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dracull.gif (1962 bytes)The Dracul (The Dragon Speakers) -- The Fallen Pride

"I am the child of the Dragon. I honor his memory and his teachings, the ways of balance and harmony. I am the clarion to those who seek a pure path through the forest of Darkness. I teach as I was taught. I am priest as I was ministered too. I am guardian as I was protected. I am in perfect balance who, at the end time, will achieve the dragon’s form and spill my Light so that the Beast’s darkness is forever quenched. "

 

Sanctuary Types

Dracul generally have oriental-style temples and various interesting shops specializing in unusual items as their sanctuaries, blending in with predominantly Chinese areas within major cities.

 

Stronghold and Influence

The Dracul maintain their creche in Beijing in a mantle which covers and reflects the Forbidden City from which Emperors and Empresses ruled China during it’s imperial height. The Dracul continue to battle the communists regime of the Apocrypha China.

Dracul hold powerful presence in Rio, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York’s China Towns, Mexico City, Singapore, and minor holdings on the north island of Japan and Tibet. They have scant holdings in Western Europe.

Dracul move in martial arts circles, including most professional exhibitions of these skills. They hold great sway with Buddhists and Taoists around the globe. They have some influence in New Age movement, especially where it intersects with eastern philosophy. Dracul scholars are found in universities around the world, especially in areas of art and philosophy. In Latin America, they have a respectable influence in the Catholic church.

 

Appearance

Himsati:

Most reflect the Himsati forms of the Chinese zodiac, including the snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, and rabbit. In addition, the Kylin, the Chinese unicorn is prevalent in the east while parrots and jaguars predominate in the New World. All Dracul Himsati forms possess the eyes of Sharakai, luminous, copper with slit pupils which have often been described as demonic.

All Dracul aspire to transform their bodies, upon reaching Eidos, into dragons. When this occurs, each one becomes a vessel for Sharakai’s spirit of Light to inhabit and empower for their part in the final battle. See the Dracul character, below.

Terrene:

The human form of the Dracul can be of any culture. Most have green eyes the color of jade. Their apparel reflects oriental and Meso-American. Their warriors favor silks and samurai style armor, feathered cloaks, jaguar pelts. Often they are tattooed, revering the yin-yang symbol. Older Dracul dress in conservative suits among twilights.

All Dracul wear an elaborate belt to denote their status in the Pride. The belt’s color corresponds to their visage and is hash-marked according to the number of Droves they have destroyed. These marks are always red, signifying the color of evil in the orient. Any Drove who has been enlightened and brought into the Light by a Dracul is marked in green, the color of jade and truth.

 

Gender Ratio

Male: About 50% Female: About 50% The Dracul strictly maintain this balance. If a male is uplifted into their Pride, a female must also be.

 

The Dracul Character

Dracul are concerned, foremost, with balance. They believe that if power is equally distributed, the likelihood of destruction is minimized. This teaching comes directly from Sharakai, the mentor of the entire Pride. A Dracul seeks to achieve a balance of personal power, knowledge and wisdom with temporal influence. Dracul are not concerned with ruling the world, for in doing so would commit critical errors because the influences and wisdoms of other Prides would be too diminished.

A Dracul is always setting a wrong his Pride has committed to right in order to balance the destruction and death his people have dealt in their struggle to survive. The debt of one Dracul is the debt of all Dracul. Above all things he maintains loyalty to his Pride and his house, and his honor. A Dracul’s word, once given, cannot be broken without bringing great dishonor on himself and his house.

The purpose of the Dracul has been enigmatic for most of their history. It is only in this century that other Prides have divined the master purpose of Sharakai---the enlightenment of the Sanguinary itself. This ambitious plan, one most Perpetuals consider fool-hardy and preposterously mad, is not one Dracul publicly speak of. It is a deeply personal thing.

The Dracul understand the power of Light. The destruction of Sharakai so long ago cleansed the taint of many immortals during his "death." In the end time, the Dracul, possessed by the spirit of their dragon mentor will, as one, commit a ritual suicide (seppuku) spilling the Light of their dragon-spirit against the Sanguinary. In this way, Light will cancel darkness in a perfect balance. The final destruction of their mentor will mean the final end of the Sanguinary as well. The spirits of the Dracul may survive or not, but no matter what, will have saved all other life. This end struggle is symbolized by the yin-yang symbol all Dracul wear with honor.

