Tower and Tomb
Abbess of Las Huelgas
Sire: Brother Fernando
Apparent Age: late teens
Most of Adolana’s life has been spent in the convents of the Citeaux Order in Spain. Her mother died giving birth to her, something for which her older brother never forgave her. When she was twelve, her father died in the reconquista of Cuenca (1177). Adolana’s brother, a decade older than she, had a servant rape her, then he sent her to the Citeaux nunnery near Siguenza. His parting words: “I hope you die there.”
The rape left Adolana withdrawn, and she didn’t speak for a year. The nuns assumed she was a mute and kept her hard at work cleaning the floors and walls of the nunnery. When Adolana did finally speak, it was to say, “No.” Her refusals led to beatings, as the nuns tried to teach her discipline and respect.
The lesson Adolana learned instead was how to manipulate the women around her. Keen observation had revealed to Adolana the factions in the nunnery, and she used this knowledge to her advantage. After the first few beatings, Adolana began to use the sessions as an opportunity to plant seeds of doubt, hate, envy, and jealousy in the nuns. Rough and unpracticed at first (which led to more beatings), her words soon became polished weapons that fractured the peace of the order.
Once the nunnery’s society was hopelessly fragmented, Adolana restored its harmony just to prove to herself that she could do it. Taking the perpetual vow, she became a nun herself. With soft and soothing words uttered to others who were hurt, a hint to the abbess to have this nun or that one transferred to Rome, Adolana carefully rebuilt the society of the nunnery with her at its center.
Not all of Adolana’s efforts unfolded in the confines of the nunnery, however. With her new importance, Adolana earned the freedom to travel to Siguenza and report the doings of the nunnery to the bishop. Adolana cultivated a friendship with him, thus making herself seem invaluable to the operation of the nunnery. During these visits, Adolana came to the attention of Brother Fernando, a Malkavian Heretic hiding within the Church. In the spare moments of her visits, Fernando discussed his particular view of the Cainite Heresy with her and found a surprisingly receptive ear. A seed had been planted.
In 1187, Adolana’s friendship with the Bishop paid dividends when Alfonso VIII founded a new Citeaux abbey outside Las Huelgas and left it to the Bishop to select the new abbess. Adolana became Abbess of Las Huelgas and was granted control over a dozen other nunneries in the area. A year later, at her urging, the Bishop of Siguenza convinced the head of the Citeaux Order to recognize Las Huelgas as an independent chapter, answering only to the Pope. The night after he received news of this dispensation, Brother Fernando visited Adolana.
After her Embrace, Adolana granted Brother Fernando refuge in the abbey. In turn, he taught her of the Cainite Heresy and her new nature. The reason for her acceptance of the Kiss became clearer to her sire a few months later, when she traveled to her former home and paid a visit to her brother. The last words he heard before she crushed his skull were, “Any other wishes, dear brother?”
In the years since, Adolana has tightened her control over the Abbey and its affiliated nunneries. Her ghouls now occupy the highest positions, held in her thrall with the secret communions she holds each month. The daughters of the nobility sent to her receive special attention: They become either servants or undergo Dementation-inspired religious visions. Before being returned to their families, they are instructed to keep Adolana informed of every event beneath their fathers’ and husbands’ roofs, thus making Adolana more knowledgeable than most nobles about the affairs of the great and mighty.