Doc Hamilton's Rap...
Glad you made it. Any trouble finding the place? Really? Yeah, it is way the hell out of city center, but hey, you wanted to make contact with the Aje, didn't you? They don't hang around downtown much. Besides, the music here's alot better than anything you're liable to find in Ipanema or Copacabana. That "O barquinho vai, a tardinha cai" shit gets on my nerves after awhile....
What've I got against bossa nova? Nothing! Man, I knew Vinicius de Moraes before anyone ever heard of "The Girl from Ipanema" but shit, that was decades ago. That's stuff's as stale as last week's communion wafer these days.
Right. So, while we're waiting for our hosts to show up, how 'bout some Colombian Tap Dancing Powder? No? Well, don't mind if I do. Slide that mirror over here...
Of course I don't feel anything! Gotta up appearances, you know? Besides it's an interesting exercise in physiological control. There we go! Ffffnnnnngg. Fffffnnngg.
OK. So where were we? Right. "Who are the Aje Olo?"
Well, my little toothy friend, if I could tell you that, you think I'd be sitting around here in the periphery pretending to snort coke and drink raw cane liquor while watching hyped-up go-boys bust caps at each other over blown drug deals? Hell no, man! I'd SELL what I'd know. It'd sure as hell buy me back into the good graces of the High Holies in Vienna. I've got my theories, though, and since you've paid my rather modest retainer fee for tonight's entertainment, I suppose I could clue you into some of what's going on...
First off, the Aje aren't a clan, leastways as we commonly understand the word "clan". They're more like a gang. Or alot of gangs. Or perhaps a mutual aid society, hell, I don't know... They say that they're the direct decendents of the Second Family of Caine Himself. The Second Family? Well, the Aje say that one day Big Daddy got pissed off at all his kids and grandkids running around, trying to put the bite on one another, so he up and left, swearing to never create another Kindred again. He wandered for millennia, until he came to Napata, a flee-bitten little dust bowl of a city stuck so far up the River Nile that even the ancient Egyptians only went there from time to time to buy cheap tropical souveniers and catch exotic diseases. Well, supposedly in this little innocent slice of Paradise on Earth in the Sudan, Caine lost his cool and fell head over heels for the daughter of the local ruling family, some girl named Amanirdes. Yeah, I know. Cliché, cliché...
Look I didn't say I believed this crap, I'm just telling you what the Aje talk about in their more lucid moments, alright?
So, anyway. Caine falls in love with this girl and, of course, he decides that he can't continue his tragic, doom-wracked existence without her, so he uses his powers to force her daddy to send her off to Thebes, to a nunnery of some sort dedicated to Amon. I suppose Caine figured that it'd be easy to vamp Amanirdes once she was seperated from her people.
Isn't he suprised when he finds out that Amanirdes begins to take seriously the whole religious trip Amon's priestesses lay on her. So seriously, in fact, that she develops True Faith. Caine can't even get near Amanirdes, who spurns him as an unnatural abomination. This, of course, pisses Big Daddy off something fierce.
Now, things would have probably remained that way, with Caine eventually losing interest and wandering off, if it hadn't been for a third generation badass named Sutekh.
Right. Set. The founding father of the Setites. Set had a thing going in the Nile Delta and didn't want old Grandad poking his nose around. Caine, of course, wasn't at all interested in the local power games, but try telling that to a paranoid schizophrenic like Set. He knew that something was up with the Temple of Amon, and following the dictum that "there's no problem that the right amount of applied terror can't solve", he declares open season on Amon's priests.
What happened next, I haven't really found out. Some Aje'll tell you that Amanirdes let Caine transform her so that she could better protect her people. Others say she was attacked and almost killed by a Setite and that Caine was forced to make her his Childe so that she would not be lost to the world. There are even some who mutter that Amanirdes was transformed by Set himself to be used as a weapon against Caine, but that she rebelled and attacked her Sire.
In any case, the Aje agree on one point: Amanirdes and Caine joined forces and defeated Set after centuries of struggle, driving him into topor at great cost to themselves. Caine, appalled by both the slaughter caused by his brief appearance and the depravity of Set, resolved to exile himself once again from the world of the non-living. Before he left, however, he called Amanirdes to his side and charged her to remove herself from the corruption of the First Family. Amanirdes obeyed him and went to Merowe in Nubia, where she founded a dynasty of Kindred who eventually spread out through all of Africa, jealously defending their turf against any interlopers coming down from the north. This dynasty the Aje call the Second Family, and they say that one day Caine will return to lead them all in a great struggle to purge the corrupt remnants of the first family from the face of the Earth.