Dracul act as assassins and monks. Because immortals are being killed by the Droves, they kill Droves to maintain balance. If they see one Pride accumulating too much power, the Dracul will do whatever it takes to shift the power evenly. This measure is absolutely crucial to keeping the Perpetual’s from destroying themselves before the final battle with their enemy. Especially important is the recovery of corrupted Ki-rin who were abducted by the Droves and seduced to the darkness. Dracul hunt these Ru-Shou with a fever, hoping to restore them to Light, or destroy them if that is impossible.

The famous Dracula is a particular thorn in the side of the Pride in the form of his children, the Dracula Scions. Created in ancient Wallachia, once a stronghold of the Dracul, Dracula possessed all the powers of mortal Religarum and immortal serenades. His scions inherited his power. The Dracul see the inherent danger posed by these individuals, destroying them whenever possible.

Dracul work toward human enlightenment as well, understanding that anyone dedicated to the end of the Beast is a valuable ally.

 

Dracul Perks

Legacies: Dracul gain the first rank of the following legacies at no cost:

Alacrity, The Bonding, Dark Page

Serenades: Dracul gain the first rank of any three of the following serenades at no cost. All other serenades on this list are at a complexity rank of 4 for Dracul characters.

Adagio, Ahimsa, Cacophony, Dowser, Himalaya, Inroad, Ley, Looking Glass, Nostrum, Rade, Syndrome, Tattoo, Zen Shadow.

Dracul Secret Serenades: Lung Ku and Secret Arrow. See Serenades, the First Book of Powers, pages 108-109

 

Tao Sight

By staring at patterns in nature (such as a pool of brightly colored fish or a stormy sky), a Dracul can sense events that are about to occur in the immediate future. The Dracul rolls a ten-sided die. On anything but a null, the Narrator gives him a non-specific phrase that tells him about the immediate future. This glimpse, however, never has anything to do with the Dracul, but could involve his compatriots. A null roll indicates the Tao Sight is lost for the remainder of the episode.

Seppuku

Dracul can "die" at will, sending forth a wave of their own immaculum to any target they choose, including Droves. While most spills of immaculum can be ignored by a tainted creature, the Dracul spill, when initiated by Seppuku, cannot. Taint equal to the Visage x 3 of the Dracul. Once Seppuku is committed, the Dracul loses his Visage permanently and upon reforming in a corporeal state, must regain it in the normal means of the Stratagem.

When committing Seppuku, the player rolls a ten-sided die for his character. Any result except a null indicates the spill is successful and the target is freed from the Sanguinary’s influence. This is not necessarily permanent, but gives the Dracul a chance to enlighten the target.

The Dracul use this power especially when encountering the Ru-Shou since their redemption is paramount.

Shield of Honor

Because of their balance, reputation for wisdom and connection to Sharakai, all Dracul generate an aura which causes anyone who captures them to allow them final words before passing any form of judgment. Even the Droves are not immune to this force. The narrator makes a roll while the Dracul is orating. A 9 indicates the Dracul is unequivocally released because of his eloquence. Otherwise, the narrator can decide, based on circumstance and who his captors are. It can be used only once per capture.

Sharakai’s Attention

Dracul can, once per episode, call upon the dragon Sharakai to fill their spirit with his own. This act adds a bonus of +1 for every 3 FI of the character to his roll against the Himsati hostile in efforts to expel the Sanguinary possessing him due to nulls rolled when assuming Himsati aspects.

 

Dracul Bane

Personal Code of Honor

Each time a Dracul breaks his word of honor, he gains 1 ennui for the guilt that results. This comes when he is disrespectful to superiors or others accorded honor by their station, whenever he breaks a sworn oath, profanes a holy place, harms a Buddhist monk or nun, or betrays the glory of his house.

 

Dracul Taboos

The following are taboos which, selected for your character, grants you +5 starting memory motes per rank instead of the normal +3.

The Dracul’s skin burns if splashed with rooster blood. The rank of taboo reflects a commensurate pain hostile rank.

