space ninja vampirates
The Covenant is the name of the Feudal system in which Vampire lineages are the ruling elite of the spaceways. This is usually abbreviated to ‘the Coven’.
The Covenant as a manuscript is based upon the Creed, which has five parts. The first three are the simple one line Rules which all are bound to observe and follow, however these are so open to interpretation that a fourth is necessary. Due to this, elaboration was later added in the form of a fifth, considered Absolute, rule. Again; this is often open to interpretation, which further highlights the value of the fourth rule. All vampires are expected to be fluent in reciting the Covenant, and much philosophical discourse follows in the wake of its many interpretations.
1) Pay due respect to a superior life form.
2) Protect those inferiors within your wing.
3) Respect the Tau.
4) Justicars are Arbiters.
5) All Life has a right to Life.
Section (4) is many thousands of pages long and subtle changes between different regions can effect vastly different practices. For practical purposes, the short-hand description is preferred;
4b) Arbitration is Arena.
4c) Champions are permissible.
4d) Justicars are elected by Justicars.
Justicars are a different breed of vampire that have become Wraith (bodies have died, soul has not) that have re-entered the flesh by willing consent during a special mystical ritual known only to other Justicars. These are typically the most ancient vampires whose powers are beyond reckoning.
Justicars are ‘King’ in the feudal hierarchy and function as independent members of a senate. Their central HQ is not located in the material plane although there are Portals to it. The central HQ for the Justicars is the bodies of Justicars possessed by Wraiths, and a mythical location on the Spirit Plane (according to the Justicars). PLAYERS CANNOT PLAY JUSTICARS.
Section (5) is equally as complex by extrapolation and interpretation of the core rule. Usually it is two statements long;
5b) Let Trial of Death be the ultimate test.
Any decision of whether this means that Vampires or Wraiths represent ‘Death’, or the act of breaking the mortal coil that separate soul from flesh, is typically haggled between ‘murderer’ and Justicar. Most interpret it to mean that the Justicar alone can convey a death penalty to a vampire. While this is generally respected within vampire society, the lives of mortals are usually considered ‘slaves under the wing’ of their ruling vampire lord. In practice, many Justicars accept that a vampire who does not protect himself from assassination has failed the ‘trial of Death’ thus the assassin is vindicated. Blood of Blood; taking on another vampires powers by drinking their blood, is an infamous rite that has been outlawed by many vampire nobles. Justicars fulfill the roles of Judge and Executioner in vampire society. They have powers unknown to both the living and the undead; a power generally regarded as ‘magick’.
Vampires are ancient and are well aware of the transmigration of the soul and its material reincarnation. A vampire observes this over many hundreds of years. Their records of living bloodlines are full of the proofs.
Vampire themselves are a breed apart from Life; they do not reincarnate. Once killed, it is widely accepted that a weak vampire is dead and gone for ever while a powerful vampire may become a disembodied Wraith, seeking its life force energy where it may. Although this working principle is a simplification of the real facts, which are explored elsewhere in a chapter about the Spirit World.