Yeah, right. Jah, Rastafari.
I don't buy a word of it, of course. First off, if the Aje are originally from Africa, how come the only ones anybody's ever heard of were embraced in Brazil? Now, I've never been to Africa, but everyone I've ever talked to who's gone there says the place is full up with Gangrel and Ventrue; nobody's ever heard about the Aje Olo.
Not only that, but an Aje older than the eighth generation is as hard to find as an honest cop. I've only met one, personally, up in Bahia. He said he came over as a mortal slave in the 17th century and claims his sire was a Toreador here in the colonies. Says some high holy mucky-muck Aje witch doctor later adopted him and taught him the ways of the spirits...
Also, you and I both know that this stuff about Caine and Set is a load of horseshit. I mean, the Vienna Chantry has documents saved from the Library of Alexandria which talk about some sort of war between Set and another Kindred named Osiris. Nowhere, however, is there any mention at all of Caine's involvement, and nobody's even heard of this Amanirdes.
You want to know my take on the Aje Olo? I think they're just a secret society created by black Brazillian Kindred who were for one reason or another vamped by Eurolicks back during colonial days. They've managed to retain a fair amount of African magic that picked up from mortal shamans and such, but this talk of them being a seperate African clan descended from Caine is alot of hot air.
There seems to be a weird connection between the spirit-world and the Aje Olo. I've seen Aje Elders display powers which I've never heard of before among the Kindred; even among those Giovannitwits.
For example. One night I was in here, talking to my Aje friend, Carlos, when word came down that some Sabbat had entered the barrio. Carlos, who's the Onigie, or warboss, around here got a group of Aje shitkickers together and ran the pack down. I went along for the ride, for purely professional reasons, you understand. I wanted to see how the Aje would match up to a blood-crazed pack of Sabbat nomads.
It was a massacre; the Sabbat didn't stand a chance. In the middle of the fight, Carlos pulls out this battered cane-cutter's knife which looked like it had been hammered out of an old frying pan and sharpened on a grinder. I swear, though, it was a natural extension of his arm, the way he moved it. Every time the knife touched a Sabbat lick there was a static-like crackle and the smell of ozone. I got a look at one of the bodies afterwards and where that blade had passed, the skin was melted, right down to the bone.
Carlos says some high-holy up in Bahia gave him the knife when he became Onigie. I convinced him to let me have a look at it later on. The blade was hot to the touch and I swear the goddamned thing moved, twisting around in slow motion like a doped-up snake. It was one of the creepiest things I've ever seen, and you know I'm no stranger to the unusual.
What I mean to say is, don't underestimate the Aje Olo; it may be the last thing you ever do.
Well, looks like our host has finally decided to drop by. E ai, mai broder! Como vai? Carlos, this is an aquaintance of mine that I want you to meet...
The Aje Olo
No one, no one is a citizen
If you go to the street party in the Pelô
And even if you don't.
- Haiti, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil
The Aje Olo are a unique Brazilian phenomenon. Though this clan claims decent from the "Second Family of Caine" in Africa, nobody seems to have ever heard of them on that continent. Consensus among most Kindred historians is that the Aje are a minor bloodline formed in Brazil by a renegade member of one of the traditional clans; perhaps an African Gangrel offshoot. This hypothesis seems to be supported by the fact that low-generation Aje Olo are extremely rare and, when encountered, almost always claim to have been Embraced in the New World. Some Tremere elders, pointing to the Aje's genesis story, believe that the Children of Osiris may have had a hand in the foundation of the clan but they too believe that this happened in the New World.
Be that as it may, no one denies that the Aje Olo are a powerful force among the Brazilian Kindred. Fully a third of all Brazilian Cainites are associated with the Aje. There is no city that the clan out-and-out controls but in many places, especially in the northeast, the Aje have a more rooted and extensive power structure than either the Camarilla or the Sabbat.
The clan is organized into "fiefs", called iya, each following its own interpretation of the Aje traditions. A well-established iya will generally have no more than a dozen members, divided into three "age groups". These are: edion, or Elders (generally of the eighth and ninth generations); irogae or Childer; and full-fledged Kindred who have not yet obtained Elder status, known as iguele. The founding Elder of the group is called the Oba. He heads the council of edion and is generally considered the leader of the iya in times of peace. In times of conflict, the Onigie, or "warboss" takes over. It is important to note, however, that Aje leaders do not wield the power over their "subjects" that a traditional Prince has. If either the Oba or Onigie lose the respect of the group, they will quickly be replaced. Suprisingly enough, this change almost always occurs without bloodshed: a failed Aje leadergenerally knows when it's time to step down.