The Dracul’s Himsati form is reflected in all mirrors. (rank 3)

The Dracul is driven out of a building where a gong is struck. (rank 2)

The Dracul must bow reverently to any statue of Buddha he sees, even if pursuing an enemy. It takes one action to make the bow. (rank 4)

Any weapon made with of peach wood deals +1 damage per rank severity of the taboo to the Dracul.

The Dracul cannot harm anyone chanting a Buddhist prayer while the chant goes on. (rank 5)

Any illusion has +1 resistance per rank of the taboo to be penetrated by the Dracul’s perception roll.

The Dracul must draw blood each time he unsheathes a weapon. The rank of the taboo is equal to the rank severity of the wound he must deal before he can sheath the weapon again. This applies to one weapon of his highest skill rating. Failing to draw blood destroys that weapon and all other like it he attempts to use for the episode.

The Dracul cannot use any weapons to attack. He can only use streetfight, martial arts, serenades or Himsati natures. (rank 5)

The Dracul takes an additional +3 damage whenever he wears armor per rank severity of the taboo. (rank 5)

 

Attitudes

Amaranth : Inspired such as we are. We are brothers although they do not understand true balance as of yet. Fortunately, they learn as well as they teach."

Anopheles :These Immortals feel everything deeply, which we admire. Their greed is legendary, even among the lawless practices of D’arcade, which makes our task to keep their power balanced even more arduous. They lack balance in their emotions which impairs their judgment. They should always be carefully watched, for the violence at their core erupts too easily through the thin skin of their self-control. Their age makes them arrogant, and they look down on us for our youth. Still, although they are among our chief rivals, we share a deep bond with them, for their Pride stood beside us against the Dark Lady of Sheol.

Arachne: Alien creatures filled with computer minds and a lack of spirituality. They need more watching than the Anopheles because they are more secretive. The night lends its power to them. They’re danger is far-reaching, for they execute nothing (or no one) without mind-numbing deliberation. Their age makes them as arrogant as the Anopheles, and their lack of self-interest makes them difficult to manipulate. We can never be sure of the Arachne agenda, and despite the fact that they are part of our Society, we will never trust them.

Banjax: Passionate without the hunger for pleasure, the Banjax also hold great tradition, as we, to the dead. Unfortunately, where we seek to honor the dead, they seek to raise them back into a world that is done with them. Despite this, we find the Banjax to be much like us. We offer them great respect, always.

Cur : They have committed crimes for which they are morally blameless. We, especially the Dragon Petals, absolve them and lead them in their quest to become one of us. These are a people as worthy of uplift as much as the Infernum are worthy of damnation.

Eremites Admirable in their vehemence to protect humanity from the abuses of our kind. We praise their dedication to their charges but often hope (without success) that they would learn to value their Immortal kin with the same fervor. Because of this weakness, we cannot extend our full trust to them, but I believe eventually they will learn the value of other Immortals. The Rapture will teach that lesson well."

Infernum :We empathize with these immortals but judge them to be too dangerous to become one of us again. We oppose their entry into the Perpetual Society forever. We offer the cries of the Damned from the Bridge of Ten-thousand Ages as testament to their immense ignorance of the powers they play with..

Magdalen: In their own way, the Magdalen are as greedy as the Anopheles, although their thirst is for knowledge of a book, not the hunger for Perk experiences. Their pompous attitudes are typical for Western thought, where knowledge is power, and power is worth. For all their knowledge, wisdom still eludes them. Fortunately, knowledge can carry the seeds of wisdom. If the Magdalen would look within, they would create fertile ground for those seeds to grow.

Morrigan: Vain and powerful, yet they will not much longer hold the reins of the Stratagem. Their attention is too focused on the sky and not on the more important niches of the world below. We will continue to advise them as we can, but hold little hope that they will understand.

Nimrod: Willful and angry, these creatures are bringing themselves back from the brink of corruption. This is an admirable undertaking, one we applaud and assist when we can. Unfortunately, we must also strike against them to balance their need to control all that surrounds them. Authority comes from the ability to lead, not one’s personal need for power. We temper our judgment against them because we realize how difficult it is to give up power, but we also extend the spinning fist of our might to temper their abuse of others.

