(This is OOC information unless your character has researched Raphael)
A short autobiographical account of the life and death of Margavio Raphael Di Giovanni d'Anghiari.
I was born on a sizable estate in a town not far from Arezzo, Tuscany in the year of our lord 1454. My father ran the estate and overlooked the town and surrounds, I was his eldest child and through the early death of my mother had nearly ten years on my next oldest sibling, my half-sister Julietta, born to my fathers new bride. I have nearly no recollection at all of my mother, the fainted memories of warm and the smell of the garden is all I retain and I highly suspect I have simply fabricated those in order to fill the gap.
My early life was one of relative ease if significant pomp, I was being groomed of course to take over the family estate and interests after my father's death but his new wife, Cristina, spoiled me terribly, I think always trying to in some way make up for my own mother's death and to convince herself she did not love me any less than her own children.
I was an adequate if not exceptional student in most things, I could play the piano and paint to a passable degree but was a long way from being gifted and displayed many attitudinal problems which have no doubt followed me through the centuries. I fell head over heels in love with the baker's daughter when I was twelve, and have many fond memories still of our clumsy gropings in the dark behind her father's shop, the smell of freshly baking bread to this day still stirs my desire in equal portion to my nostalgia. Of course my father found out about the affair and put a stop to things before they progressed very far.
In my early life my father took on something of the aspect of a fairy tale monster, seldom around and even more seldom spoken of lest you through some dark fae magic conjure him, his disapproval and his heavy hand. The use of the boot was of course in that time and far from a indication of poor character, I would indeed guess that were I to travel back to those years as I am now I'd find my father an entirely well meaning and reasonable figure. None the less almost the entirety of my human life was spent mostly in the act of doing something my father wouldn't approve of, trying to stop father from finding out what I'd been doing, or trying to hide from father after he found it out.
It was when I was a young man and most studiously avoiding any of my obligations to find a wife that I first encountered Alexander. It was at a party in the city of Florence, the Italian Renaissance was in full swing and the world was full of excitement and opportunity. We all thought we were living in the most exciting time that would ever be, a time of science and art that surpassed any and all previous expectations. Alexander himself had been drawn to our fair city by exactly this event, and I was introduced to him only as a traveler from Greece. He had a light complexion, but dark hair and eyes that seemed to look right through you. His lips always curled just slightly as if he always found everything just a little bit amusing, but didn't think anybody else would get the joke if he explained it. We spoke for a few minutes at the party about his travels and I was instantly attracted. I looked for him at the next social event, and after that we started to make plans to go riding together or walk through the streets together. I found him fascinating and couldn't get enough of his stories and conversation, and it was only a week after we first met that we laid together for the first time and then afterwards, as we lay together afterwards in that soft glow, he killed me.
As you no doubt know, death was hardly the end of my story. It was however something of a traumatic experience for me as I hadn't been warned ahead of time what was to happen and felt utterly helpless as I was clamped firm and drained until the world went dark. I barely even remember being fed the blood and as my life faded all I could feel was that I was a fool who had wasted his life, then even conscious thought fled and I had only the briefest feeling of being back in that warm, garden smelling place of comfort that was most likely not even real, and then nothing.
Later that evening I awoke, confused and panicked. But Alexander soothed me and explained what had become of me, what I was now and under his caring ministrations I quickly calmed. I felt a pang at the thought of what this transformation must mean for my immortal soul but it was overwhelmed almost entirely by the prospect of eternal life, youth and power as well as, of course, the eternal company of Alexander.
From that moment we were almost always together, we left Italy a few years later and traveled throughout western and central Europe, staying in the nicest of rooms, exploring the world and of course feeding as we went. It was a different time with far less value placed on human life and it was much easier for vampires to get about without being too careful what they did. I felt a small pang whenever one of my victims would die but if I'm honest the pang was not so much for them, but rather for the fact it brought to the fore the knowledge that I was a monster, no doubt one damned and barred from heaven. Their deaths made me grieve for myself, not them.
