Carna's Rebellion

[below text should be presented as handwritten in a stylized font, HANDWRITTEN by Carna – the first and final lines of which should be stylized margin notes]

Through winding winds I trust this letter reaches you, where'er you tread these nights.

My beautiful BCarna's Rebellion

[below text should be presented as handwritten in a stylized font, HANDWRITTEN by Carna – the first and final lines of which should be stylized margin notes]

Through winding winds I trust this letter reaches you, where'er you tread these nights.

My beautiful Beckett,

You've never read my words before, yet my hope is you recall my person. Of all my years, the one in which your hands held mine remains my fondest. I was a poor Prince, in truth. Marseilles ill-suited me, yet I persevered for a time after you deserted me. The memory of us has kept me from sleep. You understand, I'm sure.

I hear — from time to time — of your search. Victor recently bemoaned this "amateur" named Beckett who, through fortune, had acquired a trinket my Clan had desperately sought: the Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers. I could not suppress my smile. Astrid Thomas was demoted in status as a result of your acquisition. She will boil the blood behind those wonderful eyes of yours should she trace you.

I possess something better. Discovered in a locked chamber in the magical void of the Marquette University, I now find myself the owner of the original copy of Das Buch von der Grabkrieg, or the Book of the Grave-War as it's otherwise known. I've not revealed to Mortius I possess it; I fear he was keeping it hidden away.

Now it's our secret.

The Book tells much of the Gehenna phenomenon. I know you hunger for it as you read these words. You wish to taste it with your wonderful eyes.

I invite you here, to clutch my hand tightly as we read together. It's truly enlightening, my beautiful Beckett. This original text contains so much more than Mortius' translation. You will drink freedom from its pages. No longer bound to the wolf. You too can feed from the shadow-sleepers. Oh, my beautiful Beckett. The one true way is in my grasp, and I can take you there if you're willing to make the journey.

Come as soon as you're able. Do not treat with the other Tremere of this city.

Your beautiful Carna

Let no prevailing breeze dismay the course of this letter.

[above text ends, a signature following the name Carna]

[Art Notes: Symbol on reverse of letter shows an upright palm forward hand, with a two-headed snake looping between its fingers. One snake head bites the flesh between thumb and forefinger, the other holds a tremere clan symbol between its fangs. An open right blue eye rests in the center of the palm. full color.]

[below text follows in Beckett's DIARY script]

The Calleva Arms, Silchester, British Isles

Atop the ground where I made my rest, appearing unprotected and dropped there by chance, a letter sealed with a scarlet wax. I give credit to the gifts of the Tremere for it having reached me.

The original Book of the Grave-War is a prize my rivals would kill to find. This is no exaggeration. Copies and translations float around — I hold one in my Oxford library — but the original? Milwaukee seems an unlikely spot for such a trophy, yet the Tremere Dr. Mortius initially translated the work and, before his disappearance, spent time in Milwaukee. The Book visits the portents of Gehenna, making detailed references to diablerie and waking Methuselahs. Given recent events, this Book is invaluable.

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

The disappearance of Dr. Mortius has been felt. His investigative works are renowned. If you find evidence of his whereabouts, Astrid will forget your little insult.

[Aisling margin notes end]

Milwaukee is not a city I would choose to visit. Nothing against Milwaukee per se, it's just the Rust Belt of America has become a hotbed of Camarilla-Sabbat conflict. I've not the inclination to act a stalking horse for either Sect, and am given to understand by Okulos that private airports in the Milwaukee area are being targeted by packs. Transit therefore requires a degree of discretion. I'll be flying directly into Milwaukee once my business here is concluded. Cesare will collect me as baggage. Ignominious, yet necessary.

Irritatingly, Carna hasn't specified a time or place for our meeting. I'll start sniffing around the universities and any Masonic lodges. The Tremere lack imagination.

[above text in Beckett's script ends]

[Below text in italics reads as an extract of the Dr. Mortius translated Book of the Grave-War, with the non-italicised text in Beckett's handwriting]

Hunt the shadow-sleepers

Think not on fear or hate

Hunt them for blood

for Kindred’s sake

From my translated copy of the Book of the Grave-War I find this reference to the shadow-sleepers. Mortius believed them to be torpid vampires of great age, according to his annotations.

[below text follows in Beckett's DIARY script]

General Mitchell Airport, Milwaukee, United States

Our plane landed in the early evening, timed in case of any "events." It would appear the Camarilla are paranoid about a Sabbat attack via Milwaukee's larger airports. Needless to say, the coffin of "Cesare's deceased brother" was opened as we made our way through security.

[Margin notes in Lucita’s handwriting]

Milwaukee's Kindred are notably successful in monitoring the arrival of newcomers to their city. The astonishing number of Lupines in the surrounding area pushes nearly all visitors to arrive by plane, creating a bottleneck through which ghouls keep track of visitors.