Though the Aje Olo do not feel bound by the Traditions, their past encounters with the Portuguese Inquisition have given them great respect for the utility of the Masquerade. Aje Olo hide their existence even from other Kindred who are not members of the same iya. This is probably due to their centuries-long guerrilla war with the Toreador rulers of colonial Brazil.
From the 16th century, on up to the 1890s, the Aje were in constant conflict with European Kindred over the control of the African slave population. To the Europeans, slavery was nothing more than an invitation to a free lunch. The Aje felt differently, however, seeing the slave population as both their rightful territory and their base community. They supported emancipation as way of expanding their powerbase and claim to have been instrumental in instigating the slave revolts that led to the founding of the Palmares Republic in the 17th century. Given this past history of brutal conflict, it is no wonder that true Aje Olo Methusaleh, if they exist, maintain themselves well hidden from the eyes of all but their most fanatical followers.
Aje Olo are unequaled magicians and warriors, especially when confronted on their own territory. The magic they wield apparently has its roots in the African Yoruba tradition, though once again, no one is certain if this is a mark of the Aje's true heritage or merely something they picked up in Brazil. Be that as it may, it is a force to be reckoned with. Even a Tremere should think twice about taking on an edion in an arcane duel.
Aje magic, or Macumba as it's derisively called, relies on direct contact with the spirit world through the Orixa, or African "saints". Nobody knows for sure if these are the same entities as the Haitian Loa; though the cultural roots of their mytholgies are the same, there are distinct differences in temperament between the two. It is rumored that some of the truly ancient pure-blooded Aje Olo can use the spiritual arts of Arcanos and have direct dealings with the Risen...
Nickname: Macumbeiros, witch doctors.
Appearance: Young Aje generally follow the fashion trends of the favelas and working class neighborhoods of urban Brazil. Jeans, t-shirts, Air Jordan knock-offs and baseball hats make up integral parts of the wardrobe. Some of the Kindred who were around during the '30s may still dress in a style reminicent of the malandros of that era, wearing white suits and panama hats, silk shirts and ties. A traditionalist Aje Olo will usually be carrying Afro-brazillian religious paraphenilia; a necklace of red and black beads dedicated to Exu, a mandinga bag filled with herbs, a set of Ogum's irons or [alguma coisa relacionada a Oxossi: ideas? Necklace with animal teeth] are all common. Aje Olo tend to be black or mixed race Brazillians but, as with so much else in the world, this has begun to change within the last hundred years. One can even find nissei Aje Olo in Sao Paulo!
Haven: Generally houses or shanties in working class neighborhoods. Some Aje masquerading as mortal Pai de Santos have set up their havens in Umbanda terreiros. Unless the owner is seriously alienated from the community, Aje havens will always be well protected by guardian spirits and hexes. Quite often, mortal residents of the neighborhood will watch over the haven during the daylight hours.
Antecedents: Traditionally, only the strongest, smartest and most beautiful black men and women are Embraced. As mentioned above, however, this has recently begun to change. Aje appreciate warrior types; fighters who are willing to put their lives on the line for a cause. They are also strongly attracted to rebels; unlike the Brujah, however, they despise iconoclasts. Aje customarily protect the mortal communties which shelter them and it is not unusual for a neonate to maintain contact with at least some of his mortal friends and family after his transformation. Aje Olo recruit Kindred as well. Caitiff or renegades who've done service to the community and who've proven themselves to be reliable are frequently accepted as Aje. Some are even taught a few of the deeper mysteries...
Playing Aje Characters: Aje Olo tend to run to lower-class concepts, though professional types are also quite common among vampires created in this century. Aje put a great deal of value on knowing oneself, thus it's common for them to have non-contradictory Natures and Demeanors. Talents tend to be primary among the Aje Olo, though there really is no one dominant Attribute among these Kindred. Most Aje have at least some training in Capoeira.
Clan Disciplines: Celerity, Fortitude, Macumba. As the Aje regularly adopt new members, many of those who associate themselves with the group are in fact outcasts from other clans. This gives Aje characters a wide range of possible powers and abilities.
Weaknesses: Because of their strong connection with the Beyond, Aje Olo are quite suceptible to Faith based attacks. An Aje subtracts 1 from her Willpower in any situation where she must roll against Faith.
