The Trinity refers to the three ruling vampire families of Constantinople and their scion families. Constantinople was founded on a desire for stability and born from the minds of a Triumvirate of kindred: Michael the Patriarch, Antonius the Gaul and the Tzimisce known as the Dracon. The three Cainites, though each potent, formed a dynamic whole that declined just as their “eternal” city did.
Antonius represented the best and worst aspects of stability. The practical Amariwas grounded and not given to lofty, ultimately self-destructive dreams. He knew how to deal with situations that fell within his experience. However, he was unable to adapt when circumstances did not conform to his experiences.
The Dracon of the Obertus Tzimisce, given his obsession with the ephemeral and transitory, lent a contrasting quality ro the Trinity and therefore Constantinople. Unlike
many Tzimisce who tried to change themselves – as if humanity was nothing to aspire to – the Dracon saw himself as a catalyst for change itself. Rather than pursue cosmetic changes to his physical form, he chose to bring change to those around him.
The third member of the Triumvirate was Michael the Wanderer, self-proclaimed angel and mad patriarch of Constantinople. For a time it was this Herement who held Antonius and the Dracon together, acting as the linchpin to the wheel they set in motion through their dynamic opposition. Michael was the balancing factor that alternately encouraged and curtailed the activities of the two vampires. And they in tum centered him. Antonius grounded him in reality, while the Dracon reminded him of his dreams.
These three Methuselahs were lovers and allies for centuries before the Christian Emperor Constantine arrived to show them the way. To them, this devout and predatory ruler of the mortal world embodied the virtues and sins of their kind. Following his example, the three left Rome and looked to Christianity to guide their attempts to create an immortal legacy. Calling themselves the Triumvirate, Michael, Antonius and the Dracon arrived in Constantine’s city, determined to help build a perfect and lasting civilization – a Heaven on Earth.
In the early centuries, the three lovers cooperated and divided spheres of influence among them, but resentment and recrimination were not far afield. Michael, always the center of the Trinity, took pleasure from the competition between his lovers and did little to quell their rivalries. Antonius and the Dracon fought an increasingly heated battle to gain Michael’s favor. In the sixth century, the Amari took advantage of a rise in the authority of mortal emperors to strike at the Tzimisce, passing edicts against the monastic orders that sheltered the Dracon’s kind. In return, the Dracon initiated the collapse of the empire and aided in the spread of plagues, sending the Amari-influenced dynasties into chaos and swelling the monasteries with the penitent.
Michael, beautiful and vain, hoped to quell the anger of his paramours by offering them a gift of two children, Gesu and Symeon. Through this demonstration of utter and equal love, he wished to reestablish the balance of the Triumvirate and the Trinity of Cainite families that they had spawned. It was not to be. Disaster and dark sentiments combined to make both children Tzimisce and drove Antonius forever away from his lovers. Taking a cue from mortal thinkers of the time – as the Three had from Constantine centuries before – the Amari Methuselah called for a vampiric Iconoclasm in which the blood-worship encouraged by the Tzimisce would be eradicated and the childer of Caine would fade into the shadows. The combination of mortal and Cainite Iconoclast movements, and the powerful monastic and Tzimisce opposition that existed to both of them, began to tear the Byzantine Dream apart.
On a terrible night in 796 AD, Michael and the Dracon met with their childer and those Amari who opposed iconoclasm. Seeing no other altemative, the Methuselahs sanctioned the destruction of their lover Antonius. The deed was carried out by the ambitious Caius, the Amari Methuselah’s own childe. For a few decades, order seemed restored as Caius took his sire’s place and Constantinople returned to prosperity, but Antonius’ murder could not be forgotten so easily.
For the Dracon it marked the end of his passion for the Dream. The murder of his rival stood as a bloody reminder of his own destructive power and he withdrew into his monasteries. Finally, unable to bear the presence of ghosts ofhis own making, and hoping to preserve the Dream by his very absence, he slipped into the night and never returned. Michael paid a heavier price. The Methuselah had been struggling against madness for centuries; now his guilt plunged him into delusion. Sequestering himself in the lavish Chunoh of Hagia Sophia, the Herement believed himself to be a true angel, obsessed with bringing Heaven to Earth. Even now, in torpor, his powerful psyche reaches out across the city and casts many into religious roles, and sows a terrible madness among his childer.
It is the inheritors of the Triumvirate – the murderer Caius; the Tzimisce Gesu and Symeon; and Euphemia of Thessaly, Michael’s most ambitious childe – who have been left with the task ofholding the fragile Dream together. All, however,
are shackled by the legacy of their sires. Caius longs to take Antonius’ place as Michael’s lover, but is forever denied by the taint of murder; Gesu and Symeon spiral into mutual hatred in an unconscious repeptittion of the lives of the Dracon and Antonius; Euphemia finds no shelter from the influence of her mad father and is slowly dragged down into fresh insanity.