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c. 8000 BC
Tzimisce, commonly referred to as the Eldest by its descendants, is the most inscrutable of all the Antediluvians, consumed as it is with questions of Metamorphosis and the arcane requirements to advance on this Path. Whatever parts of it that were human, if it were ever human, are long abandoned.
The Legend of Irad has it that, at some point in the city of Enoch, Irad "the Strong" sought to purge himself of all evil. Using his mastery of Protean, the ancient gathered all of his evil into a bilious mass of repugnancy and horror, and spat it out. Irad's intention was to destroy the mortal whom consumed this mass of protean, thinking that by destroying this mortal, he would destroy the evil also. But to Irad's surprise this mortal appeared normal. Irad brought the mortal to his brother Enoch's attention. Curious, Enoch Embraced the mortal to see what the outcome would be. Thus, the world was given the Tzimisce Antediluvian.
Player's Guide to High Clans presents different points of view on the Eldest's Embrace.
It is said that he was an oracle when he was yet mortal, a magician and seer even before he was a Cainite. Ynosh, who Embraced him, chose him as the only worthy recipient of the power he had to offer. The Eldest’s Embrace was not like those of other, normal Cainites. Ynosh focused his will and drew forth the most primordial part of himself, saturating his vitae with everything that made him more than mortal before bestowing this gift upon Tzimisce. This great Embrace made the Eldest far more than his brothers among the third generation. Where they were tainted, he was pure. Where they were still tethered to their human frames and their past lives, he was able to combine his earlier magics with the power bestowed upon him, and to use them both to begin, even in his earliest nights, the metamorphosis that would enable him ultimately to transcend all mortal limitations.
Some Tzimisce scholars maintain a slightly different version of the Eldest’s Embrace than that accounted above. According to them, Ynosh the Lawgiver hadn’t intended to create a viable childe. He was hoping to free himself of the Beast. If he could rid himself of the spiritual impurities that tethered him to the Beast, he could escape it, for it would fade away without any link to his soul. Tzimisce, then, was to be the repository of all this corruption, a scapegoat who would carry the worst of Ynosh only long enough for the Lawgiver to kill him. It was only when he realized that the Eldest had come through the Embrace largely intact, that he had proved strong enough to master the horror foisted upon him, that Ynosh relented and allowed his offspring to survive. Most who do not believe in this account point to a single, glaring inconsistency. Why, if Ynosh intended simply to slaughter his offspring outright, did he choose an oracle and a magician to be the repository of his seed? Surely he could have chosen a more expendable and less useful mortal to carry his waste. This has led some of the Fiends to develop yet a third theory of their genesis, one that combines the other two into an even more frightening concept. Perhaps Ynosh did indeed deliberately infect the Eldest with the vilest and most corrupt parts of his soul. But suppose, they say, his purpose in doing so was not to kill the bearer of his sins out of hand? Suppose he intended from the beginning to let his offspring survive, and he chose Tzimisce precisely because he had the necessary capabilities to master the Lawgiver’s impurities? If this is true, it means that Ynosh deliberately created the clan of Cainites often credited with being the most cruel and inhuman creatures ever to walk the Earth.
The Eldest counted itself among the first Antediluvians, though it remained apart from them. In its eyes, the other Cainites stagnated in development. They possessed no potential to grow or become greater than when their sires Embraced them. The Eldest, on the other hand, an oracle in its mortal days, expressed the gamut of evolution’s whims with wondrous flourish. Distraught over its tethered existence, the Eldest spent a mortal’s age in seclusion and meditation, shifting and flying through shapes of mortal and legend alike, seeking out a form free of the accursed thirst. When all failed, it left the First City and wandered into the East, siring childer in the process to expand its own perceptions and study the limitlessness of form. The Eldest wished to delimit itself according to its destiny, as opposed to what it might be now, and mortals were key to that expression.
Eventually, the Eldest reached what would later be named Transylvania. There, it met a slumbering entity called Kupala, which had been sealed by the Lupines and yearned for freedom. Despite great resistance, [Tzimisce] managed to free Kupala, but could not sever the ties between it and the Carpathian land. [Tzimisce] lived in its new domain during the Deluge, offering escaping mortals the mountain peaks as shelter in exchange for blood. When it was cursed by Caine, the Eldest was hit by surprise as it was far from its home, and suffered as long as it was disconnected from the ancient land claimed by Kupala.
The accounts of the Salubri tell that Samiel, childe of Saulot, challenged [Tzimisce] in its lair during one of the Baali Wars, sensing the taint upon it. The Eldest was slain by righteous fire, but managed to take its assailant with it. After the struggle, the Bogatyri (the Antediluvian's personal guardians) vanished into the night never to be seen again.
