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CHAPTER THREE
SUBCULTURE

CLEOPATRAS

And where Will she go, and what shall she do, when midnight comes around?
   
She’ll turn once more to Sunday’s clown and cry behind the door.
             – The Velvet Underground, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”

The Nosferatu are understandably bitter about their looks. Try as they might to suffer nobly, they cannot help but resent their own unsightliness. This resentment is only fueled by the proximity of such clans as the Toreador and Tzimisce, who often use their blood or Disciplines to achieve unearthly beauty.

All too often, a Nosferatu’s rage at her condition festers into a vindictive hatred of beautiful people. Stories of vengeful Nosferatu going on killing sprees at beauty pageants and fashion shoots are not unknown. Indeed, Sabbat Nosferatu are often asked to do just that during a city takeover, as such high-profile slayings jeopardize the Camarilla’s Masquerade.

The best and most satisfying form of revenge, however, is to find a beautiful, happy person and Embrace him. Despite themselves, Nosferatu relish the agonized wails of a former Narcissus who realizes that he has been condemned to eternity as a monster. The younger Nosferatu call such a victim a “Cleopatra,” after the vain trapeze artist of the horror movie Freaks (a former beauty, the cinematic Cleopatra was grotesquely disfigured at the end of the film).

Many Cleopatras do not survive for long. They either commit suicide or meet Final Death after some stupid mistake. Some Cleopatras, however, have managed to

survive and even prosper in their new forms.

Indeed, certain Cleopatras have supposedly learned humility from the change. According to the stories, these Nosferatu become clan leaders and the protectors of the innocent. While this is probably no more common for Cleopatras than it is for any other Nosferatu, these Nosferatu maintain closer ties to the mortal population, and some even manage to maintain their mortal identities for years after the Embrace.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

These purblind doomsters had as readily strewn
      Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

– Thomas Hardy, "Hap”

Though the Nosferatu are hardly the stereotypical crusty louts portrayed by most other vampire clans, they do tend to view the world with a degree of cynical pessimism. This is certainly understandable. In becoming Nosferatu, one has been wrenched from the society of one’s species, turned into a monster, become the object of contempt from the other vampire clans and (if legend is to be believed) been targeted as prey by even more loathsome monsters.

Despite this, Nosferatu are, as a rule, no more cruel and callous than any other vampires. Indeed, many Nosferatu seem considerably less so. Perhaps this is because they do not attempt to whitewash their actions in noble sentiment. If a Nosferatu kills another vampire in anger – well, that’s what she did. She didn’t do it to preserve the Masquerade or eliminate a possible Sabbat spy or advance the cause of her clan, and she doesn’t claim to, The Nosferatu clearly see the ugliness of both their exteriors and their interiors. Such selfawareness saves many Nosferatu from the nadirs of bestiality reached by their fairer Kindred.

Humility may well be the trait most prized by the clan. Nosferatu often suffer from other vampires’ egos and refuse to tolerate such behavior from their own kind. Some Nosferatu carry this one step further, actively rejecting any sort of beauty and promoting the spread of ugliness. Devotees of this “cult of ugliness" often join the

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