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AZAZELIANS

Description: When the Belialians were chosen to form the first cadres of the Sicariot by the Abaddonites, they immediately sought to bring in the Azazelians. At first, the Unholy See balked, heeding the desires of the Regent to keep the ostensibly covert Sicariot small in size. After much thought and discussion, the Antipater Baphomet II relented, and the small Clan of Azazel became the first of several Clans to be allowed entry into the ranks of the Sicarii. This was done at the behest of the Antipater's authority alone, and not with the concurrence of the Regent of the Sabbat.

The Azazelians are, above all, teachers of the arts of war. They are masters of their trade and in a sub-sect devoted to the need for a counter-weight to the Black Hand. In the realms of covert actions and security, theirs is a necessary trade.

Though it would seem that the Sicariot would use them more often than they do, the Azazelians have lost some of their mission to the more aggressive (and certainly more terrifying) Baelites. The difference is telling: whereas the Azazelians are fine-tuned artists of fighting, the Baelites are purely raw engines of destruction. As Gehenna nears and the Abaddonites become more and more paranoid, there is less of a need for artistry and more for sheer and bloody brutality. In a Crusade, no one needs a Clan of generals, but there will always be a need for foot soldiers.

Nonetheless, the Azazelians remain steadfastly loyal to the Antipater, the episcopacy, and, in a most unusual sense, the Belialians. If they sense that their need is ebbing, they certainly betray no disappointment in it.

In a more real sense than even in the case of the Abaddonites, the Azis are under scrutiny from the highest ranks of the Sabbat. There is a grave possibility that the Black Hand -- ironically -- will be called out against a select number of Azazelian Clan heads. The Regent has reports of direct aid being handed to supporters of the Loyalist movement. And, while she is as yet uncertain what to do about the movement, she does know that perhaps a good starting point would be to remind the semi-autonomous Sicariot exactly who is in charge of the sect as a whole. The Azazelians would make a perfect target.

The Childer of Azazel, however, know this, and are inexorably being pushed into the Abaddonites' corner, dragging the Belialians with them. Soon, it is feared, a split in the sub-sect will form between those who would follow the word of the Antipater and those who would follow the Regent. The Azazelians have, apparently, already made up their minds.

Nickname: Suits or, more commonly, especially among the Baelites, Azis.

Appearance: Frequently, Azazelians dress in finely made suits, belying their common trade. They always seem on the forefront of fashion and are never seen to be uncultured or impolite. They are frequently mistaken for the higher-cultured Toreador antitribu with whom they seem to feel some affinity for, but don't make the mistake of calling them one. It will be your last.

Haven: Decidedly upper-middle class houses, particularly on the outskirts of cities, deep in the suburbs. The Azazelians thrive on the Concrete Jungle, and work best in that environment.

Background: Mostly ex-military, though with a smattering of ex-government/diplomatic types. They search for those of slightly higher intelligence than your average soldier or bureaucrat (and leave the rest for the Baelites, or so the Azazelian joke goes). Azazelians tend to embrace those of a chilly demeanor, almost rigorously logical at times. The person who has no moral qualms with pushing a button and killing dozens miles away is exactly the kind they are looking for.

Character Creation: Architect or Survivor tends to form the core of the Azazelians' Natures, while their Demeanors tend to be Traditionalist or Rebel (again, the connection with the Loyalist movement). Mental and Physical Attributes tend to dominate, with Social far behind. The Azazelians are not interesting in what you look like; just how well you can sight a sanctioned target from a thousand yards...

Clan Disciplines: Ars Bellicus, Celerity, and Obfuscation.

Weaknesses: All Azazelians owe a debt of honor to members of the Clan of Belial. It is simply a matter of this: the Belialians persuaded the Abaddonites to relent and let in the Azazelians. Had they not, the Childer of Azazel might've suffered extinction at the hands of other, larger and more powerful Clans. It is a debt no member of the Clan will ever forget. Consider it an automatic boon to any Belialian the Azi meets. Storytellers, have at it!

