The Convention of Thorns was a peace agreement between leaders of the Camarilla, the Anarchs and the Assamite clan made on October 23, 1493. It marked the end of open conflict between the three groups, and more specifically an end to the first Anarch Revolt.
Its name comes from the location of the meeting: the Abbey of the Sacred Crown near the small village of Thorns outside Silchester in England. The Convention was proposed by the founders of the Camarilla, who had created the sect only seven years earlier. It called for a lasting truce with the Assamites and Anarchs, who were both offered a place in the Camarilla; the Anarchs accepted - while the Assamites declined.
The Assamite truce was assured, however, by the elders of the Brujah clan, who had captured and ransomed seven Assamite elders. In addition to a large payment of gold, the Assamites had to submit their entire clan to a Thaumaturgical curse levied by the Tremere which would prevent them from committing diablerie.
In spite of this, the Convention specifically states that the Assamites are independent of all Camarilla demands and may freely diablerise their own clan members and any Kindred not claiming membership in the Camarilla. (You might also check the Treaty of Tyre for possibly historical inaccuracies regarding the Assamites' part in the Convention).
The Convention places equal responsibility on all three groups for maintaining the peace, but is seen by most Anarchs as a disaster. It specified that while no Anarchs would face reprisals for their actions (except for the especially heinous, which would be considered by the Justicars within a year or forgotten), they would have to return to their clans and sires, reestablishing the status quo they had rebelled against. Anarchs of the Lasombra and Tzimisce clans did not accept the Convention, however, and went on to form the Sabbat; a number of Anarchs from other clans followed suit and became the first antitribu.
Despite further Anarch rebellions, like the establishment of the Anarch Free State on the west coast of America in the 1940s, and the breaking of the Assamite blood curse, the Convention of Thorns is still upheld, if not respected, in most Camarilla cities. Anarchs are not punished unless they hide their membership or openly rebel, and Assamites are hired as assassins or executioners by many Princes, and sometimes allowed to diablerize their victims as payment.
The convention sets up the authority of the Camarilla, through its Justicars, Archons, and Traditions. It also lays the foundation for the core clans which comprise it. The clans of the Founders become the seven clans of the Camarilla, though it is said that the Setites were invited as well and turned the offer down. It is rumored that Raphael de Corazon was upset by this. Founder Camilla Banes argued for the inclusion of the Cappadocians in the Camarilla, but was overruled by other members of the Malkavian clan. By the actions of the Anarchs who refused to sign the treaty, who then attacked the town of Silchester as "sabbats", the formation of the Sabbat was set in motion.
Events of the ConventionEdit
The Convention of Thorns took place over the course of six evenings, beginning on October 18th, and on the seventh evening, the city of Silchester was attacked. It was perhaps the single largest gathering of Caintes to date, comprising at least 50 individuals representative of all the clans, factions, and geographical regions.
The convention began in the courtyard of the Abbey of the Sacred Crown with the chosen moderator Eleanor De Valois opening the session by explaining the issues and introducing the Founders of the Camarilla by name and clan to the assembled delegates. The predominant attitude of the attendees was one of cautious probing of an enemy position while readying for an attack. After this introduction attendees broke into smaller groups to discuss what they have heard. In these smaller groups, some individuals became more willing to speak their minds.
The specific issues suggested by the moderator were:
- Should a general amnesty be granted to those whose actions led others astray, or should the leaders surrender themselves to the judgment of the Camarilla's Founders and their Archons?
- Should clan Assamite remain independent of the Camarilla and refuse to subject themselves to its rulings? If they do remain apart, how may we ensure that their practices pose no future threat to us?
- Should this current system of governance (Justicars and Archons) continue? Shall the current holders of those positions remain in office? If not, who will be the new Justicars? How will we select future Justicars and what will be their duties and responsibilities? Will we appoint a council to oversee the Justicars or shall those justices serve as the highest authority of the Camarilla?
