The Tears of Zillah
Let me tell the tale of Zillah
first loved of Caine,
first wife of Caine,
the sweetest blood,
the softest skin,
the clearest eyes.
Alone of Caine's newest Childer,
did Caine desire Her
and she was not mindful of his
desire, turning away from Him.
Not gifts, not sacrifices,
not perfumes, not doves,
not beautiful dancers,
not singers, not oxen,
not sculpture, not beautiful clothes,
nothing would turn Zillah's heart
from stone to sweet fruit.
So Caine pulled at his beard
and tore at his hair
and took to roaming the wilderness
at night, thinking of her,
burning for her,
and one night Caine came upon
an old Crone singing to the moon
- The Tale of Zillah, Book of Nod
The First Days
Any Noddist knows how the story ends. Caine in his rashness and lust is tricked by the Crone and Embraces her in exchange for the secrets of the Blood Bond, the most terrible of all Kindred abilities. The ability to enslave a person, to make them act against their will is the ultimate subversion. Yet Caine, as shown when he murdered his brother, always acts on impulse and desire before morality and rational thought.
This brings us to Zillah the Beautiful. She was the swiftest hunter of her time, able to bring down any beast that would plague the countryside. No man, animal or even Lupine was safe once she had set her sights on them. Truly Zillah was one of God’s greatest Creations. No wonder that Caine could not resist her when he met her and no wonder that she had the foresight to reject him. He Embraced her, thinking this would change her feelings. He was wrong. This is why Caine had to resort to slavery in order to subdue her. The Blood Bond was a new concept which allowed him to trick her.
Years went by in the First City and, in a rare moment of clarity, Caine realised the toxic influence he had on his Childer and Grandchilder. However, instead of making amends and fixing the situation, he decided to run. However, this was not enough to stop the Great Flood and soon enough the city and most of its inhabitants drowned. After that terrible time was over and the earth began to recover, the noble Second Generation envisioned a new Dream (Note: Later on, a Trinity of self-aggrandising despots took this Dream and corrupted it in order to make themselves Gods). This was to be a city without the hedonism and cruelty inherent in Caine’s kingdom. The dreaded Third Generation, not content with respecting their Elders and their roles, plotted against the Second Generation. Enoch, Irad and Zillah, not expecting the betrayal from those they had loved and cared for were surprised when the attack came. Their Childer had been trained well, but figures like Set and the Nosferatu founder, Zillah’s own Childer, had kept their desires well-hidden until the moment came. Their betrayal, not just in action but also in motive, makes them the worst of all. Hunt their followers were you can find them.
In one last act of Divine Grace, God having wept at the corruption that Caine had forced upon their favoured child, he took pity on her. In an act later allegorised by the tale of Daphne, when she wept at seeing her Brothers killed in front of her and her Childer planning to devour her, God turned her to stone. And to this day the “Weeping Stone” as it is called cries tears of Blood as Zillah sees her descendants struggle against the slavery and subtle chains of her Childer and Grandchilder who have turned themselves into living deities.
The Tears are Forming
In the years after the betrayal of the Third Generation, we were the ones who kept the ideals of Zillah alive. Her tears freed us from being slaves to those ancients who sought to control us. We enacted vengeance in her name. However, as is the nature of our kind, a rift began to form. There were those who started to revere what they called the Dark Father, Caine. They were to be the ones who led the war against the Antediluvians and, when Caine returned, he would accept them by his side. In contrast, there were those of us who saw Caine as the worst of them all. The one who bound his Childe into slavery because he could not have her. What reason did they have to think he would treat them any better than he did Zillah, or Abel for that matter?
In the end, our two groups separated during the Anarch Revolt and the formation of the fanatical religious sect you know as the Sabbat. The Caine loyalists of the Lost Tribe, as we called ourselves in that time, saw this new group as a great opportunity to make an army aimed at the Antediluvians and their Childer. They molded this group into being fanatical Caine worshippers, who in their delusional beliefs, actually hold that they have the Blessing of the First Murderer. Whatever we have to tell ourselves at the end of the night I suppose.
