[VtM] Hateful Things

As narrated by the Regent Dolores da Lucca in her personal notes.

One has a student to whom they have dedicated great time and enormous attention, testing their mettle and improving their lesser qualities all the while, and that student then says they hate one for abusing and mistreating them—ungrateful does not begin to cover it!

One’s Prince has them perform a service of Thaumaturgy for the benefit of the domain and one does as commanded, but no sooner has the service been done than the Prince’s own coterie begins to whisper about unnatural witchcraft, and the Prince does no correct them! This is distressingly common but no less hateful for it.

The High Lord comes to inspect one’s chantry. He then spends all his time dusting off chairs and speaking at length about housekeeping and other such frivolities. One wonders if he even cares about the wards. One really cannot help but resent such behavior in their superiors.

A neonate attempts to speak of their own volition in one’s presence while one is attending Elysium. One does dislike the neonate, but dislikes the poor creature’s sire even more. In fact one is truthfully more embarrassed on the neonate’s behalf than angry at them, because their sire ought to have taught them better. Hateful.

One finally procures an original Latin text only to find that the previous owner scribbled their own notes all over the pages—and they have terrible penmanship. It is horrible to the extreme!

Neonates these nights do not know how to wonder privately and I find this most distasteful.

For example, just the other month, an otherwise very promising student attended me while I was seeing to my dogs and they asked me how it was I had learned Animalism. I do not recall precisely the dismissal I gave them, but then a few nights hence, I caught them giving my servant a very presumptuous gaze of scrutiny, with their eyes passing from him to me repeatedly like a cat’s when it is watching one play ball. Infuriating! It is bad enough to question one’s betters, but to be so shameless about it is unaccountably ill-bred.

Certain charmless people try to engage one on cultured topics, but all they know about is decadent French or English art, and they do not even know Latin.

Equally hateful is the person whose Latin is stilted and clearly learned solely from a textbook making a face as though one ought to be impressed with them after they speak. One suspects they would believe the Mirabilia Urbis Romae if it were placed before them.

When a Nosferatu continues skittering and skulking about though they are in plain view, rather than comporting themselves in a civil manner, it becomes hard not to detest them.

Also when a Nosferatu gives one such a look that says they are very smug about knowing things which one does not. Such coarse behavior does not befit any but the least neonate, and certainly not an ancilla, but there are even Elders who insist on engaging in it. Of course they do know things one does not, but to make a flagrant display—how vulgar, and how hateful!

A woman compliments one in such a way that it is clearly an insult, and then she gets offended when one insults her in turn.

A man compliments one on something that is clearly not favorable, and then he gets offended when one does the same to him.

In fact I find all those who publicly praise one to their face annoying and ill-mannered. I mean when they are praising you past common nicety, or when it is done apropos of nothing rather than at the beginning of a conversation. People who compliment one in lieu of conversation are very hateful indeed, and most hateful is the one who chatters on with empty compliments regarding one’s appearance. (There are times when this is not so bad, however.)

When I’m calling on another and they remind me that I cannot put my dogs on the furniture, I hate them very sincerely. Just how ill-bred do they think me?

A very long letter from a superior in the Pyramid. One reads it with their eyes drooping, then makes their response and sends it forth. Upon rereading the letter, one realizes there was a point that was buried in the middle or near the end that they failed to attend to, and one begins to hope their letter never arrives at all.

One’s servant is gone on some important task, so a student is called forth to attend in his place. They stride very boldly into one’s inner chambers, but then they balk when one commands to be dressed. They touch one very gingerly and their pinched-up expression makes it clear they find the act of dressing their superior distasteful rather than an honor. One begins to lament the state of the world—but they still must be dressed. It would be better to dress oneself, but for ceremonial purposes, or when preparing to attend Elysium, it would be inappropriate for any Kindred of station to appear in clothes they put on themself.

A man at Elysium is constantly trying to adjust his socks in a clandestine manner. One can tell that he is wearing elastic socks. It is fine for rabble to attend Elysium in such clothing, but an important Kindred or one of good blood should never be so sloppily dressed. It is really shameful the sorts of people who think they can get away with elastic socks just because their sire is a sibling-in-the-blood of a court official. It is sad to say that even Ventrue these days fail to shun elastic socks. Hateful behavior!

A person who only has three centuries (or sometimes even less!) to their name attempts to bustle past one’s servant and speak to them directly. Then that person gets angry when one’s servant firmly rebukes them. They demand one’s direct attention. Pray, why would one ever waste attention on someone with such horrendous manners?

When one’s lover begins to mutter to himself in company, and his childer all share an expression like people at a bear-baiting, one begins to wish he would go into torpor already and stay there if he’s going to act hatefully.

When someone of high merit, by blood or by connection, pulls me aside privately, and to reward my indulgence they begin to speak of the low people by whom I am surrounded, and of replacing them, I have to laugh. Arrogance becomes a lofty man, but there’s a limit to such things, and one who does not know this is not only hateful but also comedic.

