

jjp: The Masquerade is liable to fall to pieces. Mark my words — when this comes out in the wash, the Sabbat will have been behind it.

princess123 joined the conversation

princess123: they say gehenna starting down there

princess123: LOL

badjuju: Imbeciles are saying that. I suspect Setite shenanigans.

sleepingwiththe: you always suspect Setites

mrmysterio joined the conversation

mrmysterio: hi all

princess123: did any of u c the dome of teh rock suicide footage?

sleepingwiththe: Yes. At a guess, they weathered the True Faith long enough to let it destroy them as they fell.

badjuju: Fucking dumb place to kill yourself.

princess123: drew a crowd tho and u could hear some people shouting fucking jump!!!

jjp: The speaker was identified. One of the local Malkavians.

badjuju: There’s something in the air there. The whole Camarilla/Ashirra thing is heating up.

princess123: some1 call the inquisition!!!

badjuju: Next to the Vatican this is just about the worst place for the existence of our kind to become known.

sleepingwiththe: Inquisition’s a myth. It never happened. Just a tale elders tell.

jjp: Ha.

badjuju: Jerusalem’s a hotbed. You can’t walk down the street without feeling scorched.

jjp: Scorched earth may be the way to deal with this. It’s what I’ll be putting to the new Justicars.

mrmysterio: Someone will need to warn the Jerusalem Kindred.

sleepingwiththe: that would defeat the object.

princess123: @jjp the cam wouldn’t just murder every vampire in a city

jjp: They’ve done it before.

princess123: fucking harsh

sleepingwiththe: When a dog goes mad you put it down.

badjuju: We’ve kept the Malkavians with us so far without drilling each one between the eyes.

sleepingwiththe: The Malkavians haven’t tried to set fire to our house before.

jjp: @badjuju Get in touch with any dedicated Camarilla loyalists in Jerusalem and encourage them to take a vacation. To hell with the rest.

princess123: jesus shit

sleepingwiththe: You’re not Justicar anymore. Do you have that pull?

princess123: there’s a former justicar here?! fml

princess123 left the conversation

jjp: Who invited princess123?

badjuju: I did. My childe. Catty.

mrmysterio: You don’t do much to hide your monstrous natures, gentlemen.

mrmysterio left the conversation

jjp: And that one?

badjuju: Not me.

sleepingwiththe: Not me.

jjp: And we don’t know who mrmysterio is? @badjuju check with your childe in case he’s a friend of hers. If he’s not, contact the Hurricane.

jjp left the conversation

badjuju: When they’re all ash, Jerusalem’s going to be some prime real estate.

sleepingwiththe: I’ve already carved up a map with where I want my feeding grounds and bar.

badjuju: Now we’ve just got to wait.

badjuju left the conversation

sleepingwiththe closed the conversation  

[Above chatlog ends]

[below text should be presented as a transcript of a recorded conversation – recorded differently to usual, as this is Beckett’s transcription of his own words rather than cesare’s.]

[Recording begins]

Unknown Female #1: — drained you of most your vitae, so it’s time you talked.

Beckett: He’s in my head. He’s laughing at you.

Unknown Female #1: You’re bloody nuts, but you’re no Malkavian. We’ll free and worship Him. Don’t think you’ll stand in our fucking way, mate.

Unknown Female #2: You say too much, shakari.

Unknown Female #1: He’s nuts! We’ll burn his worthless arse soon. Tell us how we reach the bottom of the pit.

Beckett: If you find yourself falling —

Unknown Female #2: The insanity of the Malkavians spreads throughout their number like a disease. It’s accentuated, worse than before, Brother Beckett. His madness infects not only his bloodline but also the land and people around it. Don’t you understand that by freeing Him we will also free these kine?

Beckett: Tal’Mahe’Ra.

Unknown Female #2: Ah, so you know us.

Beckett: Malkav. Malakai. Arikel. Lilith. Children and mother. Mekhet is free and Malakai follows.

Unknown Male: I’ve tried to hypnotize this charlatan into a state of calm again and again but nothing doing. It never fails unless a mind’s truly shattered.

Unknown Female #2: Or unless something more powerful is already in there, Rawi. Brother Beckett — Malkav — can you hear the words of us, your loyal servants? We seek to free you!

Beckett: I’m already free.

Unknown Female #1: We know where Malkav is. We don’t need this wanker.

Serenna: I disagree.

