Before Leif Erikson or even Columbus landed on the coast of North America, there were vampires that existed in the land of plentiful. They were not like the vampires we know however – they were mystical creatures, often cast out of their tribes for their strange ways. The drinkers of blood were dangerous creatures that haunted the woods, considered cursed creatures by the Natives of the land.
There were no Kindred societies, then – how they first got to the Americas is uncertain. Some believe they were always there, while others believe the ancient, great land bridge of ice that extended from Asia to North America allowed their passage. This belief holds the lack of sustenance forced the Kindred to the south in search of food and habitation. The various tribes of the Plains and the West were excellent sources of food and expansion.
It was a dangerous time in this New World. The majority of the area that would be the United States was heavily populated with many werewolf tribes, and the blood drinkers were natural enemies of these werewolves. With no society and few rules to speak of, the conflicts were often bitter and epic in scale (if not quick). One particular event was recorded among the Nakota tribe – dating around 1350:
“The fight lasted an entire night – wolf-men against man. The man moving faster than the eye could see, and the wolf-man with the strength of ten braves. The wolf-man cried over the body of his son, a boy that the blood-drinker drank from. When the boy rose again the next night as a blood drinker, the wolf-man flew into a rage and slew his son, hunting out the blood drinker. The blood drinker was alone – the wolf-man was with his pack. The fight was brutal and the land quaked beneath them. In the end, the might of many overcame the will of one and the blood-drinker was rendered dead and into ash. The howls of the wolf-man and his pack continued for many nights as they mourned the great loss.”
In 1415, a group of entrepreneurial Kindred joined together to help provide “shadow” funds to an Italian explorer named Christopher Columbus. At the time, much of Europe was embroiled in bitter disputes over land, religion and politics.
The opportunity to extend the influence to a place that was only rumored to exist was the heart of every Covenant that existed in the old world. The Lancea Sanctum would have a chance to spread the word of Longinus. Kindred scholars were driven by curiosity. The Invictus would be able to expand their political boundaries across oceans, and Circle of Crone would have their opportunity to celebrate religious freedom in a new world.
While the initial voyage to the New World did not involve any Kindred, Columbus did come across Kindred when he first arrived in the Bahamas. At the time, the vampires of the Caribbean lived almost symbiotically with the mortals – when they were discovered, they were considered to be dark creatures cursed by the gods. They, like the mortals of the Islands, were curious about the new arrivals. It was apparent on both sides, though, that things would be changing forever.
The “native” vampires of the New World did not possess any form of larger society, did not adhere to the Masquerade, and were not aware of any of the covenants. Among the mortals of their lands, they were considered creatures of dark omen, feared and “untouchable.” When the first European vampires began moving across the sea with settlers, they brought not only the great covenants to the natives, but the concept of the Masquerade.
The arrival of European Kindred was not initially met with a positive response. These new Kindred attempted to enforce their will on those vampires they found, regarding them as horrific, uncivilized creatures. With the establishment of the first Praxis in the New World, the clashes between the two worlds became violent.
The First Praxis of the New World: Roanoke, Virginia
Mortal history says that the population disappeared almost overnight, leaving only brief memories of what had happened there. In truth, Roanoke was the site of the final clash between the original Vampires and the European vampires. The Invictus Prince of Roanoke ordered the hunt of the originals, declaring them a threat to the Masquerade. They had been feeding on the settlers, leading them to start suspecting the existence of the European Vampires. Over the series of a month, nearly fifty native Kindred were captured, torpored, and brought to Roanoke to be executed. Several others followed them, attacking the mortals and the vampires of the city, causing a significant damage to the population and summarily breaking open the entire Masquerade. The Prince and most of the Court was killed with only a few particularly resilient Kindred remaining. With the Masquerade shattered, they had little course of action remaining – they killed the settlers who remained, and then met the sun the following morning.
Roanoke ended the existence of the majority of the native vampires – though some would remain (and be uncovered later) – for those on the Eastern seaboard in the Colonial areas, Roanoke was the end of the native era and the rises of the European Kindred – who now, were the new American Kindred.