[Lucita margin notes end]

I was woken by a panicking Cesare to find we'd been sequestered in a security office. Cesare explained the "chief" was apparently on his way to see the both of us. I discreetly recorded our conversation, in case some manner of mind control was implemented. Cesare was sure the Homeland Security officer who opened my coffin stared at my body with an unusual intensity.

I have to tip my hat to the Camarilla — they're thorough.

[above text in Beckett's script ends]

[ART NOTES: PLANE TICKET FROM HEATHROW TO MILWAUKEE VIA ATLANTA, FOR MR. CESARE CONTALDO. BAGGAGE CERTIFICATE FOR ONE COFFIN CONTAINING CORPSE OF "mR. Goffredo Contaldo."]

[below text PRESENTED as transcript of a recorded conversation]

[Recording begins]

Akawa: Who in fuck do you think you are, flying into Milwaukee without an invitation from the Prince?

Beckett: My name's Beckett. I'm an archeologist.

Akawa: Elaborate. Whose side are you on?

Beckett: In most cities they get Blue Bloods or Warlocks to do all the probing questions.

Akawa: Yeah, well, we're running short. Answer the question, please.

Beckett: I'm not of the Sabbat, if that's what you're getting at.

Akawa: But you're not Camarilla?

Beckett: Bright boy.

Akawa: Don't talk down to me, you limey prick. I know how to disguise my age. Did you say your name was Beckett?

Beckett: I did.

Akawa: [laughs] You were expected. Decker is going to love meeting you.

Beckett: I'm guessing I have cause to be concerned.

Akawa: Could say that. The Primogen council's dissolved.

Beckett: Completely? Would you happen to know where the Tremere Primogen is?

Akawa: Carna flew the nest. Left Milwaukee two weeks ago after bringing together a weird cult of Tremere from along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Chicago, Green Bay, even one from Manitowoc. Nobody had any idea why the Warlock population suddenly shot up, but we figured they were to act as a weapon against the Sabbat packs who kept showing up. No such luck. They all left, and even the native Milwaukee Tremere vanished. But in her library? Hundreds of scraps of paper with your name scribbled over them.

Beckett: I see.

Akawa: Yeah? Word is Carna went Anarch somehow, which I didn't even know was possible for Tremere. Fleeing your home city just before it's about to get attacked? That's fucked up. Most of the non-Tremere Anarchs saw it as permission to run for the Anarch Free States. But I'm not about to just quit Milwaukee. I'd rather be Camarilla than tarred with that brush. This city's defense is falling to pieces because Carna decided she preferred the West Coast view.

Beckett: What's your name?

Akawa: Akawa. I was born on this land, Embraced on this land, and I'll die here to protect this land if I have to.

Beckett: I'd like to see your Prince.

Akawa: Thought you might say that.

[Recording ends]  

[END TRANSCRIPT]

[below text follows in Beckett's DIARY script]

Miller Park Stadium, Milwaukee, United States

I'm told by Akawa the Brewers are in their final inning as we start the climb to Prince Decker's suite. I like the idea of baseball, but can't claim to understand it. I nod and smile as he tells me they've been performing well lately. Akawa has an air of fatalism about him, as if he's not going to see this team perform for much longer. Perhaps it's not just the Brewers in their final inning.

Akawa asks why I'm scribbling down notes as I go, so I tell him about my diary. He makes a noise like sucking air through his fangs. I'm told Decker is a hardliner, which is surprising for a Gangrel. I shouldn't write anything down in his presence.

[above text in Beckett's script ends]

[Art Notes: Executive suite in Miller Park Stadium (photographic reference available online). Soft red furnishings, team colors on the walls, no mortals within, bar in the background. It has a fresh feel of exclusivity. In attendance are the strikingly tall, pale Mark Decker in camo trousers and a Milwaukee Brewers jersey, the frighteningly obese, besuited, forked tongued Parovich, and the over-dressed gown-wearing, stunning Lucina (see Milwaukee by night for facial references for these characters). Beckett is in debate with Lucina and Parovich as Decker stands, looking out over the baseball field.]

[below text PRESENTED as transcript of a recorded conversation, with notes in the columns]

[Recording begins]

Decker: Carna invite you here thinking you'd arrive before she went and left our flank open?

Beckett: We knew each other a long time ago. The French Revolution hadn't even happened. Yes, she invited me.

Decker: Sit, for God's sake. You missed one of the Cardinals barehand it just now. It would've stung even me.

Beckett: I don't find much time to watch sports.

Decker: I’ve got to unwind a little before fixing for a big play. Twenty years back I would've been watching one of these games in the bleachers at the County Stadium, before going out with my boys to scalp a Lupine. Now it's all about Sabbat.