[sound of gunfire and screaming]

[Recording ends]

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Below text follows in Beckett’s Diary script]

South Jerusalem (at a guess), Israel

The previous entry in my diary is a mystery to me. I cannot recall anything recent.

This Serenna plucked me from the fire. She’s not said whether she killed my wardens, but from the sounds on the recording it seems a couple of them met violent ends before I was dragged here.

She exposed me to her third eye. I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered one of the Salubri before now, but I never expected to meet another. I could hear naught but screaming until she healed me and fed me some of her own vitae. I'd typically express reluctance to feed from another vampire, but my thirst consumed me.

Serenna explained herself to be a member of the Edenic Groundskeepers, a fringe cult monitoring the locations of suspected Antediluvians. The Ashirra of Jerusalem hired Serenna to locate what they suspected may be a founder of the infamous Baali. Speaking for the lingering echoes in my mind, I can attest that a creature of great power resides within the pit.

Serenna was quiet but forceful in her questioning, and I could do little but answer her questions with my piecemeal fragments of memory. We’ve agreed to rest, and revisit the matter of the excavation tomorrow night.

[Above text in Beckett’s script ends]

[Art Notes: Serenna the White (image reference on google images, by searching for her name – she’s on a VTES card) feeding beckett through a cut in her wrist. Beckett is desperate and weak.]

[Below text follows in Beckett’s Diary script]

Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, Israel

Serenna and I awoke, fed, and began to converse. Partway through my tortured remembrances, Serenna’s mobile telephone rang with a surprisingly gay tune. After answering, she urged we travel to the Jaffa Gate at speed.

Serenna tells me we await members of the Ashirra. Serenna is nominally a member of the Gaza Ashirra, but operates across Palestine and Israel. It’s a dangerous enterprise.

The meeting is arranged for Serenna to relay her findings regarding the Baali.

[Above text in Beckett’s script ends]

[below text should be presented as a transcript of a recorded conversation – recorded differently to usual, as this is Beckett’s transcription of his own words rather than cesare’s.]

[Recording begins]

Serenna: This is Beckett, Abu Nijad.

Abu Nijad: Oh, yes. I know of Beckett. I thought him taller, however. As-salamm alaykum.

Beckett: And upon you, sir.

Abu Nijad: This meeting was not meant as clandestine, but I had not expected more than Serenna. Why are you here?

Beckett: Serenna rescued me from the....

Serenna: Beckett? What's the matter?

Abu Nijad: He appears struck dumb. [snaps fingers] Awake, archeologist!

Beckett: Oh, Caine! The voices, the screams, the madness!

Abu Nijad: He draws attention! Quick, bring him into the Tower of David! You know the entrance!

[Approximately 15 minutes elapse, during which the sound of shrieking in tongues is heard on multiple occasions]

Beckett: What— what happened to me?

Abu Nijad: You are in a place of peace and faith. The faith may burn, but do not fear. It will keep you whole.

Serenna: You were again possessed by the voices from the pit.

Abu Nijad: The Baali! This animal carries their infection? He will destroy all chances of our pursuing the one true way!

Serenna: Do not draw your blade here, Abu Nijad. You know this is Elysium.

Abu Nijad: Astaghfirullah. I cannot allow him to exit this place.

Beckett: It is not Baali.

Abu Nijad: Do not speak to me, mad cur!

Beckett: Malkav. Malkavians. They are performing a ritual of some kind. Elders. I could see them. The Shaal Fragment says Malkav's blood shall pour forth. They drink from him. Malakai seeks peace. They move to her.

Abu Nijad: He speaks only riddles meant to deceive.

Serenna: No, it is similar to what my research has brought to light, my friend. It is not the Baali who make Jerusalem mad. It is the Bay’t Majnoon and Malkav who is Ashur. I did not locate the site. Beckett did. I found the Tal'Mahe'Ra had interest in him and the epicenter of hysteria. They sought its protection — not destruction. They would not seek such for the Baali. We know this.

Abu Nijad: We do not know they exist, Serenna! They are myth!

Serenna: No more or less than the Baali. Do not lose your temper here, Abu Nijad. I beg of you.

[One minute of unclear noise]

Abu Nijad: It is well. It is good.

Serenna: Thank you for your restraint.

Beckett: I can see the Gehenna cycle. Snatches of it from the perspective of the Malkavians feeding.

Serenna: This will surely be Gehenna for the Lunatics, but not for the other Kindred of Jerusalem. We will deliver boiling pitch to the edge of the pit and coat everyone within, if that is what's necessary to silence this insanity.

