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Ponticulus was a mage of the House Tremere, and one of the closest advisors of the founder of that house. He died in 980 during the ritual of consecration of Ceoris, but later returned as a wraith in order to write his posthumous testament.

Biography

During the autumn equinox of 980, seven mages were escorted by two dozens of servants to the mountains of central Transylvania in order to enact the ritual that would give birth to the mighty chantry of Ceoris. Those mages were Tremere, Goratrix, Etrius, Meerlinda, Arundinis, Anguisa, and Ponticulus himself.

As the last rays of light leeched from the sky, Goratrix grabbed a sickle and sawed off his own manhood as a sacrifice to the ritual. The blood gushed like a fountain and splattered the other participants but none of them flinched, for they knew that any outburst, any failure to maintain the chant would be fatal to the magic. Goratrix steeled himself and tore what was left of his intimate parts and placed it upon the desired spot.

At that moment, Ponticulus was unable to control himself and fell to his knees vomiting his guts out. With a nod from Tremere, Goratrix step forward and slit Ponticulus' throat with the same blade he used to maim himself. After bleeding to death, Ponticulus became a wraith and watched from above as Arundinis and Anguisa withdrew their ritual knives and took his head off. Etrius took the lead for the remainder of the ritual, taking the severed head by the hair, and placed Goratrix's phallus inside the murdered magi's mouth, planting them both in the earth – effectively binding the wraith to that spot by doing so.

Ponticulus' ghost watched teams of retainers comb the mountainside, exploring and mapping its many natural caverns until his spirit found a home in a tiny seed beneath the earth – and when the seed began to grow he had a form once again, though not a human body. As a year went by, Goratrix came with Arundinis and Anguisa to ascertain that a fresh sapling had grown at the site, but watched with horror as a great oak-like thing with writhing, oily leaves stood in its place. They drew closer and saw Ponticulus' mocking features etched in his bark, and his newly-grown mouth, drooling sap, warned them that they did the bidding of a thing none of them knew, for only he felt the Root of All and the Stars Above (also known as the Stars Beyond) clawing through his dark roots. Goratrix furiously set the tree alight with a spell and, with the help of his companions, killed Ponticulus for the second time – but not before his branches punctured Anguisa's chest. The surviving pair of magi looked for another sapling and replanted it where Ponticulus' tree had been. After that incident, Ponticulus was a formless wraith once again – the ultimate witness to Ceoris history, bearing witness to many of its darkest most closely held secrets - the Secret birth of Clan Tremere.

A Dark Origin

At the beginning of the millennium Goratrix frustrated with a lack of progress in resolving the lessening of True Magik in the world, turned his attentions to the tales of dark immortals that roamed the Carpathian wood as a possible solution. Resolved to investigate the possibilities therein, he spent years investigating arcane texts, and sending various acolytes out to comb the countryside for information on the Children of the Night. In response, fiends left the severed head of Arundinis at the threshold of Ceoris in 1005 CE. Unphased from his aim's, Goratrix employed a necromantic ritual to relive the last days of Arundinis' life. Arundinis had been captured and tortured into revealing the secrets of House Tremere and its endeavors by the Elder vampire known as Roland, childe of the Tzimisce Voivode Vladimir Rustovich. Now having the proof he had been looking for Goratrix petitioned Tremere for permission to raid the haven of Roland and take him prisoner for purposes of experimentation, information and reprisal. At great cost Roland was taken by the war party under the leadership of Goratrix and in time met a similar tortured and murderous fate as did Arundinis, but not before Goratrix had forced Roland to Embrace two of his own apprentices the unsuspecting magi known as Stephen (Tzimisce) and Pharus.

After years secreted away in the seclusion Goratrix private suite and workshops, Stephen and Pharus were all but forgotten by the rest of House Tremere. Failure greeted the works of many others in House Tremere endeavoring to confront and solve the problem of Magik leaving the world. Eventually the mage Epistatia was recruited into assisting Goratrix in his secret experiments involving the young neonates to crack the mystery of their immortality towards achieving his own ends. This work was not without difficulty, as obstacles eventually led to Goratrix needing to yet again enter into a dark pact with the Root Of All (the demon Kupala) and Stars Beyond (the Antediluvian known as Saulot) in order to make any advances, all while Ponticulus the World Tree of Ceoris watched.

The Ritual of Usurpation

In 1022, Goratrix was finally ready to reveal his findings. Inviting the necessary select few to aid in performing the complex Ritual of Usurpation, at the climax of which the Cainite neonates Stephen and Pharus were consumed in whole and destroyed by the gathering of ArchMage's. Upon awakening from the aftermath of the ritual Tremere, Meerlinda, Etrius, Calderon, LeDuc, Goratrix and two others discovered their Awakened Avatar's had been shattered and were now to a person, members of the Damned, doomed thereafter to a blood soaked and thirst filled an unlife.

In 1024 CE, the state of Ponticulus as a member of the unquiet dead was discovered by the neonate Etrius. Yet he succeeded in eluding or being captured by Etrius. Nonetheless, in conversation with Etrius he convinced the vampire to campaign for the mass suicide of all those who participated in the Ritual of Usurpation. Etrius however made the mistake of approaching Goratrix and Epistatia first about the discovery of the Wraith Ponticulus. They were fully aware of his existence already, and had spent years trying to bind and silence him, as they knew he could reveal far too much to the rest of House Tremere about how they had come to this state. Unable to bind him, Ponticulus became one with Ceoris itself, stating: "I am as much a part of it as its stones and its mortar. ... Destroy me, [sic] Destroy Ceoris."[1] Several years later the spirit of Ponticulus managed to finally tell his tale by possessing the body of a Tremere magus by the name of Bitiurges, hoping that the still-living members of House Tremere could act to destroy the monsters that some of them had become. Eventually, the fate of Ceoris and thus the fate of Ponticulus was sealed when the abandoned former Chantry succumbed to its attackers and the elements and was reduced to ruins in 1600 CE.[2]

Gallery

References

  1. House Tremere, p. 23
  2. House Tremere, p. 29
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