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The Descent Into Madness - July 1, 1999

Today, at dawn, all those who possess even a drop of Kindred blood briefly experience an extraordinarily vivid dream....

It begins with a simple unfolding of the hands.

Hands that have been clasped together for almost two thousand years.

In the hands are a key, a small, silver and entirely unremarkable key.

As the key falls to the carved jade surface of the altar, eyes that have stared unseeing for as long as the hands were clasped alight with polychromatic fire. The monks that have tended the altar of jade for hundreds of generations shudder in horror as the realization of their entire existences comes to fruition.

The eldest of their number, who had no name, comes trembling to the altar and snatched the key from the place it fell upon. The key sizzles with the fire in the eyes of the one that stood upon the altar, and acrid smoke wisps from between his fingers. But the pain meant nothing to one whose life had been focused upon this tasked.

The one on the altar shifts and the rows of the faithful fall to their knees, their faces press against the cold stone of the floor. The eldest approaches the side of the altar, where a keyhole of sorts is found in a reflective stone surface. Every night for the last two thousand years, the monks with the blood of infants and the sweat of old men have cleaned this stone. The key fits in the slot and melts into it. The eldest looks in fear and fascination as the stone begins to swirl and pulse. In turn, the rest of the altar follows suit.

A slight whimper comes through the lips of the eldest as he stares into the patterns forming in the stone, then up at the one who has stood on the altar since the crucifixion of Christ. The mouth of the one moves in a manner that is barely noticeable, but is the centre of attention for the eldest monk. A small, dry smile creeps across the lips of one who saw the birth of civilization.

As the eldest sees this, his eyes close for the last time and he pushes his face into the impossibly liquid surface of the altar, and is simply no more.

The unbreathing lungs of the one on the altar take in the freezing air of the monastery and exhales it outward over the rows of supplicants. They look up, as if compelled. They look up and …they understand. They understand everything. They understand absolutely everything and are undone.

Those of clan Malkavian enter a slumber somewhat resembling torpor. For three days, they do not respond to even the most extreme stimuli. People who attempt to wake them are themselves affected profoundly. Some run in terror; some reel in confusion; some are stricken catatonic and collapse.

When the Malkavians awaken, it is clear that they have experienced... something horrible.


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