Abu Nijad: I can summon all vampires of the city to this task, if Beckett will allow his ravings to be demonstrated before the council.

Beckett: No! No! It is too late.

Serenna: Speak, Beckett.

Beckett: Malkav is inside all his childer now. The voices dissipate. The ritual concludes. The voices subside. Ha! Are they leaving? I can feel their dissipation! [hysterical laughter, followed by a shark crack]

Serenna: Stop that.

[Recording ends]

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Below text should read as a handwritten letter by anatole – strangely tidy, albeit in his handwriting.]

Beckett:

I hope this letter reaches you via Kothar, while you convalesce. I would deliver it in person, but feel deeply ashamed for what befell you. I do not fear your ire, though I deserve it in full. I do fear being told face to face I’ve lost a brother.

I tipped Astrid off to your jet’s location in Venice, and informed her you made your haven within, knowing you do not. I informed Okulos that Astrid was on to you. I foresaw the actions you would take. The signs, Beckett — they never lie to me. I saw visions of the wolf taking to sea, its path leading here. I had to draw you in unknowingly. My father can only plant the seed in the unknowing.

[Margin notes in Lucita’s handwriting]

Oh, Beckett. I had no idea. Do not blame him. He is a victim to his curse, as are we all.

[Lucita margin notes end]

The seed will grow into enlightenment. You realize so little. The seed will germinate and help you understand. It will open your mind to the Cobweb. You will see the world for what it is.

The Malkavians are one. We sing the same song with a thousand voices. You alone from outside our blood shall know the lyrics.

Gehenna is coming, but by taking the vitae of our father and sharing it, we have forestalled it. If it runs in cycles, a new one now begins.

Sincerely,

Anatole

[Above letter ends]

[below text should be presented as a transcript of a recorded conversation – recorded differently to usual, as this is Beckett’s transcription of his own words rather than cesare’s.]

[Recording begins]

Beckett: How did you survive the purge of your line?

Serenna: An oft-asked question, Beckett. You disappoint me.

Beckett: Yet I’d wager you rarely answer.

Serenna: As you are in my care while you recover, and the Ashirra have dictated you are not to leave Jerusalem until the voices within you are entirely gone, I suppose I owe to you whatever would make you feel more whole.

Beckett: This is what nurse and patient scenes are made of, in blue motion pictures.

Serenna: [Laughs] For an addled wreck, you still possess a form of humor. It makes this task more tolerable.

Beckett: In answer to my question?

Serenna: In answer to your question, I was Embraced after the purge. There are seven Al-Amin known to the Ashirra. The Sect’s founders agreed before the purge to safeguard that number. If legend speaks truly, the accord was met between Jamal of the Banu Haqim and Nahum ben Enosh of the Al-Amin. The accord still stands; I am one among seven. I am treated as royalty by the Ashirra for my precious status. I do not deny it chafes.

The Ashirra’s reach is short, but where it holds sway, it cannot be penetrated by Usurpers. Banu Haqim and Bay’t Mushakis are the leaders and counsel of the Ashirra in these nights. They would never allow Tremere to gain a foothold. As long as I remain in the domain of the Ashirra, my existence is secure.

Beckett: Are there truly only seven Salubri?

Serenna: There are more, but they are not safeguarded by this Sect. I cannot speak for them, or their number. Some practice diablerie upon their sires after decades of tutelage. Many follow the dream of Golconda.

Beckett: You are an Edenic Groundskeeper.

Serenna: I feel no shame for my affiliation with that group. The Sabbat would see the world drenched in blood to prevent Gehenna. The Royal Order pursues a path where only the Antediluvians see death. Repayment for all this.

Beckett: You point to your forehead as if it were a curse. You healed me of my affliction with that power.

Serenna: Only temporary. This eye is the eye of Saulot. His physical form may be gone, but he spies through each one of us who bears it. Had the Tremere been more thorough in their elimination of Saulot who is Ashur, we may have prevented Gehenna entirely.

Beckett: Ashur. You referred to Malkav by the same name. Is he not said to be the founder of the Baali?

Serenna: Ashur is a state of being, Beckett. When you succumb to the sins inside, by how are you known?

Beckett: Some call it becoming the Beast. Others call it ecstasy.