Beckett: Does Carna's disappearance have anything to do with the Sabbat baying at the door?

Parovich: It's clearly more than a coincidence.

Decker: We been over this. The Sabbat was getting frisky before Carna did her Houdini. Primogen always been overreaching. The Anarchs ain't known right from left. Seizing Praxis ensured stability. But then the Sabbat start striking us where we're weakest, again and again. One of the good old boys, a Malkavian named Jacob who’s tight with Carna, keeps calling it a sign of Gehenna. "When Athens falls, the depths shall rise," is what he says, over and over.

[Margin notes in Anatole’s handwriting]

Jacob and Esau. Two Malkavians who love and loathe each other like brothers.

[Anatole margin notes end]

Beckett: That's not a passage I've read or heard before tonight.

Decker: Jacob keeps talking Jyhad. Lays it mostly at the feet of Esau. I got to admit, I start to see the Jyhad in all of it. Jacob says you're another herald. It's not like I ain't heard of the trouble that follows you around. We do talk up our rogues. I got to admit I thought you'd be taller. You tell me: Why was that no account Carna writing your name just about every place she could?

Beckett: I gather from a letter she sent me a couple of months ago that I was important to her. Had she been acting strange — stranger than usual, in recent months?

Decker: Primogen come in two forms. Controllers and controlled. Parovich here has a cowboy's grip on the Nosferatu of Milwaukee. Carna's different. She always been on the wires of her Clan. That ain't so different from most Warlocks, I guess, but lately she got herself bowed up. Just ask the Primogen.

Beckett: This is the council?

Lucina: What's left of it. One destroyed, two went east, a fourth decided to start launching guerrilla attacks on the Sabbat after discovering they were marshaling in Fond du Lac. Of course, none of this happened until Carna decided to start talking revolution.

Parovich: Traitorous bitch proclaiming the Tremere to be servants of ancients. She said she'd broken free from Tremere hegemony. Attempting to turn antitribu, I have no doubt.

Lucina: For a long time the Sabbat have known where a number of us make our havens, and our most important kine resources. Their attacks have been nothing short of devastating. This behavior from Carna was enough for Jason to openly ask her whether her loyalty was to the Sabbat.

Parovich: Frankly my dear, there's no doubt in my mind that that's the case.

Lucina: Carna lashed out at Jason in response. They were at one another's throats until that ignorant peon Scott staked Carna.

Parovich: We should have ended her there.

Decker: She was out of kilter, but one of the first things you learn is not to piss off or on the Tremere. They deal with their own. So Edward Scott, our former Brujah Primogen, delivered her to Victor. He done lingered long enough to hear the screams after Victor extracted the stake. They weren't hers. Victor was screaming just long enough for Scott to know to hightail it. By the time he returned with a bunch of my Anubi in tow, Carna and her new arrivals were fixing to leave Milwaukee.

Beckett: Did nobody try to stop her?

Decker: The Anubi tangle with shapeshifters every week, and make good on their aims to defend Milwaukee from Sabbat, whenever they can. But these Warlocks? They just wanted out. Most of them hadn't been here for longer than a month. Carna told Scott they were forming a new family. House Carna was going to exodus their way to the promised land, away from Tremere reprisals. You should’ve seen Scott when a bunch of his Anarch buddies upped and followed.

Beckett: But what triggered this change in Carna? How would a Tremere break free from her Clan?

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

No small feat, even for one as old as Carna. This must all tie in to the Book.

[Aisling margin notes end]

Decker: I can tell you're asking yourself as much as you're asking us. I guess she just grew tired of having her strings pulled, found a loophole. She ain't some fragile damsel needs saving. Carna discovered a way to pull herself out the Jyhad, and took it. Hell, if the Tremere weren't so damn useful in locating and screwing with Sabbat I'd be applauding her. You hear tell of Gangrel making moves to ditch the Ivory Tower?

Beckett: Of course, though I've heard mixed rumors surrounding the cause. You're not considering it?

Decker: Me? Milwaukee's a laughingstock as it is, to be the city where the Camarilla Prince is a Gangrel and it was the Tremere that done gone Anarch. Least I can do is go down with my boots on.

Beckett: With regret, I've got nothing to offer you in your war. I don't mean to stay here for longer than I need to, and it seems my reason for coming has rudely departed. I'm keen to meet this Jacob, however.

Decker: No bigger player of this game than him, and he's been around for more than a few centuries. You stop off at the Caroline Hall at Mount Mary's to rest out the day. Students ain't there while it's undergoing work, but Carna made a haven in the dorms. I'll see if I can reach Jacob and send him your way.

Beckett: I appreciate your hospitality. I assure you I'll cause no trouble.