The results of the previous night's discussions were summarized for the assembly. Myca Vykos made an impassioned speech in favor of the goals of the Anarchs. Hardestadt countered with an insistence on the necessity for discipline within the clans and demanded a return to the hierarchy of rule by age and generation.
At some point during the convention, Myca Vykos threw his penis into the face of Hardestadt. It is possible that this occurred during this exchange between the two of them.
After a summary of the previous night's progress, Husayn al Fatin, a delegate from the Assamites, spoke for his clan. A heated discussion followed, during which Mistress Fanchon and the other Tremere, in particular, called for strong measures to prevent the continued practice of diablerie. Myka Vykos and some of his Anarch companion greeted her words with derisive comments in reference to the Tremere's diablerie of Saulot and the Giovanni diablerie of Cappadocius.
While the battle of words raged, the Anarch leader Tyler (Patricia of Bollingbroke) took this opportunity to burst into the delegation and make an attempt on the unlife of Hardestadt, firing two pistols into his heart and shouting, "May your arrogant, black heart be sundered and your soul sucked down to Hell, Hardestadt! And this time, stay dead!" Tyler escaped, seeming to think she had succeeded in her assault this time. A line of Anarchs blocked those who followed after her, allowing her escape.
A statement of progress opened this gathering. The ancient Malkavian Unmada called for cooperation and warned of disaster should this initiative fail. Then an open forum provided the opportunity for any to make statements to the delegation.
Rafael de Corazon then shared his vision of the importance of the Masquerade and the necessity of the Camarilla. At first, he was ridiculed and almost forced to step down. His impassioned arguments gained converts, however, and the Masquerade was adopted.
At the end of the discussion, Etrius and several senior Tremere excused themselves to begin the ritual that will prevent the Assamites from drinking Cainite blood.
Durga Syn was already in place on the speaker's platform when the rest of the delegates arrived. She made the case for non-intervention, suggesting that the Masquerade will only make the mortals angry that they were duped.
The issue of Justicars and their succession took up the first half of the discussion once Durga Syn had left the platform. The delegates made their final arguments to the assembly and cast their votes. The attendees dispersed, with some taking part in drafting the Treaty of the Convention of Thorns and others finalizing their plans for a statement of protest. Meanwhile, the Tremere continued to cast their ritual.
The gathering listened to the reading of the treaty by Eleanor de Valois. The delegates who agreed to its terms signed the document. All Anarchs who agree to its terms are required to drink the blood of the Camarilla elders present. The elders explain that the Assamite Clan has been ordered to undergo a Thaumaturgical ritual to prevent their practice of diablerie.
The Tremere continued their ritual began three nights before, ending just before sunrise.
On the night after the signing of the treaty, Myca Vykos led an attack by the Anarchs against the mortals of the city of Silchester, killing and intentionally violating the Masquerade. They were described as "sabbats of devils and witches" by the mortals. The attack is referred to as Haceldema, the "Field of Blood".
Hardestadt and Rafael de Corazon took charge of the mortal survivors, using the power of their combined Disciplines to erase the memories of the "demons". Hardestadt and Adana de Sforza then vowed to hunt down the attackers.
The Treaty of the Convention of ThornsEdit
The text of the treaty signed is as follows:
|“|| Many years have passed since the start of our current conflict, now called the Anarch Movement. Be it known that on this night of 23 October, 1493, the Jyhad has ended. The time for self-destruction is over.
This Convention, bound in the Covenant of Caine by sacred vow, represents an unyielding, vigilant truce between the Kindred known unto themselves as the anarchs, the Clan Assamite, and the free-standing Kindred bound under the title of Camarilla. Henceforth, the parties shall be recognized by faction as the Anarchs, the Assamites and the Camarilla.
Each of the parties agrees to the responsibility of maintaining peace. Each shall lay its censures upon any who breech or oppose this sacred Agreement. Accounting will be made of all parties for violations by them to either the letter or the spirit of this Agreement. This document is legally binding under the accepted Lextalionis of all Cainites as it has passed through the ages. All Kindred are entreated to accept and gain pleasure from this peaceful accord.