Serenna: Among the legends of the Ashirra, when the Antediluvians succumbed, they became Ashur. Each of them has been Ashur. One of them — at that point — formed the Baali line. That is what I hoped to find here. Instead I found you. You found the Bay’t Majnoon performing a ritual. I believe they have taken Malkav into their minds, as the Al-Amin have taken Saulot into theirs.

Beckett: Anatole’s letter states the same. Is Malkav destroyed?

Serenna: Once you are recovered, I intend to find out. If a body yet remains, he must be basked in the light of Jerusalem to see Final Death.

Beckett: And if Malkav now resides only in the minds of his childer?

Serenna: Then it's already too late. Rest, Beckett. I'll bring you another vessel.

[Recording ends]

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Start: the following Yellow stationery paper stuck between diary pages. Beckett's handwriting and sketches. These are not yet encyclopedia entries, but merely beckett's notes.]

Serenna the White

Salubri (Healer?), Tabriz *1888, Golan Heights #1903. Childe of Red Solomon.

Serenna says with a wry smile that in life she was a precocious, rebellious young woman. A daughter to a privileged family, afforded a full education and greater liberties than many of her peers, Serenna fought and campaigned for Persia's women's movement. She confesses now that while her aims helped many, she was only acting against her parents, as many a child does. In Serenna's case, her actions resulted in her interacting with Tāj al-Salṭanah, Nasir al-Din Shah's daughter, on the subject of emancipation. She got in a little deeper than intended.

Serenna drew the attentions of Red Solomon, who recognized in the young woman a desirable altruism. He lured Serenna away from Persia and "gifted" her the Embrace.

The Ashirra affords Serenna every luxury, but she recognizes a stifling grip, multiplied innumerable times due to the Ashirra's protection only extending as far as its borders. For decades she's been treated as near to royalty as a vampire may be, but behind every grandiose show of defense is the threat of Final Death should she leave the Ashirra. Solomon did not assist matters, as his protectiveness for his new childe manifested as an obsessive need to have her close by at all times.

Red Solomon supposedly falling afoul of "the Ticktock Man" — a Kindred assassin of infamous ability — Serenna pursued her own path for the latter half of the 20th century. Her ideals of freedom led her to research why we spend so much of our potentially-endless existences subverting one another's aims. Through her initiative, she reached out to a cult named the Royal Order of Edenic Groundskeepers. The Groundskeepers share her view that the Jyhad is the Antediluvians' province. She joined the Order to hunt them, becoming one of its most militant members.

Serenna continues serving the Ashirra while pursuing her goals. She loathes those who express worship and admiration for relics of the past, expressing that so often these devotees blind themselves to the crimes of their idols. She still strives for a new way, and truth for Kindred, although she’s more comfortable with a gun in hand while in enemy territory than with a notepad and pen while in a museum. Her zeal in identifying the entity within the Hinnom pit — despite my warnings to the contrary — has her now quietly developing some of the abilities of the Malkavians, as well as finding herself afflicted with an at-times crippling mental affliction. Extended periods of painful hatred for herself often wrack Serenna, only the company of her loyal cats granting her a nepenthe.

[Art Notes: Serenna the White is pictured on a VTES card. Check for reference, but aim to make her look more iranian]

[end the proto encyclopedia entry]

[Below text follows in Beckett’s Diary script]

Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Israel

It pains me greatly, but Serenna assures that without the burning faith I would fall to fits again. After a while I stopped recording that crazed speech. Much of it is ancient invective, much to my dismay.

I feel aggrieved by Anatole’s betrayal. I’ve yet to decide what to do with our relationship from this point. He confesses to having lured me here, yet when we were in the pit he attempted to turn me away. Which was his true intention? When did he become so uncontrollable?

Every part of me wishes to revisit the pit. The voices urge likewise. This is what makes me determined not to do so. There are some things beyond me. I feel as if I’ve reached a precipice. There is so much I know. So much I do not. Some things are better left unknown.

The pit of Jerusalem, whether it contains Malkav, one of his childer, the founder of the Baali, or this elusive Malakai, is not a place I wish to experience again.

I recall the faces of those Tal’Mahe’Ra who sought to interrogate me, and worship the pit’s inhabitant. I would know more of this group. They're mere vampires, no ancient gods. I’m prepared to be quite the painful tick on their hides.