 [Rapturous applause from the stadium]

Decker: The benches are clearing. As if this city don't have enough shit to deal with. You don't stick around to watch your own home run, morons! You run! You run!

[Recording ends]  

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Art Notes: Interior of administrative office from doorway viewpoint. Scraps of paper litter the floor, all marked with the name "Beckett". A central desk is piled high with books. Some of the book spines are marked with hieroglyphics. A waste paper bin overflows with screwed up paper.]

[below text follows in Beckett's diary script]

Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, United States

It becomes apparent Milwaukee is a city where the Kindred have been fending off enemies for so long, they've adopted a strange resoluteness vis-à-vis the Sabbat. They're on a war footing. In my experience Camarilla cities rarely possess this attitude. Perhaps it's symptomatic of having a Gangrel Prince.

I suspect this is one of many havens owned by Carna. With Decker so keen on the Masquerade, the bedchamber's been thoroughly scrubbed. Curiosity overtaking me, as it often does, I decided to have a brief wander for the last hour before sunrise.

The cleanup crew did a fine job with the dorm room, and even the library, but not the heretofore locked administrative offices. If a mortal had been on site, I've no doubt they would have been bewildered by the array of books and scattered paperwork. But I know the signs of research.

Carna's exploration into the Book of the Grave-War has seen her studying Cults of Isis, ancient Egypt, and modern Berlin. I also found a draft letter in the trash.

 [above text in Beckett's script ends]

[Art Notes: The borders of these pages should be filled with scraps of paper bearing Beckett's name, written in Carna's handwriting. One of these scraps of paper, part concealed by the others, should say Vykos.]

[below text should be presented as handwritten in a stylized font, HANDWRITTEN by Carna – the first line should be stylized, and in the margin]

Through winding winds I trust this letter reaches you, where'er you tread these nights.

My beautiful dreadful Myca Vykos

You have never read my words before, yet my hope is you know my name and afford it respect.

I possess the original Book of the Grave-War and the one true way to Golconda. I do not send this letter to mock or threaten. I invite you to remain in your stronghold of Washington D.C. where I might bring them to you in two several months hence. I will not remain in Milwaukee overlong, but must be free to travel without interference.

Your curiosity likely sets you to wonder: Why is one of the hated Tremere proffering ancient Noddist tomes to the most perverted debased Fiend in this hemisphere?

I have been am

[above text ends]

The Book of the Grave-War

Throughout Beckett’s Jyhad Diary are multiple references to the Book of the Grave-War. It’s the tome responsible for setting Beckett on his journey, and though he often finds himself veering off course and exploring tangents, his path is ever dictated by his hunt for the Book. This pilgrimage is rarely obvious to him, yet unerringly he’s drawn to the west coast, D.C., Berlin, and elsewhere in search of the Book.

Beckett is enticed by the Book’s fabled content. Clues to the breaking of blood bonds and Clan ties are said to be written within. Its advice on the subversion of Gehenna and the Jyhad greatly appeal to the Gangrel. Supposedly, those who read the Book in its entirety are freed from domination, with Carna as an example of a vampire completely enslaved to her Clan until she pored over the complete text.

When Beckett finally locates the Book — or a damaged version of it — in Berlin, he holds a powerful relic that acts as a beacon to other vampires. When it enters his ownership he at once becomes capable of emancipating Kindred far and wide, and the target of all who would see such freedom denied.

It would not be unfair to expect Beckett to rid himself of the Book soon after discovering it. If it entered the hands of a coterie of young vampires, the chronicle following would be unlike any other.

[below text follows in Beckett's diary script]

Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, United States

It's my belief Carna planned to double cross myself to Vykos, or vice versa. Vexingly, I do not know why. What I know from my encounter with Jacob (I woke to find him sitting at the foot of my bed) is that Vykos is one of the parties responsible for the attack on Milwaukee.

My suspicion is if Carna did send a finished letter to Vykos, she didn't expect it to start a war. She rallied her new troops and fled, with the Book of the Grave-War. This city is being attacked full bore by the Sabbat for something that's already slipped through their fingers.

Pathetic, really.

[above text in Beckett's script ends]

[below text PRESENTED as transcript of a recorded conversation, with notes in the columns]

[Recording begins]

Jacob: My boys handle technology for me. I struggle to keep up. Not like Esau. The bastard has a penchant for the sublime.

Beckett: I was hoping you might know something about Carna, and a book she unearthed.

Jacob: Oh, the delightful Carna. She's buggered off. Can't say it came as much of a shocker, but I miss her. She was a wonderful agent in the eternal game. I know she didn't answer the Beckoning and head east. More than a few elders and even ancients have succumbed to it, but she never felt the pull. I can feel it tugging at my very Blood, even now.

