Last Scion of a Line of Dead Kings
Once upon a time, Conradin was a name associated with romantic legends. Last scion of a line of kings, young, beautiful and doomed. Whatever virtues he might have had in his mortal life, he has squandered since he became undead, and in doing so he has been the cause of bloodshed, terror and suffering among humans and vampires alike.
Conradin, A.K.A. Conrad the Younger, The Boy, Duke of Swabia, Conrad IV, King of Jerusalem and King of Sicily
As fine an example as you could hope to find of the insanity of relying in heredity to choose your leaders. He should have been destroyed centuries ago. That he hasn’t been is suggestive of a strain of imbecility running through part of the vampire race.
-Vespillo, Vampire Elder
Boy King of Kings
Born in 1252, Conradin became the King of Sicily, King of Jerusalem and Duke of Swabia at the age of just two. His family, the Hohenstaufens, had been kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors, but their day was ending. As Conradin grew into a handsome, well-educated young man, there was some hope that he might restore their fortunes, but it was not to be. Electing to leave Germany to pursue his claim on Sicily, he at first won great success on campaign in Italy but was eventually defeated at the Battle of Tagliacozzo, pursued, imprisoned and finally executed.
Or so the romantic tales of Conradin would have you believe. The truth, as is so often the case among vampires, is very different. Conradin’s closest companion, Frederick of Baden, was a vampire, centuries old but seemingly only 20, who had become infatuated with the young prince. Having joined Conradin in captivity, Frederick turned him to vampirism in order to ensure that they could both escape from their enemies.
A Vampire Gift is also a Curse
However, something went very wrong when Conradin became one of the undead. Whether his mind could not cope with learning about the truth of the Shadow World or something in his blood reacted poorly to Frederick’s gift, he descended into madness, running wild and causing slaughter for more than a year. As the singers began to compose songs about his doomed, romantic life, Conradin himself was beginning a career that endures in infamy among vampires.
When Frederick caught up with his child, he found that Conradin’s mind had rebuilt itself on new lines. This scion of kings and emperors had decided that he, and none other, was the rightful ruler of the Shadow World. His mortal beauty enhanced by the certainty that only the truly insane possess, he had already drawn a small group of vampires to him, and now he demanded that Frederick kneel before him. Unable to disobey, Frederick knelt, becoming the loyal retainer he had never truly been in life.
Conradin’s band of vampire “knights” cut a swathe of terror across Europe for the next two centuries. Although the powers of the Shadow World were never going to accept his claims to rulership, several of them tried to make use of him in their political games, only to find that his fanatical belief in his right to rule, allied to his ability to inspire, or perhaps mesmerise, others meant that upheaval followed wherever he went.
In the early 17th century, as what was to become the Thirty Years War began, Conradin saw his chance to establish a true kingdom of his own. His efforts drew more and more combatants into the conflict, spreading bloodshed everywhere, and in response, the Shadow Council organised the first true effort to wipe out the prince and his followers. It did not succeed, but it did end his dreams of becoming the king he believed he was born to be. However, rather than wait for his destruction, he once again escaped, ordering his followers to scatter and await the day when he would call upon them once more.
Conradin himself has not been seen in centuries, but the faithful Frederick still claims to act on his behalf, and the Knights of Conradin remain faithful and devoted to the notion that the vampire world should be united under his leadership. In his absence, it is impossible to tell whether the insanity that gripped him when he turned to vampirism still lingers, but it has long been noted that the older a vampire becomes, the more pronounced their “eccentricities”. If this is true for Conradin, his megalomania has likely only grown stronger during his years of silence.
Armed for Blood War
Most of the Shadow Council dismisses Conradin and his knights as a minor cult, but some among them worry that his army of loyal followers could now number in the hundreds. There are worrying signs that he is recruiting once more as he scents the prospect of a Blood War. Although outnumbered and hated by the vampire world at large, Conradin and his knights believe utterly in themselves and the rightness of their cause, and perhaps one day that might be enough to carry them to victory and the rulership they dream of.
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