Alexander and I were together for hundreds of years, and yet I can barely recollect the details, the world passed by in a golden haze. I loved and worshiped him absolutely and there is no happiness greater than being in the hands of one you love and obey without question.
During that time of course my father died and I came back to Italy to inherit the estate, and then a few years later faked my own death to pass it along to my younger brother, while keeping a good deal of the wealth for myself to help fund my travels. But these events which should have had great import to me were nothing but footnotes along my journey. Everyone I had known and loved died and everyone they had known and loved died and I barely noticed.
Unfortunately however, after about two hundred years the cracks finally started to show. I started to at last see what I perceived to be flaws in my great and wonderful maker. Over the centuries we had developed the habit of occasionally spending an evening apart for variety, and in this time we sometimes took lovers as well. While we rarely spoke of this to each other directly, it was just something implied and understood. On this occasion I had slept with a woman, and Alexander picked on the scent of her perfume when I returned, accused me of the act, which I had in fact committed, and flew into a terrible rage beating me quite severely. And there in his anger I saw insecurity, and his perfection had it's first flaw. The crack that would eventually grow and grow, little by little. Alexander was very disparaging of the fairer sex, he had no use for them at all it seemed which wasn't something that bothered me over much. The belief that women and men were different was quite normal at the time, and that women were generally inferior as well. But this was when I first realised that it was more than that for him, there was something personal in his past, some deep seated horror that drove him that I could never really understand.
From that crack I started to notice more flaws, how stuck in his ways he was, how adverse to many types of risk or adventure. How paranoid about his own safety. Events finally came to a head when I said I wanted to go to Africa, to explore the wild continent, and he flatly refused. It was not so important really, my urge to go there was only a whim but it was an argument that was destined to represent the hundred arguments before it and on the evening of the next day Alexander and I parted ways. In the year 1690 I traveled to the dark continent.
I spent several decades simply roaming the land, eating tribesmen as I came across them, animals when I did not. I explored the forests and plains and mountains and deserts. My fine garments were reduced to rags and I slept the days away in caves or buried under trees. Eventually I found my way to Egypt and discovered in a small town there a practitioner of sorcery. A man almost as old as I who kept himself youthful through magic and spent his nights studying by candlelight. I watched him for a time, and through my observations came to share his obsessions. I realised that for a supernatural creature I really knew very little about myself or the supernatural as a whole . I spent maybe fifty years in Egypt after that, studying the dark arts and texts, posing as a traveling merchant with a curiosity for such things. Finally the burden of my solitude however grew too much and I packed up my things to return to Europe, to seek out my old master and solve our rift.
I found him in 1798 and we slid back together as if nothing had ever been wrong, although I knew better than to speak of my time in Africa to him, I had grown and was much more able to appreciate him now flaws and all. After the congress of Vienna in which so much of my beloved Italy was given to Austria I convinced him to travel to the Germanic state with me, to feed exclusively on their people to punish them for their theft of land and pride and for a while I felt less of a pang when my victims died. I had the faintest idea that maybe instead of damned murderer I was, or could be a righteous one. I also continued to pursue my occult studies, despite Alexander believing them to be a waste of time, and I often found him asking curious questions about what I discovered despite all his bluster.
In 1850 I decided I wanted to go visit the new world but Alexander was opposed to leaving the Europe he knew and loved. So once again we parted ways, although a reasonable amount more amicably and I promised to write him and return in a few decades once my curiosity was sated.
I had little chance to do much sating of my curiosity however as only eleven years after my arrival the American War for Independence began. Of course like any civilized European I sided with the British against their uncouth and savage subjects, who were so willing to secede from their Empire now that it had given them so much. Ingratitude has always been an American trait I've found, no doubt stemming from that very time. I killed the enemies of the red coats, both in violence and in feeding, yet despite my best efforts and to my great surprise they ended up losing the war just four years later.