It comes to one’s attention that a salacious rumor is being spread about one among the youth. Eagerly one seeks it out, but it is only the same old rumor that has been going around for centuries. If the youth are going to regurgitate what their betters have already well-worn, they could at least pick one of the interesting or untrue rumors.

On the topic of rumors, what’s the point of spreading a rumor if it is obviously true?

Similarly, if something is openly displayed, what’s the point of trying to make it an object of shame? If one were the type to flinch away from such things, it makes sense they would try to hide it. People are always pointing at my servant and constructing the most bile-filled accusations they can, and then they act disappointed or angry when I confirm them. Come now, pretend to be happy you were right, at least! It is ill-mannered, and most hateful of all, terribly boring.

Other Tremere who make no pains to disguise their scheming are wretched.

Other Tremere who have no ambition but only wish to be left to their books are easier to deal with, but one finds them pitiful and wretched even so.

Other Tremere who are one’s siblings in the blood, but who are only ancilla, and act as though one must give them special consideration despite their lack of good qualities are grating.

Other Tremere who rattle on and on about the Pyramid and the unity of the clan are dull. As though one did not hear this from their sire in the first nights of their unlife.

Other Tremere who are of high rank or from more prosperous regions, but who are much younger than one, begin to act as though one should be bowing and scraping before them when they are in one’s domain.

Other Tremere who speak about obligation to the Tower and act as though they have higher obligations than the Pyramid in public, as though it makes them subtle, are wretched.

Other Tremere who do not cite others in their research papers—such wretched creatures ought to be flayed and staked for the sun.

One is at a salon and has been foolish enough to allow another into their conversation. They begin speaking to one’s servant as though he is a dullard or simpleton. One grows hateful, not just on behalf of their servant, but for themself. Assuming that one would spend their leisure time in the company of an idiot is as good as calling one an idiot to their face!

I cannot stand it when people state the obvious to me. I have had glasses since they were first conceived of, do you think I am blind? “He is a Nosferatu!” Even a blind woman could tell that. Loathsome is visage may be, but I find people who try to remind me of it a hundred times more loathsome still.

All the time, people come in from other cities and express surprise at the way I run things. They would never do such things back in Germany? Splendid! You may return to Germany if you think so! How dare another come into Italy and presume to instruct Italians on their manner of rulership. Hateful.

One’s lover refuses to deal with a quarrelsome childe. You have this argument every thirty or so years, it seems, and yet he insists on being stubborn. Because he is usually so well-behaved, it’s all the more shocking and hateful that he refuses. You both know his treacherous childe will continue being not only dangerous but also annoying, and yet he defends her still! Even the reputation for standing by clanmates cannot explain or excuse this lapse of judgment. Another thirty years of dealing with this horrible childe… how incredibly hateful!

I wish very much that people would stop bringing up Gargoyles in front of me and my lover. We know. We all know. Everybody knows about the Gargoyles. You are neither original nor upsetting at this point. It has been centuries. Everybody knows about the Gargoyles.

People of quality who are appearing in an official capacity should always have an entourage. Very hateful is the one who travels and appears alone. Have you no childer or other dependents who ought to be observing the court and the daily functions of their society? Have you no clanmates by whom you ought to be doing right? Have you no coterie at all? I personally refuse to appear officially unless I have three others attending me. One who has nobody is either a suspicious person, or a fool.

Too often these nights, even high quality persons have forgotten that most basic of noble behavior, the projection of their power outward. One supposes they believe power is a function of one’s own capacities, whether via status or prowess either physical or material, but this is simply not the case, and it is woeful indeed that people have forgotten this.

A person who relies on the promise of violence is nothing more than a blundering thug. A person who relies on the appearance of money or status is a hopeless, mercantile dandy. A person who relies on the practice of their Disciplines, aside from being wholly inappropriate for Elysium, is a miserable fool. Of course it is commendable to have mastery over oneself, but the self is a domain over which one’s sway means, in a practical sense, nearly nothing, and is easily subverted.

To appear alone is to advertise weakness. A retinue is required to truly show one’s power. One’s ability to cultivate and maintain powerful allies and capable subordinates is the truest display of their power. One’s ability to move in step with that which they possess shows their mastery over their domain. One’s ability to muster multiple fronts of influence and action is the truest measure of power.

These seem to me like very basic ideas, but all too often these nights I see people behaving as though it is enough to be a king with no court. Indeed, a king is nothing at all without a robust court. To see the extent to which our thinking has fallen is most hateful.

An obvious pastiche of Sei Shonagon’s Hateful Things, which is the single best piece of list-based writing ever committed to paper. Here’s a picture of Regent Dolores in her youth (so to speak), and another in her prime. Just for fun!

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