Peri: Why do they ache for bloodshed, except that they are not real flesh and blood themselves. We must be very careful of the Peri, for they are the example of machines that overtake their creators. If their purpose is noble, their sullen need for vengeance mars it. Don’t turn away from them or you may find all sorts of blades in your back.

Phoenix : An interesting study in a people attempting to achieve balance by culling the weak to allow the strong flourish. To their detriment, they do not realize that the weak serves as a reminder of gentleness to the strong. What will become of us if we dispatch all those delicate things who do not need to struggle in their pursuit of purpose? The fiery temperament of the Phoenix must needs be cooled by the waters of failure. Perhaps then they will realize that creation and natural selection do not ignore the flower in the midst of the hungry weeds.

Roane: Too strange and dark for their or our own good. But they, like the Nimrod, deserve a chance to recover from the Enemy’s corruption. We will wait and see while never underestimating the Roane’s large numbers and subtle hatreds for those creatures that breathe.

Saturna: A noble people walking a spirit's path. They glimpse our master as he swims through the vast ocean of the spirit world, and we honor them for this.

Shonelkidar: Survivors of our foolishness. We should extend our hands to them in spite of our fears and welcome them as refugees of our most senseless war. They are the key to healing the Dominions!

Tautha: Models of purity and atonement, we hold them in highest esteem. How could we not? They are the least selfish of the Prides, perhaps more so than even ourselves.

Terat: Wild and untamable, their danger lies in their desire to abandon higher thought for the base needs of the animal. Because of this we will never befriend them, but we shall not abandon them either. It would not be unthinkable that they have achieved a harmony in the outer wilds unknown to us, but we cannot expend our energies trying to penetrate such a mystery, despite it’s lure

 

Dracul Convictions

Sanguinary: The Sanguinary is the enemy of all creatures devoted to enlightenment. When enlightenment comes to all, it will perish in the void of ignorance and self-hatred.

Silence: The Silence should be maintained, but a balance must be achieved. To keep the Sanguinary truly ignorant, we must misdirect the ripple elsewhere. To make no sound at all only invites its speculation and inquiry.

Habitat: We have waited long for the twilight world to attain harmony with itself. Always such moments have been short-lived. Still, we will never give up our attempt to make the chi of life in this place flow with currents of gentle strength.

Dominions: Let them be held up as examples of what can happen when the Secret Arrow strikes. We must rethink our abandonment of that world and heal it. We are the ones responsible for its destruction.

Crucible: Other Prides fear it, but they do not realize that it represents the next step beyond our existence here. We open our minds to whatever it may teach us. It was from out of the Crucible that the dragon Sharakai first came to us.

Morpheum: Dreaming takes discipline. Secret Arrows are made in the Morpheum in the name of the beast. We must break each one over our knees.

Stratagem: The Stratagem is an effort which still lacks balance. Games are played on too many levels for the power of the Prides to remain evenly matched. We right the balance whenever it becomes necessary.

Profane: There are none who deserve less than we, but these Immortal breeds have alienated themselves with their own lack of vision.

Ingenue: They are the greatest threat to balance among the Prides. We must do what we can to prevent them from becoming the unwitting tools of other Prides. We must minimize their danger to the Perpetual Society.

Conundrum: They are necessary keys to the past. Yet, there is nothing more treacherous. We cannot trust them. It is good that they are divided among so many Prides. This state of affairs prevents the Sanguinary from regaining its body.

Sinning: Only those who are a threat to the harmony of the world are our victims in this way. Still, it is kinder to kill them.

Himsati: We cannot return to the barbarity of what we were. We lock the Himsati behind a seven-fold gate of the mind.

Humanity: Mortals would be our equals, if it were not for the Sanguinary working through them. We must be patient.


OTHER INFORMATION

Obviously there is a Pride Book out for the Dracul which covers most of the information except for what appears above.  However, for those who are not aware, in the summer of 1998, several special posts were made concerning the Dracul.  A member of the Pax Novum (a group of mortals who seek to aid the Immortal race, but not as a Quiet Culture) had infiltrated a member into the Pride, and that member went to the Grand Convocation of the Dracul that they have just before the Great Conclave of all the Prides each August in America.  During this Grand Conclave, the Pride was wiped out, nearly all its members destroyed.  It seems some agent had poisoned the mind of the tryst for that mantle.  But lo and behold the Dracul seem to have been prepared for this.  The reprint of these posts appears below.  This marked the beginning of the end of 1st Edition, and a two year nightmare for the Prides as the truth came out and they were nearly destroyed in what has come to be known as the Great Betrayal.  Of course, you may choose to ignore these posts and continue on for now, drawing the Dracul into things for 2nd Edition your own way, and ignoring these posts in favor of your own style. . .

