Quaestor Lucius Sabbatius / Rabbi Judah Hanasi (Originally Daniyel of Jerusalem)
(character background and history, to accompany character sheet)
Regional Background, Family History and Sire, Mortal History (Jerusalem - Romania ~1BCE)
Nearly a century and a half before the birth of the world-changer called The Christ (by some), the roots of the only remaining branch of the Hanzzyri Clan lay deep in the soil of Jerusalem, under a surname now lost to iniquity. They were a trading family, fairly well off within the ranks of merchant traders of the day. They imported, among many goods and products from Greece and Crete through the coastal areas of modern-day Israel and were the chief dealers of olive oil through the eastern reaches of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Their many successes with both seafaring voyages and overland caravans led to a drastic increase in the family profits. They dealt gingerly with the political web of Imperial (Roman) and Regional governments, and traded briskly with whomever was offering the best profits. At this time, the family was lead by Yanake, and his wife Danae. They were both the great-great grandchildren of Greek traders who relocated to Jerusalem seeking a gateway to the nations further east, who intermarried with local Hebrew families, and adopted their ways over several generations. Yanake and Danae were married ~65 BCE, according to the records of the family lineage. Yanake was a hardworking and lucky trader, and his wife a shrewd merchant, and forecaster of financial and political trends.
Yanake and Danae were blessed with three sons through the course of their marriage; Amos (born 62 BCE), Shemu'el (born 60 BCE) , and lastly Daniyel, who was a blessing in the later years of the couples marriage (48 BCE).
By the time Daniyel was of age to be considered a man, Yanake and his wife were well into the golden years of their marriage, their business was prospering, and their two eldest sons seemed interested in continuing the family trading business. Daniyel, however, wanted to be a soldier. Mystified by the tales of the king who he was named after, and the military acts of his historical forebears, he wanted to carve a name for himself in glory and blood, rather than wealth and oil. Yanake attributed his youngest son's fire to his youth, and determined that a marriage would dampen some of the flame, and allow his good senses to prevail over the passion of his blood. When a match was arranged for Daniyel (Amos was already married, and Shemu'el promised but away on a trading voyage), he did the last thing his father and mother expected him to do. He fled. This was when he was at the age of 16 (32 BCE).
Daniyel changed his name to Judas, lied about his age and experience, and joined up with one of his father's caravan's heading north; to the furthest reaches of the civilized world, on an expansive trading mission. Partially due to his gilded tongue, partially because he was knowledgeable about the workings of caravans from listening to the tales of his father and brothers, he was able to sign on as a caravan guard. By the time his family learned of his disappearance, Judas was on a boat across the Mediterranean, heading towards the ultimate destination of Dacia (in what is now modern-day Romania). A small trading community had formed to encourage commerce with the local communities and tribes of barbarians on the border of civilization, and several influential trading families had spent large amounts of resources to see to their interests. (The roots of this community would one day lead to the formation of the city known as modern day Bucharest). Judas lived through many adventures on his way to this frontier land of the eastern Imperial empire, but only the last leg of his journey holds any importance to this tale.
On the last month of the journey though the treacherous wilderness of Dacia, Judas' caravan was attacked late one night by a war band. They slaughtered many of the guards, and Judas took a grievous wound in the melee (from, in fact, a fellow soldier, who struck blindly and out of fear at the voice of his comrade). When the sun broke through the misty clouds of morning, seventeen members of a caravan of seventy lived to continue on, and only ten of these were uninjured. They would have perished in the harsh wilderness between the site of their loss and their ultimate destination, had it not been for the band of gypsies they encountered, who led them safely to the outskirts of Byrcrizt. Judas, who was injured, was tended to by one of the Olona (spirit-women) of the Hanzzyri clan of gypsies, whom he fell in love with in the short weeks to their destination. Her name was Irlya. She would only tend to Judas during the night, when her calls to the spirit world would be heard most clearly.
The caravan reached the trading outpost, and Irlya transferred the care of her wounded ward to the healers of the local synagogue (established through the collected funds of the local families). Judas was the only one of the seven injured to survive the month's trek from the scene of the battle. Each of the others had fallen, while Judas had slowly regained his strength. Judas had been blood bonded to Irlya, who was the childe of one of the local Tzimiche warlords, who used her to keep tabs on the gypsy tribes that traversed the land. She wanted him planted in the town as a long term scheme against her sire, should the need to cross him ever occur. Irlya left Judas in Byrcrizt
Judas knew the pain of injury, and the suffering of his long recovery, but he did not truly know agony until he was parted from Irlya. He ached for her, and barely slept for the first week of his separation from her. However, her last commands to him were to study and become a productive part of the synagogue, and that she had reassured him she would return to visit him the following season when her tribe returned to the region. Judas followed her wishes, and confessed to the Rabbi his past and his pride, save for his love of Irlya. The Rabbi, realizing that Judas could not make the journey back to his parents with wounds he had received, and had little chance of finding gainful work elsewhere in the bustling trading town, took him in as a student, and started him on the path of knowledge. He sent a letter with the next caravan leaving back towards Israel telling Judas' family he was alive and well, requesting instructions as to what they wanted him to do. He received no response.