However, this reverence of Caine was the last straw as our schism neared its conclusion. We renounced Caine and we renounced our ties to this new “Black Hand”. We rededicated ourselves to the Three Faces of Zillah: Zillah the Beautiful, Zillah the Huntress and Zillah the Prophet. The Lost Tribe took it as well as you would expect. For years the few of us who survived our disentanglement waited in hiding, carefully recruiting and advocating for our cause among Kindred who would listen. A hunter patiently waiting for the time to be right. An additional difficulty was imposed by the Camarilla, with its refusal of Kindred origins. However, our numbers have grown slowly but steadily. The Sabbat and Camarilla fracturing, the resurgence of religious scholarship among Kindred and an entirely new generation of Embraced Fledglings with a more healthy respect for the concept of consent have all contributed to a healthy growth in our numbers. Should we hear of any Sabbat packs roaming the city, we must drop everything to destroy them. Sure, we know there is a difference between the mooks that make up the vast majority of them and the Black Hand which is the true enemy. However, you never know when the real deal is hiding in their midst or arriving on the coattails of their lessers should we allow them to thrive.
The Tears are Stinging
In modern years we remain on the fringes of Kindred society. Few of our members hold positions of power in cities, be it Camarilla or Anarch. As far as goals go, members are mostly concerned with three things. Firstly we hunt Methuselah and Antediluvian Cults. Their naïve beliefs must be squashed prematurely before they take hold in a city. We have seen time and time again how easily tempted many Kindred are to give up their freedom. If not nipped in the bud, their beliefs can spread like wildfire or become entrenched in the city. Both scenarios make these beliefs difficult to be burnt out.
The second is the cause for liberty. Kindred, or even Ghouls oppressed by their supposed betters by being enslaved into the Blood Bond deserve a chance for freedom. We aim to give them that chance. Liberate them from their slave masters and try to wean them off their addiction is a noble goal. However, it is easier said than done. We must always be careful as especially among Kindred many of these Bonds are held by Elders with more political clout than us. That, naturally, does not stop any real Hunter. Helping these poor souls escape without getting caught is as much of a worthy hunt as hunting down a Werewolf.
Our third concern is that we must always consider recruitment. Our Elders guided us through the storms of the centuries, knowing when to press and when to hold back. However, we must keep our movement growing. This is the golden era for making people understand the nature of their chains so that they might reject them. When times are good they are too content. Once you find a suitable mark you stalk them, you test them out and understand what makes them tick. You never aim for more than you can bargain and you never reveal your hand before you know the prey is yours.
Tears of Joy
Our members have some unorthodox beliefs regarding Blood Bonds and human-Kindred relationships that make Camarilla Elders worried and humanist Anarchs upset. We reject the Blood Bond, whether it is to Kine or to Kindred. We will not bind another to slavery like Caine bound Zillah. Our freedom is a freedom of the Blood and the mind. Sure, Compel your enemy into handing you their gun, Awe the bouncer to get into that nightclub. But never take away someone’s freedom by binding a soul to yourself with your Vitae. Ghouling is fine, but make sure your Blood leaves your body first and loses it Bonding properties. Even Ghouls must be able to choose their fate. With this has to come the realisation that free Ghouls are dangerous. Use them only when you have to and keep in the back of your mind how easily they’ll bite the hand that feeds them.
One may think that this just makes us Anarchs. However, unlike the Anarchs, we strongly believe in the separation of Kindred and Kine. Make no mistake, just because we do not believe in Blood Bonding Ghouls does not make us consider them our equals. In the pecking order, Kindred are the predator and Kine are the prey. In this analogy, Ghouls are tracking and guard dogs. Our society stands apart from the humans and we must never mistake ourselves into believing we can just fit in among them or that we are equal. The moment we were Embraced was the moment we moved up in the food chain and we became the hunters. And whether you are a physical hunter who tracks lost souls in the back alleys of a dark city or a social predator who isolates that one desperate lad at the bar, you hunt and they are food. The Kine do not befriend the deer they plan to shoot and eat tonight. Never forget this.
