Tonight, I asked Omnis about the origins of its so-called “Nosferatu” clan. In response, it flashed a grin under the mask. A smile made of scars and crooked fangs, barely seen. A knowing smile. “We came from the city under the first city,” it said, “… and we are always watching.” A typical Nosferatu answer; not a lie, but not the whole truth either.
Deformed by some ancient curse or their special relationship with the Beast, the “Nosferatu” used to repulse me. No longer. I have come to believe that no Prince could ever rule Prague without the Rats and their under-city warrens. Joseph Zvi and his clan ruled for over 800 years, making him the most successful prince of the city, until me, of course. It would be foolish to provoke them in any way. Time and again, Omnis has proven me right. Its network of spies, monsters, homeless addicts, cats, bats, and hackers has ensured my domain’s survival a dozen times already.
Like most of its kind, Omnis is the opposite of an angst-ridden drama-queen Toreador. It is almost as if by being ugly on the outside, it has managed to stay somewhat pure on the inside. Pure, brilliant, and very cautious. All this makes me want to trust the Nosferatu fully. But at the same time, I know that this was their city once, and many still think of it as such. Does Omnis?
Unlike other clans, the Rats remain in contact with their Anarch kin under a policy of “blood first, ideology second”. If the Nosferatu Anarchs of Prague become a real threat, there are two main kinds of attacks I have to prepare against – the Prowlers’ and the Saboteurs’.
The prowlers are hunters. I shudder at the thought of the soundless echoes from a flock of bat familiars sent to track me down. How do I guard myself against that? The only option would be to try to escape from them. But even then, if someone would have managed to wound me, the prowler’s ability to smell the blood of my wounds from half a block away would still turn me into their prey. Is staying inside, operating through others a better option then? It would be, if not for the saboteurs.
The saboteurs have other means of finding their targets. Many are hackers or engineers, and they have mastered the ability to turn invisible for hours on end. Although still detectable, I don’t doubt that they can find a way to sneak past my security. And indeed, they will come armed with pipe bombs filled with blood-laced gas, cooked up in some nightmare meth lab below the cemetery.
It is as if all the Nosferatu of Prague can become one with the shadows. They move fast and they move unseen. If they come for me, I’ll never see them coming. But Omnis will. I pray every night that I am right to trust my spymaster as I do.
– From “Reflections of Prince Markus; On What Dwells Below”