Preferred Paths: Aside from the Abaddonites and the Belialians, the Azis are the most fervent in their faith in the nominally universal Sicariot Path of Thorns. There are a few who openly espouse the Path of Cathari, but that number is dwindling since Eshmadai IX, the previous Antipater, declared some portions of Albigensianism heretical. A small number follow the Path of Honorable Accord, though that number has been growing of late, possibly ex-Cathars fleeing to anything but the Abaddonites' arms.

Organization: By their very nature, the Azis are singular and tend to be fairly individualistic. They do not mind working within a hierarchy -- that's what they are there for -- but they do not want to be hierarchical. There are no Clan meetings or conclaves of any sort, though an informal meeting or two is good for the Clan, if only to exchange intelligence.

Gaining Clan Prestige: The first and foremost way to gain favour is to help the Belialians in any way, shape or form. Secondly, their raison d'etre is to provide the shock troops of the Sicarii -- and, to a lesser extent-- the Sabbat in general, with adequate and professional military training. Doing that bestows upon Azis self-worthiness and assures them that, yes, in spite of their near-rejection; they are part and parcel of the Sicariot and the Sabbat.

Quote: "Don't think. Don't feel. Don't flinch. And, above all, don't care. The quickest and most painful way to die is dying of a bleeding heart."

Stereotypes:

Lasombra: Ostensibly, the Boss -- or so they think. Methinks a few of them would be better suited for some other trade. Their leadership hasn't won us many cities and has, quite possibly, condemned us all.

Tzimisce: Now there's a soulless cuss. Man after my own heart. But, really, a bit weird for my tastes, too much like something you saw on a Saturday nite sci-fi flick. Keep your distance from these guys. You might end up as a toy in their labs.

Assamite antitribu: Our traditional rivals. While the Baelites can bitch and whine about the 'Brujah Hordes', the true danger is the Assamites -- of any affiliation. I don't trust these bastards one damn bit. Call it professional self-interest, if you will.

Brujah antitribu: Brainless, spineless savages. They remind me too much of the Baelites. But, unfortunately (unfortunate because I wouldn't mind taking a few out), what little minds they have are grooved right. Power to the people, man. Yeah, whatever.

Gangrel antitribu: Is it just me, or do all Gangrel have it out for each other? I would think the Tree-huggers could agree on something, but nooooo. That would be asking too much, eh?"

Malkavian antitribu: I have it on highest authority that they are in the Right. Don't ask me why, soldier, just listen to them. Uh, when they speak in coherent sentences, that is..."

Nosferatu antitribu: They smell worse than you do, Pyle! Seriously, I don't trust them anymore than I can throw them. They're too quiet -- almost as much as we are. And those ears...you know they're listening to your every sound. Major OPSEC problem here, gents.

Panders: What? Oh, a Pander. Yeah, right. Uh huh. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz (snoring).

Ravnos antitribu: Don't trust them either, fella. If it were up to me, I'd wipe 'em all out, know what I mean?

Serpents of the Light: Snakes. You know what I did with snakes back in the 'Nam? Something I'll do to a Voodoo Chile when I get my hands on 'em...

Toreador antitribu: Send them to the front. We could use a few laughs. Either that or to the Baelites' barracks. Not a single fighter among them, how the devil did they get in the Sabbat, anyway?

Tremere antitribu: Diabolists, all. Heretics and fakirs, on top of that. Sling 'em, size 'em and skin 'em. I need a new belt. It'd go well with the Armani suit...

Ventrue antitribu: Like your tie, Armand. So, need any...'help'?

The Black Hand: Prime Enemy Number One. They are heretics, all. If you see any near your haven, don't be afraid to call for help. They're there for a reason and trust me, it isn't good. We'll have a regiment on their arses faster than you can say 'Bugger!'

The Camarilla: Ignore them. Deal with the Hand first. We'll have enough time to deal with the Wimps later.