Feeling rather dejected about the whole affair and concerned that the world was doomed to fall to barbarians as had great Rome before us I traveled back to Europe to seek out Alexander once again. I had some trouble tracking him down but was able to be Italy in 1871 when the City of Rome was reclaimed from the papacy and Italy finally became one unified nation. I will admit that significantly buoyed my spirits and when I heard rumours that Alexander might be in the far east I traveled towards Asia in high spirits.
I finally found him in the great Ottoman city of Istanbul, but much to my surprise when I found him he was with another, a beautiful young male blood drinker. Walking and speaking together as we so often had in the past. In a sudden fit of jealousy I fled before they could see me, and spent several nights seething over the encounter, torturing myself by replaying it over and over. Finally I was resolved to action, and sought out Alexander and his new child, this Roman, and introduced myself. I was the very picture of politeness and even as I could feel the awkward strain under every nicety I refused to pay them any obeisance. I was determined to stay and to if I could make things all the more awkward, all the more strained until this new happy family fractured under the pressure of it's ill formed shape.
So for a time we traveled together us three, on the face of it one happy family, but in truth more a family of hissing vipers. I would never let an opportunity past to make a caustic comment about this Roman, or his relationship with Alexander. Eventually though, something was to happen to change all that, not a year or so into our little merry voyage. We were in Prague when Alexander decided we would all have a night to ourselves for personal entertainment. I was in a black mood as I always was in those days and headed for a whorehouse to sate myself in an angry fit of passion, and after the perfunctory process of selecting a girl and paying found myself suddenly hearing the quite distinguishable voice of none other than my bitter rival Roman in the very next room through the woefully thin walls, speaking to the girl he'd quite evidently selected for the evening himself. You can no doubt imagine how this worsened my mood and I set instantly on a plan to make my girl scream in pleasure then let him hear my voice afterwards just as I had heard his.
I did so and did indeed feel a bit better about the situation until not three minutes later he did the same in response. Well, as you can probably imagine that at that point it was, to use the modern vernacular, on. The two of us engaged in a perverse competition to see which could make their girl the louder, and we went at it for hours, making full use of vampiric stamina and discreetly feeding the girls some of our own blood to keep them going. It was almost dawn by the time the competition finally relented, and I left my girl, entirely unconscious at that point as you can no doubt imagine, lying on the bed and left to find Roman. He was in a good mood despite the fact that I'd won the little contest and the two of spoke for the first time genuinely on the way back to our rooms.
Something broke between us that night and we became fast friends, he was a confidante when it came to matters of women or the new world that Alexander could never be and in the months and years that followed I was to love him as deeply as I loved Alexander, if in an entirely different way. He was my brother and when I met his own child Santiago I felt not even a stir of jealousy but welcomed him into our damned little family with open arms. The four of us traveled gaily together after that, and unlife was once again rosy hued.
In 1890 the combined art of myself, Roman and Santiago convinced Alexander to visit the new world with us, and all of us set off for America. We spent some time in a small town called Haven with an interesting supernatural lineage at my behest and then moved on to the wilder lands of the west. I dare to say I got to be a fair hand with a six shooter during that time and rather reveled in the raw brutality of the people and the land. I believe even Alexander enjoyed himself, despite all his commentary about how dirty everything was.
Things continued much in this way until the war began in 1914. We all decided we needed to return home to Europe, what we thought we could do about the war I had no idea, but the urge to not be a distant spectator in the events of our homelands was a strong one. We boarded a ship and set sail for the coast of France, but when we were only halfway through our voyage a storm struck the ship while we slept through the day and it was destroyed.
I awoke in the middle of the water in the ocean and when I broke the surface could see nothing but blue in every direction, I picked one at random and started swimming and after a time that felt an age dragged myself onto a beach in Iceland. I found the nearest city and managed to book passage back to mainland Europe. Of the others there was no sign, and after waiting a few months I decided to go and get involved in the war while I waited to hear something.