Judas' family had been faithful, and Judas had been raised a Jew, but he did not truly understand what it was to be a member of his faith until that first year (30 BCE) under the tutelage of his new master, Rabbi Hosea. He learned the limited history of the region, as the heads of the synagogue understood it, the history of his people, and even some of the deeper secrets of the tomes his people revered as the true blood of their history. For many hours he toiled learning the basics of his faith, and after a year, as promised Irlya returned to him. As overjoyed as he was at her presence, his time with her was limited, as he had to sneak away from his master to see her. The time she was near flew by him, and when Irlya announced she would have to leave again, he was distraught, and ready to leave all his work behind. Irlya warned him that if he were ever to do so before she was ready, he would never see her again. Thus bound, Judas returned to his studies, and toiled for a decade, yearning for the week he spent with his love each year, until Irlya decided he was ready.
By the time Judas had fully attained the rank of Rabbi, he was nearly thirty, and still unwed (which was almost unheard of for a man his age). Rabbi Hosea wanted to turn the workings of the synagogue over to his care (for, in fact Judas already managed much of its day-to-day affairs, including the tutoring of three neonates to the Rabbinical process) but was hesitant to do so until Judas was married. Each time Hosea brought it up, Judas would fly into a sulking rage for days. Ultimately, fate intervened when Hosea dropped dead in the middle of a Sabbath service, and Judas was forced to step into the position. By this time Byrcrizt had become a full fledged frontier town, and had a growing population that paid tribute to one of the local warlords to protect the steady stream of caravans which traveled back and forth to the southern seas to trading ships to afar. The town council (which was made up of a motley collection of important Jewish families, local tribal families who had stopped wandering and settled into a craft, and the few Imperial citizens who had dared to brave the far expanses of the North) paid this tribute to Vyliyos, an undefeated warlord with a fearsome horde, and, coincidentally, the sire of Irlya.
To the citizens of Byrcrizt, Vyliyos meant death, and safety. To forego his tribute would mean the destruction of the town. However, with his tribute paid, none needed to fear an attack on any of the caravans moving to the south. None ever inquired what became of the young boy and winsome virgin who delivered his tribute yearly to the ancient monolith in the grove beyond the river at the edge of town. To give two that eight hundred might live in safety is not so much, especially when you considered that his coin price of fealty was much cheaper than constant caravan losses many other frontier cities paid. The tribute bearers were chosen by lottery, and while none were happy about the process, none complained too loudly. The citizens of Byrcrizt had sold their souls to a Fiend.
This cycle had followed, in much the same manner as Judas' annual visits with Irlya, for two years after the death of Hosea. The only difference was that for the first time in a decade, Irlya took an interest in Judas' studies. About a week after the death of Judas' mentor, Irlya appeared suddenly and alone, with a cart of scrolls, books, and tablets she wanted him to try and decipher and translate. Judas had no way of knowing that he was about to break the cycle upon which the lives of all he had known for the last ten years, except for one person, were dependent on.
However, by the time he did realize it, there was nothing he could do about it.
Times of Discovery and Embrace (~20 BCE - 70 CE)
Judas took to the task of deciphering the clutter of the cart with more seriousness than he had attempted any task in his life. The task consumed him, so much so that he began to miss services, and his reluctant students had to cover for him in circumstances which normally involved his presence. The local community was incensed, but he explained it away cleverly each time the issues of his absence came to a confrontation of words. After nearly three months of solid study, Judas established enough of a baseline in his translation and transcription that he could return to some of the more public duties of his office and avoid the ire of his community.
As engrossed as Judas had been in the lore of his faith and people, he became even more enveloped in the contents of the quest to decipher the body of work laid out before him. It was from a variety of sources and languages, and while some of it was work he was already familiar with (through secondhand wisdom, if not firsthand reading) there were several fragments of work which fascinated him. He could neither determine the language of their origin, nor comprehend their meaning. After some time, Judas determined they must be in code, and, as such, began to develop his research towards the ancient rites of Kabala, and the numerology of other ancient tongues.
