The Act of Hubris
I was blinded! I could no longer see ungodly truth. For if any man be born again in Christ is a new creature, well, I am a new… a new creature!
You are not me. You are not a monster. If I was you — and if I didn’t have to be me — I’d want to know what kind of man that thing had become. Because I’ve seen what happens to men. I no longer privilege men.
We consider the Christian God in trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit. There is truth to this, and there is mystery – but there is also deception. In truth the Son is prodigal, the Spirit stolen from the hands of the Father and sown among humankind to spare it its suffering. We learn that Christ died for humanity’s sins, and he did. It was as much punishment as sacrifice, as much imprecation as redemption. The real truth is this: God’s love doomed humanity – and Christ’s saved it.
The sacraments of flesh and blood commemorate this truth. The Eucharist is an expression of fact, one muddled by history and quiesence. In Christ’s flesh and Christ’s blood are the blessings that guard humanity against perdition. But they do not live on as symbols – in every beating heart, in every living vein of every man, woman and child are the pervasive essence of the Son’s defiant blessing. Living blood contains the spark of divinity. But there are things in the dark that want that blood for themselves, and in their ceaseless thirst for vitality, the hungry dead strip that spark away. That divinity is lost to them. Squandered. But it is not destroyed.
Theorized by a Sanctified Jesuit before his demise, the Stations of the Thirteenth Apostle (also the Red Saint’s Stations, or simply the Stations) are a series of sacramental exercises molded into the form of a Discipline. That which is precious in the human body – that which is something like the divine – is unrecognized and undigested by a Beast pursuing its own atavism. But it does not go away. By shattering the boundaries of flesh and spirit, the Kindred who master the Stations can draw on that divinity, making miracles foreign to the secrets of the blood. But the body rebels, and to calm this rebellion one must accept the blood of the Nazarene – the god-nature running through human veins.
On Hunger Damage
The Stations have costs measured not in Vitae, but in Hunger Damage. Hunger Damage (marked by an [H] in a health box) is treated as Resistant Lethal in all respects, save that it can only be healed in the moment when living blood transsubstantiates to Vitae. A vampire may forego one Vitae’s worth of drinkable blood from a victim, offering, or supplicant in order to heal one level of Hunger Damage. In this way, we can see that unless the vampire has some unique ability to feed rapidly, they can only ever heal one H a turn.
Hunger damage represents graphically as a mortification of the flesh – mirrors of the wounds that Christ suffered during the Passion and the Crucifixion. One’s forehead might bleed and break as if wrapped in a crown of thorns, one might find fresh wounds in their hands and feet, one might cower under the lash. A vampire’s H damage manifests stigmatically; as their health track fills with H, they come more and more to resemble Christ crucified. If their last health box is filled with H, it always presents the same way: as a puncture wound in the side, representative of the final traitorous blow the nameless Centurion struck against the living God.
The First Station: Revelation (Theophany)
Cost: H (One Hunger Damage)
Effect: The vampire draws the lost divinity forth from nothing, and makes it manifest. As long as the wounds from the vampire’s Hunger Damage are visible, their Presence-based rolls gain the 8-again and rote action qualities as well as three minimum successes. Invoking this power renders the vampire impossible to disguise or mistake, and is an obviously supernatural effect, often (though not always) presenting as a halo of gold streaked with crimson.
((Lis has discovered the first of the Stations. Subsequent Stations will be revealed as he researches the monograph and contemplates its secrets. Once per in-game night, he may make an Int+Academics(Theology) roll. Whenever he accumulates successes equal to 5 x the dot rating of the next Station, it will be available for purchase and the next step of the revelation will be revealed.))