Lexicon

The vampires of the Dark Medieval use a variety of terms all their own. The following are some of the most common and important ones.

  • Amaranth, the: The act of drinking rhe blood of another Cainite to the point of destroying him and assimilating part of his essence. Also called diablerie.
  • ancillae (pl. ancillae): An "adolescent" vampire, usually between one and two centuries old; no longer a neonate, an ancilla is also not yet an elder.
  • Antediluvian: A vampire of the third generation, who survived the Great Flood to found one of the clans.
  • ashen priest: A vampire who leads services or offers instruction tied to one of the roads of enlightenment. Most often used for teachers on the Road of Heaven who adopt the manner of Christian priests.
  • Autarkis: A vampire of no status in vampiric society, cast out from all domains.
  • Beast, the: The destructive drives and urges that are the most basic effects of vampirism, including the hunger for blood. Many Cainites think of the Beast as a sort of wild devil inside them, one they struggle to repress or control.
  • Becoming, the: The Transformation into a vampire, also called the Embrace.
  • Bitter Crusade, the: The vampiric struggles that accompanied the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). The Bitter Crusade saw the destruction of the Methuselah and monarch Michael of Constantinople and ignited the War of Princes.
  • blood oath, the: A supernatural bond of fealty imposed on anyone who drinks the blood of the same vampire three separate times. The oathhound person (who can be either a vampire or a mortal) is called a thrall, and the vampire who's blood he drank is the regnant.
  • Book of Nod, The: The closest thing to the Cainite Bible; a collection of texts supposedly going back to the earliest nights. No complete text exists, although the so-called Erciyes Fragments are becoming influential.
  • Cainite: A vampire, descended from the biblical Caine. (Certain vampires do not believe themselves to be descended from Caine, but the term is still almost universal in Europe.)
  • Caitiff: A vampire with no known clan affiliation, either because of banishment, an anonymous Embrace or weak blood. The lowest of the low in Cainite society.
  • childe: The progeny of a vampire. A vampire who has yet to be presented to the local prince and released from his sire's responsibility.
  • clan: One of 13 extended vampiric families descended from the Antediluvians of the third generation. Clanmates share certain characteristics of the Curse, such as specific weaknesses and a propensity for key Disciplines.
  • consanguineus: One of the same lineage, usually the younger childe of the same sire.
  • coterie: A group of Cainites who cooperate, usually in order to stake a larger domain than any could alone, or to accomplish some task.
  • Damned, the: Vampires.
  • diablerie: Informal term for the Amaranth.
  • domain: The fiefdom claimed by a vampire, usually something of substance like a village, city or county. By tradition, the vampire has exclusive feeding rights and other powers in his domain.
  • domitor: The vampire who has fed blood to a mortal to turn her into a ghoul.
  • elder: A vampire of at least three centuries of age. Elders are very powerful but not so old as to be drawn into the torpor and madness of many Methuselahs.
  • Embrace, the: The act of creating another vampire by draining a mortal of all her blood and feeding her some back at the point of death.
  • Erciyes Fragments, the: A version of The Book of Nod (or extracts from it) promulgated by the scholars of Clan Cappadocian (and named for their temple at Erciyes, in Anatolia) over the last 30 years. There are nine fragments, including three supposedly penned by Caine himself.
  • fledgling: A newly Embraced vampire.
  • Gehenna: The vampiric vision of Armageddon, in which the Antediluvians return and feed on all other vampires.
  • generation: A measure of how far removed a vampire is from Caine, the first of their kind (and the first generation). Thus, a lOth-generarion vampire is nine sreps removed from Caine. The lower a vampire's generation is, the more powerful she can become.
  • ghoul: A mortal (human or animal) who has ingested significant quantities of vampiric hlood. Ghouls stop aging (as long as they have vitae in their system), and they can use the blood to heal damage and power certain Disciplines. Most ghouls are under the blood oath.
  • Golconda: Apocryphal state in which much of the curse of vampirism is lifted, including the hunger for blood. Once a popular aspiration for religiously inclined Cainites, it is now widely dismissed as a pagan falsehood.
  • haven: The home of a vampire or the place where she sleeps.
  • kine, the: A contemptuous term for mortals, often used in opposition to Cainite.
  • Kiss, the: Vampiric feeding by blood-drinking, and the ecstasy that results in the victim. Sometimes used as a synonym for the Embrace.
  • Lextalionis: Cainite law, based upon the Traditions of Caine and other established practices. Lextalionis in Europe is feudal in nature, emphasizing the bond between lord and vassal.
  • lineage: The bloodline of a vampire, traced by Embrace. If clan is a vampire's people (like the mortal Franks or Catalans), then lineage is her family.
  • Long Night, the: The period roughly lasting from the fall of Rome to the burning of Constantinople during the so-called Bitter Crusade. It was a time of hoth prosperity and stagnation for the Cainites, who mostly ruled as independent princes across Europe.
  • lord: A vampire with an extensive domain and several princes as his vassals. Most lords are themselves vassals of the great monarchs, but some have independent domains.
  • Lupine: A werewolf, the mortal enemy of the vampires.
  • Methuselah: A vampire of the fourth or fifth generation, who has been unliving for millennia. Methuselahs are subject to long periods of torpor, and very few are active on a nightly basis.
  • monarch: The most powerful of the vampires in the feudal system of Europe. A monarch typically rules a domain equivalent to a mortal kingdom with the help of various princes and counts who are his vassals.
  • neonate: A young vampire, usually no more than 25 years from the Embrace. Neonates are nonetheless full members of vampiric society, having been presented to the local prince and released from their sires.
  • Old Ways, the: The Traditions of Caine and the associated tradition of Cainite law. Lextalionis.
  • prince: The preeminent vampire in a region, usually a city of county. Prince is the traditional terminology, but duke, baron, lord and queen are also used by some individuals often to convey a lesser or greater sense of status.
  • progenitor: The vampire who founded a recognized line of vampires. Caine is the progenitor of all vampires, while the Antediluvians are the progenitors of the clans.
  • regnant: A vampire to whom another is bound by the blood oath.
  • revenant: A member of a ghoul family, born with the ability to create small quantities of vampiric vitae. Revenants families are bred by Clan Tzimisce.
  • road: A vampiric system of belief and behavior that keeps the Beast at bay and allows the Cainite to exist without becoming an unthinking monster. There are five major roads (Road of the Beast, Road of Heaven. Road of Humanity, Road of Kings, Road of Sin) and countless smaller paths. Sometimes called a road of enlightenment or via (pl. viae).
  • sire: The vampire who Embraced another (his childe). The act of Embracing.
  • Thaumaturgy: Literally "the making of miracles," it is the complex form of blood-magic developed by the magi-cum-vampires of Clan Tremere. It is a potent weapon that makes the small clan very dangerous. A practitioner is called a thaumaturge.
  • Third Mortal, the: Caine.
  • thrall: One who is bound by the blood oath to a vampire.
  • Traditions of Caine, the: The six key laws of vampiric culture that structure their nocturnal society. They are the Covenant, Domain, Progeny, Accounting, Destruction and the Silence of Blood. Sometimes called simply The Traditions or the Old Ways.
  • vessel: A potential or past source of bood, typically a human.
  • vitae: Blood, most often vampiric blood.
  • War of Ages, the: The ancient battle between the Antediluvians, said to be fought from torpor in slow moves and subterfuges. Called the Jyhad in Saracen lands.
  • War of Princes, the: The battle between the vampiric princes of Europe, waged on many fronts. The so-called monarchs are the ultimate faction-heads in this struggle, but it is princes and lords who battle on a night-to-night basis.