|Nicknames:||Puppeteers, Leeches (derogatory)|
|Disciplines:||Aizina (Obtenebration), Obfuscate, Presence|
Early History Edit
As the Ramanga would tell their story, their bloodline began on an island off Africa's south-east coast. On this island lived a woman called Ramanga and her brother Rafazi. In this time, the ancestors of the Vazimba people, to which Ramanga belonged, were patriarchal. While Ramanga was the oldest child of the king and exceedingly smart as well as ambitious, the younger Rafazi was marked as heir. Unwilling and unable to accept a secondary role, Ramanga made sacrifices to the spirits of her people to bribe them into raising her above Rafazi. When that did not work, she began sacrificing to increasingly darker spirits until one of them finally answered her call. The spirit offered to lift Ramanga up if she would only sacrifice the sun inside her as payment. Heart already burdened by the unfairness of her situation and envy towards her brother, Ramanga willingly agreed.
During the course of seven nights, the dark spirit initiated Ramanga in its heritage of shadows and illusion, showing her that real power lay not in giving orders, but in making them. Outward power might lie with the king, but real power lay with his advisors, the spirit said. Taking these lessons to heart, Ramanga returned to her people to ostensibly support her brother, even while she deftly manipulated him to do only her bidding. Cementing her control over Rafazi and his children with the power inherent to her sunless blood, Ramanga directed the future of the kingdom from that night onward. Her influence was even so great, that the Vazimba came to favor queens over kings, though it is not known if Ramanga deliberately manipulated this development, or if her mere presence instilled a sense of female rulership in the land.
Dark Ages Edit
One island was not enough to quell Ramanga's ambition. Soon she began teaching others to be like her so they might further spread her influence. Carefully keeping the island off the major naval routes so it would remain hers exclusively, Ramanga nevertheless used her power to draw in occasional traders from as far as the Arabian lands. Through these people and their trade, Ramanga's lineage spread to the Kingdoms of Ghana and Kanem, as well as Constantinople and the Middle East.
Acting in concert, Ramanga and her kin were all but indomitable on Africa's southern and eastern shores and wielded tangible power in the Middle East and parts of North Africa. Ramanga herself was still actively involved with her lineage during the Dark Ages. At first glance, she seemed to have no end goal other than spreading and cementing her control over the continent, but there might have been more to her bargain than merely sacrificing the sun.
After expanding far beyond their homeland of Madagascar, the Ramanga came into conflict with vampires from the Songhai Empire about 350 years ago. The enemy Guruhi lineage did not tolerate Ramanga “night aristocrats,” and drove them into the Kuba Kingdom. There, the Ramanga became known as the Xi Dundu. Asiman from the lineage are still known by this name, while Eastern Laibon maintain the Ramanga name.
A Ramanga typically maintained the facade of a humble servant, gently guiding people for their own good, while controlling kings and queens like a puppet master. They liked to remain close to their mortal followers, living amongst them as if they belonged. A Ramanga might even have been known (and accepted) by the rulers for what they were. These rulers would see the Ramanga as a supernatural lightning rod who would draw bad omens to themselves and thus protect the people. While being perceived as a servant might not not appear to be a lofty position for most, the Ramanga knew better; they were the ones who whispered in their ruler's ear, controlling their every action and thought.
Most Ramanga maintained two havens: one where the rulers knew to seek them out during the night, and one in a secluded spot where they spent their day in safety. As part of their services, a Ramanga drank the blood of the elite to draw out any curses cast on them, so there was rarely need for them to actively hunt for mortal prey. Even when moving into a new territory, a Ramanga typically had the skill to quickly set up a new group of people to "serve" and, as it were, feed from.
A Ramanga was often the first Laibon in a region to meet with European Cainites and, in typical diplomatic fashion, they might avoid direct clashes and make suggestions on how to best approach things instead. As a result, a Cainite Prince might have come to view a Ramanga as a valuable ally or guide. Of course, a Cainite declining to take a Ramanga's advice might have found themselves catching a carefully orchestrated sunrise even as the Ramanga remained clearly blameless.
The Ramanga were typically very careful about selecting a childe, choosing someone who was an ambitious and skilled manipulator, yet smart enough to stay out of the spotlight. Sires were quite willing to invest in the creation of the perfect childe, sometimes even going so far as manipulating mortal children from birth until one of them showed the qualities they sought. After the Embrace, a new Ramanga traditionally stayed with their sire for several centuries until they had learned all they needed. Bonds between childe and sire remained close, though not always amiable, even after such tutelage was done.
A Ramanga's use of Presence and Aizina (Obtenebration), when impacting others than themselves, became much more difficult if the Ramanga did not possess a physical piece of their victim. This tied into the Ramanga's need (and desire) to insert themselves into both mortal and Kindred society as trusted advisors and mystics, in order to get closer to their (potential) victims.
The Ramanga met up with each other on regular occasions, in large gatherings meant to discuss new regional developments, trade territories, and so on. Elaborate ceremony ensured that these meetings progressed peacefully, postponing rivalries until the procedure was done. This internal collaboration made any Ramanga a force to be reckoned with, since their goals were usually backed by the bloodline as a single, unified entity.