Art by Christopher Shy
Izhim wafi adb'Azrael ur-Baal
circa 4800 BCE
Izhim abd'Azrael was born the seventh son of a Babylonian sorcerer-king-prince over a fertile province in a time when empires had neither names nor boundaries. The monsters of that era still walked openly among men; the boy-prince was groomed for divinity from an early age by the Old Ones and kept alive well beyond any mortal span by nightly infusions of godhead. Riches and finery of every sort imaginable, tutelage in the mundane and mystical disciplines, sovereignty over a people who venerated him as heir to an inviolate power – all these things and more contributed to the fulfillment of Izhim Thrice-Blessed's every earthly desire. Without warning, barbarian hordes came from the north one night. Brutal and bloodthirsty, they swept over the plains like a merciless scourge, leaving only ashes to mark their passage. Thrust into sudden eternity by his masters in the desperate hope that some part of their legacy might survive, Izhim heeded his father and fled into the night, the flames of his former paradise lighting the way.
Izhim has since lived the lives of an Akkadian prophet, a Sufi poet, a Coptic blood-god, a Persian demonologist, and a hundred others. Ultimately ceasing his worldly wanderings, he returned to his homeland, where he rejoined his distant brethren for a time at the black citadel of Alamut until the exodus of the Unfettered. He rode with the greatest of their companies to the forgotten city of Chorazin during the last Baali War and was taken captive by the infernalists. Rather than kill them, the Baali took Izhim and twelve other Warriors and used their potent vitae as a conduit to unleash the first Blood Curse upon the Assamites, filling their Warrior Caste with a ravening hunger for vampiric blood.
It was only six centuries later, in 1242 CE, that Izhim was freed by his childe Enkara, summoned by his whispers. In the past, her sire had disappeared before her eyes when he was absorbed by the gigantic hand of Namtaru. However, when he emerged centuries later he had lost the typical dark skin of the Assamites he once had - his face was now pallid as bleached bone, while his once blackened hair was now the color of straw. Izhim drank from Enkara, and from each sip he emerged more and more from the liquid stone until, finally, he pushed her into the demonic hand to take his place. Now calling himself the Thrice-Damned, he was free again and explained to Enkara that he was the only sacrifice worthy of Namtaru, because he was the only one who truly loved someone else and was now ready to offer his on true love (as well as his name and allegiance), in a contract with Namtaru to escape suffering and to finally unleash the full potential of the Curse of Hunger upon the Assamite clan.
Izhim ur-Baal never rejoined his clan, instead he presided over the Black Hand as shakari and First Seraph from the Shadowlands reflection of Enoch. He rarely voiced an outright opinion, as he preferred to keep his own counsel; when he does speak, however, even mad Elimelech and boisterous Jalan-Aajav stop in mid-sentence to hear his words. Izhim had ordered contingents of the Hand to action without consent or dispensation from the other Seraphim. This practice is fast proving cause for division, ranging from general distrust to overt preparations for civil war by his one-time protege Djuhah. His motivations in this matter and others remained a mystery – common accusations range from simple lust for power to subversive agendas to otherworldly alliances forged in his youth.
|“||There comes a time, Ventrue, when the game plays the players.||”|
|— Izhim ur-Baal during the Treaty of Tyre, addressing Hardestadt|
The cult's members no longer respond with blind obedience to orders from above, so he works directly through the Black Hand, as well as through his secret ties. Like Djuhah, Izhim now operates Black Hand packs of his own, with the same fears striking Sabbat observers. Djuhah and Izhim accuse each other of plotting civil war; only their fellow Manus Nigrum believers recognize the struggle as one for control of the cult as well as of the Black Hand.
|Izhim ur-Baal, Seraph of the Black Hand|
|Clan: Assamite antitribu|
|Embrace: circa 4800 BCE|
|Apparent Age: Mid-40s|
|Physical: Strength 6, Dexterity 7, Stamina 6|
|Social: Charisma 5, Manipulation 6, Appearance 2|
|Mental: Perception 7, Intelligence 7, Wits 8|
|Talents: Alertness 7, Athletics 5, Brawl 4, Dodge 5, Expression 4, Instruction 3, Intimidation 3, Intuition 5, Leadership 4, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 4|
|Skills: Archery 3, Disguise 4, Etiquette 5, Firearms 3, Meditation 6, Melee 5, Performance (Acting) 4, Research 5, Stealth 6, Survival 3|
|Knowledges: Academics (Mathematics) 4, Alchemy 4, Black Hand Lore 5, Camarilla Lore 4, Clan Knowledge (Assamite) 5, Enigmas 6, Investigation 6, Linguistics 8, Medicine 3, Occult 6, Sabbat Lore 5|
|Disciplines: Auspex 2, Celerity 5, Dominate 2, Fortitude 4, Obfuscate 7, Obtenebration 2, Potence 3, Presence 2, Quietus 7, Thaumaturgy 4, Thaumaturgical Countermagic 1|
|Thaumaturgical Paths: Path of Blood 4, Path of Father's Vengeance 3, Path of Mars 3, Spirit Manipulation 3|
|Backgrounds: Allies 8, Black Hand Membership 5, Resources 5, Retainers 5, Sabbat Status 6|
|Virtues: Conviction 3, Self-Control 4, Courage 4|
|Morality: Path of Blood 3|