And now, the destruction of Pride Dracul . . .

7/8/98 -- Codeword Ambrosia 722099

Dear Brother Nicholas;

I know you won't believe this, but it's me. I've had to hack into this
computer account to send this letter for the usual reasons. I doubt it will be
successfully traced, and if it is, I have prepared for that contingency. I
have enlisted the help of some of our old friends. I would come to you in
person, but I have an opportunity to acquire even more information on these
immortals so I will remain in their midst. I have to admit, the danger of
being so close to these creatures is exhilerating.

I have gotten very close to the higher echelons, as you know. They find me
irrestable because of what they call my "bright blood." It attracts them. As I
have told you in earlier communiques, they believe that many (if not most)
mortals are souless and thus have little defense against the influence of the
Sanguinary. Only we humans with "bright blood" possess this defense. There is
an obvious link between bright blood, religarum and the psi abilities we have
observed in myself and others. We also know there is a link between religarum
and immortals, and I am getting closer to the core of this relationship.

Remind me sometime to tell you of the origins of this bright blood. It is a
fascinating tale.

You asked me to get to the core of what these immortals call the Stratagem. As
we have observed, the lower strata of this complex political machine is merely
an exercise in how to keep your secrets well hidden, so that they are never
exposed by even the most clever rival. Immortals believe (rightly, I think)
this will allow them the ability to meet the Sanguinary in battle with a few
surprises up their sleeves. If this beast is as terrible as we suspect, they
will need all the help they can get.

The Stratagem, as we know, has been in operation for thousands of years and
has remained relatively unchanged. . .until now. Yes, you heard me correctly.
I have learned that there is a growing schism at the highest levels of the
society, that the loyalty of many, many immortals are being questioned and
that an inquisition of sorts is playing out. I don't know the source of this
growing hysteria, but I can only conclude it has something to do with the
prophesied return of the Sanguinary, the dark enemy of the immortals. Could it
be that its rise is at hand?

No one is immune to persecution. Any immortal suspected of being touched by
the Sanguinary is dealt with quite harshly, I hear. Of course, I am not in a
position to see everything, but I push the boundaries as much as possible. I
am earning trust at a painfully slow pace, but the revelations astonish me at
every turn.

Consider any future dealings with the immortals to be fraught with peril, and
I cannot stress this enough. You can see in many of their eyes an expression
that seems a combination of rage, hatred and intense fear. They are haunted,
brother. The usual swagger that I have become so accustomed to, the arrogance,
seems much subdued of late. One of my contacts has said, enigmatically, "the
last sun is setting and the end to mythology falls with the night."

I can't remain on this terminal too long, or I'll be noticed. So I will
contact you again when I feel it is safe. By the way, what information do we
have on an immortal named Pandora? Her name is being whispered a lot lately.

YLS,

Father Davoria

7/16/98 -- Code 19912

Brother Nicholas,

I have discovered the immortal group called the Dracul (and often, the Court
of Obedience) are meeting for some very important convocation in Hong Kong in
just a couple of days. I have managed to get myself insinuated into the
convocation as a server at the party. From what I have heard, the highest
echelons of the organization will be there to conduct this sacred meeting, so
at last I will get information on some of the older immortals whom most
humans, even within the quiet cultures, never see. I will have a remote
mystech link at a mantle being specially created for the event, so I will
download information as I get it.

Peace with you and with Pax Novum.

Ever Your Servent,

Father Davoria

7/17/98 - Remote Link 21-PNGateway

Brother Nicholas,

I'm afraid I have some bad news. Father Davoria was found dead yesterday
morning in his cell. Scrawled in his own blood across the floor was a strange
symbol we have never seen. Many of our Scholars from the Catecomb are trying
to decipher it now. The room was in shambles; it was obvious that Davoria was
the author of the symbol. The television he habitually kept running was
smashed in. All else is a mystery and we are trying to solve it. It is
uncertain whether this was an attack by the Apocrypha, or the immortals. We
shall see.

