The Malkavian Antediluvian, also known as Malkav, is the legendary progenitor of the Malkavian clan. He is said to be the second-oldest antediluvian, twin to Arikel. The Malkavians also consider Saulot and Set to be brothers to Malkav.
The Malkavian Antediluvian is known only through myth and impressions left upon his mad clan. Some say that he wasn't even human, instead claiming he was an angel or a descendant of Lilith. The only thing the stories share is that one way or another he was touched by an incurable madness, but that his dementia allowed him to look past the veil of reality and perceive truths hidden to the eyes of others. In an argument between Malkav and Set over the nature of Truth, Malkav stated the belief that Truth was revealed from the outside in the apparent contradictions of sensory perceptions, even if the picture seemed to be distorted at first, as all these contradictions would be eventually solved by the Mind. While accounts disagree on whether the Malkavian Antediluvian was killed, a somewhat common belief among Malkavians is that whether his body has been destroyed or not, their progenitor continues to exist as the Madness Network.
It should be noted that while the Malkavian Antediluvian is almost universally referred to as Malkav, this is just an epithet. In his English translation of the Book of Nod, the Noddist Aristotle de Laurent resorted to using the name "Malkav" because he was unable to find any more accurate name, although he admitted this was "sloppy scholarship" (he further confessed to apprehension regarding the true names of Antediluvians, since after learning the true name of the Brujah clan founder he woke the following evening with his own name carved into his forearm). The name Malkav was already in common use during the Dark Ages. Regardless, the Antediluvian's real name has probably been covered up and lost to history.
In the original Clanbook: Malkavian, Malkav is depicted as trying to surpass the limitations of immutable reality and return it to a state of infinite possibilities. This goes along with that book's emphasis on the Malkavians as forces of revolution and dynamism, as well as their association with fae. According to the tale, Caine himself was attempting to teach his descendants to break free of Creation's artificial barriers, and it was Malkav who came closest to achieving this enlightenment. To that end he destroyed his own ability to filter and interpret the world around him, driving him mad but bringing him closer to seeing the hidden possibilities inherent in the universe. His clan shares in Malkav's burden so that through them the Antediluvian can continue to refine his insights and continue to break through more barriers.
As the Revised Edition severed the tie between the Malkavians and fae, Malkav's nature and intentions became much less understood. Clanbook: Malkavian Revised suggests that even before the Embrace Malkav was special, possibly an angel, messenger, or great prophet. He is also alternatively called brother to Saulot and Set (though perhaps allegorically), or the twin of Arikel. Some scriptures claim his twin sister was Malakai, an Antediluvian even more unstable and dangerous than her brother, who never sired childer and is imprisoned deep in the Shadowlands.
Accounts differ over which of the Second Generation was his sire, as they also disagree on how Malkav was driven insane. The traditional tale is that the Antediluvian was cursed with madness by Caine, either because of some slight or because he turned his companions in the Second City against each other by giving them false visions. Another story says that Lilith singled him out for punishment and told him a secret that shattered his mind. A third suggests that Malkav drank deep of the blood of the Second Generation and was overwhelmed by its power, his mind becoming open to greater truths of the universe and in the process losing his grip on reality. Whatever prophetic abilities he may have had beforehand, Malkavians believe that the Antediluvian's insanity granted him greater vision.
After the fall of the Second City, Malkav is believed to have traveled towards the city of Petra. It is along this journey that some think the Eldest Malkavian was attacked and torn asunder. Who the assailant might have been is unknown, though it seems likely that another Antediluvian sought his destruction. Yet even if his body was destroyed, it is believed that his spirit survived inside of his childer, who gathered at the site of his death and drank his spilled blood, taking Malkav's essence into them and sheltering it from the sun's rays. However, other accounts state that the Malkavian Antediluvian continues to sleep under Petra, or that he rests beneath Jerusalem. If that is true, his seeping madness could be one cause for the regional instability that has gripped the area for so very long, and he may be directly responsible for the massacre that followed the siege of Jerusalem in 1099.
In the book Gehenna, Malkav appears as a dozen small girls, all exactly the same in appearance, with glowing eyes.
Malkav has likely become the Madness Network, a psychic link connecting virtually all members of Clan Malkavian. Whether this is the Antediluvian's attempt to ascend to a higher state of being or simply an escape from Final Death, he is a mental force capable of sharing his madness and vision with all his descendants, possibly even directing their actions. Some extremists go so far as to say that the Madness Network is Malkav's nervous system, and that Clan Malkavian itself is the Eldest's physical manifestation. However, the extent to which Malkav truly exists or has control over the Madness Network remains a mystery that is unlikely to be solved anytime soon, as no one has evidence of the Antediluvian taking direct action.
One idea espoused by some members of the Sabbat is that Malkav is asleep, and that should he wake the Ancient's mind will overwhelm his entire clan and consume them. Their hope is that by continuously increasing their numbers the clan will one day stretch Malkav's essence too thinly, rendering him truly vulnerable. This would perhaps explain why even members of the Camarilla do not always outright destroy those who come through the Embrace broken and unable to survive. The fact remains that of all the Antediluvians, Malkav's purpose or intentions are probably the least understood. He may be as preoccupied with the Jyhad as all the other ancients, or he may be attempting to guide his clan (or even the entire world) to an enlightened state.
The name possibly comes from the Aramaic word "mlk" (מלך), which means "king", Akkadian malku) or the Arabic word "melek" (مَلَك), which means “angel” (when vocalized as מֹלֶךְ mōlek in the Masoretic Text, it has been traditionally understood as a proper name, and can be associated with another character). For more information, see Proto-Semitic word malk. Also, Malakai derives from the Hebrew “Malʼāḵ > Malʼāḵî”, meaning “my messenger, my angel”.
See Also Edit
- Mekhet, possible association