The Circle Of The Crone

The Mother’s Army

You believe that you are strong. You want things to change back to an earlier, less structured time. You believe in a distinction between spirituality and religion. You think if you’re going to be a monster, you’d better do it properly. You are afraid that there won’t be a place for you in the future.

What They Do

Vampires in other covenants hide their monstrous natures behind veneers of self-control, or hellfire religion, or politesse, or ideological fire. But the vampires of the Circle of the Crone are the howling beasts who roam in bloodstained packs. In other covenants, the dead try to hold fast to religions and ideologies, maintaining hierarchies and rigid systems of control. The Acolytes believe that you must change. Other covenants believe that to be a monster, you must do the will of God, or have a will to power, or study dark secrets. But the Mother’s Army is made of monsters just because it’s the way they are.

They are the attendants at every witches’ coven you’ve imagined, the crazed, naked bacchanals who tear apart the bodies of those who get in their way, who sit like spiders at the centers of orgiastic witch-cults populated by the unwitting and the lonely. Their thinkers and mouthpieces might affect etiquette in some quarters, but have somehow more energy than the theologians of the Sanctified or the boardroom manipulators of the Invictus. They are the ebullient academic occultists and the old-fashioned coven leaders who give the covenant an eloquent, seductive voice.

The members of the Circle of the Crone might call themselves pagan. These are the vampires who see the Curse as anything but — as a blessing bestowed upon the strong, the survivor. They are a part of nature. They are monsters because it is the way of things.

And natural creatures evolve and develop. The Ordo Dracul believes that the a vampire should become a different sort of monster. The Sanctified force the Kindred to subjugate their own feelings and afflict humanity. But the Acolytes believe that both beliefs are restraints, and the only way truly to enjoy the bliss of monstrosity is to leave all restraints behind.

Their priestesses and hierophants do not, unlike their Sanctified rivals, impose a structured theology upon their followers and allies. In fact, they’d probably inflict Final Death on anyone who tried to. The Circle is more a convenient banner under which many disparate groups with disparate practices and beliefs can rally in the face of opposition from the more monolithic covenants. Under different circumstances they might be enemies, but these groups recognize their common ground in the face of common opposition. Individually these groups would have been destroyed centuries ago. As the Circle of the Crone, they’ll probably still face destruction — but they’ll take their enemies screaming with them.

The Circle’s component movements range from old to new, from ancient blood-cults to post-modern feminist magick societies. Within the covenant, secrets and magics are shared freely, but outsiders are kept forever in the dark. None of them are human religions, or owes much to human mysticisms; every one is a dark mirror of living superstition. In the few, brief centuries since the Circle’s founding, the Crone’s Acolytes, the self-styled Army of the Bitch-Mother, have created a chaotic, freely contradictory synthesis of belief, and with it, a roughly-defined system of blood-magic that has spread like a virus across the Western world.

The Acolytes cheerfully lead cults, covens, and societies of outcasts and freaks, the human herd from which they choose both their prey and their childer. If the Acolytes seem strange, even by Kindred standards, it is not unrelated to the strangeness of their preferred subjects for the Embrace.

How They Do It

It’s hard to pin down any one practice as generic. Their rituals are often unique to their homelands, a mixture of old and new; every ceremony constantly changes, and might be wholly different from one night to the next. They dance naked, run in wild hunts, light ritual pyres (always risky for the dead), and perform blood sacrifices. Sometimes the sacrifices are human. Sometimes strangled, sometimes stabbed, sometimes suffocated. It’s not as common as the other covenants would like to believe. But they happen.

Most Acolytes have some sort of involvement with a human cult of some kind: a controlling “personal development” cult that steals its members from their families and friends; a neo-Bacchanalian sisterhood; a cerebral occult study group; a coven of blood-drenched witches. The cultists are sometimes dupes, lured in by the half-deceptive promises and glamours of the vampire. Often transformed into willing servants by bonds of blood forged in mock-pagan ceremonies, these cultists can become our effective and willing agents. They recruit. They bring in money. If, a lot of the time, Acolytes are more closely involved with the affairs of their herds than the devotees of any other covenant, it is at least worth it for the benefits they receive. Human agents — often unwitting — can go places and do things vampires can’t. And of course, they’re expendable.

This is just as well. The Circle are the least numerous of the covenants (with the possible exception of the Ordo Dracul). They exist in a state of sometimes open, sometimes undeclared, war against the more established, hierarchical covenants. They need all the help we can get (whether the help knows it or not). Neither ideologically tied down like the Carthians, or possessed of the tools of power that the Invictus have, those of the Circle have only their desire for change on our side, their absolute need to be better.

Among their most powerful tools is Crúac, our vicious system of blood magic; it is flexible and ever-changing, but not for the conscience-stricken. Acolytes share Crúac freely among their members, but outsiders looking to steal this power find they guard their secrets jealously and fiercely.