March of the Ancients
James Johnathan Harper (deceased)
Average height, short oak brown hair and trimmed beard, with a wiry build; he is usually immaculately dressed with an old pocket watch always on his person.
Born in 1913 in the city of Cardiff, west of London, on the north end of the Bristol Channel. He awakened towards the end of his scholastic career after his first year at the University of Wales. Originally attracted to the arts, he majored in music and literature, but was approached by his original mentor and teacher in the Arts Magicka; Eric Alexander Masters took him in and brought him into the Hermetic Order. Having been born before the first Great War, he grew up without his father, so when Eric became his teacher he also became a father figure.
He learned quickly, taking in any and all knowledge anyone would share with him. He grew up with hostilities escalating through the world around him, such that once World War II started he decided to join up to try and protect his world. He turned his arcane knowledge to the defense of king (George VI) and country. He joined the army against the Order’s wishes, deciding to turn his gifts against the Axis, all the while doing his best to hide his abilities from the Sleepers around him.
During a support mission to a mainland country he sought out shelter from one of the old Hermetic Chantries. There while helping to tend to their wounded, during one of his research sessions, he uncovered a hidden truth about the Order itself. He kept digging, trying to learn as much as possible, asking to be transferred to more old world locations to continue not only his aid but his research as well. He continued to sift through the tomes and the histories of the Order, digging and digging and asking and asking until he brought about the attention of the wrong individuals. He was confronted by one of the Chantry leaders, and brought before one of the advisors, Benjamin Randall James, an old world Hermetic-turned-Kindred in charge of the communications between the vampires and the mages.
It was during his meeting with Ben that James first understood the ramifications of what he had unearthed, both literally and figuratively. It was there that two choices were offered, the securing of secrecy through death, or servitude to the Clan instead of the Order. Reluctantly, and with a hint of exhilaration, he chose the latter. Unbeknownst to him at the time, however, the Embrace broke his connection with his Avatar, severing his ability to work the Tapestry forever more. The transformation was painful to say the least, as his dying breath escaped his body and the flare of life and the essence of his Avatar slipped away from him, the cold mockery that is the un-living gift that was bestowed on him settled in and where once reigned the beauty of creativity now only the insatiable hunger filled his being.
Sire: Benjamin Randall James
Mentor: Donovan Gharreth
Questions & Answers (From the book)
How old are you?
99 Years old.
When were you born?
In 1913 in Cardiff, England.
How old were you when you were Embraced?
28 Years old.
How long have you existed as a vampire?
How old do you look?
Around mid-twenties, no older than thirty.
Are you more mature than you seem? Less?
Definitely more mature than he seems.
What was unique about your childhood?
From an early age he understood he was different. It wasn’t until he was heading into college that he discovered his true calling, and Awakened into the world around him.
How did you spend your early years?
Living a quiet life. Enjoyed going to school and reading,
How were your basic motivations and attitudes forged?
From those around him, really. His mother was a strong woman, having lost her husband in the war, she was left to raise a child on her own.
Where did you go to school?
The local elementary school and prep school, but he managed to work his way into the University of Wales, where he studied Music and Literature.
Who were your immediate family?
At the time of the Embrace, only his mother was left.
What’s your earliest childhood memory?
The image of his mother crying as they informed them of his father’s passing.
Did you go to high school?
Did you have a hometown, or was your family constantly on the move?
Born and raised in Cardiff.
Did you go to college?
Did you run away from home?
Did you play sports?
Not really, no.
Did any of your childhood friendships last to adulthood?
No. There were a couple of people during his time in the Royal Armed Forces, but after the Embrace he cut ties with the mortal world entirely.
What kind of person were you?
He was a studious individual, usually quiet and reserved, but with moments of heroic achievements tailored into his life during the war.
Were you a decent person, or were you an asshole?
He was a decent person, not overtly thoughtful of others, but also not an asshole.
Were you popular?
Not really, he was liked, but not overtly popular.
Did you have a family?
No. There was another Mage that he came to have a relationship with, but the war ruined any chance of love with her.
How did you earn a living?
Before the war, he was a translator for a government office; during the war he rose up into an intelligence officer, moving from base to base trying to decipher encoded messages.
Did you have any real friends?
There were only a couple of people he really called friend, his mentor in the Hermetic Chantry, Donovan Gharreth and his daughter, and the only woman he ever considered saying he loved, Naomi Michelle Gharreth.