It then used the part of its own essence invested into its childer and reformed itself in the bowels of the Dracon. The child-like body of the Eldest was brought to the Cathedral of Flesh and tended by Yorak, while it listened to Kupala's whispers and learned more secrets from it. Although Yorak sent word to the Bogatyri about the Eldest return, they never came back, and the master of the Cathedral of Flesh assumed the mantle of clan leader while his sire slept.
|“||He has forgotten how to be gentle…and even I cannot say if he understands, or remembers, how fragile we are any longer.||”|
|— Damek Ruthven|
Around 1232 one of the manifestations of the Eldest was discovered by a young koldun named Ilias cel Frumos, in the haven of teraboste Damek Ruthven. Inside the fortress Ilias stumbled upon a long colonnade of stone and wooden columns that led down from a threshold, widening into an enormous circle at its far end. Standing in the middle of that circle was a tree—a massive, wide-spreading tree, a true grandfather of the forest, still in leaf despite the winter, the wind hissing softly through its branches with a sound like distant whispers. Ilias almost thought he heard a voice in it.
He instinctively knew a god dwelt there, or a being close enough to divinity that the differences hardly mattered. Ilias experienced the sensation of walking down to the tree distantly, nearly outside of himself. He knelt among the roots of the tree, the ground filled with fallen leaves that smelled like dried blood. The bark was warm to the touch and felt like skin.
Ilias laid himself against its bole and the god welled up within it—welled up within him— like sap rising with the spring. He felt it touching him from within, moving in his blood and soul, running its fingers through his thoughts. Then, it spoke, softly, urgently, the same voice he had heard in his dreams. The same voice, and the same unfathomable tongue, the same sense of insistence, of an urgency so strong it was nearly fear. He begged it, silently, to make what it needed of him clearer. But it did not seem to know how. When the god-tree released him, Ilias was left with a small crimson seed, which he kept closely.
He ultimately ate the seed when his coterie was confronted with the methuselah Dracon. After making use of the seed Ilias was possessed by the Tzimisce Antediluvian in a Obertus Monastery in the outskirts of the city of Brasov. His body was used to destroy Markus Musa Giovanni and to impart the young Tzimisce Myca Vykos with the dragon-seed of his ancestor. Ilias' body couldn't withstand the force of the being that had spoken and acted through him and dissolved itself into fine ash.
|“||It is almost true, that he cannot die. So long as one of his blood exists, he exists. So long as the world does not fall to ash, he may make himself whole again.||”|
|— the Dracon|
At the turn of the 15th Century, an Anarch leader, Lugoj the "Blood-Breaker", used Lambach Ruthven to locate the Tzimisce Antediluvian. After the crushing of the Lasombra Antediluvian, it seemed nothing could stop the Anarchs. With Lugoj just pumped up on Byelobog's diablerie, he led the resistance straight to the ancient Sernog Monastery where it was thought that the Tzimisce Antediluvian was in torpor. A great battle ensued between the Tzimisce Guardians and Lugoj's mob.
However, Tzimisce was not in torpor and somewhere in the midst of battle it subdued Lugoj without anyone knowing it from either side. Through the power of invisibility, the Tzimisce Antediluvian killed Lugoj and impaled him on a massive wooden hook. Then Tzimisce fleshcrafted into what looked like Lugoj, impersonating him. By the time it got back to the fighting, The Guardians were on their last stand, and caved to the anarchs.
Tzimisce, impersonating Lugoj, rallied up the Anarchs to let them think they won the battle. Then it took it one step further by dispelling the magical protections of torpor and unearthing the ancient remains of a vampire decoy that resembled the Tzimisce Antediluvian. Tzimisce commenced to consume the decoy's blood, making it appear as if Lugoj was diablerising the Antediluvian. For all the criticism Lambach gets for being incompetent, he was the only vampire to discover the "real" Lugoj impaled, to notice that the vampire in torpor was only a decoy, and to realize that the Lugoj standing before him was his grandsire, Tzimisce.
Why all the secrecy? Perhaps it was a matter of survival, especially since the Lasombra Antediluvian was taken down, showing that the force of these anarchs was no laughing matter. Further, by posing as Lugoj, perhaps Tzimisce could destroy the anarchs from the inside out. Only time will tell.
Final Nights Edit
|“|| Myself. Metamorphosis. Ascension. I am that I am. I am the land, awakened by blood. No longer a larvae. The pupal stage ends, for myself and the others"||”|
|— the Eldest, in Nights of Prophecy|
[Tzimisce], masquerading as Lugoj, let his body be transported to a hidden crypt beneath what would become New York City by Zantosa Revenants that knew of his ruse. There, it entered a meditation that would allow it to reach Metamorphosis. In the process, its body dissolved to a puddle of slime, then transformed into fungi, then into plants and every other living creature in existence, exploring the infinitude of life by assuming its shape.
The Eldest fed on its own creations, Zantosa Revenants, and clueless Nosferatu, as it expanded in size and complexity. It produced its own vitae, finding sustenance in the very essence of the Earth, slowly approaching the final transformation. Lambach, led by the Revenants, found the evolving mass and was given an offer to join it. As Lambach declined, the Eldest send out his call, drawing members of the Clan to New York and into the sewers, reclaiming its essence within them. It started to infuse itself into other creatures, beginning with plants and animals, to master them and unite all Creation into itself.
- Mekhet, possible association