Old Code

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Origins

The origins of the old code are currently unknown, though they are said to have been created by two founding members of Septumvirate Oculos, Klae and Eskoph. They are believed to have existed for a thousand years or more. Although they are followed by almost nobody in the modern age, the tenets of the old code were followed by the majority of vampires for many hundreds of years.

Not all vampires obeyed these tenets. In fact, some countries never heard of the old code at all, as it was created in Europe, and was only followed with any real devotion there, and in parts of the Middle East. However, when these cultures of vampire compared their laws, they found them to be strikingly similar in many cases, with obvious exceptions.

It is thought that the tenets of the old code follow the pattern of biblical commandments (there are 10 of them, and each command seems to be directly related to the commands of the old testament). Some believe that this was done in a mockery of the Judeo-Christian religion, while others believe that the makers of the code believed themselves to be Christian.



The Tenets

The tenets of the old code mirrored the biblical ten commandments very closely. And below is a list with each translated into modern language:

Loyalty

"You shall have no loyalty before vampire-kind"

The feeling behind this law was that it was the first, and most heinous sin to sell out vampire-kind. There have always been individuals who -- for whatever reason -- turned against their own kind. Some attempted to reveal their nature to humans, in an attempt to force vampire-kind into domination or co-existence. Others hated what they had become, and in an attempt to redeem themselves of their perceived human sins (drinking blood, for example), they sided with hunters. One such example of a vampire turned hunter-leader was Hakim Saqqaf, who fooled an entire coven of hunters, and rose to be their leader.



Fae Antipathy

"You shall not commune with the Fae"

Something about the Fae spooked the ancient vampires. Perhaps it was simply the fact that the fae are unstoppable god-like masters of nature who could crush a vampire into the ground with little more than a thought. Or perhaps it was much more than that, as this tenet commanded vampires never to even talk to the fae at all. Although in modern times fae do not seem to commune with vampires at all (other than to trick them or toy with them), perhaps it was vampires who first cut off contact with these mysterious god-like spirit beings. The command, like many of the others, survived far longer than the exact reason behind it.



Vampiric Secrecy

"You shall not utter the name of our kind"

Vampires survived a long, long time despite being outnumbered thousands to one. No small part of this credit goes to the tenets of the old code, which would seem severe to many, but ensured discretion in all things. The one command, still valued highly even in modern times, is the 3rd tenet: secrecy. Never be seen feeding, never be seen using your supernatural gifts, never be seen in the sunlight, or in front of a mirror. And if you are, destroy all evidence; kill all witnesses. While vampire loyalty was the foremost of all the tenets, this command was the one that kept vampires alive for so long. It was only when groups of vampires arose who rejected this command, that the empire of vampires began to crumble.



Feeding

"You shall not feed on the sixth day"

A strange command, which could have had its roots in ancient religions. Never-the-less, the 4th command encouraged discipline, and ensured that vampires did not become ruled by their desire to feed. Why the 6th day was chosen as the day of fasting is unknown, and perhaps it isn't important at all, despite the perceived biblical reference. What was important to vampires of ancient times was that their childer were made to respect the hunt, and to always maintain self control and discipline in all things.



Sire Reverence

"You shall honor your sire"

As time progressed, vampires in the 16th century and beyond began to question this tenet as existing purely to keep lesser fledglings in check, so that the masters had people who they could order around. While that might have been true, there was a certain logic in the idea behind it. Newly turned vampires could be unruly. They could take the old code for granted, they could turn against vampires, they could get themselves impregnated, or worse. There was a chain of command in the old days, and you could say what you like about the barbaric treatment of fledglings, but the chain of command worked. It was only when vampires began to question whether they needed rules or leaders or sires that the holocaust came about.



War

"You shall not kill without need"

Probably the most ignored out of all of the old code's tenets, even the one about not having sex. The idea was that vampires should be united in concealing their presence and gaining footholds into the world of mortals. When factions declared war on one another it was seen as devastating, because it would almost always result in secrecy violations, deaths of ancient vampires, loss of knowledge and of power for the vampire race. The tenet was mainly aimed at the problem of inter-faction warring, but it also touched on the fact that vampires just shouldn't kill other vampires without the go-ahead from those higher up in the food chain, and that go-ahead should only be given when a vampire had broken tenets of the old code, and needed to die.