It took nearly two years to accomplish the task, but, by the end of his toils, it appeared to Judas that the knowledge held in the cart was all leaning towards one path; an obscure Thaumaturgical rite which was referenced (in some part) within the fragments he could not decipher. Although he could not unlock the keystone to the research, he had enough to tell his beloved Irlya when she arrived. The rite had something to do with summonings, bonds, and bindings, and made several references to cities, names, and other rites he could not begin to fathom, or, which Judas assumed, were explained within the untranslatable fragments of ancient parchment.
When Irlya arrived in the spring, she was overjoyed at Judas' progress. She asked him to run away with her, and to help her complete the final phase of a project she had been working on for years.
Judas did not even inform his students of his departure.
After fleeing into the night with Irlya, Judas was nearly overwhelmed with the sweep of sick adoration and anticipation he felt. All the while as they trekked through the dark, Irlya quizzed Judas on what he had found, and what he could not understand. After reaching the monolithic grove, in the dark of the new moon, Irlya offered Judas a chance to learn that which he could not decipher, if he was willing to offer himself to her. He did so, and was embraced that night, and indoctrinated into the secrets of the Hanzzyri sept of the Tzimiche clan. Newly born into undeath, and overcome by a ravaging hunger, he broke free of his mistress while she recovered from the trials of his embrace, and raced across the countryside. Only a few leagues from the town, it is not surprising that he happened across the two sacrificial children from the town bearing tribute in the direction of the monolith. Their screams were loud but brief, and Judas flushed with power, then wretched with guilt and horror over what his lack of control had wrought. Realizing the truth of his heinous acts, he hid the bodies (and the chest of tribute they bore) in a shallow grave, and returned to the monolith to face Irlya's wrath.
Irlya, however, seemed not at all concerned about his absence. She led him to a secret cave deep below the monolith, and there they slept through the first day of Judas' unlife. When the sun set that evening, Irlya directed Judas to a small study chamber she had arranged for him to work in. Overjoyed at the scholastic accommodations, Judas rushed in to renew his work. He did so with such concentration, that he never even noticed when Irlya sealed him in the chamber where he toiled over his notes.
What Judas’ newly embraced eyes could see that his mortal eyes could not was the translation of the texts which the ancestral essence of his vampiric blood brought into deadly focus. The translations of the texts he could never read held even more secrets than his two years of study had shown him. The majority of the texts he had worked on apparently were the notes of two or three people, whose works were written with the intention of discovering how to break the "Bond of fealty" between a sire and a childe. The more Judas read, the more he began to understand what the last decade of his life had been consumed by, and he began to suspect the treachery that lay at his beloved's heart.
It was about then that he noticed he was sealed within the chamber.
For two days, he howled and raged at the stone walls of his scholastic prison. Irlya did not return, but there were bats and rats plentiful enough to sustain Judas' hunger to a point within his prison. On the third day, the stone was removed, and Irlya stood at the doorway, accompanied by a huge monstrosity of bone, muscle and sinew. Within the ribcage of the beast beside his sire, Judas could see the badly beaten remains of two beings, which the fiendish ghoul promptly vomited into the center of the chamber which had been Judas' prison for days.
Irlya made introductions, to the only other kin of Caine he would meet for nearly the first century of his embrace, and to a blood sacrifice in the form of a young girl. The kindred was Vyliyos,
Irlya had arranged everything. Vyliyos' tribute being lost, the two children being fed upon by Judas… She had not been weakened at the monolith, but rather compelled Judas through the bond they shared to a frenzying point, and pointed him in the direction of the tribute. When Vyliyos arrived the night following Judas' embrace (while he howled and raved in the secret chambers far beneath the monolith) he found neither his tribute nor demanded sacrifices. Irlya left him a note detailing a revolt of the town's rabble at the coercion of the gypsies she traveled with. The council had been disbanded (according to her missive) and the new regime had no intention of sending him tribute any longer. Irlya then detailed how she was going to attempt to overcome the leader of the gypsies to create a new wave of riots, and ensure that Vyliyos' vengeance would meet no resistance. Pleased with his childe’s forethought, Vyliyos did not even gather the whole of his war band, but just took the loyal retainers who had accompanied him to take the tribute.
Vyliyos rode off into the blackness of the night with two dozen hardened warriors and a half dozen ghouled lieutenants determined to crush Byrcrizt to dust. In the meantime, Irlya, using the powers of her blood, transformed herself into a near perfect copy of Judas, and raised the alarm in the temple that Vyliyos was en route a day before his receipt of the traitorous note she had left at the monolith. Claiming a vision from the heavens, she convinced most of Judas’ congregation to arm themselves appropriately to combat Vyliyos’ war band, and lie in waiting to ambush the party before they even captured the town.
