The Inquisition and the MasquaradeEdit
In 1435, there was founded an organization, a cause, an obsession, a war. Call it what you will; history knows it as the Inquisition. Besides burning harmless old women and excommunicating French field mice for eating farmers' wheat, this Inquisition did betimes achieve it's aim, and cleansed the world of no few true witches, warlocks and monsters. Many such monsters were Kindred, and the diligent Inquisitors traced whole bloodlines and put all to the flame.
For the first time, our kind stood in real danger of extinction. Superstitious belief coupled with scientific thoroughness placed in mortal hands the wherewithal to rid the world of monsters forever. It was a terrifying time ~~ as insane to us as the Holocaust which mortals visited on one another earlier in this century. Those Kindred who survived bear the mental scars of the Inquisition to this day, and many live a life of paranoid seclusion, dealing with the breathing world as little as possible.
Before this time, we had lived more or less openly, relying on our power and position to preserve us. Though we did not announce our presence, we did not struggle to hide it either. We had grown proud in our power, and the fall which followed was terrible indeed.
The survivors quickly learned the wisdom of stealth and secrecy, and networks sprang up as they do among mortals in times of crisis, conveying information and individuals sub rosa for the safety of all. This was the birth of what may be called a Vampiric society. The name Camarilla arose for this organization, relecting the small, secret rooms used for meeting and concealment. Groups made contact with one another, united for the first time by this adversary.
The first global convocation took place in 1486. Many chose to absent themselves, but this meeting gave itself the power to speak for all Kindred existing or yet to be made, and to pass laws governing all. The founders of the Camarilla made themselves it's lawmakers. The first such law, and the most sacred, is that of the Masquerade. It is this law which I willingly violate by laying these pages before you.
The horrors of the preceding decades had taught us the need for secrecy and shown us that, after all, we were vulnerable. It was vital, therefore, that the breathing world be convinced it had killed the last of us, or better yet, that we had never existed at all. We must match organization with organization and cause with cause if we hoped to survive.
The Masquerade had two faces, each with a number of contingencies and lesser objectives. Imprimis simplicissimusque, reasonable secrecy and care was required of all Kindred. Nothing must betray our continued existence, and any individual who broke this secrecy would be outcast and hunted down as a danger to us all.
Secundus, active steps must be taken to change the character or mortal society, and direct minds away from superstitious thoughts. With so many fresh discoveries clamouring for attention, the mortals lost their single-mindedness in chasing monsters. A little later ~~ principally due to an alliance of French Methuselahs ~~ material and political philosophies were influenced. Science had bred Reason, and Reason denied monsters. Over the following centuries, we were able to crush superstition almost completely. No one of any education seriously believed we had ever existed.
Adjustments continued over the decades ~~ a war here, a discovery there to keep breathing minds focused away from us. We have had a hand in some of the most significant events in history. Do not, however, think that all mortal history is our work, for marionettes they are not and have never been. Marx was of mortal kind, and no vampire could have formulated his thoughts. Brief decades later, monstrous deeds were performed in Europe, but none of our kind were involved. Those monsters were entirely their own.
Not long ago, mortal minds turned once more to the mystical ~~ though the greatest mystery to me is the appeal of the music which was born in those days ~~ and superstition briefly waxed ascendant. The knowledge of certain chemical substances was made available, and many inquisitive minds were distracted or forever silenced. Throughout this last century, steps have been taken to preserve the image of the vampire in popular entertainments, for thus it may be seen more clearly as fiction. The Masquerade is unraveling, as the mysticism of the mortals increases. The Camarilla struggles to turn back the tide ~~ the evidence of that is all around you.