[Above text in Beckett’s script ends]

Oasis of Madness

Beckett’s experiences in Jerusalem change him. Prior to his descent into the pit, he would have boldly tackled any mystery. Curiosity, however, does cost. In Beckett’s case, he partook in a ritual he can barely recall, for more nights than he realizes. This ritual may have seen him consume the vitae of an Antediluvian. That Antediluvian may reside in a corner of his mind forevermore.

Perhaps more than the trauma of mental invasion, Beckett reels from Anatole’s betrayal. While not intending to harm Beckett, Anatole lead his friend to Jerusalem to sample Malkav’s wisdom. Whether this was within Anatole’s control, or as a result of Malkav’s manipulations, Beckett’s bond with Anatole — longer-lasting and stronger than any other relationship the Gangrel holds — has been irreversibly shaken.

Jerusalem is left to suffer the aftereffects. Beckett receives aid from the Salubri Serenna the White. Jerusalem does not. It boils up, affecting the movers and shakers in mortal and Kindred society. Simple disagreements between opposing sides heat up as paranoia and hatred seep into every crack of the city’s ancient walls. Open war seems a certainty as this feeling infects neighboring towns and cities. Tensions between Israel, Jordan, and Palestine reach a fever pitch.

Secret societies such as the Tal’Mahe’Ra and the Royal Society of the Edenic Groundskeepers infiltrate the afflicted city, recognizing from their own lore the signs of a waking, or stirring, Antediluvian. The Groundskeepers — unknowing pawns of the True Black Hand — scout the location of the pit. The Tal’Mahe’Ra then send in their own agents to protect and venerate the powerful ancient within. Jerusalem becomes a focal point to the True Black Hand, despite rumors persisting that the sleeping ancient at the bottom of the pit is, in fact, a Baali who successfully misled all participants involved in the ritual.

The events in Jerusalem spawn many chronicle seeds:

• Kothar appeals to the Camarilla for Justicar and Archon presence in Jerusalem, to help maintain the Masquerade and bring to account the main perpetrators of the virulent insanity. Despite his political neutrality, Kothar believes the Camarilla is the only Sect strong enough to impose such law in the city. Jerusalem is in the public eye, so he banks on the Camarilla not denying his request. The Inner Circle is already planning on sending several scouting groups into Israel. They have to decide whether the Kindred of Jerusalem require purging, or if a Camarilla-appointed Prince will resolve Jerusalem’s problems.

• The seeping madness has reached the Ashirra council of Jerusalem. Their numbers have always been small, so it comes as a surprise to the Camarilla when Ashirra from Amman and Damascus show up to Jerusalem Elysia. The Ashirra council, comprised primarily of Bay’t Mushakis (Brujah), Banu Haqim (Assamites), and Bay’t Mutasharid (Nosferatu) have become paranoid. They’re convinced the other Sects intend to see all Islamic vampires driven from Israel. Bizarrely, the one council member to retain her composure is the Bay’t Majnoon (Malkavian) Rana al Hayb. She has ever kept her Clan a secret, posing as one of the Bay’t Mushakis. For some reason she was not called to the pit where her Clanmates performed the ritual. Rana feels she’s the only one who can stabilize the Ashirra in Jerusalem before something terrible takes place. To do so, she may require the council members staked and therefore silenced until she knows how to remedy their affliction. How to do this without substantially weakening the Ashirra is something on which she requires counsel. Rana will only share her thoughts with those she feels she can trust.

• The psychosis taking its toll on Jerusalem is more than just the work of Malkavians and their Methuselahs. The Tremere have a part to play in how widespread the madness has become. The Salubri are being betrayed by one of the Jerusalem Ashirra for great Thaumaturgical gifts, the vampire informing the Tremere of Egypt about the pockets of insanity. Considering how their powers may be amplified, the Warlocks conclude that if Jerusalem were to tear itself apart, the Ashirra would be suitably weakened and less able to defend their Salubri wards. A coterie is dispatched to enact a ritual, successfully spreading the effects of Dementation further than before. With the city collapsing, that same coterie now hunts the extant Salubri of the region. The act would be flawlessly executed, were it not for Assamite and Setite Sorcerers who recognize the markings of Hermetic Thaumaturgy on some of Jerusalem’s historic walls. Both groups are faced with many options when they realize the Tremere are in part to blame.