[Margin notes in okulos' handwriting]

I've heard stories of this "Beckoning." Elders packing up and leaving, sometimes without even so much as a note. Has left quite a few vacancies, or so I'm told.

[okulos margin notes end]

Beckett: Why were you not surprised by her departure? Everyone else in the city seems to have been caught unawares. Tremere turning to the Anarchs isn't commonplace.

Jacob: I don't think Carna is an Anarch. Not as such. Carna was used, passed around by her Clan, and frankly had enough. She enjoyed the little junkets I sent her on, before having to return to the kennel with that ghastly Victor, and the monstrous Mortius. You know, Mortius was in with Esau? I believe him consumed. Deserved it, the wretch.

Beckett: I hate to pull you back on point, but —

Jacob: Carna! Oh, she was a precious bird trapped in a smelly cage. Reminded me of a childe of mine. Once, I was pursuing activities out in the City of Angels. You know it? Yes. I met such a beauty. Despite my age, she was attracted to me! I never saw one so vivacious, yet such delicate depths, my lad. Such delicate depths. She called me "daddy". She's Baron of Santa Monica, now. Such a delight. Esau had to go and ruin it by Embracing her sister.

[Lengthy pause]

Jacob: Carna is a free spirit. She believes she's found the one true way, but she's hardly the Master of Ravens. Not too far from Anarch, though I doubt it's an organization representative of her views. I miss her, though. So many uses. A bishop on the board, as it were. But the game is changing. Now we're playing backgammon.

Beckett: You're quite effusive for a vampire of your purported age. I've met more than my share of ancient Kindred, but not many speak so openly of their manipulations or pawns.

Jacob: Don't mistake candor for weakness, my lad. I've spent a millennium playing with an open hand. Esau plays with his closed. He denies the Jyhad exists. We're both still extant, both still dogging one another. Jerusalem, Athens, Tunis, Milwaukee. Once we've done the full circuit and get back to Jerusalem, we might shake and make up.

Beckett: Decker quoted you on the subject of Gehenna. You see the coming war as one of its portents.

Jacob: Esau and I have witnessed Gehenna at least three times. Athens is mentioned in the Book, you know? When Athens falls, the depths shall rise. The Book says so. The Sabbat are knocking at the door. Don't you know how many Methuselahs are buried beneath Athens? I daresay I put a couple there myself—

Beckett: I have to interrupt. Two things. Athens isn't besieged by Sabbat. Milwaukee is. Secondly, if you've seen the original Book I'd be grateful to know where. Carna invited me here to view it, but with her gone —

Jacob: Foolish! Milwaukee was known as the German Athens! The spilling of sweet vitae in these streets will wake the Methuselahs, and up from the depths they'll come. I'm already planning on Phoenix. Don't tell Esau if you see him. I'd love to see his face when he realizes I've done a runner.

Beckett: For pity's sake, Jacob.

Jacob: Impatient, aren't you? You know, these Methuselahs aren't what you'd expect. They were here long before we arrived on our boats and upset the natives. It's going to be a brave new world for the Camarilla and the Sabbat. [laughs] But yes, the Book. I've seen it. Only read snippets. I'm not some wretched Noddist. I read enough. I believe she took it with her. Lovely Carna was so upset when you didn't arrive immediately. She studied it avidly. I saw the effect it had on her precious mind. She grew hungry. I wasn't going to stare at the thing and go mad.

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

Likely to be of errant bloodlines so far divorced from the 13 Clans that the blood has split, but worth monitoring.

[Aisling margin notes end]

Beckett: You're a Malkavian.

Jacob: [laughs] Anatole said you had a sense of humor! The boy flip flops between Esau and I, but he's a fun piece. There are things more insane than Malkavians, my lad. Haven't you met our cousins in the Sabbat? You're close to Aristotle, aren't you? And surprised I know so much? I play with an open hand. Keeps the enemy off guard. Esau hates it. One of our antitribu, as we've all taken to calling them, is supporting Vykos in the coming siege. Has something to do with King Distilleries in the docklands. Used them to house three Sabbat packs until I tipped off Decker and his Anubi.

[Margin notes in Anatole’s handwriting]

I swear to you, Beckett — I've never even spoken with Jacob or Esau, let alone discussed your sense of humor, or lack thereof. Don't underestimate this one due to his talkative nature. His tendrils run deep.

[Anatole margin notes end]

Beckett: Do you know for a certainty Vykos is involved in the siege? I believe Carna was attempting communication with them.

Jacob: I know what my pieces relay. If they heard the Book is in Milwaukee... Well, there's your casus belli. That Book says a lot about Methuselahs waking up, where they'll do it, and the subsequent effects. Carna translated that part. But don't worry too much. We contract, we expand, and the clock keeps ticking. As long as you're out of Milwaukee within the night you should be fine.

