The Path of Bones
is a shell, the mind a cell. The soul is chaff. Death is purpose: inevitable
Basic Beliefs: The Path of Bones, it is believed, grew out of a warped code upheld by morbid vampires who sired the Giovanni. Human, Kindred, or otherwise, every being sooner or later ends up in death's arms. The most ardent followers of this Path espouse "giving oneself over to the comprehension of life's inevitable end." Vampires who follow this path seek the knowledge of precisely what death is: Is it simply the end of life? The transition of the soul to what lies after life? Is it the end of the soul's desire to be? These questions haunt the followers of the Path of Bones each night.
Many vampires believe that the Path of the Bones is a degenerate Path that encourages followers to participate in all manner of murder and deviance. Those who uphold the Path and those who are familiar with it, however, know that it involves itself with a pursuit of life's and unlife's meaning. Followers of the Path seek to understand death's nature and purpose, and thus the roles individuals play in the greater scheme of the world. Mortality is inevitable, except for vampires, who have somehow managed to cheat the cycle.
Kindred nature, however, is generally outside the avenues this Path explores. It is truly a scholar's code, as the Kindred who follow it forsake even their own comfort to advance their understanding of mortality's mysteries. These Kindred are not necessarily cruel—they merely value comprehension more than human life. At its simplest, the Path of the Bones seeks to define not only what death is, but also its meaning to those who have escaped it. It is a Path of knowledge and power, and many who support it learn to wield great influence over the living and dead alike. Many among the Path become quite erudite in the ways of ghosts, but even these odd beings fail to answer many of the Gravediggers' questions—what, for example, happens to a ghost that resolves its psychic struggle or discorporates into the void?
THE ETHICS OF THE PATH
Study death in all its permutations. • Determine when death occurs; define it. • Search for a purpose for death and the life that prefaces it. • Quantify the differences of death by various causes. • Achieve a comfort with death and unlife—distinguish between damnation and salvation. • Hasten death's arrival, should it seem to be unnaturally delayed.
VIRTUES Vampires on the Path of the Bones observe the virtues of Conviction and Self-Control.
HISTORY This Path grew out of a moral code upheld by the vampires whom the Giovanni destroyed in their bid for greater power. A select few Giovanni saw more than a means to an end in their practice of Necromancy, and upheld the rituals and studies of their fore bears. Although the Path is not widely practiced among the clan, followers of its precepts pioneered most of the Giovanni's advances in Necromancy.
CURRENT PRACTICES Elder members of Clan Giovanni follow this Path, as do those with a sincere interest in improving their necromantic knowledge for a purpose other than temporal power. Giovanni who uphold the Path of the Bones rarely deal with mortals, as their grim inquisitiveness often proves fatal for mortals with whom they come in contact.
DESCRIPTION OF FOLLOWERS Vampires on this Path are genuinely curious, wishing to learn exactly what purpose individuals serve. Thanatology is more a science than a philosophy to Kindred on the Path of the Bones. This Path is quite introspective, and greedy Giovanni rarely follow it, preferring the more materially comfortable out look of Humanity. Gravediggers support the Giovanni family primarily through the knowledge they bring it, rather than through advancing the political aims of the clan.