|Region||varies by cell|
|Symbol||three tears of blood in a triangle|
|Enemies||Night Vigil, Radiant Cross|
|Established||1 Artifice 923 HE|
In 923 HE, three years after the First Merioss Crusade, Grisapho Vu'tira - the first of the Blood Cults of Kezgihr, was founded deep in the ruins of Drachlaz. This vampire society was started to reverse the dwindling population of the Blood Triangle's vampires and to lay down rules of engagement with local populations. The tenets of this cult was the dogma of Khezgihr, with one of the most important principles being the Third Rule of Survival:
Go silent with the night, feed unnoticed.
- Kezgihr, from his book Kurthac Taloraz - "Third Rule of Survival"
The Blood Cults of Kezgihr are vampire societies set-up to immerse themselves in civilizations. Once inside they feed on the population and work to gain positions of power through charisma, magic, and cunning. They try to keep a low profile unless an opportunity presents itself. If one so arises, they may take over the area.
Every member of the cult has access to extensive libraries with those showing aptitude sent to schooling internally or externally if open to vampires. As a result, cult cells have a pool of highly educated vampires. Each cult cell has a specialized group of rogue types which undertake intelligence gathering. This information is used to promote the cults interests in the most nefarious ways like hiring local assassins or aiding one side in a conflict by suppling them a bit of their intelligence gathering. Their methods are of a level that the Sanguine Whispers used their training manual, the Beld Roze, in establishing their own clandestine services.
Kezgihr, the organization's founder, established doctrines for vampire survival. In the beginning these were militant in nature, organizing vampires and using their collective might to take out foes like the Night Vigil, Radiant Cross, and elite vampire hunting units out of Smizerak. Some of these groups had been hunting their kind since the First Merioss Crusade, so numbers and organization were needed to combat enemies trained in vampire killing. Kezgihr had a number of close calls with permanent rest by the holy assassins of the Radiant Cross. Fearing for his safety, he left Ma'Ohari and then Karterus, sailing far south to the continent Hezmort. In this land he established more Blood Cults among the locals and set to spreading his dark ways to any who would listen. Kezgihr would continue to make annual visits to his first blood cult, Grisapho Vu'tira , until he was made a demigod. Some of these visits required armed interventions to unseat some usurper who sought to change the ways of the cult. These visits to far flung cults are still made today by powerful vampire entourages and their retinue of minions. The oldest and most powerful of these minions are thirteen skeletal warriors, the Kahaxis. These guardians once served as the personal guard of Kezgihr and have ancient styled ornate armor and weaponry. One legend has it that the githyanki that came to serve the Council of Nine, and live among the people of Paradomea, modeled their armor on the Kahaxis. This came about after this individual witnessed these guards cut down a unit of holy assassins and priests of Phalgas. These visits are made to keep the Blood Cults on the path of Kezgihr's dogma. This includes making sure members are not going on murder sprees, but instead feed on the population without upsetting the locals.
Becoming a blood cultist does not always come from someone dying to a vampire and becoming one themselves. It can also happen through a simple blood rite or by a long period of wearing down the victim and then turning them into a free-willed vampire. This 2nd Rite of Kezgihr can only be done by master vampires. It produces a vampire that is not a vampire spawn, but a free-willed vampire. These free-willed vampires are the most useful types to serve in the cult in a function other than something to sacrifice when the need arises.
Various blood cults have been involved in wars and events across the realm. In the Second Merioss Crusade, the Grisapho Vu'tira renewed the conflict that began in the First Merioss Crusade. On the continent of Hezmort, and over many centuries a dozen or so blood cults led to the depopulation of the southern regions and a migration north.
Leave a vampire in a cell for several months, starved of blood it goes feral, bestial. Even the smartest ones lose their wit during this blood starvation. When Hezmort's blood cults wiped out the humanoids of the southern expanse, they too went bestial. They drained the life blood of animals, even disgusting lice-infested rats. When prey grew scarce, they took the blood of their fellows. This a clear violation of the vampire code laid down by Kezgihr. As a result, all the blood cults of Hezmort ended up being disbanded for lack of leadership and/or members. The vampires made their way north to the lands of the Gimrune starting the Feeding of Kezgihr.
- Tiyabis, Warden Heirophant Adept of Silvanus - "Blood Starving"
Hlotho Zîn is the second oldest surviving blood cult. It was formed in the Feeding of Kezgihr. In the First Epoch, they moved their operations to Kalaran infiltrating Zujukiz and other Shou city-states. In the Second Epoch, they opened a sister branch in Undercity. This branch came to be the headquarters after the Shou Empire's holy crusade against them. One thing they picked up while among the Shou was a set of values which placed honor to the cult above all else (akin to Bushido). The group also became more militarized with a select group of martial vampires becoming samurai, while others learned the ways of monks, shugenja, and other eastern classes.
In the Black Tide War (1465 - 1504), the Hlotho Zîn got into the ranks of the Black Tide. Their intelligence gathering was so superb to that used by the First Dead Council, that they came to be relied upon for military intelligence. In return, they had a steady supply of "cattle" to feed upon. Because of the military might of the Black Tide and draconian measures applied to occupied territories, the vampire cultists could partake in the First Rule of Kezgihr -
Upon a bountiful harvest, take pleasure in it and engorge yourself, because they don't last.
- Kezgihr, from his book Kurthac Taloraz - "First Rule of Kezgihr"
In the Battle of Breached Pass, 13 Hlotho Zîn samurai served under the lich Katrana. Designated the Princes of Blood, they proved so effective that the Dead Council feared they were more a threat than an asset, so after the battle they were paid and sent away.
The Blood Cults of Kezgihr are spread far and wide across the realm. They can become very problematic for even those empires that allow them to live among them. Paradomea's Council of Nine has acted against them a number of times to keep them in-line.
|As'lith Zybis||Faeglor||Balanosas Navel|
|Hlotho Zîn||Hells Womb||Undercity||Tang Zin|