What we know of the First City comes from a tiny selection of tablet fragments, vase shards and carved monuments uncovered after two thousand years of burial. The First City was unique in its vampiric nature. There, the two generations of Caine's Children, the second and the third generation, created for themselves a society which adapted to their particular vampiric customs, needs, and powers.
The city did exhibit a few similarities to modern cities: Caine’s word was law among vampires, much as a prince's claim in the modern day, for example. The differences, however, outweighed such minor bits of familiarity. A major difference lies in the Masquerade or lack thereof. Vampires were worshiped and revered by the humans around them, not hidden away.
Most of the Third Generation was given the Embrace without Caine’s consent. In a city so crowded with the undead, competition for resources was fierce and deadly. Rogue mortals took it upon themselves to rid the First City of its unholy plague. Grim omens of the coming Flood slowly became prominent. Personality clashes were inevitable in the city as the Third Generation vied for their sires', or even Caine’s, favor.
The First City was unlike later cities in that it was active throughout the night, to accommodate the needs of the "gods", but humans are still primarily diurnal. Most nocturnal activity would be that of vampires or their servants. Torches and other open flames could provoke Rötschreck, so most of the city was in darkness — a small hindrance to supernatural senses. Gratuitous abuse of the human or vampiric population or the breaking of Caine’s laws was met with vengeance from the Second Generation or Caine himself. It is not out of concern for human welfare that vampires would act to protect the mortals, but for fear of losing their sustenance. All of the usual vampiric problems were just as important in the city as during any other time – the Beast is a foremost concern for all vampires, thus making so many Cainites among so (relatively) few mortals a recipe for disaster.
When it came to punishments, exile was a distinct possibility. Cainites who broke Caine’s laws or relatively weak-blooded vampires could find themselves ejected from the First City’s relative safety, forced to find some other place of succor. Human settlements weren’t numerous in that time, those that existed were lightly populated, and travel was extremely dangerous, far beyond any difficulties in later times. The possibility existed that exiled characters could come into conflict with the dreaded Lupines or older exiles who had established themselves (and thrived) elsewhere.
The vampires of the First City were the upper rung of the hierarchy, with Caine, of course, being at the top. Although the three children of Caine (Enoch, Zillah, and Irad) were supposedly the next 'rung' down, several of the Third Generation, Caine's Grandchilder, enjoyed special status (notably Saulot, who was always at Caine's side, especially in the later days) equal to the Second Generation.
Below all Kindred were the Children of Seth, that is to say the humans, except for one. That one was the Master of Servants, the original one-who-serves, called Jabal in some myths. Jabal was equal to one of Caine's Grandchilder because he was so close to Caine. There was very little of Jabal's own blood in his body, it was all mostly the Blood of Caine.
The custom of the Blood Feast that the Sabbat partake in was duplicated in ancient times by Caine and his court. At a feast, Caine would have several condemned criminals tied by their ankles to beams above the table. The cainites present would feed at leisure off these prisoners until they died of the treatment. Drawings depict Caine and several of his childer drinking from a pool of blood that is fed by three inverted mortals bleeding into it.
Several of the “cooks” of the First City's time learned the various savory herbs and foods and drinks that would, when ingested by the feeding-slave, cause the right balance of sweet and salt, fullness and thinness within their blood. Slaves unable to work in the field were invariably made feeding slaves. These slaves were probably very lovely to look at (one glyph shows a feeding-slave dressed in a veil and jewels) and highly conditioned to respond to the Kiss.
The First City observed the planting seasons, like all agricultural communities. There is evidence that there was a great celebration in the High House of Caine every new moon, and a great thanksgiving night on the day after an eclipse. This may have been when the werewolves were most likely to attack, if indeed it is werewolves that were around during this time, and not demons as some have suggested.
Caine provided a very advanced calendar for the time. On Midsummer's Eve one year, Caine painted a red line of his own blood on the circular wall of his High House. The line magically moved day by day, slowly circling the house until it came back around to the Solstice again. It was through this auspice that Caine provided the citizens of the First City a calendar.
Much was learned about the breeding of humans with other humans and either kindred or kine developed birth control. Humans were bred for specific purposes, such as being strong for feeding, or being a good warrior - or being a good laborer. If you were frequently successful in your tasks, you might get selected to further your line. This would be done in a house called the Temple of Lilith, which was neither a Temple and was probably not even dedicated to Lilith. Two humans would have ritual sex here and then never see each other again, especially if they served two separate masters. Kindred with Auspex were apparently able to tell immediately that a woman had gotten with child from a union.
Unlike most cultures of ancient times, there was no religion in the First City. Caine forbade the worship of the One Above, having turned his face from Him - and allowed his subjects no trips to the temple to become scrubbed from sin. Indeed, Caine would often hold forth in open court about how they were all doomed to rot in hell, about how their plight would fall on deaf ears when the time for Armageddon comes and about how truly evil the Kindred are as a race.
Some claim this city was originally known as Ubar, ruled and inhabited by the Children of Seth. After Caine wandered the Land of Nod, in loneliness for an aeon, he came to this city to be amongst mortals again. After ruling it for some time, he renamed the city as the "City of Enoch" and ended up turning it into a haven of Second and Third generation vampires. Though physically destroyed by the Deluge, the City of Enoch continued its existence in the Underworld, under the direction of the Black Hand.