The bloodletting was short but furious. Armed with scythes and axes, stakes, casks of oil, and pots of coals, the hundred able-bodied men of Byrcrizt quickly dispatched all but Vyliyos and his last lieutenant. Cornered, and horseless, the Tzimiche warlord killed nearly a dozen men after his lieutenant fell to the mob, transforming into a beast of hideous visage and deadly efficacy. Through luck, a peasant boy named Lucius managed to drive a stake through Vyliyos’ heart. The beast fell silently to the ground, and the groans of the many he had wounded, and those who lay dying, rose like a twisted psalm in the newborn silence of the battle. Before the mob could destroy her sire’s torpored form, Irlya convinced the mob that she would attend to the beast in a private ceremony that would disperse the evil of its soul, and that they should carry back the injured to the synagogue to have their wounds tended to, and to purify the corpses of the fallen, to prevent the influx of evil spirits. Under the leadership of the newborn hero Lucius Sabbat, the crowd returned to the town, bearing dead and wounded with pride.
Irlya, still in the form of Judas, hastily used the remaining carnage to her advantage, rendering a huge ghoulish construct from the few remaining of Vyliyos’ troops who were not yet completely dead. Using its lumbering strength, she carried the staked body of her sire, along with the kidnapped girl she had stashed not too far from the monolith before leaving Judas trapped in the caverns beneath it.
Using the compulsion of the bond Irlya carried against her childe, she forced Judas to enact the rite his years of study had brought to light only recently. The smell of blood washed over the famished Judas as he prepared the symbols of power, and circles of containment. Irlya patiently watched over the proceedings, as she prepared the girl for her part in the ritual. When Judas had all the symbols in place, Irlya drained the girl to the verge of death, then took her place in a protective circle. Judas chanted the words which had probably not been spoken aloud for centuries, and a steady stream of blood began to trickle from Vyliyos’ prone body towards the circle Irlya stood in. When it could not penetrate the protective runes of her warding, it crept towards the form of the shallowly breathing girl, and slid up her skin, into her nose and gaping mouth. For several minutes, which seemed like an eternity to Judas, droning away in a language he barely understood, the blood flowed from Vyliyos to the girl. Finally the blood stopped, and the girl’s body twitched on the floor as the ancient vitae of the Tzimiche warlord danced through her veins.
Taking a bite out of her wrist like an apple, Irlya crossed the three strides from her circle to where the girl lay. Before the girl completely recovered her senses, Irlya thrust her wrist into the girls mouth, and had her fangs buried in the girl’s throat.
Judas could only stand there chanting. The compulsion of his mistress forced him to do so, but he was also being swept up in the energies of the rite. The tempo of his chanting became the pulse of the two women huddles in the runic circle before him, exchanging blood heartbeat by heartbeat. Slowly, over a period of almost an hour, Irlya reclaimed what remained of blood which her sire took from her when he embraced her. In the meantime, she fed the remains of her sires blood which sluggishly coursed through her veins to the girl, who suckled like a zombie at a teat of corruption.
With the rite nearly complete, Judas began to feel the drag of the long hours of study, the drain of the magical energies, and the Hunger of his new form pulling him down into a spiral of hallucination. He could almost see the chains of blood which bound Vyliyos to fading away link by link, along with the thick braided chain which tied him to her. Before slipping into a torpor of his own, Judas saw the last links of Irlya’s bond dissipate, and clearly saw the knife his mistress produced to finish the grizzly work of the evening.
When Judas awoke, it was to the bitter ambrosia of his mistresses blood coursing down his throat gulp after compulsive gulp. He looked up at her eyes as he fed on the sustaining vitae, and realized for the first time what she must have felt towards Vyliyos for all the years between her embrace and his death.
He was not afraid, but he knew no love for her now… loathing and calculation replaced what was once adoration and giddiness. Irlya seemed not to notice, deeply meditating on her own plans as her childe supped at her pulse. She had much to do yet, but Judas would not have a part to play in her story for many years to come.
The Invasions of Domitian, and the Flight to Jerusalem; Death of the Sire; A Boon is Owed (70 - 73 CE)
Jerusalem Lost! The Reconsolidation, and the use of the Necropolis (73 CE ("death" 89 CE) - Sleep 240 CE)
A Boon Repaid, The Repulsion of the Romans, the founding of a Bloodline, The Plan (250-270 CE)
The Sabbatius Rise, then Fall, then Rise Again (270-500)
The Re-Awakening, the Preparation of the Mantle, and the Discovery of the Herasy of Nod (500-Present)