Italy was on the side of the allies in that conflict, and thus so was I. Much as I had before I varied between posing as a soldier in night time and simply feeding on the enemy as the creature I was. The allies won in that conflict as everyone now knows, but they refused to give Italy what they were promised when asking them to join on their side. It was a terrible betrayal felt throughout the whole country and with still no sign of the rest of my family I made for those countries and much as I had in Austria decided to feed entirely on their people. To inflict the side effects of my condition onto them for their part in the broken promise.
I did this for almost twenty years in fact and then when the second world war started I returned to my Italy to once again do my part, this time of course Italy was on the side of the Axis powers but I, like many others in the beginning, had no issue with this and indeed was happy to oppose the countries which had broken their promise to my people last time around. The fact that Germany annexed Austria, who Id still never really forgiven, was just a bonus.
Despite some growing misgivings I continued to fight for my country throughout the conflict. This was also the first conflict in which I felt almost helpless however. While one vampire can't typically tip the scales too much in a large war, we have at least throughout history been more than a match for any human forces in small numbers. This was no longer true, tanks, grenades, and machine guns were in such abundance that I was very much at risk of real death should I come against any individuals thus armed. From the adventurer of my youth so eager to roam Africa, I had finally begun to fear and mistrust change and progress. I was in Berlin when it fell, I saw the ruins, the death, the devastation. Whether it was the humans outpacing vampires for power or just the sight of all that death something changed in me that night. My opinion of my role in the universe changed, and I forswore killing and the random human feed.
I joined the Order not long afterwards and moved to one of their chapter houses in London as a paranormal researcher. Not a year later my beloved Italy gave women the right to vote and that only deepened my culture shock. A government of women? Who could have thought of such a thing. I battled my unease at the world and my cravings for human blood in the same way, with seclusion and dusty old books. I finally met Roman again a few years later, he'd come to join the Hand in the aftermath of the boat wreck and they of course governed London at the time. He said that he and Santiago were well but hadn't heard anything about Alexander since, fond times together however quickly turned bitter as we broke into frequent arguments about the relative merits of our groups, of feeding on humans and reminded each other of a better time we could no longer get back. After a few months we parted ways once more.
Eventually I started to come out of my seclusion a little more, piece by piece. I found a way to get back into the world which did have many marvels for all that I didn't well understand them. I became quite fond of the Sloane street culture in the inner south west of London and became more active in the Order outside of the research department as well.
In 2004, I was part of a team of Order members recovering artefacts in Iraq that had been unearthed during the conflict. Unfortunately the Hand also heard about the items and had sent their own team to retrieve them. The unstable state of the area meant factions could engage in open conflict which made the situation a good deal more tense. Myself and a group of colleagues were hold up in a small abandoned facility, awaiting our extraction when the Hand forces broke in. We fought them off as best we could but they had superior numbers and several people fell as we moved back to a sole room to fortify.
I was facing one of the doors when I heard a loud crash behind me and spun around to see a Hand soldier had blasted through the roof above and dropped down into the chamber with us, his dagger flashing and taking out two of my colleagues in a blink of an eye. I could tell instantly that he was a vampire and reached out with my hand and my arcane power as I used it to temporarily seize control of his body and lock him in place, paralysed. I stepped forward to swing my blade and only just then saw that it was Roman. I froze, unsure of what to do and then the decision was made for me as his colleagues stormed into the room, my control broke and Roman leapt forward, opening a vicious slash along my chest and pushing me to the floor. There I lay, bleeding and seemingly dead to any who didn't know my true nature as they searched the room, took the artefacts and left with them. Eventually I picked myself back up and headed back to my home and life, what else after all could I really do.
Late in the year 2014 I started hearing rumours about an ancient vampire called Alexander visiting that small, supernaturally unique town I'd visited so long ago of Haven, so I naturally asked for a transfer to that chapter in order to see where the lead went.