According to the Toreador, Katherine of Montpellier, the "First City" was originally known as Ubar, meaning "Queen of Frankincense." At the time that Caine came to Ubar, King Enoch was ruling. The people of Ubar were aware of Caine's mark and both marveled and feared his power. These Children of Seth worshiped Caine. Even the King, Enoch, relinquished his kingship, so that Caine might rule. Since Caine had wandered throughout the Cradle of Civilization, he supposedly brought Sumerian technology, namely "the wheel", to this city. Being a farmer most of his life, Caine had also cultivated wonderous and perfect groves that the economy could thrive upon. So, under his rulership the city of Ubar had prospered.
The former king, Enoch, desired Caine's power and begged for the chance to be like him. Caine thus granted the young man's wish and embraced him. After the embracing, Caine renamed the city after its former king, the "City of Enoch". At the insistence of Enoch for kindred brethren, Caine embraced Irad and Zillah. Thus, three Second Generation childer co-existed in this city. They in turn learned the ways of making progeny and had Embraced the Third Generation. Under Caine's order, he declared it law that no more childer be made. Supposedly they obeyed and the city became the center of a mighty Empire, until the Deluge came and physically destroyed the city and the Children of Seth. "The kindred of three generations of vampires had all parted for some time."
Another version of the story of Ubar holds that the people of the city had everything they desired, save for purpose and safety, and so they sent out Enoch, their finest citizen, to seek a leader, a guardian, a god, that they might be fulfilled. When Enoch returned, he brought Caine with him.
Caine and his brood established themselves as Ubar's ruling pantheon, exploiting and reshaping the city as they saw fit, with Caine renaming the city for Enoch. The Deluge came in response to the vampires' hubris, casting them down and destroying the city.
Some Assamites tell the tale of the King and Queen of En'esh, who were embraced by Khayyin when Haqim was the lord of the armies of the First City; as a mortal, Haqim served under the King and Queen, but they became evil and cruel, so he decided to cut off their heads and use their blood to bestow the embrace upon himself.
The Setites do not believe in Caine or the God who supposedly cursed him. To them, the First City was Annu (called Heliopolis by the Greeks and On by the Hebrews), the citadel of the Aeons, where Atum-Ra held court. From this city, Set was banished after Horus had defeated him to avenge his father's murder.
In the Underworld
After the city's physical destruction by the Great Flood, when the waters were finally shrinking back to their former depths, humanity built a new city upon (or near) the First City’s former site. The Antediluvians claimed rulership over this Second City. But the Underworld retained the First City in its Shadowlands - another dimensional plane - where it came under the guardianship of the immortal Inauhaten. A group of mages known as the Idran sought Inauhaten out, seeking the secrets of immortality he held. Inauhaten agreed to share what he knew, but only if the Idran would take up the duty of guarding Enoch. The Idran accepted, naming themselves the Tal'mahe'Ra in honor of their sacred duty.
While the Third Great Maelstrom raged at the beginning of the 17th century CE, the city was captured by Stygian forces looking to make use of its strategic value, wiping out most of the Tal'mahe'Ra in residence at the time, with only a bare handful managing to escape. The Tal'mahe'Ra retook the city over a century later, in the campaign of 1723-1726 CE, and it became the seat of power for the Del'Roh, leader of the sect.
During the events of Ends of Empire, Enoch was destroyed by a relic nuclear weapon. The resulting blast helped cause the Sixth Great Maelstrom and the end of Stygia. The majority of the True Black Hand was destroyed with only a few powerful Kindred, including the Del'Roh, being able to escape.
As the City of Enoch became a mighty Empire, the Antediluvians had made contributions to the city that made it awe inspiring. Some of its most notable features were:
- The statues throughout the city, believed to be the work of Arikel.
- A Great Library built by [Brujah] that stood near the center of the city.
- The hanging gardens that were designed by Malkav.
- The streets and buildings, designed by Ventru.
- The slave pits that were filled with captured enemies from Irad's conquests.
- The Temple of Lilith, a large black-and-red building;
- The catacombs, which are now called the Catacombs of the Antediluvians, that contained their tombs;
- The Pool of Zillah, a small pool of crystal clear water that provides visions of the future to those who know how to see them;
- The prison house for criminals who were used as a source of sustenance;
- The training houses of chatterlings.
- And finally, there is the High House of Caine, known as the Dread Palace Ghemal, which stood in the very center of the city.
Caine's palace, the "Dread Palace Ghemal", was a sacred location used to feast upon the specially prepared blood of honored vessels. The first level of the palace served as the court of Irad where he led Caine's armies. In the middle of the chamber was Caine's Ivory Throne.
The second level provided lavish havens for more than 200 vampires. The third level is thought to be a place where mortals were gathered in droves, to be fed upon by Caine and the Antediluvians. The fourth level may have been where Caine resided as his own personal level.
John Sidestorm notes in his journals that Ghemal is a major archaeological anomaly; though it has a vague resemblance to E-temen-nigur, the Ur Ziggurat, it came four millennia beforehand, and far exceeds it in size. He raises the possibility that Ghemal was in fact built after Enoch entered the Underworld. The fact that the murals of Ghemal, which record the activities of Caine and his childer in the First City, also record the city's downfall, lends further support to Sidestorm's view.
- - The Tale of the First City
- - Enoch, The City Caine Built