Requiem for Rome
Mekhet, ex-prostituta esclava de origen egipcio
Cornelia Alba is a strange, almost hypnotic figure. She is a stunningly beautiful study in contrast, her jet-black hair falls over the pale, almost luminous flesh of her shoulders. Her expressive, dark eyes seem to suggest a soft, emotional being – but her whispered words are usually hard and cold as ice. She is graceful and measured in her motion, but not because of noble education. There’s something innate in the way she carries herself, something magical and foreign. Cornelia usually dresses in muted black or gray gowns. She avoids ostentatious accoutrements, preferring not to make a show of herself.
Cornelia never knew her real name. Born to Egyptian slaves, she was taken from her parents at a very young age and sold to a Roman brothel. She worked there as a servant for years, eventually growing into the role of a prostitute, catering to rich and noble customers eager for young, beautiful flesh. She learned to coo and smile in order to attract business, all the while developing a seething hatred for life in Rome and the whole of its populace: merchants, soldiers,
slaves and aristocrats all. None were spared her loathing.
Soon after her nineteenth birthday, Cornelia took on a new regular. The customer was a mysterious, nobleman of astonishing wealth, and he showered her with extravagant gifts. While she accepted the precious baubles, she found it difficult to return his affections, even falsely, because he provoked a deep, irrational fear in her – something that she could not understand or overcome. Perhaps it was the lateness of his visits, or the cool, dry feeling of his flesh. Perhaps it was his way of looking at her – as if looking into her – or the feeling that his professions of love were no more genuine than her own.
One night, while Cornelia was entertaining another customer, her regular appeared in the room. She had no idea how he got there – and before she could even cry out or protest, he had drawn a knife across her customer’s throat, throwing him to the floor like a slaughtered pig. She saw a sudden light, heard a rustling of cloth, and never drew another living breath. When next she woke, she found herself in Necropolis. Her would-be lover – her sire – apologized profusely, admitting that he had slain her in a mad rage, then rescued her the only way he knew how. Listening quietly – learning what he was and what she had become – she felt the fear within her die and be replaced with disgust.
In the months that followed, Cornelia abandoned her sire and befriended several Kindred of the Peregrine Collegia. She arranged to have him beaten into torpor and hidden away, and now is free.