What kept you going from day to day?
Aside from his ideals of wanting to do the right thing, his feelings for Shelly really drove him to be the man he became.
Will anyone miss you?
Anyone that would have missed him has already passed on. He is truly alone in his life at the moment.
What was your first brush with the supernatural?
His Awakening during his early years at college was his first glimpse into the World of Darkness.
When did you realize you were being stalked?
From the very beginning he knew that he would be drawing attention to himself. He knew he was treading into dangerous territory.
Did you believe in the occult before your Embrace?
Yes. He was an Awakened Hermetic Mage.
When did you first meet a vampire?
During an investigative trek beneath an old world monastery to dig up research about an old Hermetic line.
Were you afraid? Disbelieving? Angry?
No, not really. He felt he could’ve handled himself, given his mastery of the sphere of Forces. There was no disbelief in the event, only a silent acceptance of the larger world out there. The only anger would’ve been due to the request to stop his research into the Hermetic family.
What frightened you most?
The presence was most troubling, but only because of the secret knowledge and power he radiated. It was old, much older than anything James would’ve encountered.
How did the Embrace change you?
Fundamentally, it changed him to the very core. It broke him.
How did your sire catch you?
He caught him looking through records, researching a long forgotten (rather, hidden) line of the Hermetic Order.
Was the Embrace painful?
Yes. It was excruciatingly painful, as the Avatar was ripped from the body. It is a decision that still haunts him to this day.
Did you get a kinky pleasure out of it?
No. None at all.
Did the Hunger tear at you?
Yes. It was new and frightening.
Did it frighten you? Did it feel right?
Yes. It still does. It has never felt right, but it is a necessity to continue.
Are you grateful to your sire?
Yes and no. He is grateful to continue living, but he also remembers the world he was a part of before, and the longing reminds him every day.
Do you want to kill him for what he did to you?
Not anymore. Acceptance has dulled that desire. He is one of the few people he can talk to about his condition and his plans.
Who was your sire, and how did he treat you?
His sire is Benjamin Randall James. He has been decent with him, not mean spirited, but not overtly nice to him either.
What do you know of your sire?
He is an old school Thaumaturge, long since forgotten his Mage past. Though they share a similar story with their entrance into the Hermetic Chantry, their paths are completely different after that.
Was he abusive, arrogant, cryptic or open?
He was equal parts arrogance and cryptic, with small moments of openness mixed in like Christmas.
Why do you think he chose you?
Because of the shared past, and the drive to find the truth regardless of the outcome or the repercussions.
Did you even know your sire at all?
Yes, there was a period of three decades that was spent in study and training, so there was some growth on both parts, but there are still things that are hidden away, and they both know that.
How long did you stay with your sire?
He stayed with Ben for a little over thirty years before being asked to move to the “New World.”
Did he teach you anything at all?
He taught me the rudimentary knowledge of the Clan Disciplines, and aside from intellectual banter about theories and rituals they discussed everything from sports to current affairs.
How long was your “apprenticeship?”
It was at least thirty years, but there was another ten year period that they would’ve dealt with each other, just on a more released living.
Where did you stay?
He would’ve stayed with him in his residence. At least while he was “apprenticed.”
Where did you go?
After being released he went back to Cardiff, but it brought back too many painful memories for him. He moved to London and made a living for himself there.
Did you meet any other vampires during that time?
Yes, aside from the other Tremere; once he was “released” he followed protocol and would introduce himself to the city courts that we would travel to.
Do you judge other vampires in general by your opinion of your sire?
No, not at all.
When did he teach you the Traditions?
Early on, and testing him often; making sure they were driven into the recesses of his memory.
Were you presented to the Prince?
Yes, and he was asked to quote his lineage: James Johnathan Harper, Childe of Benjamin Randall James, Childe of Angelica Greymin, Childe of Thalien of Alexandria, Childe of Etrius, Childe of Tremere.
Did the Prince welcome you?
Yes, of course. The Toreador in charge of the city was very welcoming.
Was she reluctant to accept you?
Not at all, his sire had earned the right to Embrace, and had saved it until he came into contact with James.
Did she need to be bribed or threatened?
No, not at all.
Did your sire have permission to create you?
Yes, he had earned it.
Are you on the run from the Prince?
No, not at all.
What do you think her opinion of you is?
Hopefully something good, that has also, hopefully, remained unchanged.