Organization: A large metropolitan area may contain several iya. Rio de Janeiro is home to three, and has several non-aligned Aje residents as well. When an iya gets too large, a faction will generally break off and attempt to stake out its own territory. If there are enough kine resources in the area, the split happens amicably. If not, there may be a civil war, as Aje fights Aje until one faction is completely wiped out or the overall vampire population is reduced enough that further conflict becomes pointless. There is a supreme Aje Olo leader, the Obala, whose court in Bahia nominally rules the Oba. The Obala's authority is as much honored in the breach as it is in fact, however. Only in a conflict between two iya which threatens uninvolved Aje will the Obala' s enforcers, the evien-obala, be called in to put and end to the strife.
Quote: "This is our hill and you're trespassing, blondie."
- The Camarilla - A mutual masturbation society of calling card-passing neurotics. The easiest way to lose your perspective is to spend a night rubbing shoulders with these bundões.
Those pathetic barbarians are worse than Caitiff, really. We do not allow them into our society as we have no need for charity cases.
- Dom Henrique de Orlando, Prince of Recife
- The Sabbat - Ah, yes. The terrified and weak, pretending to be fearless and unbeatable. Still, they can be dangerous enemies because of their numbers: anger them at your own risk.
The Aje Olo remain neutral, for now. Still, they represent a serious obstacle in our plans for South America. Eventually, they will have to be dealt with...
- Cardinal Hernandez
- The Inconnu - Probably the only members of the First Family with whom we get along on a regular basis. They reject the Jyhad and watch out for one another.
They espouse a peaceful philosophy yet they are as fractious and bloody-minded as those they contemptiously refer to as "the First Family". We should endeavor to only work with individual Aje who have grown tired of the petty bickerings between the iya.
- Luis Sebastiani, Inconnu historian
- Anarchs - These children have the right idea, but no respect for community. They'd send a brother to greet the sun as quickly as they'd roll a drunk in an alleyway for chump change and a snack.
What a bunch of bozos! They're as hidebound to their musty old traditions as any Camarilla Archon. Still, they have been known to give us shelter when the shit really hits the fan...
- Eric the Red, Brujah terrorist
AJE OLO WRITERS BIBLE (OR: THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW, BUT THE GAMERS DON'T NEED TO....)
1) The Aje really do come from Africa. Very few elders are left now, but the original Aje Olo fled to Brazil to escape a civil war brought about by the coming of the Europeans. One faction made its peace with the Portugese Ventrue and established itself in the coastal city of Benim, becoming instrumental in the expansion of the African slave trade. They set themselves up as the shadow rulers of the city state and started a reign of terror that makes the Khmer Rouge look like rank amatuers. The armies of Benim conquered the neighboring territories, selling the fittest inhabitants into slavery and sacrificing the rest. The situation was so bad that when the British finally conquered the city state in the 18th century, they found an entire boulevard paved with human skulls! (This is true: see The Viceroy of Yeda) The ancestors of the Aje are those Kindred whose cities were destroyed by Benin.
2) Caine did indeed participate in the struggle against Set, though he covered his tracks extremely well. Amanirdes was his Childer and together they helped form the alliance that backed up Osiris in the war against Set. Nanna and Ernac (a failed, cowardly Child of Osiris?) also participated in the struggle: this was where Nanna was vamped (perhaps she was a priestess of Amon as well, tortured, drunk dry and convinced by the Setites that Ernac had abandoned her?) Amanirdes survived the struggle and went south after the First Temple was destroyed in the final struggle against Set. Though she herself was not a Child of Osiris, she knew him well.
Amanirdes took refuge in the booming Nubian city of Merowe. Later, her Childer moved south and west into the Niger delta where they witnessed the founding of Ile Ife and the birth of Yoruban civilization. They acted as shepards on the human population
White Hand Membership
You are a member of the White Hand. You are probably a Rio Kindred, but that is not necessarily so. If you have a powerful sponsor, and you check clean with the Signatories, you may find yourself in the pack.
You are the arm of the Signatories and so answers directly to them. Also, you may call upon your fellow members for help, but they have the right to do the same thing. Your primary function as a Hand member will be to hunt clanless and outlaw vampires for the Auction. Nevertheless, you may be called to perform a varied of missions, from routine to dangerous, boring to exotic. Rios Cainites will have varying degrees of respect for you, depending on their status.
Your rating in this background shows your relative position in the White Hand.
l You are a probationary member.
l l You have been a member for less than ten years.
l l l You are considered a veteran. You have been in the Hand for more than ten, but less than forty years.
l l l l You have been with the Hand for more than forty years. You are second-in-command and, usually, the field commander.
l l l l l If you have this rating, then you have succeeded Kassad. You are the one the Signatories deal with when they want the Hand to do something.