Beckett: I'd intended on staying a while longer, to search the Tremere Chantry if possible. Where might Carna have gone?

Jacob: I wouldn't recommend it, my lad. The next Sabbat attack is aimed at the havens of the most influential vampires in this city and is due soon. Parovich has given them all the information they need, the loathsome toad. And anyway, the Cult of Isis — strange females — have already stripped the Chantry bare. I didn't even know they were pieces, but Esau may have been clever there. Carna, though? Go west, young man. Now be a chap and turn the recorder off.

[Margin notes in Lucita’s handwriting]

Reach out to Smiling Jack and try to find out whether the Free States have received a wave of Tremere.

[Lucita margin notes end]

[Recording ends]  

[END ABOVE TRANSCRIPT]

[Below text follows in a block type on a fax template, with an illustration / copy photo of a vacant cave with aztec / Egyptian / alien-style burial chamber motif. The occupant of the chamber is markedly missing. Perhaps one picture of the chamber with accoutrements, and one of a bare slab marked with animistic syllabary]

I found this burial chamber near the Hiawatha National Forest four years ago, while chasing down a link to the reported Abomination making its haven in Manistique.

It was unlike anything I'd excavated before. At first I was sure it was some elaborate Native American sepulcher, for a chieftain, wise man, or matron figure. They're uncommon, but do exist. The artifacts within were intricate, and while not possessing real world value, were clearly crafted by master artisans.

I discovered dried blood in a number of vessels, but most important — cool, liquid blood in a vessel I'd compare to a kylix. I had a taste, and it was vitae. Old vitae. I fled from the tomb and resealed it to prevent myself from drinking more. No exaggeration.

The blood not being coagulated reeks of Tremere magic, yet this place clearly predates the Warlocks' entry into the Jyhad. I've never been able to find the tomb again, despite marking its location.

Your friend Jacob may not be lying. Methuselahs of unfamiliar Clans indeed!

Okulos

[Above Okulos fax ends]          

[below text follows in Beckett's diary script]

Milwaukee Intermodal Station, Milwaukee, United States

After the recording concluded, Jacob spoke on a number of topics. His interest in the dearth of magical energy at Marquette University rivals any Warlock. He believes it to be the catalyst for Carna's break from her Clan.

Over and over he mentioned the Jyhad as an active game, citing the game's champion to be Mithras, of London. I was quick to assure Jacob of the ancient Ventrue's demise. His hysterics followed me out the University.

I've sent Cesare on an errand. I don't know where Decker heads on his nights off, so I've had Cesare post a letter under the door to his executive suite at Miller Park. It explains my suspicion of Parovich as a traitor, the fullness of the coming Sabbat attack, and the scorched earth policies of this Cult of Isis. They're clearly in someone's employ.

[Margin notes in Anatole’s handwriting]

This is exactly what Jacob wanted you to do. You've become a piece on his board.

[Anatole margin notes end]

I made it clear I wasn't going to participate in this coming war, and I'm not.

That said, turncoats never fail to bait me.

[The above text in Beckett's script ends]

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

Carna

Tremere antitribu (House Carna?); *1419, Marseilles #1435. Childe of Bourdana.

Two centuries ago I encountered her in Marseilles. Carna was a troubled soul even then, but for many months we spoke of the destination of our kind. We held hands whenever we walked through the gardens of Bouc-Bel-Air, now named the Jardins d'Albertas. They were her place of privacy. I learned much from her within that peaceful location.

I'd no idea I'd left such a lasting impression on her. Our courtship extended only to discourse and light physical affection, but perhaps in our world that type of undemanding relationship is treasured.

Carna was removed from Praxis of Marseilles by her Clan, due to several public indiscretions with mortal men. She was appointed Regent of the Milwaukee Tremere, and Primogen to boot, although those with whom I’ve spoken say the political games of Kindred wearied her long ago.

Her discovery of Das Buch von der Grabkrieg within the University amplified her desire for release. Its talk of liberty through diablerie, and throwing off the chains of the elders, spoke to a part of Carna that since Embrace had been shackled and tormented. She practiced rituals detailed within the Book. She took lovers again, reveling in the joys of sex and intimacy. She opened her mind to the possibility of Golconda, despite the dangers of following that path.

The question of whether she committed diablerie, and how this allowed her to break free from her Clan, remains. For all intents and purposes, she could be considered voluntarily Caitiff — yet it is no small thing to throw off a Clan’s curse.

Her behaviors since discovering the book are notably different from the unsure, deprived, and nigh-somnolent personality she possessed for years before. The magic in the Marquette University — or lack thereof — may play a larger part still in how her point of view has shifted so violently in recent times. Some of the madness of the writer is said to be in the ink of the original Book of the Grave-War. If so, perhaps such script could drive a reader to insanity. In truth, I can only speculate until I ask her myself.