• Serenna the White is adamant in her aim to discover and slay the Antediluvian in the pit of Hinnom, but there’s a problem. The excavation site has been mostly filled and covered once she concludes her care for Beckett, and the Malkavians have returned to their domains. She searches thoroughly for an entrance to the supposed resting place of Malkav, but finds only collapsed tunnels. The mortal crews she hires to begin excavation all develop derangements swiftly. Even she is not immune, finding the longer she’s in proximity to the excavation site, the more voices she hears gibbering in her head. The Edenic Groundskeeper will not be swayed, and looks for a coterie of similar mindset. She even calls on the Sabbat with rumors of a torpid Antediluvian. Serenna is intent on exposing the ancient being beneath the earth to the rays of the sun and the full might of Jerusalem’s True Faith.

• Many Malkavians summoned to the pit were driven to new heights of mania by the entity within. Some terminated their own existences as a way of silencing the screaming voices. Others among those truly disturbed Lunatics did not put themselves to Final Death, however. These Malkavians stalk the countries of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, as vectors of raw Dementation. They speak only in riddles and babble endlessly, reacting with violence against any in their path. Only one vampire who encountered these vessels of Dementation recorded their words, the most often-repeated ones being “Malakai, daughter of Lilith.” Noddists and Bahari now seek these walking treasure troves in the hope that wisdom may be gained from their rambling.

• Many of the mortals killed during the hysteria attacks were from among the herd and retainers of Abu Nijad of the Bay’t Mushakis. He’s kept this truth quiet. Abu Nijad fears hunters may be empowered by a divinely gifted, enlightening truth. Abu Nijad believes this group of hunters possesses abilities beyond base knowledge of vampires, and they’re based in the Hebrew University. He’ll be sending neonates to the University to find whether this is the case, but it’s unlikely he’ll tell anyone his resources have become the target of kine aggression.

Long intervals of horrible sanity

Malkav didn’t suddenly appear. The people of Jerusalem and surrounding regions have long been subjects of infectious madness. Religious fanaticism, war, governmental decree, civilian persecution, and Malkav sleeping there for centuries — all have been conducive to a growing mania. Malkav’s stirring worsens the situation. Neighbors who disliked one another before now wish to see one another dead. Patients in mental institutions begin to rave and then fall to uncontrollable bouts of depression. Suicide rates skyrocket. Religious fundamentalism grips those previously immune to such doctrine. If you desire a way to make things even worse, here are a few options:

• Malkav has never been torpid beneath Jerusalem. He was consumed by the Fourth Generation of his Clan over a millennium prior to tonight. The entity passing for Malkav is, as Serenna initially suspected, one of the Baali progenitors. It was never just Malkavians who visited its tomb, but they were in the majority. Appealing to the oracles and prophets of Gehenna, the Baali summoned the mad and enlightened, before draining them in an orgy of diablerie. When it rises, Jerusalem will be its first victim.

• The entity in the pit is Malkav, but he didn’t summon any Malkavians to feed from him. They were sent by his vengeful sister Malakai, and her rotting mentor Mekhet. The two serve Lilith with absolute loyalty, and upon discovering the location of Malkav’s body via agents in the True Black Hand, they arranged its excavation using the help of duped Malkavians. They desire Malkav’s destruction so they can supplant his Clan as their own, each Malkavian a Manchurian Candidate.

• The only vampires to actually feed from Malkav were his own childer, who in turn fed their childer, and so on. The result was a revel of gore and lust, as the Clan became bonded entirely. No more will the Malkavians be seen as wild cards with nothing in common. They now share a greater bond with one another than do the Tremere or Giovanni, able to feel whenever a sire or childe is endangered, and in some rare instances capable of mental assistance when required. The Malkavians gradually become a hive mind. Surprisingly few Clans notice the difference.

• Malkav is highly intelligent, and possessed of an oracular ability unsurpassed. He knows — better than any vampire — the details of the past and the future. He sees a time when Caine’s own childer will rise, and knows the Antediluvians will serve to feed their hungry sires. He has arranged his diablerie via the mouths of his own childer to ensure he alone will persist beyond the extermination of the Third Generation.

• The passing of Malkav’s spirit into his Clan changes the Lunatics for the better. Malkav does not cure the Malkavian insanity, but increases their value to their respective Sects. Where once the Malkavians were seen only as burdens, now they act as advisors and reliable soothsayers. As Malkav’s spirit spreads throughout the Malkavian Madness Network, he imposes his immense knowledge on his childer in snippets — only useful when they collaborate to form the entire picture. Princes and Archbishops backed by Malkavians find themselves ahead of the curve. At some point, however, those Malkavians will realize they no longer need to counsel. Together, they have the capacity to rule.