House Tremere was one of several Houses within the Order of Hermes. It was a very powerful house, having been largely responsible for the destruction of the druidic House Díedne in the Schism War, although the actual purging of Díedne was carried out by Houses Quaesitori and Flambeau in 1012. The House was abnormally powerful given that it seemed to consist largely of sorcerers rather than true mages. Even Tremere himself was said by some to have been a sorcerer.
The original Tremere were charismatic masters of dominance and intrigue, assembled from a cult of personality around Lord Tremere. They further believed that the world was inherently dangerous and chaotic, so they strove to control events and prepared for inevitable, future battles. To this end, their House was the most militarized, with a strict chain of command designed to ensure discipline. Highly proficient in certámen, the House was otherwise not very specialized in a magickal art. Alchemists, students of spiritual migration, and researchers of the human soul were welcomed in House Tremere, as long as they adhered to the rigid structure of the House. Tremere had few ethical qualms about the magic used, as long as it did not violate any tenets of the Code of Hermes openly. Instead, the main focus was on cooperation and working together under clear hierarchical lines, combining the power of many mages into something awe-inspiring, regardless of their individual prowess.
Traditionally, members of House Tremere worked closely with members of House Tytalus. Unlike some of the more venturesome Tytali, the Tremere held a contempt against dealing with demons. A demon that was weak enough to be dominated would not be powerful to fulfill tasks that were worthy of the trouble involved. A demon that was powerful enough to grant boons, in turn, could never be dominated or enslaved, there would always be a loophole that the creature would exploit. Tremere thinking, art and literature praised the ethos of the wolf pack. Wolves are gentle with each other and savage to their enemies. This atmosphere of "us against everyone else" might have contributed to their conversion.
Tremere were generally fairly well-regarded, considered to be the most sensible House. They were experts in strategy, tactics, and planning.
Motto: Arbitrium Vincit Omnia (Latin: "Will Conquers All")
Tremere was present in 767 during the foundation of the Order of Hermes, together with his condisciple Tytalus. While he was not originally invited, Tremere was the disciple of the esteemed magician Guorna, and the other Primi allowed him to assemble a House around himself. Since Tremere was no match for his fellow Primi, he designed another way to assure his dominance: Together with Bonisagus, he developed the non-lethal duel of Certámen in 772. Both were satisfied with the result: Bonisagus supported Certámen because it ended the tendency of wizards to kill each other over perceived slights, while Tremere appreciated that Certámen relied not solely on magickal power, but also on strength of Will and cunning. Soon, he and his House became the foremost masters in these arts and around 800, Certámen was adopted as official means of settling disputes in the Order. Tremere wizards garnered a rather violent reputation during these days and chose to settle in the Vis-rich territories of Transylvania. While these lands were rumored to be the territory of vicious Night-folk, Tremere was sure that he could wrest this land under control.
In 848, Tremere was the last remaining Founder. By using Certámen challenges to gain control over various Covenants, lands and judicial influence to manipulate the Peripheral Corrigenda of Code of Hermes, he attempted to seize control of the Order, but was stopped by a band of unidentified Magi. These magi used the key strengths of his House, Hierarchy, against him by attacking his closest lieutenants, rendering the chain of command useless. Tremere was forced to appeal to House Mercere to negotiate with the attackers. Together with Primi of House Mercere and House Quaesitor, a compromise would be reached. House Tremere would cease its attempts to dominate the Order of Hermes, and the attacks would subside. Tremere never forgot that slight, but relented, instead traveling from Tremere Covenant to Tremere Covenant to keep check on his House. He assembled a new inner circle around him, and was present in 980 when his apprentice Goratrix consigned a new Chantry within Transylvania that would be its Domus Magnum, Ceoris.
