One hundred years isn't a terribly long time in our world, but it is still notable as a signpost of sorts. Today is the day that I passed -- mortal birthdate, of course -- that signpost, and what I have left behind me in large part defines who I at least was. Who I am? Now... that's a definition I currently seek as desperately as I chase the muse. The two are one in the same, perhaps.
Partially, at least; the Beast is there as well. He -- for in my case, the Beast is definitely a he -- laughs at my need to catch the Muse, or at least to pursue her until the end of my days upon this earth. He tells me that art, and actualization are not important. Beauty is merely the bait, and it should be devoured, consumed, and dominated. I ignore the Beast as much as I can, but I am not so foolish as to think myself invulnerable. My sire was far more invulnerable than I, and he gave in to it long ago. To his credit, he took the honorable way out and, clinging to the one scrap of humanity he had left in the world, killed himself. He was an Elder, and in my years with him I saw, first-hand, what ravages time can take on even the strongest mind, the most fortified soul.
Reason Brovold was his name, and mine? He named me Istark on the day I was released from his protection. That was eighty years ago, forty after I had been born a mortal man whose name I now scarcely remember, and five since the day he had embraced me. I had been thirty-five at the time he chose me, and would outwardly be thirty-five forever. Well... not forever, for the Beast takes his toll on us all, the more he manages to encroach on our humanity. Forever? Nothing is forever, is it?
My name had been Andrew. I should make note of that, so that whoever reads this might just remember it after it has slipped my mind for the last time.
Andrew Eddings, the man, was a talented enough pianist and composer from a rich family which resided just to the North of London. He -- I -- lived off of a very generous stipend afforded to me by my father, George, who lived his life vicariously through me, he being a frustrated composer of lesser talent than his contemporaries. He had married into money, however; my other, Dolores, was possessed of a handsome dowry and my father was highborn in some way which I simply never took the time to find out. Enough, certainly, to make marriage to him a desirable thing. They seemed happy enough, and I do think that they honestly loved one another. But from the moment it became clear that my talent would far outstrip his, he was determined to see to the fact that I received naught but the best instruction from the finest tutors in the land. As such, from the age of nine, I was rarely home for extended periods, and I spent my early years living abroad. London, Vienna, Paris, Hamburg. A succession of polite but far from paternal figures raised me, and my time was divided between my lessons, my practice, and floating, barely-seen, through the concert halls and parties of high society.
The people I encountered during these years helped to reinforce my belief that people -- humans... mortals -- despite their 'humanity', can be terribly shallow creatures. Petty beings, more concerned with their own pleasure and gratification than with the thoughts and feelings of those around them. I was a boy, and then a young man, who grew up in a shall of sorts. Oh, I learned their games, and I adapted quickly to the social and societal mores of the framework within which I was pulled by my tutors and -- later -- those who chose to finance my work. But I existed largely apart from them. I grew into manhood never having known love, though some professed it for me. I was a handsome man, and never without my fair share of pursuers, but they were barely even distractions for me. I suppose, in a way, I was becoming as shallow as any of them. It was my destiny.
But my destiny changed on the night Reason Brovold came to one of my performances. It was in Paris, at the Opus, and the Crown itself was in attendance. I was gaining notoriety for myself as a young, already-accomplished pianist, and it was the first time I performed one of my own compositions. I performed well. Well enough that, after the show, Reason was brought to my dressing room to meet me in person. He was a charming man, and his praise struck a chord in me that the vacuous compliments from all others had never done. He offered to finance my work, to sponsor me, at a rate which was obscene. Easily three times that which my current sponsors were affording me. I, of course, took him up on his offer, and he gave me rooms within his own manse, where I was free to work for as long as I liked in between performances. I had gotten dreadfully tired of being trotted out before the eyes of high society with clocklike regularity, and Reason seemed to understand this. He did not care, he said, how often I performed for those stale, shallow crowds. He was interested in my art, and art was something he was not terribly interested in sharing with the world.
He kept company with me often, and spoke to me about humanity, and about time. He spoke with me about the baseline meaninglessness of day-to-day life amongst my fellow mortals, and how some of us have higher callings. Indeed, he slowly but inexorably introduced me to his world-view, so much so that when the time finally came that he revealed his true nature to me, I was -- though surprised -- not shocked. And it took me a very short period of deliberation to decide to accept his offer of eternal life, and a society within which I might find -- if no less shallowness -- then certainly more structure, and meaning beneath that not-very-deep surface.
I will not go into dreary and dull minutiae in my detailing of the first few decades of my unlife, save to say that the change was stark and it invigorated me. For five years, he kept me under his wing, introducing me to life within the Camarilla as Istark Brovold Kirtan, and teaching me the nuanced approach that I must take with my new, disparate brethren. He taught me to hunt, and to control myself, though there were times -- he confessed -- that his own control was wearing dreadfully thin. He instructed me in the dangers inherent in our lot in -- forgive the term -- life, and how best to avoid them, though he entreated me to find ways to do better than he had done in that regard. I was an eager pupil, and I accepted my place at the lowest rungs of our society, knowing that only time, and adherence to the Traditions, would ever spell my upward mobility. And, of course, I continued my work, finding a new depth within it and a patience to take my time to ensure that my art was perfect, for time had far less meaning for me now. I could do things... properly.
