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Danava (Ventrue Bloodline): Indian Priest-Kings

on Wed Oct 11 2017, 20:47

Whether I am a god or a demon, it does not matter. Holiness still follows in my wake.

Since time out of mind, the Danava have made India their primary home, and with that weight of age comes power. Where Western Cainites hold that the masters of Sadhana are the distant descendants of the Ventrue, the Children of Danu know another story. Their exact origins are as murky as the Ganges, and yet some of their eldest purport to be descended from the blood of those that resided in the most ancient and forgotten of the cities that have fallen to ruin upon India’s landscape. Some still claim an unbroken ancestry to the primordial goddess Danu, carried through the blood from sire to childe and on through the ages. Others spin tales of being demons made flesh, asuras bound into human form. A second side purports to be devas, the divine will of their ancestress and the gods they revere made clear through prayer and the brutalities of Sadhana. These two sides maintain an adversarial role within the bloodline, but both still pay their tithes to the deities that rule India. Each Child of Danu seeks to rip away his mortal form and transcend to something more through Sadhana, using it as a cleansing fire to achieve some manner of enlightenment.

The Danava believe that the drinking of blood imbues them with prana, which in turn fuels the Thaumaturgy they wield that has existed for far longer than the sorceries of the Tremere. In death, the Danava remain the same artists, priests, warriors, and teachers they were in life. They maintain some dregs of that mortal status, and provide spiritual services to their respective Cainite communities. As the custodians of Sadhana, the sacred and profane rites that allow a Child of Danu to twist his animating humors into something stranger still, they rule India’s nights as priest-kings.

Sadhana demands grueling austerities performed with each new rank gained. Even those that claim demonic origins adhere to the multiplicity of Hindu gods, making oblations and sacrifices as required throughout the yearly cycle of holy days and festivals. Many Children of Danu believe that with the blood of their vaunted ancestry—both kine and Cainite—these devotions allow them to harness the maya inherent to the universe, and in so doing become masters of it in more than just name.

Whether they are the children of an ancient goddess or the distant descendants of demons, the gods of their land, nevertheless, are real. Even if a handful of atheists speckle their ranks, it is impossible to deny the presence of something wholly other within them when they are in the throes of Sadhana. They twist and bend into yogic and tantric configurations, utilizing mudras with the hands or the entire body as common methods of accessing the various aspects of their Thaumaturgy. With each new undertaking, the Danava consult grains, throw purified butter onto coals, and examine solar and lunar charts in order to divine just when the time will be right. Observing their ritual calendars and the oaths they make to their gods with the utmost seriousness, breaking a vrata is beyond the pale, even for a demon.

Sobriquet: Children of Danu

Appearance: A Danava is unmistakably regal. Each and all are permeated with the sweet smell of holy attars, perfumes that hang in the air and infuse their clothing longafter it is removed. Steeped in the blood of India, their style of dress varies like any who can claim ancestry from within its borders. Many affect the saffron robes of swamijis during times of fasting and trial, while others adorn themselves in the wealth and clothing befitting those belonging to one of the highest echelons of their society. Many still attire themselves in simplified finery, and all act as their birthrights demand.

Haven: It would be easy to mistake a Danava’s haven for a temple. Gods adorned in fresh flowers cover their altars, and the air is often thick with the scent of incense, offerings, and attar oils alike. Even when a Danava seeks the life of an ascetic, she tends to commune with the gods and spirits with ease. Such entities are not strangers to a Danava, but closely regarded allies. Many take up residency in holy places or areas near to them, as well as wealthy, populous districts. What use is there in being a priest, if there is no one to guide?

Character Creation: All Danava have a lordly bearing about them, and as such they are chosen to lead as much as advise. They rely on social acumen and extensive knowledge gleaned from the Vedas, and claim good educations from the oral traditions of the Brahmin. Sacred chants and holy scripture fall as easily from the tongue as any command. The Allies, Retainers, and Resources Backgrounds would serve a Danava well. The Road of Kings or the Road of Heaven bear equal weight.

Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Fortitude, Thaumaturgy

Weakness: Like their cousins to the west, the Danava have particularly refined palates when it comes to those they choose as prey, but animals such as cows or pigs are taboo in the extreme. Danava receive no sustenance from animal blood. Members of the bloodline first ritually offer their victims to their gods as a matter of course, but such observances need not be strict or long lasting. Without a ritual of at least thirty seconds, blood offers half sustenance.

Organization: The Danava adhere to the caste system of their parent country with extreme prejudice. Such structures are holy and correct, to the Children of Danu, and to buck the divine order is unthinkable.

Brujah: You cannot deny the beauty of the fire that fuels their passions. Nevertheless, some fires must be carefully watched.
Cappadocians: Keep them far, far away.
Gangrel: Some animals deserve to be leashed. Others, to run wild. Decide which it is to be and you will have little trouble.
Giovani: Irreparably stained by the perfume of the dead. How do they manage to live with such filth?
Lasombra: The darkness hides such wonder. So it is with them as well.
Malkavian: Treat them with kindness, for one never knows what wisdom a seer might spout forth.
Ravnos: Every guest is a god. But remember: some gods are better received at the gate, and not the door.
Nosferatu: Their hides are a warning, no matter the honeyed words that might spring forth.
Salubri: Some causes consume entirely, and yet in them perhaps we have found something like siblings.
Setite: There is a holiness in the undulations of snakes.
Toreador: Art is a sacred act, and yet they are as shallow to the last.
Tremere: Their arts are profane where ours are holy.
Ventrue: What can the parent say to the infant, that they might remember? They do not walk with the blood of a goddess in their veins, though they act it.
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