Tears of Pain
We must always look perfect and desirable both to those who would consider joining us, and to those who would consider harming us. If our house seems in order and we look strong it dissuades our enemies and attracts potential friends. Even though they would never admit it, Kindred are as susceptible as Kine to appearances and impressions. This does not just concern physical beauty, which admittedly can make many an argument even more convincing. However, this concerns the appearance of our ideal and our cause. We evoke desire, while our hearts must remain stone except to those we choose to let in.
Our final two Tenets concern Loyalty and Foresight. Zillah was betrayed by those she held closest, her Childer. In her trust she did not see that they would betray her. And for what? Power? They had power, they had everything, what more could they want? But by now, you should realise that there is no amount of power in the world that could satisfy the Unfaithful Third Generation. Never betray your Sire, your Coterie or your Allies unless they move against you or commit crimes against all Kindred such as by supporting the mad delusions of the Methuselahs who would be gods. Always think of the future, know when to be patient and when to strike. Know what goes on around you and what plots are in motion so you will never be surprised. And always know of the strengths and weaknesses of those around you, friend or foe.
Hierarchy & Practices
The Tears are a decentralised group. At the lowest rung are the Free Ghouls. Not being enslaved to Kindred and yet not having to worry about where to get your Blood fix is a tempting prospect for many Ghouls. Sadly only a few are strong enough to achieve this state, even with our support. The ones who do are key to our operations. They are our eyes during the day, in places we cannot go inconspicuously. They serve as communications liaisons between domains and territories. They are however, still the lowest rung in our organisation. Kindred are a step higher in the food chain and while our lives would be more difficult without them, compare it to a medieval farmer who needs to do his work without a horse or an ox. The farmer is greatly helped by these beasts, but she still ranks higher in the food chain than they do. Ghouls are still Kine, remember the difference.
Of the Kindred in our movement, the lowest ranking members are the Initiates. They are the newest members who have not yet completed the initiation process. We are still teaching them, making sure they have what it takes to truly join the cause and know our secrets. Our more experienced members have a chance to test them and see what they’re made of. They learn our tenets and our ways, but there is still a barrier of separation from true freedom. They must earn it first. When their original scout thinks they’re ready, they are tested in one of the aspects of Zillah: Beauty, Foresight or the Hunt. Should they pass the test they are baptised and become full members from then on.
The common members are called Rangers. We enact the tasks mentioned under Modern Operations and are the bulk of our Kindred members. Usually Rangers and the local leadership gather monthly at small temples. Here we discuss the news, learn from one another and perform any rites should it be the time for them. If necessary, grieve for those who are lost or just in case any members need it. Unless the region’s Faces of Zillah live there, normally the leader of these local gatherings is the eldest member of the group (by seniority as part the cult, not by age), named the First Ranger. In larger regions, such as the Northeast U.S. or the Balkans the leadership is called the Faces of Zillah. These three members each represent one aspect of Zillah, called the Prophet, the Hunter and the Tempter. Different regions may have variations of these titles. Regional gatherings are conducted every ten years, unless an urgent one is called. Everyone that is able is expected to attend. Here, concerns and politics are discussed and the Faces hear complaints against policy or against one another. They will arbitrate disputes if necessary. Dispute between members shouldn’t reach the Prince or Seneschal of the city you live in. At these meetings, the Faces announce the strategy for the coming 10 years and we discuss and question it.
Communication works as follows: Inside a locality there is usually a small temple and there are small and safe gathering places where all members can come to meet one another. You would have ways to contact others in your city should you need to discuss anything urgently that cannot wait, based on local preferences. Between cities however, things get trickier. There is a system of grief counseling groups that we keep an eye on. We send the Free Ghouls between cities with coded messages and codified instructions to send a reply to the sender. They go into these grief counseling groups and use certain keywords so our monitors know it is them. The Camarilla banning technology was wise and overdue. You never know who is listening.