Be it known that the Anarchs will enjoin with the Camarilla as an accepted part, making it whole. Anarchs are expected to work peacefully to achieve their own ends. They must become defenders of all, and they shall receive full entitlement to all rights and privileges belonging to all Camarilla Kindred. All Anarchs shall be accepted back unto their elders and their formerly denounced clans without any fear of reprisal. Only the most vicious of atrocities shall not be forgiven. These shall stand written for the Justicars to hear within one year, after which all allegations are no longer valid. All Anarchs shall reclaim all remaining and rightful property confiscated from them. In return they must turn over any war gains taken during the conflict by giving them to the their sires or any recognized clan elder.
Know also that if the Anarchs are further warred upon, this open jyhad invalidates their responsibility to maintain peace with their attacker. They may act freely without fear of reprisal from nonactive members of the Camarilla. Anarchs are guaranteed the freedom to act as they please, short of breaching the "Masquerade" imposed for the protection of all Kindred from the kine.
It is also noted that any member of any other self-proclaimed sect must openly declare this before his elders and renounce this relation. Failure to do so will result in the destruction of any deemed guilty. No Kindred may be sent unknowingly to his death by an elder or sire, unless the security of clan or Camarilla outweigh the possible loss of unlife.
From this night forward, the Assamites shall henceforth no longer commit diablerie upon members of other clans. The Assamites must commit themselves to this acceptance by a mark of assurance placed upon them in the form of a thaumaturgical limitation. All members of the Assamites shall become unable to drink freely of the vitae of other Kindred from now unto forever. In addition, the Assamites shall pay to the Brujal elders of Spain two thousand pounds of gold, in ransom of the five Assamite elder captured committing diablerie. Also, the Assamites may no longer participate in Blood Hunts.
Be it also known the Assamites are guaranteed complete independence from Camarilla demands. The Assamite fortress, Alamut, shall be free from any further assaults. Assamites are also granted, out of respect of their beliefs, the freedom to commit diablerie within their own clan without restraint and the right to commit diablerie upon all Kindred not recognized as holding membership within the Camarilla.
It is rendered that all parties involved and all showing allegiance to any of these parties shall be held responsible for all aspects of this Convention brought forth here, in the neutral Kingdom of England, outside the hamlet of Thorns, near the town of Silchester. May Caine hold truth and peace for us all.
Characters at the ConventionEdit
More than 50 vampires attended the convention, many of whom were accompanied by ghouls and other retainers. The following is a list of the known main personalities of Cainite society that attended the Convention of Thorns:
The Founders of the CamarillaEdit
- Adana de Sforza (Brujah)
- Milov Petrenkov (Gangrel)
- Camilla Banes (Malkavian)
- Josef von Bauren (Nosferatu)
- Rafael de Corazon (Toreador)
- Mistress Fanchon (Tremere)
- Hardestadt the Elder/Younger (Ventrue)
The Original ArchonsEdit
- Gilbert d’Harfleur, (Ventrue)
- Father Jean-Marc d’Harfleur, (Toreador)
- Federico DiPadua, (Nosferatu)
- Lilika Kairos, (Brujah)
- Antara, (Assamite)
- Karif al Numair, (Assamite)
- Husayn al Fatin, (Assamite)
- One other unnamed Assamite
Other Cainites at the ConventionEdit
- Eleanor de Valois, (Brujah)
- Father Samuel, (Toreador)
- Unmada, (Malkavian) and his childe Vasantasena.
- Petaniqua, (Malkavian / Baali)
- Rodolfo under the guise of Melchis of Crete, (Malkavian)
- Durga Syn, (Ravnos)
- Maltheas, (Ventrue)
- Giangaleazzo, (Lasombra) and his sire Fray Diego.
- Torvus Bloodbeard, (Gangrel) representing Josef Zvi of Prague
- Etrius, (Tremere)
- Anatole, (Malkavian)
- Lucita, (Lasombra)
- Tiberiu, (Gangrel) Representing Lord Radu of Bistritz.
- Karsh, (Gangrel)