Beautiful and wise beyond her years, Lizuca was the pride of her village. The daughter of a widowed medicine woman, keen with plants and medicinal concoctions, she was aloof to the promises of suitors, sons of village elders, and the like, seemingly contented to live with her mother and grandparents in their house near the forest's edge. In the daylight hours she herded goats and picked herbs from the forest for her mother's potions and tinctures, and at night sang to her family by the fire side. Her life, though tough at times, was full and many in her village were saddened by what became of her. At first there were nightmares, the feeling of a weight upon her chest at night. She had dreams that she was buried with the dead, or that a dead man had slept next to her before being jolted awake to find only herself alone and half frightened to death. She became increasingly ill, the weight of her limbs too much to move. Lizuca's mother did her best to save her child with spells forbearing evil presences but eventually death did come, though not as Lizuca expected. She disappeared from her bed one night, and the villagers claimed that devil had finally claimed her a his bride.
The devil in this case was named Rada, a nosferatu vampire who had been smitten by Lizuca's night singing. Rada, like many a wandering vampire away from a city's safety, was aimless and alone. He looked to many as a walking corpse, with scabrous flesh and ragged clothes stained with the dirt of many miles of travel. Though awful in appearance, he was still much more man than beast, and though he wanted to possess Lizuca, his shame in killing her had forced him to renew her in death. Though reviled, she heard him describe what had been done to her and what she must do to survive. A few days later, unable to bear his actions, he left her alone in the wild.
Lizuca watched as her once envious beauty faded like flowers with no sunlight to nourish them. Subsisting on first on animals and then on frightened humans, her heart broke as she found it impossible to remain near her village. Her appearance had rotted much like Rada's, the corruption of her body plain to see. They sought her with fire and it was all she could do to escape. On the banks of the Danube she traveled as Rada had done, aimlessly watching her craving for blood tear away more and more of her soul. It was in this state that she was discovered by two acolytes of the Circle, the Virgin and the Mother as they called themselves, who had made a haven nearby. They welcomed Lizuca into their circle, and provided much of what Rada had not, answers to what her curse was and what it meant for her. Under their tutelage she became a third member of their coven and formidable vampire in her own right.
Even still Lizuca railed at the limitations of her unlife. She had once been so admired, that to be trapped in the wretched body of a corpse gnawed at her night after night. The Virgin and the Mother walked effortlessly among mortals, stalking the trading towns of the Danube with ease, while Lizuca kept to the shadows and saw the fear and revulsion in those she claimed for sustenance. As she became more and more adept at blood sorcery, she bent her ambitions towards the goal of throwing off her curse.
It took many years of experiments, vivisected mortals, blood oaths to spirits, but in the end she won the bitter knowledge that she sought. She trapped the Virgin and Mother, and used their staked bodies to enact of ritual of change, forcing her blood to evolve and her body to do what it was commanded. At ritual's end, she discovered that she could now appear young or old, fat or skinny, beautiful or vile, as she so chose. She felt heady and victorious and remarked at her success and felt the heavy cost. Her fellow acolytes were no more, their essences flowing within her veins. And yet walking among mortals for the first time in a century or more, she still sensed in them a secret dread. She realized that her efforts had not brought her as far as she had hoped. She was still a monster, and though mortals did not openly attack her as they had in her past, they feared her, knowing instinctively the presence of the monster before them. Perhaps more than ever before, so did she.
Lizuca left the human cities growing on the Danube, and fell again into seclusion. Other kindred hunted her for her crimes, but they lost her in the forests to the east, where she made her haven once again. Feeding from settlers and tribes of Slavs, she earned her reputation as a witch of the forest. She claimed childer in those years, but they suffered the curse just as much as she had. Eventually coming to think of them as failed experiments, she released them from her domain.
The Tutelage of TzimiscesEdit
Ioannes Tzimisces III, a noble of the Byzantine empire During the 10th century A.D., was known to have been a debauched and narcissistic harpy in his time living in Constantinople. After offending those in power, a blood hunt was called on Tzimisces and he left Constantinople and fled into the depths of the Slavic lands to the north. The wilds of the north, forests and mountains, were perilous lands that Rome had only partially civilized, and a lone kindred traveling by moonlight had many unseen terrors to face. Tzimisces travelled long in these depths but found no place to call a haven until a fateful encounter with the witch Lizuca.
Being chased by hounds of his former prince, Tzimisces chanced upon Lizuca's domain, and calling upon the spirits of domain, she slew his pursuers before his eyes. Tzimisces threw himself at her mercy and to his surprise she allowed him to not only live but to remain in her domain. Tzimisces accepted, knowing that he would be otherwise hunted, and should he offend his benefactor, might meet the same fate as the hounds that had been on his heels.
Over the long nights Lizuca and Tzimisces came to know one another well. He served her as seneschal in what manner he could and she initiated him into the Circle, teaching him the ways and methods of her ancient covenant. Tzimisces, for his part, was an apt pupil. Having been a cunning manipulator as far back as his time in Constantinople, he now treated with the spirits and monsters of the wild forest, ancient things which mortal man had little knowledge of. Despite his successes, Tzimisces felt the desire to move on and come into a domain of his own. Lizuca was not so abiding, and she kept him bound to her. What was once a prosperous relationship soon soured, and Tzimisces looked for any way to break his chains and be free of his regent. When finally he could take no more, he turned on her and they fought with tooth and claw, spell and cant. Unexpectedly he bested her, and a peak moment of rage and lust he took her heart's blood and fled from her domain. Tzimisces made enemies of many that night, not the least of which were Lizuca's previous get, the Strigoi Morti.
Tzimisces returned to civilization much more powerful than he had left it. Turning up in Budapest, he reentered kindred society, taking pains to hide his act of amaranth. Through cunning and guile he took the domain as prince and established his line, selecting childer from the local princes and boyars all with a penchant for ambition. Other kindred whispered tales not only of Tzimisces' viciousness but of the seeming corruption of his flesh and blood. Many of Tzimisces' get as they aged were seen to be occasionally possessed by uncontrolled spasms, their flesh undulating wildly. Some broke the masquerade and resulted in the razing of scores of witnesses. The Lancea Sanctum soon branded the tumultuous line as diabolists and threats to all kindred. All the while, many of Lizuca's blood had felt her passing and had found Tzimisces gone from her domain and living in Budapest. As whispers of his line's uses of Transviscera came to them, they deduced the truth and took it upon themselves to seek revenge. Among these kindred, Rada raged at the death of his childe. Taking their bloodline through one of Lizuca's childer, he lead them in a bloody assault against the Ventrue usurper.
When Rada and Lizuca's childer did at last meet Tzimisces, an episode of seizure overtook him as his flesh writhed and twisted before them. From one of the many mouths that erupted from his fluctuating form, Lizuca's voice emerged, commanding her blooded to cease their assault. Tzimisces then became Lizuca and spoke of her dark miracle. Speaking simultaneously with both voices she told of how she and Tzimisces now possessed the same body, and they had warred within its confines but now had merged together as one being. She called the two lines together and bid them form one family to vanquish those who were poised to uproot them.
The two lines united, taking the Strigoi sobriquet, and fought back against the elements of first and second estates who had attempted to use Lizuca's childer to uproot Tzimisces. Despite their efforts Budapest could not be held, and the Strigoi fled the wilds of eastern Hungary. Reestablishing themselves, the Strigoi dug themselves into this new domain, selecting childer from rising noble houses. In this realm the Strigoi have endured, long haunted the lands of eastern Europe, resisting any who would uproot them.