Mating

"You shall not mate"

Not a popular commandment, but not as unpopular as you might think. In times where chastity was more important, it wasn't uncommon for societies or religions to make sex taboo. While it was extreme to forbid mating entirely, the reason here was actually better than that given by most religions: sex between vampires creates fadebeasts, and those usually resulted in lots of death, and lots of humans running around screaming about "demons". The full text of this command, however, only seemed to specifically forbid coitus, and in an age where condoms were made out of intestines, it's not hard to imagine why. Of course, a few vampires interpreted this to mean that all other types of sexual intercourse were allowed, and indeed, there were less unwanted fadebeasts in early vampiric history as a result.



Siring

"You shall not sire recklessly"

"Do not sire without permission from your superiors", "do not sire children" and "only sire humans who are sound of mind", and "do not force-turn humans." It's not hard to imagine why this was an unpopular tenet, even many centuries prior to the holocaust. In an age of poetry and romance, vampires found the act of turning to be the most beautiful of things, and indeed the bond formed between sire and childer was something unlike anything a human could experience. Wars between factions were started on just 1 siring, in some cases. The idea was to protect vampiric secrecy and ensure that only the elite, most deserving of humans were given immortality, because only the best that humanity had to offer could cope with such power and changes to the mind. Requests to turn mortal lovers were often refused by clan or coven leaders, and this didn't usually go down very well.



Death of Mortality

"You shall not reveal your mortal name"

To ancient vampires, when you were turned, your mortal life was gone. Who you had been as a human was dead, and you could never go back. You were supposed to adopt a pseudonym, leave behind all family and friends, and never, under any circumstances, talk about who you had been while mortal. It was a harsh rule (which was often ignored or at least bent), but it protected vampiric secrecy, and ensured that vampires maintained loyalty to their own kind.



Necuratism

"You shall not covet the blood of our kind"

For a vampire to feed on another vampire, it was considered one of the worst crimes imaginable. A "tainted" vampire was said to abandon reason as their blood lust became so potent that some of them would attack all other vampires on sight, sometimes draining them to the point of death. Some considered Necuratism to be a secrecy violation (or at least, it could lead to violations), while others believed that Necuratism lead to insanity, and eventually, a taint so deep that the unbidden dead would follow the Necuratist wherever they went. It is undeniable that the hatred towards Necurtists stemmed from ancient vampire religions (also, the Israelites for example, had very strict laws against human cannibalism or the drinking of blood), so it is hard to say how much of the rumors surrounding vampire cannibals is accurate, and how much of it was born from myths.



Other Versions

Throughout history, the Old Code has taken on various forms though the general principles have tended to stay the same.

The Sacraments

Origins

The Sacraments were created in the Mughal empire (Modern day India) during the year 1556 when an alliance of Muslim and Hindu vampires came together to write a series of laws for the sake of the many vampire leaders scattered throughout the empires many cities. Since both Muslim and Hindu sat at the table the laws were forced to be very common sense, all religious ideals of the two faiths were left out and even the word “Sacrament” was used because it belonged to the Dutch a growing trading influence within the region.

History

The Sacraments were very popular in the empire but did not spread out into the world until 1755 when a British protestant vampire learned of them and transported them into Europe. These laws were popular in the Northern nations due to Protestant influence and had some limited success. Using the term Sacraments to mock their Catholic neighbors.

However it did not gain any real traction until it made it into North America a few years before the revolution, these were used by the rebel vampires (The Americans) to cast off the ilk of the blood regents who claimed to rule over various vampiric populations from England. The Sacraments were popular and replaced many existing “Codes” already in place for this more even handed document and at least 1 story is told of the sacraments being written on the back of one of many copies of the first printing press versions of the Bill of Rights that was passed out to the citizens.

When the war ended 11 of the 13 colonies had cities that followed the sacraments.

Modern Use

Zachariah Staus brought up on the Sacraments as a medic during the American revolution has a firm, staunch and lawful belief that the Sacraments are the only laws that hold any real value as they were supported by the “average” American vampire.

He resurrected them during the second Council and continues to promote them within the lawful community.



The Cloaked Sacraments

In August 2011, Zachariah Staus spearheaded a movement within the Vampire Council to discuss and rework the Sacraments (or Old Code). The version they approved is know as the Cloaked Sacraments.

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