On an island off Africa’s south-east coast lived Ramanga and her brother Rafazi. In this time, the ancestors of the Vazimba people, to which Ramanga belonged, were patriarchal. While Ramanga was the oldest child of the king and exceedingly smart as well as ambitious, the younger Rafazi was marked as heir. Unwilling and unable to accept a secondary role, Ramanga made sacrifices to the spirits of her people to bribe them into raising her above Rafazi. When that didn’t work, she began sacrificing to increasingly darker spirits until one of them finally answered her call.
The spirit offered to lift Ramanga up if she would only sacrifice the sun inside her as payment. Heart already burdened by the unfairness of her situation and envy towards her brother, Ramanga willingly agreed.
During the course of seven nights, the dark spirit initiated Ramanga in its heritage of shadows and illusion, showing her that real power lay not in giving orders, but in making them. Outward power might lie with the king, but real power lay with his advisors, the spirit said. Taking these lessons to heart, Ramanga returned to her people to ostensibly support her brother, even while she adroitly manipulated him to do only her bidding. Cementing her control over Rafazi and his children with the power inherent to her sunless blood, Ramanga directed the future of the kingdom from that night onward. Her influence was even so great, that the Vazimba came to favor queens over kings, though it isn’t known if Ramanga deliberately manipulated this development, or if her mere presence instilled a sense of female rulership in the land.
One island wasn’t enough to quell Ramanga’s ambition. Soon she began teaching others to be like her so they might further spread her influence. Carefully keeping the island off the major naval routes so it would remain hers exclusively, Ramanga nevertheless used her power to draw in occasional traders from as far as the Arabian lands. Through these people and their trade, Ramanga’s lineage has spread to the Kingdoms of Ghana and Kanem, as well as Constantinople and the Middle East.
A Ramanga typically maintains the facade of a humble servant, gently guiding people for their own good, while she controls kings and queens like a puppet master. She likes to remain close to her mortal followers, living amongst them as if she belongs. A Ramanga is often the first Laibon in a region to meet with European Cainites and, in typical diplomatic fashion, she might avoid direct clashes and make suggestions on how to best approach things instead. As a result, a Cainite Prince may come to view her as a valuable ally or guide.
Of course, a Cainite declining to take a Ramanga’s advice might find himself catching a carefully orchestrated sunrise even as she remains clearly blameless.
Modern Nights: After expanding far beyond their homeland of Madagascar, the Ramanga came into conflict with vampires from the Songhai Empire about 350 years ago. The enemy Guruhi lineage didn’t tolerate Ramanga “night aristocrats,” and drove them into the Kuba Kingdom. There, the Ramanga became known as the Xi Dundu. Asiman from the lineage are still known by this name, while Eastern Laibon maintain the Ramanga name.
Sobriquet: Puppeteers, Leeches (derogatory)
Appearance: The oldest Ramanga hail from the Vazimba people and traders from Muslim and Arabian cultures. Younger Laibon come from all over the African continent and the Middle East. A typical Ramanga is well-dressed and well-groomed, though careful never to outshine her nominal leaders. The Ramanga adopts a docile demeanor amongst outsiders, but she stands proud when dealing with her own kind.
Haven and Prey: A Ramanga lives amongst her chosen group and might even be known (and accepted) by the rulers for what she is. These rulers see her as a supernatural lightning rod who will draw bad omens to herself and thus protect the people. While being perceived as a servant does not appear to be a lofty position, the Ramanga knows better; she is the one who whispers in their ears, controlling their every action and thought. Many Ramanga maintain two havens: one where the rulers know to seek her out during the night, and one in a secluded spot where she spends her day in safety. As part of her services, a Ramanga drinks the blood of the elite to draw out any curses cast on them, so there is rarely need for her to hunt. Even away moving into a new territory, she has the skill to quickly set up a new group of people to serve, as it were, and feed from.
The Embrace: A Ramanga is typically very careful about selecting her childe, choosing someone who is an ambitious and skilled manipulator, yet smart enough to stay out of the spotlight. She is willing to invest in the creation of the perfect childe, sometimes manipulating mortal children from birth until one of them shows the qualities she seeks. After the Embrace, a new Ramanga traditionally stays with her sire for several centuries until she has learned all she needs. Bonds between childe and sire remain close, though not always amiable, even after such tutelage is done.
Clan Disciplines: Aizina (Obtenebration), Obfuscate, Presence
Weaknesses: A Ramanga’s use of Presence and Aizina, when impacting others, is at +1 difficulty normally. However, if she has a physical piece of the victim, this penalty is negated.
Organization: A Ramanga meets with her brethren regularly, in large gatherings meant to discuss new regional developments, trade territories, and so on. Elaborate ceremony ensures that these meetings progress peacefully, postponing rivalries until the procedure is done. This internal collaboration makes any Ramanga a force to be reckoned with, since her goals are usually backed by the bloodline as a single, unified entity. Acting in concert, she and her kin are all but indomitable on Africa’s southern and eastern shores and wield tangible power in the Middle East and parts of North Africa.
Ramanga herself is still actively involved with her lineage. At first glance, she seems to have no end goal other than spreading and cementing her control over the continent, but there might have been more to her bargain than merely sacrificing the sun.
High Clans: Prestige does not equal power. Watch and learn, little Cainite.
Low Clans: Poor downtrodden pets. Is there anything I can do to help?
Bonsam: Such power, if we can point it in the right direction.
Brujah: We meet again. I do so hope things are better for you this time.
Followers of Set: Careful. These manipulators are very nearly our match.
Impundulu: Are they playing at being a witch’s servant, or is their servitude real? Intriguing.
Lasombra: Ah. Now things become interesting. Come and play, Cainite. My puppets against yours.
Ventrue: So obvious. So gaudy. Yet undeniably powerful. How have they not been struck down yet?