Posted by LP on January 13, 1998 at 15:58:02:
Hi! Sorry it took me so long to respond. I was arguing with Cicero over the translation of one of his tirades and I lost. ;-)
: I was reading (again) TVL, where Armand is showing Lestat his past life and I still think that Santino was not there the night the coven attacked Marius.
: If he was there why did Armand said that afterwards, in Rome (not in Venice) Santino came to receive him and he bowed before him? : I just want to know why you think Santino was there. :)
"In Rome in the great coven in the catacombs, he bowed before Santino, the leader, who came down the stone steps to receive him with outstretched arms." (300)
Sorry, have to get it on my screen. Easier to refer to that way. Okay. The reasons why I think Santy was with the rest of the coven at the time of the attack are the following:
1) The coven wasn't that smart. The coven fell apart fairly quickly after Santino left it. Granted Santino set up the rules *specifically* for his leadership, but still, if someone had had half a brain, they could have preserved the coven rather than letting it "fall into chaos". Dozens *tried* to put on the black hood, and then they just gave up. I don't think that the coven would have had the brains to actually go through with this attack without Santino's very presence. Sort of a focusing point at the very least. Having your leader right there in person makes you a heck of a lot braver than without your leader present.
2) It was a natural thing for the leader to accompany troops into battle. Santino had an image to upkeep. He couldn't run the risk of looking like a coward in front of his coven/subjects. Though it is nowdays considered delagating authority and responsibility for a leader to stay far away from the front lines, this is a very very modern outlook. Back then, in fact back anytime before the advent of long range weaponry, it is really afer World War 2 that leaders stop accompanying their troops into battle, it was considered highly cowardly for the leader not to join the battle. A battle was a highly personal act. It was how one defined oneself as a man, as a warrior, as someone deserving of respect. It is still today, however only in the military or in gangs that I have found. So it would have been both natural and expected for Santy to join the attack.
3) Santy was a tryant, which I tried to establish before. Given my previous argument that he was a dictator and absolute authority with his coven, it would have been an extremely precarious position he would have put himslef in had he allowed someone *else* to lead the coven into battle. He would be giving that other vampire the *perfect* set up for a coup d'etat in the coven. "Hey, look! I lead the troops into battle while the great Leader stayed behind where it is safe. I served Satan in a more loyal and more faithful capacity than he did. Maybe *I* should be the leader." Doesn't matter how successful the campaign was, unless it had been a *complete* disaster and *no one* had returned. Santino's carefully structured powerbase would have begun crumbling considerably, and I don't know if it would have been possible to recover. It might have taken a while to erode, but it still would have collapsed.
Along the same lines, if Santino had not gone with, and he would have looked like a coward, and this would have eroded the religion he had developed. Marius, a heretic, had struck fear into the leader of the Roman coven, Leader of the Children of Satan and Darkness. How could one who has the power/authority of Satan behind him be afraid of a *heretic*. See the history of the Catholic Chruch for the results of *that* line of questioning.
4) After the attack, but before they got to Rome there was a Sabbat. Santy's Rules specifically say that it is only the leader of the coven who has the authority of conduct and perform the ancient and sacred rights. Uh, let's see, first rule:
"One--that each coven must have its leadre and only he might order the working of the Dark Trick upon a mortal, seeing that the methods and rituals were properly observed."
I'm throwing in rule 4 here too for another point:
"Four--that no vampire may ever destroy another vampire except that the coven master has the power of life and death over all his flock... And it is his obligation finally to seek the destruction of all outcasts and all who have broken the laws."
Now I realize that rule one only seems to concern the making of vampires, but there is a comment elsewhere that the coven leader must be present at a Sabbat who the exact same reason.
I put in number four because those vampires were going to fry Armand in that fire, and I still don't believe that they were smart enough to have invented or thought about scaring the information out of someone like that. (I don't think much of the actual coven. Santy really browbeat them into submission quite well.) They would not have done that had Santino not been there I don't think. Now this is a very slippery piece of argument, and even *I* wouldn't place too much faith on it alone, but I did give other, more substantial pieces of evidence.
So. This is why I think Santy was there. :-)
I think that Santy had the little gathering in Rome as a "formal" introduction and acceptance and induction into the coven for Armand. The informal induction would have been the Sabbat, but to uphold propriety and ritual they needed the formal procedure of Santino, robes and all, making his entrance and accepting Armand into the coven, then teaching him the rules.
That coven was *so* dependant on Santino that they didn't do anything without him. He had complete control over them. He made his laws to give him that control, and he had to follow those rules so as to keep his power base. It would have been havoc forming for him to relinqish that little bit of control when attacking a MAJOR enemy of his coven's beliefs. Marius was a huge thing for Santino and the coven to go up against. He was an ancient, in charge of ancients, incredibly powerful, mythically powerful in fact. Why would Santino have *not* been there?
Onto more ancient texts, LP.