Around 996, House Tremere first identified the loss of magick in the world and met at a great conclave in Ceoris, four years before the other Houses would recognize the fading of magick. Debates were held about what had caused it, with few results. Tremere issued that House Tremere would proceed as if it was expecting the worst outcome. In silence, Tremere gathered his inner circle and told them to investigate and find a possible way to retaining their magic and their immortality, but that they would not share these with the other Houses. In the meantime, the House turned to another event, which some magi speculate had been orchestrated to divert the attention of the other Houses away from House Tremere's activities. During a convocation, Grainne bani Díedne had insulted Tremere's virility. In turn, Tremere began a campaign of slander against the druidic House that resulted in the declaration of a Wizards' March, called the Schism War, against House Díedne and its holdings in 1003. House Tremere gathered the support of other Houses, mainly House Flambeau and House Quaesitor, to sanction the effort and in 1012, House Díedne was eliminated. During this time, his closest disciples worked on their own methods to ensure House Tremere's survival. Etrius interrogated scores of spirits and reformulated and reconstructed Bonisagus' original theory of magick several times to find an alternative; while Meerlinda of Wessex sought to create a geomantic ritual to drain the earth of all its Vis by connecting with several chantries, while numerous of their underlings were instructed to find similar alternatives in tune with their preferred way of magic. It was Goratrix, who came to the idea of using the powers of the Night-folk for their gain. After gaining Tremere's approval in 1005, he captured a Tzimisce, forced him to turn his two apprentices into vampires, and then killed him. He took his apprentices back to his chantry to experiment. After a year, he presented Tremere a potion and ritual that would allegedly give them immortality. The Ritual of Usurpation, however, did not work as he had presented it: Goratrix, Tremere and his seven followers did become indeed immortal, but as vampires, meaning that they lost their Avatars and the ability to work True Magick. While there was much lamentation, Tremere quickly chose to make the best of the situation and he and his cursed followers stayed in Ceoris until 1029, slowly mastering their new forms.
The rest of the House was kept in the dark about the conversion of their leaders. Others, however, quickly noticed: The Tzimisce. Seeing the Tremere as usurpers and thieves, the Voivodes rallied against Ceoris, using their fleshcrafted legions to assault their chantries. This caused members of the House within Transylvania to consolidate, leading to counter-attacks from the magi and locking Transylvania into war. In the meantime, the first Tremere vampires argued what to do. Goratrix claimed that only the swift conversion of the House into their bloodline would give them the muscle against the Tzimisce, while Etrius argued that an unprepared mage would likely only turn against them, and that the Embrace had to be carefully cultivated and only passed to those whose obedience was assured. Infighting between both factions caused Tremere to step in after an incident in Thessaloniki in 1055. He laid out a plan that detailed the future Pyramid, blood bonded his co-conspirators, and told that the conversion of his House would begin gradually. With no intention of giving up his most prized creation, he would drag with him into damnation.
The conspirators each gained different tasks. While others would infiltrate the courts of the other Cainites to learn more about them, Tremere and Etrius would find a way to replace their lost magic, resulting in the development of Thaumaturgy. Goratrix would be responsible for defeating the attacking Tzimisce. In 1067, this lead to the creation of the Gargoyles, created from captured Tzimisce, as well as Nosferatu and Gangrel (who, in turn, allied with the Tzimisce to eradicate the Tremere). In time, Tremere learned of the mythologies of the thirteen Clans and the Antediluvians, and planned to diablerize on of these ancients to make his line legitimate. While initially seeking for the tomb of Set, he later chose Saulot, whose get appeared to be the least threat and who had the reputation to be gentle. In the Anatolian desert, he diablerized Saulot in 1133. Falling into torpor only a short time afterwards, Tremere nonetheless managed to give last orders to his disciples, before he fell silent. In response, the Inner Council of Seven was formed, made up from the original conspirators, who divided the known world among themselves. They would continue their slow conversion of the House, and while some suspected the Tremere of illegal activities, like diabolism, no charges could be brought against them.
While the Council kept the existence of the ever-growing vampiric faction within the House a well-guarded secret, in 1199, defectors brought news to the other Houses, telling that House Tremere had fallen and turned into Massassa. After a Tribunal at Doissetep in 1202, the House was expelled from the Order of Hermes and the First Massasa War was declared. While House Tytalus protested against this decision, and House Tremere was warned by some well-meaning or power-hungry mages, the decision was not revoked.
At this point, with their rejection from the Order of Hermes, the former House is no more. There is only Clan Tremere. Loyalist survivors of the House fled into House Ex Miscellanea, where they were placed under special surveillance by the Quaesitori. Many of these last living Tremere chose to fight against the Clan that had betrayed them, often sacrificing themselves during the Massassa War as atonement. As a result, the House and its practices effectively ceased to exist within the larger Order.
Some other Tremere managed to go into hiding, calling themselves Maison Liban.
The original House Tremere was a hierarchical Pyramid of authority, similar to the modern Clan, with Tremere at the top, who communicated in encyclical letters with the lesser members of the House. The place within this hierarchy was determined by the standing of one's master and Certámen. Each master held a sigil for his apprentice, which the apprentice had to take via Certámen. If he were to lose his personal sigil to another member of House Tremere, he would be subordinate to it. So a master would have access to the sigils of both his apprentice and the apprentice's apprentice, unless he was beaten in Certámen. At its height, only fourteen wizards held their own sigils.
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