Vampire the Requiem: Court and Commonwealth
The Lancea Sanctum
To members of the Lancea Sanctum, the self-proclaimed heralds of undead morality, their origin defines everything they are and everything they do. Indeed, the modern sobriquet “Sanctified,” by which the covenant is sometimes known, incenses many elders and traditionalists of the covenant, who prefer to use the Latin “Lancea Sanctum” when referring to the collective covenant. The most inhuman of an inhuman race, they exalt the role of predator. Universally respected yet universally feared, this covenant constantly seeks power over all Kindred everywhere, not for political rule, as the Invictus does, but to enforce the dictates, attitudes and even thoughts that they believe have been handed down to them from their originator Longinus, and by extension from God Himself.
The catechism of the Lancea Sanctum is that they are the ideological descendants of the Roman centurion who used his spear to prod Christ on the cross. According to the covenant’s dogma, some of Christ’s blood dripped onto the soldier, and this blood gave the centurion eternal life. It also carried with it, however, divine retribution, and though Longinus’ act revealed Christ’s divinity, it did so after an act of faithlessness on the soldier’s part. Thereafter, Longinus was cursed to live eternally, but he could walk only at night and subsist only on the same blood that had proved his undoing. As the creation myth blends into covenant philosophy, vampires are a form of “original sin,” though God allows them to exist, and indeed even charges them with the task of representing the risks of His divine displeasure.
The Sanctified have a reputation for being vampires in the truest sense of the word. They are not the mindless, bloodthirsty vandals who represent the worst of the unbound. Nor are they the brooding erstwhile generals of the Invictus, sending followers to their deaths on a whim. No, Sanctified are so frightening because they are so matter-of-fact, even reverent, about their vampiric nature. Ever since the covenant’s founding in the nights following Longinus’ curse, one of their fundamental precepts stated that the true Sanctified must fully acknowledge that he is no longer mortal.
Vampires occupy a higher level. They are predators, feeding on mortals as those same Canaille do upon cows and sheep. To be true to the teachings of Longinus and the purposes of the Almighty, a Sanctified has to be a predator and no longer even pretend to be one of the kine from which he came. The Lancea Sanctum has no particular love of cruelty (or at least most of its members do not), nor do their beliefs or laws permit them such wantonness. They simply treat their prey as no better than animals, and this cold
ruthlessness is often far more disturbing than any random outburst of conscious malice.
This philosophy leads to a strange dichotomy of beliefs that rivals the most extremist and even bizarre of mortal faiths. The philosophical precepts governing members of the Lancea
Sanctum — or at least those members who truly believe in what they do — seem almost mutually exclusive, yet the covenant has managed to hold them together for what might be
centuries or even millennia.
Commandments and Traditions
The first and foremost rule the Lancea Sanctum observes is that the Traditions are absolute and inviolate — mostly. The covenant seeks to encourage all vampire society to adhere strictly to those precepts, for only by doing so can the Lancea Sanctum honor its progenitor and bring the rest of the undead closer to understanding him. At the same time, however, most Sanctified are pragmatic, and their leaders know that the covenant will never succeed at its divinely appointed task if they allow themselves to become weak. Sanctified therefore Embrace childer, though it flies in the face of the Traditions. They prefer to convert other vampires where possible, but they know that the covenant would atrophy without the occasional infusion of new blood.
Similarly, the Lancea Sanctum does not hesitate to kill those who threaten its objectives (though again, Sanctified would often prefer to convert or at least circumvent such enemies where possible). Murder, too, is permitted because the covenant could not survive otherwise. Strangely enough, true believers among the Lancea Sanctum do not claim that they are exempt from the Traditions they break. Rather, they maintain that they willingly
risk God’s displeasure for the sake of the larger community, much as Longinus himself was cursed for making the mark on Christ that proved his divine nature. They accept whatever
judgment is finally levied upon them for doing so.
The Lancea Sanctum will not, however, choose to violate the Tradition of Secrecy, at least not in the sense that it lets mortals know exactly what vampires are. Members of the covenant understand as well as any others how vital the Masquerade is for the survival of the race, and thus the satisfaction of their divine charge. Of course, violent members, having taken philosophical lessons of superiority over the kine to heart, consider killing witnesses to vampiric acts an acceptable means of maintaining secrecy. Covenant leadership frowns on such brazen behavior and has been known to chastise or dispose of Sanctified who draw too much attention. They know, however, that to rein in the entirety of the young generations would vastly curtail their recruiting power — assuming they could do it at all — so they grit their teeth and make every effort to clean up after careless childer.
All Sanctified are worthy of spiritual guidance. True believers in the covenant’s cause never turn away any vampire, of any affiliation, who seeks aid or advice on religious matters. In fact, covenant law prohibits members from refusing any such petition. Obviously, this stricture allows for reasonable interpretation. A Sanctified need not invite a known enemy into her haven with open arms, nor must she stop in the middle of a gun battle to comfort a companion who’s having a crisis of faith. Where possible, however, the Lancea Sanctum serves the entirety of vampire society as priests and advisors, and it is through this reaching out that the group gains many of its most faithful adherents. Even if conversion is not viable, the covenant believes that by providing aid it can only bring other vampires that much closer to God.
Those who will not voluntarily open their eyes must be forced to see. Violence is never the first choice, but if the undead refuse to come to the Lancea Sanctum, and if the Sanctified
believe they can do so with minimal danger to their own standing, they have no qualms about shedding blood. Strictly speaking, conversion by the sword is impossible. A vampire can easily claim to have converted, and then flee at the first opportunity. Those who do not die can afford to wait for their chance. In regions where the covenant holds dominance,
the Lancea Sanctum can enforce its laws and the Traditions with the most dire and horrifying of penalties. Other vampires in the territory might not actually believe as the
Lancea Sanctum does, but by God they’re going to act as though they do! And who knows, maybe when they’ve been forced to behave like Sanctified for long enough, they’ll see
the wisdom in such an unlifestyle.
The Lancea Sanctum in the DMV
Other than the Ordo Dracul, the Lancea Sanctum is one of the smallest covenants in Baltimore and Washington, however this is a fact that is slowly changing over time. In both Baltimore and DC the covenant suffered many losses during the Schism. Targeted by the Carthians in both cities and later betrayed by the Invictus, what’s left of the Lancea Sanctum has been lucky to limp by for the past 25 years. In Baltimore the covenant is limited to a few handful of members while in DC they have begun to grow slowly again due to a truce made between the Prince and the covenants leading member known as “the Bishop”. The terms being that the Lancea Sanctum could claim sanctuary in DC as long as the Bishop swore supernatural oaths of loyalty to the Prince and that the Prince could call on the members of the Lancea Sanctum at any time for any task.
In recent nights, the Lancea Sanctum has only continued to grow. This is in large part due to the rising popularity of evangelical Christianity among mortals and the covenants principle of conversion. Given sanctuary in DC, the covenant has been allowed on occasion to embrace those mortal followers found in DCs christian communities. These days the covenant often acts as willing foot soldiers of the Prince usually compelled by the Bishop oath of service. In Baltimore, a number of different sects of the Lancea Sanctum have been allowed slow growth over time. As the Carthians of Charm City remember the great effort they went to in expelling the original Lancea Sanctum regent, the covenant has not been allowed to grow all that quickly. From time to time, the more extremist factions of Carthians have been known to celebrate the liberation of Baltimore by punishing whatever members of the Lancea Sanctum can be easily found.