Preface By Aristotle Delaurent

The Book of Nod
Actual text.

Preface, by Aristotle de Laurent.

The First Times

The Coming of Lilith

The Temptation of Caine

Zillah's Tale

Tale of the First City

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I cannot tell you the naked fear I feel, putting down these words for once and for all. Perhaps I will regret them. Perhaps they will never see print. Yet, it is my nature to report this. It is, as they say, in the blood.

My sire, and his sire before him, followed this great and glorious work. Indeed, our very nature has been shaped by this quest; we are unable to stop searching for knowledge. We are of the Mnemosyne, the Memory-Seekers. Specifically, we have been commanded to search for the Book, the tome of all Kindred lore, which is a collection of writings by Caine, his childer and his grandchilder. It is this Book, supposedly first written in the land of Nod, east of Eden, that captures our daytime nightmares and makes every night a painful journey from ignorance towards truth.

Still, I savor every moment of my unlife. I savor the feeling of the crinkly old skins through silk gloves, turning them page by page. My hands shake with pleasure while holding soft, cool lights and reading ink that was newly dried when Charlemagne was young. I savor the gentle, quiet terror of reading cuneiform tablets that threaten to crumble at my very presence. More than that, perhaps more than immortality itself, is the quest that burns within me. It is the search. I have traveled all over this world, perhaps even more than any other of my bloodline.

Where my eternal quest takes me, I shall know no fear! Though small of frame and frail of body, my heart is strong and my blood stronger. I am not afraid to go to those shadowy places where the far-flung fragments of our Father's teachings lie resting!

I have gotten lost in the raw brutality of New York, sipped tea with the Governor of Kingston, made life-long enemies in Johannesburg, hired the best diggers in all Cairo, fought to get through to Casablanca, learned about ancient steel and ancient monuments in Toledo, dug in the white cliffs of Dover, barely avoided a deadly brawl in Dublin, sneaked past watchful eyes in Brest, and liberated ancient tomes from a monastery in Cologne. I have saved fourteen sacred scrolls from the torch in Berlin, sipped the best coffee and talked to the greatest Austrian scholars in Vienna, learned ancient Sumerian from a Methuselah in the hidden tunnels under the University of Prague, and braved the coldest winters Oslo had to offer.

And yet, I did not do this by my wits alone.

Barely a night goes by that I do not thank our Founder for his foresight in providing me with the secret ways of hiding, the way to see beyond sight, and the voice of command that seems to come so easily to our line, and I have long blessed my warrior friend Karsh who taught me the secret of seeing in the dark and sleeping in the earth.

And yet, I wonder what else our Founder provided us with. My sire and his sire seem to have fallen under a horrible curse. A madness, dark and quiet at first but soon growing to a terrible loss of coherent thought and communication, has seemed to strike them. Can I be far behind? My Tremere friend has written me, saying that the burning need driving my bloodline might be the curse of the madness. It must be true, for I cannot fight the burning desire for more knowledge. It is as difficult to resist as the need for sleep or the need for blood.

It is perhaps this madness, that which I fear the most, which has compelled me to go to press with this translation in haste. Know that I do not intend to break Raphael's fragile Masquerade by putting these words in print. It is my intent that a scant ten score of these books be printed, and that none of the copies of this book be given into the hands of the sons and daughters of Seth (as our Father commands us in The Chronicle of Shadows).

I must publish this now, however. It is the most complete collection of the Chronicles of The Book of Nod that has ever been gathered. No other translation, not even Critias' Codex of Caine, has been as complete.

And yet it shames me to say that this is not the complete text. Far from it. I have seen whole fragments go up in smoke as flames consumed ancient buildings. I have touched a complete Book in the tomb of an Antediluvian, and watched it crumble to dust.

I know that in the catacombs under the fabled Lost City of Gold, hidden deep in the Amazon jungle, there are thirteen stone fragments said to contain specific words to each of the 13 tribes of Kindred, but I only glimpsed them once before I was forced to flee. And so, I can only boast to having part of the puzzle: the largest part to ever be assembled, true, but still only a part of the whole.

I have chose English as it is my native tongue. It is, in my opinion, the one language which most ably dances between the ancient concepts of Sumer, the noble language of Ancient Rome and the stentorian incantations of Medieval Germany. I must beg forgiveness for its glib simplification in some cases. However, I will forever defend my choice. The King's English will serve well, especially since so many of the original texts are forever lost to me.

It is perhaps particularly perverse that I follow the threads of memory to each fragment of this Book, and yet I know that there are those out there who harry me at every step. I know that Amelek has himself had a hand in thwarting me once, and other Methuselahs as well. It is difficult to find, for example, lists of the names of the Antediluvians and the Methuselahs, for they know that in names there are power, and they, out of fear that some mage would learn to control them with it, have blotted their names out of the histories, wherever they have been recovered.

I have luckily managed to discover a few of them, but I suspect these to be falsified names that where created by the Antediluvians to throw me off the trail, so I offer them here. This may be the only way in which we may identify certain Antediluvians. Furthermore, I have fallen into the habit (regrettably) of referring to the founder of a clan with a nominative of the can's name. For example, "Malkav" equals "Malkavian." This is, admittedly, sloppy scholarship but I have been left with no choice. Once I learned the true name of Brujah's Antediluvian and discovered my own name carved in my forearm the next evening. I promptly swore to never again seek the names of those founders.

I am quite sure that, even as I write these words, there are agents of the Jyhad who are following me. I will not join the common room downstairs tonight, for last night it was her, watching for me, searching for me, sent by Ventrue to harry me. No matter. I will write the truth and the rest of you be damned!

I have attempted to compile these textual fragments into some kind of coherent story, at least within the contexts of the various Chronicles. Where you see an ellipsis, know that there are more words on that particular scrap, but that it has somehow been lost, erased or hidden from me.

I wait now only for a package from London to finish this missive and have done with this book. This package will carry one of the only copies of the Codex of Caine left in existence, and will be the last piece in my complex puzzle. I look forward to touching it, holding it, with great expectation. And if any of my brothers or sisters comes near it, I will … I will send them to the death of fire! Let Michael's holy sword brand them, for all I care. No one has come this close. I will reign triumphant amongst my kind.

With triumph,
Aristotle deLaurent