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Gorgon

by: Belladonna A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

From the basilisk and chimera to the stories of Medusa and her sisters, the power and effect of the Gorgons has been felt and spoken of in riddles and myth for thousands of years. Deeper searching will reveal such tales across the length and breadth of history, stories of beautiful and terrible creatures whose gaze alone would turn strong men to stone. While in some of the retellings the Gorgons have come to be lost in the descriptions of terrible dragons and monsters, perhaps the description of Medusa herself is the most revealing to the trained reader. Medusa has always been described as a creature with skin like iron, terrible claws and teeth, and having the ability to freeze creatures to stone with a glance. The Gorgons are one of the few clans of Kindred that supposedly do not originate with Caine the Father, though the prehistory of vampires before Enoch is muddled and mysterious enough that what truth there is has been lost in fable, myth, and supposition. The persona of Nyx that figures prominently in the Gorgon history may be the Crone Zilla told of in Cainite history, and is certainly attributed to be the same persona worshipped as a goddess of night in Greek mythology.
Further reading if the Greek myths reveals the history of the Gorgons threaded through the fables. Nyx created Aether, whose name shows him to be above all others. The childe of Aether was Pontus the wanderer, who came to be seen by the Greeks as the personification of the sea. The childe of Pontus was Ceto, said to be the mother of monsters and the personification of the dangers of the sea. Three of the childer of Ceto finally brought the Gorgons to light in mythology; Euryale ('far-roaming'), Sthenno ('forceful'), and Medusa ('ruler') - the three Gorgon sisters supposedly met and vanquished by Perseus in legend.
Medusa and her sisters are the first - and seemingly only - mention of the word 'Gorgon' in history or mythology. Some attribute to these three sisters the origin of the clan name itself.

The Gorgons have always been relatively secretive and solitary Kindred, largely due to their debilitating weakness that makes companionship by any but their own clan virtually impossible. Due to this weakness and habitual lifestyle the clan as a whole has largely managed to avoid Kindred affairs and embroilment altogether. So successful has been their attempt to remain reclusive that modern Kindred as a whole are almost completely unaware of their existence.
Many of the Gorgons also viewed their unlife as a terrible curse, even as a punishment for transgressions and sins in their mortal lives. By this reasoning embraces were rare, and the ranks of the Gorgon clan always remained thin. So true has been this belief that there have been many times throughout history when there was but one Gorgon to carry on the bloodline.
This secular lifestyle of the clan is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Several modern conventions and inventions have finally allowed the Gorgons to come out of hiding, enabling them to interact with society for the first time in history.

Nickname: Medusas

Sect: The Gorgons' life of solitude as individuals and as a clan have left them with little use or interest in the larger workings of sect division or politics.

Appearance: Despite ancient tales to the contrary, Gorgons do not in fact have snakes for hair and are not lizard-like in appearance. Most Gorgons are quite beautiful physically and are quite pleasant to look at - provided one never sees their eyes. It has become a modern convention of Gorgons to wear concealing mirrored sunglasses or other means of completely hiding their eyes from view. In this way they have found themselves able to venture out into the world. No one knows exactly what a Gorgon's eyes look like, since even in death their eyes hold a terrible power which renders anyone who sees them unable to tell the tale.

Haven: Gorgons prefer solitary and secluded havens on, in, or near the sea or other large bodies of water. No Gorgon haven will ever contain a mirror, uncovered glassed windows, or a large amount of polished or mirror-like surfaces.

Background: Gorgons tend to choose their childer from backgrounds that will not abuse their power and can bear the guilt and responsibility that comes with their abilities and their curse.

Character Creation: Mental Attributes balanced with Empathy and strong Will are the principle concerns of each Clan member when choosing a candidate for the Embrace. Bad attitudes and selfishness just don't make the grade. Talents and Knowledges are highly respected and usually form the backbone of a Mentis' Abilities.
Stoicism is respected by the Gorgons. Having the strength to bear your curse with dignity and honor, staving off the seemingly inevitable descent into madness that guilt and solitude bring, and choosing strong childer to carry on the bloodline are considered honorable accomplishments by the clan.

Clan Disciplines: Fortitude, Potence, Tranquillus

Weaknesses: The Gorgons possess a terrible power that carries and equally terrible curse. This curse manifests itself in two ways. Anyone that looks upon a Gorgon finds themselves distracted, their mind momentarily numbed and awed by the sight, and they must make a Will roll to return to what they were doing. This effect has been said to fade with time and exposure, but it makes life difficult for any Gorgon that wishes to walk the streets unnoticed. The second and more threatening weakness of the Gorgons lays in their eyes. Anyone that looks directly into the eyes of a Gorgon risks death at a glance. Meeting the gaze of a Gorgon can cause anything from temporary paralysis to permanent petrifaction. Unfortunates that make this mistake must make a Stamina roll immediately before taking any other action (difficulty 8). A botch or failure means they are instantly turned to stone, permanently and fatally. One to three successes means they are paralyzed temporarily. This paralysis lasts until they have accumulated ten successes on consecutive Stamina rolls (difficulty 9), rolling once per night until they have achieved ten. Four or more successes means the onlooker is paralyzed for a short time, usually about an hour, or until they can make at least another three successes on another Stamina roll (difficulty 9) - whichever comes first. In all cases of paralysis, the effect is one of suspended animation, turning the onlooker into a living statue.
What makes this second effect a true weakness is one frightening fact - even the Gorgons themselves are not immune to the power of their own eyes. For this reason Gorgons traditionally despise mirrors.

Organization: Due to the solitary nature and rarity of clan members, the Gorgons have never really had any need for extended organization.

Bloodlines: The Gorgons have always been a linear succession from sire to child, with little opportunity for offshoots or splits from the main line. No separate or distinct offshoots are known to exist.

Quote: Do not peer so closely at me, cease your attempts to draw my damnation from the darkness into your feeble light of understanding. There are some knowledges that come with too high a price, and some secrets never meant to see the light of revelation. Beware your curiosity.

Stereotypes:
Camarilla: Wolves that wear the skins of lambs and dine at the throats of the shepherds. How is this deception to be admired, when it begins to deceive the deceivers?
Sabbat: Mad children condemning the sins of their fathers, even as they concoct greater sins of their own to be borne by their children. Those that do not learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of their forebears are doomed to repeat those mistakes unto eternity.

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