[Art Notes: carna is pictured in milwaukee by night and on a vtes card - check for reference]

[end the proto encyclopedia entry]

A City on the Brink

Milwaukee is in a tenuous position. The Camarilla are weakened by the flight of the resident Anarchs, yet those Kindred who remain are stalwart in their defense of the city. The Sabbat's recent hostilities have been cripplingly precise, implying their access to insider information. The Lupines continue to harass all Kindred on the outskirts, never abating in a war Kindred fail to understand. Prophecy — if understood correctly — alludes to ancient vampires rising from the depths if the Sabbat's siege begins, spelling doom for Milwaukee and a new age for the waking Methuselahs.

At the center is Carna and the Book of the Grave-War. The former Regent of the Milwaukee Tremere appears to have broken the bond keeping her slavishly linked to her Clan. Other Kindred in the city argue it's only her mind that's broken. Long considered introverted and utterly controlled by her clanmates, Carna's successful rebellion sends shockwaves across Milwaukee.

The invitation received by Beckett to seek out the Book of the Grave-War lures him to Milwaukee, but when he arrives it's no longer there. Beckett finds evidence that the Warlock at least planned to write to the Tzimisce Vykos. What end the potential clash between he and Vykos serves is unknown to Beckett, but the attentions of the Fiend and an army of Sabbat are now focused on Milwaukee.

Manipulating all is the Malkavian known alternately as Jacob or Esau. This elder wages a war with himself using the inhabitants of Milwaukee and beyond as his agents, unaware his 1000-year foe is one of his multiple personalities. Even he doesn't know how much of the escalating conflict is as a result of his schemes, one half of the Malkavian blind to the moves of the other. Esau laughs that he placed the Book in the Marquette University to be found by Carna, but Jacob would never know, just as Esau will never know Jacob wrote it in the first place, under the supervision of a vampire more adept in manipulation and control than any other.

Following are chronicle threads stemming from these flashpoints in Milwaukee, and activities in which a coterie may wish to become involved.

• Unwilling to wait for the Sabbat to strike his haven, the Ventrue Hrothulf has vowed to take the fight to the Sabbat. He makes headway into penetrating their territory in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan, where he's discovered scores of vampires preying on the kine, awaiting the command to drive south into Milwaukee. Hrothulf now returns to Milwaukee to form a guerrilla army of his own.

• Recognizing the severity of Milwaukee's situation, Decker is reluctantly forced to put out a call for aid to his longtime mentor Inyanga, the Gangrel Primogen of Chicago. Decker lacks pull where Inyanga has the ear of many of her clanmates. He offers feeding rights and limited Embracing privileges to those who travel to Milwaukee to stand and fight the Sabbat. The offer is tempting to many neonates. Decker knows such a tactic could backfire, but he's coldly aware that a great number of these volunteers will perish when meeting the enemy.

• The few remaining free spirits in Milwaukee receive word from Edward Scott, former Brujah Primogen and "Black Prince" of the local Anarchs, that a rave is to be held in the Prince's suite at Miller Park. When the first coterie arrives early, they discover a letter on the floor, addressed to Decker and accusing Parovich of feeding information to the Sabbat. The Kindred, now bearing the letter, have a decision to make. This letter pinpoints exactly where the Sabbat are going to hit, and how they know to do so. The ultimate recipient of this information could change the fate of the city entirely, and Akawa — a former Anarch, now loyal to the Camarilla — is about to investigate who triggered the alarm on the executive suite.

• The packs in Fond du Lac are becoming restless. For months they've only been sent on hit-and-run raids of Milwaukee, before having to return via Lupine-infested towns and countryside. A month ago word travelled down via the Ducti that an invasion's in the cards, the Archbishop of Washington D.C. supposedly orchestrating the assault. One pack has the order to enter the city, and rapidly assassinate the Tremere before finding a book in the Chantry to be brought to the Archbishop. As the pack sets out to perform its task, a fellow Cainite suggests this entire war may just be a cover to acquire one stupid book. That Cainite promptly disappears.

• The Kindred of Milwaukee have always been subject to the attacks of Lupines who make this land their territory. Only in recent years has it become apparent most of the blazing hostilities were caused by the previous, insane Prince. Decker has run with the wolves on more than one occasion. Decker seeks vampires, favoring Gangrel, to meet and treat with the werewolves of nearby Menomonee Falls. Decker knows the Lupines want the King Distilleries operations in the docklands terminated — he doesn't understand their hatred for the company — and is prepared to offer the werewolves the distilleries in exchange for them turning their attention to the attacking Sabbat. Such a mission to Lupine territory will require incredibly brave Kindred accompanying and backing the diplomatic queen of Milwaukee: the Toreador Primogen Lucina.