The time during which my Sire taught me about my new form was both sweet and bitter. On one hand, I could perceive the world with much more vivid clarity, and on the other, I was something... unholy. There is a guilt, deep down within me, which speaks to me of that. Though never an overly pious man in my mortal days, I find the presence of clergymen to be slightly discomforting, and I have vowed to never seek their vitae. I believe that they do the work of the Lord, and though he might well find me inconsequential, harming those who serve him directly may well incur his wrath. From me, they are protected.
Trained well in riding as a youth, a welcome respite from my otherwise seemingly never-ending lessons, I was, as a mortal, fond of horses. Early in my unlife, I sought to remember my youth by riding under the moonlight, but my mere presence frightened the horse I intended to ride so thoroughly that it became violent. I struggled to calm the beast, but it savaged me, trampling me with such force that were not my Sire to have found me shortly thereafter, I might have died for inability to make my way back indoors before the rising Sun shone upon me. I have ever been, since my embrace, a deep sleeper -- to the point of fault -- and it is a dream of that near-death experience which often weaves its way into even the most pleasant of dreams, turning them into nightmares from which I have utter difficulty waking. This is not the only way in which undeath has taken things I loved as a mortal, and has warped them and made them unbearable for me.
It was due to this curse of deep sleep, coupled by a seemingly inconsequential equine encounter (my Sire's words, not mine) -- as well as his own (though I knew it not at the time) eroding grip on his humanity, which spurred Reason to insist that I make a prime motivation in my unlife to be the strengthening of my mind against all those things which would assail it. He was adamant that I not lose footing at a young age, as he had done, and so he enlisted the help of others, including his Ventrue associates, to devote a great deal of time in teaching me about the complexities of the kindred mind. Though I never reached the point of grasping their discipline of Domination, it did serve me well in fortifying the very willpower which acts as the foundation of my mind and soul.
One of the most surprising things about my transformation was that it took me -- a somewhat quiet, almost docile individual entirely wrapped within his craft -- and imbued me with a force of personality, a gravitas, which was more remarkable. Perhaps it was simply a supernatural nudge, shifting my bearing into something more worthy of the artiste. Perhaps it was something else, but whatever the case, I have come to realize -- as did my Sire -- that the strength of my bearing was somehow heightened through the experience of my change. This, I pray, will serve me well during the countless nights spent in the company of my brethren, for they are at times a fickle lot.
My Sire was a respected kindred within the Camarilla, and being his first, and only childe brought me some measure of respect -- sometimes grudging -- from his peers. I have ever striven to be worthy of that respect, which comes not from my own doing, but simply from the lucky accident that I was chosen by such a great man.
When five years I had been his childe, my Sire took me from France, and introduced me to the Prince of Glasgow, Scotland. It was there that he released me, taking his leave of me so that I might, finally, begin to make my own place within the world of our kind. We corresponded often, and he did, indeed, guide me still, with wise advice and timely counsel. I was a patient, loyal member of the Camarilla in Glasgow, and though I took pains to make sure that I was on good terms with the kindred with whom I was supposed to be friendly with, I was more a political observer than anything else. I watched, for I was still learning the craft which takes -- in my opinion -- decades to become even adequate at. Indeed, fifty years had passed since my release when my Sire's correspondence became increasingly maudlin and fatalistic. He said his goodbyes to me rather abruptly, and begged that I find a way to avoid the same fate as he. He bequeathed the lot of his estate to me, and I, of course, raced to Paris to disabuse him of his notion that self-sacrifice would solve anything.
I was too late. He had met the morning Sun a week before I arrived, and that was that. Reason Brovold was gone, and I was alone in the world.
The remaining years since then have gone far more quickly than I like to consider for too long. The opus I wrote in memoriam for my departed Sire took two decades, and the several tens of years since then have been spent slowly coming to grips with the fact that I am still young, for our kind, and it is time for me to seek solace with the others of our ilk. But the lands of my birth and embrace hold too many memories for me, and I have decided to start my life anew. This it is that I write this introduction to our Prince on the eve of my arrival in this fair city in the New World. I pledge myself to be a loyal, if undistinguished, member of our esteemed Camarilla, seeking to make new friends, new allies, and a new home here, far away from the memories of the Old World. I pledge to adhere to the Traditions, and to serve the holder of Praxis with humble regard.
Istark is immaculately polite, and oft times charming. He is seemingly at home in situations of high society, as well as when around others who are not of that ilk. His humor can be, at times, subtly self-effacing and dry, and he seems ever in control of his emotions and baser urges. In public, at any rate. He is possessed of a remarkably strong bearing, or personality, and he is well-spoken.
Strength: 1 Charisma: 4 Perception: 3
Dexterity: 3 Manipulation: 3 Intelligence: 2
Stamina: 3 Appearance: 3 Wits: 3
Blood Pool: 11
Expression: 5 (Expertise: Musical composition)
Performance: 5 (Expertise: Piano)
Linguistics: 3 (French, German, Italian)
Force of Personality
Prey exclusion: Clergy
Phobia: Horses (2 pts)
Stamina: 5 pts, Subterfuge: 2 pts, Empathy: 2 pts, Persuasion: 6 pts, Insight: 6 pts, Integrity : 6 pts, Leadership: 4 pts, Willpower, 4 pts. 1 dot in Auspex: 7 pts, 1 dot in Presence, 7 pts.)