Ahh... how long has it been now?  My mind can hardly comprehend the sights, the years, the knowledge!  Oh, the knowledge!  Let me take you back, way back to my beginnings.  I wasn't always the stunning charismatic figure you see ahead of you now...

 

My name at birth was...  I did have a name, but that isn't important anymore.  I remember it merely as part of my former life.  Even as a young girl, I was always interested in studies, but not just the studies my father, the lord of a large estate in France, wanted me to.  As I was an only child, it made him into a progressive thinker in that way, and he hired the finest tutors to try to teach me, but I was often more interested in the lessons I could learn from the colorful figures who passed through the nearby tavern.  At first, they avoided me for my name and title, yet I soon developed a reputation and was accepted into their fold, as it were.  Yet some of my father's lessons have stuck with me.  Certainly, my speech has been shaped by his lessons.  The one course of study that I began to learn in those early days that served me well was the languages.  I learned all sorts of arcane and emerging languages, everything from Aramaic to Latin to English, with several other languages as well.

 

My mother tried to be supportive in my schooling, and teach me to be a proper lady, but these lessons were doomed to failure before they began.  Who would want to learn how to stitch and plan parties when there were more interesting possibilities, such as learning how to handle a dirk, and not only to handle that dirk, but to practice to the point that you could... make your point from across a crowded room.  After my second such lesson, I fled from my comfortable lesson, realizing that while one such 'indiscression' might be excused due to my parents, this time there would be no retreating into that.  I knew this, and I reveled in it.  Going to new areas where nobody knew my past meant that I had some more freedoms than might have been expected normally.

 

I traveled southeast, and reached Germany.  Due to my lessons in the taverns, I had learned how to make money with cards, but I chose not to take that route... after all, that's why I had to make my point earlier with those gentlemen, and I didn't want to have to kill again.  Well, at least not with all of those witnesses watching me.  For several weeks, I frequented the pub and my place of gainful employment, the brothel, keeping my skills sharp.  One evening, I overheard a gentleman mention that he would prefer his wife to... meet with a slight yet permanent accident.  I spoke to him briefly, and he told me of her unfaithfulness and after some negotiating, the job was arranged.  It went as well as the earlier true altercations had gone.  While she was getting water, she just *happened* to slip and fall into the water.  Pity about that.  And her husband, doesn't he just look so crestfallen...  He really loved her, you know.  Let's just say that listening to the talk around the town for the next week was amusing, for me at least.  An additional affect of this was that after a few months went by, the gentleman in question brought a friend into the brothel.  And he later brought another.  I always made sure there was a reason for the job; I was just helping justice happen faster.  Several other 'accidents' happened to various people, the most tragic being a new wife tripping and falling on the knife she was using to cut off a leg of beef.  Did you hear about the mess?  I heard they had to break off the handle and leave the knife in, it jammed or something.  Anyways, after that one, the talk didn't die down...  And since people didn't travel around much, when gossip started as to whether the deaths were all just natural accidents... I felt it was a judicious time to start traveling again.

 

I moved further south, and reached Italy several weeks later.  Not for the first time, I thanked my father for his hiring my teachers of languages.  I took up business once again in Italy.  Oddly enough, I soon met one of my good friends from Germany, Claudia.  I had met Claudia a year or so before, and she was a nice enough girl; though not one of the most attractive, she was always busy.  Our friendship again resumed, and we would often study together late at nights, after our visitors had left.  I forgot to mention that, didn't I?  Ah, I do seem to get more and more forgetful as my other knowledge increases...  While I had not wished to learn from the tutors, yet my father imparted a love, almost a need, for learning in me.  I read whenever I could find a book, which was incredibly rare and was usually a few pages of the Bible that the 'visiting' monks were working on.  I would often pump them for information, as I needed to know... what was happening in Rome, who was ruling in England now, had any sailors found new land.  Information was something I needed, and Claudia seemed the same.  We would swap little bits of information we had gleaned, and every now and then would remember an additional little fact we had forgotten earlier.

 

Now where was I again?  Oh yes, back to Italy.  While I began to pursue my other, more profitable occupation, Claudia asked me whether I was serious about my training, or if it was just a whimsical pastime.  I answered the former, and she told me that we would have to take another trip, if that would be acceptable for my training to continue and that my knowledge would be increased to levels I wouldn't be able to understand as of yet.  I told her that if it would help my training, and also let me increase my knowledge, then I was ready to leave as soon as she was.  We pooled our resources, and bought a carriage with separated chambers and windows for each of us, so that we could sleep as we felt like it.

 

We left the next evening, and had a remarkably easy journey.  When the night held some noises that were quite odd, Claudia told me to ignore them unless they came close to our carriage.  I did my best to assuage my curiosity and besides, my peeks out of my window revealed nothing but shadows in the night.  True, they sometimes moved, but my weariness would often overtake me.  Claudia and I both usually slept during the days, as that was our usual schedule.  We would have shifts during the nights, myself leading the horses at the beginnings and endings of the night, and Claudia doing the hard work in the middle of the nights, yet we found time to practice our weapons skills.  Remarkably, Claudia seemed at least as adept with a knife as I was, though she had never displayed any talents in that field before that I had seen.  As I said earlier, our trip was remarkably without event.  Claudia was guiding us to a location I knew not earlier, and now will not divulge.  Suffice it to say that after we arrived and entered the mountain, my curiosity was piqued.

 

What followed that was seven more years of learning.  Honestly, those were seven of the hardest years of study I have ever had, yet they were some of my most enjoyable years as well.  They had all sorts of books, some in languages of which I had never even heard of, but many in tongues I understood.  After those years, Claudia brought me into the Embrace.  I will not speak more of the rituals, as it is not fitting for you to know, suffice it to say that like my sire, I have become a Vizier as well.  My knowledge has increased, and my skills have as well.  While clan comes first, knowledge is a necessity.  If you don't have knowledge, I'm not interested in what you have to say.  If you would know more of my past, then you should ask Claudia, or even... No, Claudia is who you should inquire of.  My story is done now, and I shall not take more of your time.  You will not see me again... if you are lucky.