• An unknown vampire sits in the shadows, commanding the Bahari Cult of Isis to first cleanse the Tremere Chantry, before turning their attentions on fueling the war between Camarilla and Sabbat. This vampire hears the whispering voices of forgotten vampires in Lake Michigan. She knows the letting of potent blood will cause them to wake. Another portent of Gehenna will come to pass, and her mistress will be happy indeed.

• The Pyramid is troubled by talk of the travelling zoo of Tremere rebels known as House Carna. Representatives are being dispatched from as far away as Vienna on assorted missions. Some are to locate the missing native Tremere of Milwaukee, Mortius and Victor. Others are to discover the truth behind rumors that Carna broke free from her bond. More are sent to track Carna herself, and bring her back into the fold. Her cult consists of a sizeable number of followers. The Tremere don't want House Carna any larger.

• Via the machinations of Jacob/Esau, word spreads fast that the mysterious Book of the Grave-War was, or still is, in Milwaukee. Practiced Noddists and amateur scholars alike hurry to reach the city before it's consumed by war, prepared to risk their existences to find some clue as to its present whereabouts. The information it contains pertaining to Gehenna, and the secret of how to eradicate the blood bond without the vaulderie, entices a range of disparate visitors, who couldn't be visiting Milwaukee at a worse time.

• Carna's cult travels west in a convoy of motorhomes, supported by ghouls and loyal mortals. She has no clear destination in mind, but intends to avoid all major Camarilla power centers until she reaches the Pacific coast. She knows her former clanmates are hunting her and the other members of her "House" down. In truth, she's desperate to force influential vampires to read the Book, as she's convinced herself that by accepting the enlightenment presented within, the power of Antediluvians and Methuselahs will be lessened. This is why she wanted Vykos — a vampire long known for their rejection of the Clan founders — to read the Book. All her ambitions have achieved so far is the spread of war. To any vampire who offers House Carna safe harbor, she'd gladly share the contents of the Book. Any who do so may realize freedom to be an addictive drug.

A Tangled Weave

The events taking place in Milwaukee provide as many openings to the opportunistic as they do chasms for the unfortunate. Little can stop the situation in the city from reaching a dreadful crescendo, but not everything is as it seems. Listed below are inspirations for twisting Milwaukee in more extreme ways.

• The Book of the Grave-War was never in Milwaukee. Carna has always been obsessed with Beckett after receiving his brief affections. She realized the only way to have him by her side was to lure him. She wrote to Vykos to get revenge on Beckett for his tardiness but, realizing the great peril she faced, fled in a blaze of destructive glory. Now she's confused, and followed by misled cultists who believe they're free of their bond to the Tremere. Instead, they're bound to Carna.

• The Book of the Grave-War emphasizes the role rebels will have to play in Gehenna. The idea of finally throwing off the shackles of her Clan appeals to a long-smothered part of Carna's being. Of the routes described in the Book, Carna seizes the opportunity to diablerize a vampire generationally close enough to Caine to destroy her blood bond. Through the coaxing of Jacob, her prey is a torpid vampire in the region of Lake Michigan. Who this vampire was is a mystery even to Carna, but the ingestion of the vampire's soul has contributed hugely to her growing mania.

• As Decker is attempting to rally the Camarilla with bitter resolve, word spreads; the Gangrel are leaving the Ivory Tower. His own clanmates abandon him to Milwaukee, the Anubi following the Anarchs in order to escape the sinking ship. The pragmatic, yet loyal to a fault, Prince is left with a skeleton crew of questionable trustworthiness. Whether he puts city before Clan becomes apparent on the night of the Sabbat offensive.

• The information Parovich has been feeding the Sabbat for half a century does not pay off, as he soon finds himself hunted by the Sword of Caine. The Sabbat has little use for betrayers. Parovich would trade anything for a secure exit from Milwaukee and has information and wealth aplenty.

• The prophecies are true. As Milwaukee falls to ruin, Lake Michigan ripples and  vampires long dormant and mighty in age pour forth to take back their ancient land. Sects mean nothing to these monsters, some of whom fall to infighting while others form compacts, steadily Embracing a new era of childer. A great race ensues as Sect representatives travel to the Lake Michigan region to find out more about the new Kindred and, if possible, draw them to their banners. Most delegates find only the jaws of their devourers.

• Jacob approaches a coterie of vampires and bestows upon them the original Book of the Grave-War, telling them they can keep it, pass it on, or bury it for all the Malkavian cares. Whatever they do, they'll have played another role in the eternal Jyhad between the Malkavian's personalities, and repercussions will follow their actions as word spreads they held it even once.