Flaw: Infertile Vitae
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"I watched her for weeks. I attended her gallery showings, spied through her windows. I saw her caress raw clay until it was the beautiful manifestation of her perceptions. I followed her as she made her way through dull parties with the grace of a cat and the poise of a countess. I saw the sparkling reflections of her in the eyes of others. She was flawless; perfect. Well, as perfect as a human could ever be.
"Now I am kneeling over her body, waiting. I promised her that if she trusted me, I would make her greater than she could ever be on her own. I told her that when she opened her eyes again, she would see more beauty than she ever thought could exist. But nothing's happening. I had her cleaned and tended to by beauticians of every specialty, prepared her for eternity in this body. Now I am beginning to think I've done nothing more than prepare her for burial.
"I took all her blood; what I couldn't swallow I spilled on to the floor. I listened as her heart slowed to a stop, waited for just the moment when I would steal her from death's fleeting grasp and instead pull her into the eternal embrace of unlife. I fed her with my own vitae, watching as the dark elixir colored her delicately parted lips and disappeared into her mouth. Then I waited.
"I waited for her eyes to open, for her body to convulse, for even the tiniest sound. I am waiting still.
"I've fed her three times now, and still she does not move. I'm certain I did everything right, as I was told I should. Perhaps I was lied to, or perhaps I overlooked some detail.
"No matter. There is another. I will try again."
It is no mistake that the Infertile Vitae flaw is worth five points. While it may not seem like a debilitating flaw in the beginning, in time it becomes clear what a crippling condition it is.
Bloodline is power. Childer are power. If this were not true, it would not be such a rigidly controlled privilege. While population restrictions would still be observed, the power to embrace would not be a permission to be granted only by the city's highest kindred authority. To make childer is to begin to build your powerbase with flesh and blood. It is the threat of vengeful childer that deter some attempts on the life of the sire. It is the manpower of childer that keeps a kindred's plots afloat. It is the extra pairs of eyes, ears, and hands that aid a kindred in their rise to power.
A Ventrue who cannot embrace will find it three times as hard to build his political party. A Toreador who cannot embrace will find that she is forever excluded from that vital limelight that comes from inducting new creative genius into the clan. Any kindred who is incapable of making childer will find that some crucial part of their plans and purpose is thwarted.
The immediate psychological effects are perhaps more devastating. The process of learning that they cannot embrace will undoubtedly be a painful and maddening experience. They will watch their plans expire with their intended child, see whole portions of their future achievements fade with each candidate that is not revived in death by their impotent blood. Each body will be a physical reminder of failure. When it is finally realized that they can make no childe, it may become a driving obsession. Perhaps they will begin to try more elaborate rituals for embrace. Perhaps they will quest for a human they believe is strong enough to withstand the trial of death. Perhaps they will seek aid in the esoteric, believing there is some magic that can cure or assist in their condition. Any and all efforts will lead to the same end: more dead bodies, more failed plans, more fruitless efforts, and no bloodline.
This is even more catastrophic for some clans than for others. Consider the Salubri who cannot embrace. They kill their intended childer - a vile and inhumane act that is bound to sicken them with grief and guilt. More than that, however, a horrible truth is revealed. Who will release their soul from damnation when they have achieved the highest state of grace Kindred ever can? Who will aid them in their plans of spiritual freedom? They do not even have the recourse some other kindred may: no vampire - of their clan or another - is likely to make a child for them. Their soul is bound to this earth in their undead body, with no one to help them relieve it of its damnation. This revelation might be enough to drive a Salubri to the very depths of despair or madness.
It is also suggested that kindred make childer to quell their own loneliness. A new childe will be dependent on the sire to learn and survive, will look up to their sire as a child would a parent. Those who seek to embrace because they are alone will find no solace, no companionship. The human they convince themselves they can love or tolerate for a while will only die on them and leave them alone again. They will watch others with their new childer, showing them off at Elysium and singing their praises while the barren kindred is forced to suffer feelings of jealousy and inadequacy because they cannot perform this common and necessary function. Sabbat kindred who cannot embrace will find that they cannot participate in the mass embraces in the glorious war effort, and any hope of building their own pack they might have harbored will be nearly out of reach.
Once it is discovered that a kindred cannot embrace, they are bound to be viewed as less by many around them. A freak perhaps, and an inferior being for certain.
The inability to successfully perform this one simple act may compel a kindred to extreme ends, gathering costly favors and boons so they may one day call upon another of their clan to make a childe for them. Even this will be a burden, for the dark secret that they must keep will torment them for as long as their surrogate child exists. Perhaps they will try to steal the child of another, though this will only end in failure and discovery. Perhaps they will contrive to kill another of their kind and use the dying kindred's blood to make a child, creating an arsenal of deadly secrets that will one day return to haunt them.
Whatever the individual's choices, the inability to create childer is a disastrous and dangerous condition. This ruinous flaw can destroy a kindred, and should never be taken lightly.
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