When a member completes their Initiation Trials where they will be tested on at least one of the Aspects of Zillah, they undergo a baptism. The baptism is performed by using Vitae from Kindred tears that we have collected over the years. Here, we ask Zillah to guide you to great successes in name of the Tears and to watch over you.
For any of these events, we do not have hard and fast dates. However we choose to remember them once per year.
Day of the Embrace
We celebrate the day that Zillah was Embraced, while at the same time recognizing the situation that led to it. We remember our own Embrace and the imperfections and qualities of our Sires.
Day of Freedom
This is the day that represent when Caine took the freedom of Zillah away and forced her to be his wife. It may seem strange to celebrate it, but we celebrate the opposite. This is the day that we decide to take our freedom. We do not wait for a God Methuselah to grant absolution, we take it for ourselves. We fight for Zillah against the Jyhad and against the Blood Bond. If in any way possible we attempt to have at least one Ritual of the Weeping Stone performed to free someone of their chains.
Day of the Great Betrayal
This is a solemn day. This day we remember that cursed day, when the Third Generation rose up against the members of the Faithful Second Generation, who had always served their Sire even when he didn’t deserve it. Their time to rule had come. In their greed and lust for power (and more...), the Third Generation would not let them have that. We remember this day is by preparing a ritual sacrifice. Ideally, we would stake an Elder who decided to play his games of Jyhad with his descendants, started a cult or simply enslaved his Childer. Should this not be possible, a sycophant younger Kindred or a simple effigy will suffice. We sacrifice these to Zillah, so that she is aware that her betrayal at the hands of the Third Generation will never be forgotten.
Day of Remembrance
On this day, we remember those who fell in the name of Zillah, from the time of the Second City until the Modern Nights. We grieve for those who have fallen and group sessions are organised to help us process it correctly. Those who follow the Weeping Stone must be able to deal with their grief and feelings of loss properly.
Never Take Part in the Jyhad or its Machinations
Above all, to follow the Way of Zillah, you need to reject the methods, chains and false dichotomies of those who betrayed her. That all are stuck to play it is the greatest lie they have ever told.
An Honourable Hunt is a Service in Zillah’s Name
The hunt is sacred. She was, after all, the greatest hunter. Take care to never become like the Sabbat. You hunt for sustenance and necessity, not for sport.
Never Accept Slavery and Denial of Consent
In the name Zillah we cannot stand by as those who do not consider their desires and convenience more important than the free will of others act as they please.
Kill Those Who Would Worship False Gods
We cannot accept those who would worship the Blood Gods or the First Murderer.
Be Loyal to the Righteous, Destroy the Slavers and Schemers
Betrayal is anathema to Zillah, however we cannot be loyal to those who would enslave us or plot to usurp their betters purely for power. Follow our code and expect those to whom you are loyal, to follow it as well.
Remember Your Place in the Food Chain
Kindred stand above Ghouls and Kine in the food chain. If you need to kill for sustenance and survive, then that is an action you not only should, but must take.
Camarilla: Even a gilded cage is still a cage. However, the recent troubles have forced them to allow differing viewpoints. Anarchs: Their heart is in the right place, but isn’t it convenient that their rise coincides with the decline of the Sabbat? They are as much tools of the Would-Be-Gods as the Camarilla, destined to keep us in conflict and distracted from the true enemy.
Clan Nosferatu: More than any other, they have suffered for the sins of their ancestor and apparently he hunts them still. They deserve our respect and friendship. The investment is often rewarded.
The Church of Set: They worship a false God that will devour them without a second thought. Set has no loyalty and is not worth any. If you cannot convince them of it, kill them before they can continue their preaching.
The Church of Caine: The more you allow the mistake of their presence to continue, the more you risk young Kindred accepting the comfort of slavery.