I am to be your contact from now on. The code word is Semjaza.

I do not find it strange that the Dracul will have a convocation of their own
before they attend the Grand Convocation in Milwaukee in only weeks. The other
courts will undoubtedly have their own strategy sessions before they come
together for the Great Unmasking. I must ask you, if you can, to find out if
the Dracul have planned any vendetta against Pax Novum, or if they known
anyone who did. It does not seem to be their way, I'm sure you would agree.
The perpetuals have, by and large, ignored us for a long time.

Please keep me informed.

Father Dresden.

7/19/98 - remote link PGN-566

Father Dresden---

I admit to feeling overwhelmed by the news of Davoria's death. My contacts
within the Court of Secrets have no interest in prosecuting hostilities with
our organization, and the Dracul certainly wouldn't. Simply put, our power is
not out of balance with some of the other groups out there. As you know, they
have a strict heirarchy of duty (hence their lesser known name, the Court of
Obedience). I cannot see anyone violating their policies, especially with
their convocation only a day away. You mentioned no flower found at the scene,
the traditional calling card of any Dracul slayer.

Tomarrow I make my journey to the mantle of the Forbidden City. Though my
heart is heavy for the loss of our comrade, I feel electrified with
anticipation of visiting this majestic center of Dracul power. The covocation
begins Monday and endures until the end of the week, with final closing
ceremonies on Friday. Of course, I will provide you with the data each day, if
I am able to access my uplink without detection. If you don't hear from me
within two days, assume that I will contact you prompty on Friday, when I have
left and returned to my own place.

Please light a candle honoring Davoria for myself. He will be missed. His
concecrating me as a Father within the order was a great blessing and I am
sorry I could not thank him in person.

Nicholas.

7/24/98 - Keycipher: 0RUIN0

Mr. Dresden---

You have probably been wondering why you haven't heard from your friend
Nicholas of late. Simply put, he's dead, along with most of the remaining
members of our quiet cultures gathered at our convocations. They perished
defendingmy people, who you mortals call the Dracul. We were betrayed by
someone within our own ranks after our defenses were sabotaged by poisoning
the "tryst" who maintained the mantle in which we met. In his death agony the
mantle became a nightmare prison in which almost all of my people were trapped
and slaughted by a force of powerful and superbly trained Droves. Only a few
of us escaped. We who were the Court of Obedience are now destroyed and
scattered. Sharakai preserve what few remain and guide us to a new destiny. We
shall not become a power again.

There is so little that your order knows of us Mr. Dresden. We, all immortals,
have taken great pains to furnish you with false information about us, our
history, our goals and purpose, even our names. That is about to change. The
final war is at last upon us and the Stratagem has changed in ways that
frighten me. I am uploading a file to you that will explain as much as I may.
Realize this makes me a traitor to many of my kind, but after what I have
endured these few days, there is not enough fear left in me to feed an
Anopheles.

Peace between us, but be warned that your days of quietly observing us is
over. You will find yourselves forced to join our war, the struggle for your
very planet. I hope you use what little time remains to you wisely.

Lin Do, Once of the Court of Obedience.

7/26/98 - Court of ISecrets
Report 441983
Source: Hermes, Gemini Violet
Coding Index: Standard
Destination: Archive 162

As suspected, there were few survivors within the Court Of Obedience. We have
taken strong measures to reduce the amount of information escaping into the
twilight world, but containment has been difficult. Panic is widespread.

Because the spill of immaculum was sensed over a thousand mile radius, we can
only conclude the Dracul, seeing they were about to fall, committed sepeku and
released their life-force. A large number of dead droves, burnt to cinders,
supports this (although we thought such suicide would cleanse the taint of
droves, not incinerate them). Investigation into the convocation suggests (you
read correctly) the Court of Obedience had put many of their affairs in order
(including the sequestering of many quiet cultures, the hiding of their
monetary holdings and the disappearance of some of their mantles, including
the Forbidden City and the Bridge of Ten Thousand Ages) BEFORE their meeting.

More information as it comes available.

I.

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