The Hollow Crown
Johannes Van Den Berg
i do not cling to life sufficiently to fear death
Johannes was a younger son of the wealthy Van den Berg family of Boston in the latter half of the 18th century. Having been brought up to believe that his family were wealthy and highly respectable traders, Johannes fell across some information which suggested that in fact the money had largely arisen as a result of the slave trade. On following this up he found this to be true – and indeed that the family was not, as he had always thought, descended from the old Dutch family of the same name but had simply adopted it; although being of Dutch extraction, they were hardly the ‘old money’ that they claimed.
As a perhaps natural reaction, Johannes rebelled. He became heavily involved with the abolitionist movement, whilst also going off the rails in more basic ways – women and drink being the tamer end of it. He also unknowingly came into contact with Kindred, not least some of Clan Brujah who perhaps saw potential in him. Maintaining his lifestyle however took money, so he decided it was time to turn the tables on his father Willem and blackmail him by threatening to expose the family secrets.
Willem Van den Berg however had no intention of letting his troublesome younger son get away with this and hired some underworld assistance to put the frighteners on Johannes. Unfortunately for Johannes, this ‘underworld assistance’ was no less than the Sabbat. Rather than just roughing him up, one of the Sabbat pack decided it would be amusing to turn him instead. Johannes’ Brujah associates arrived slightly too late to prevent his Embrace, but early enough to prevent his being buried alive or inducted into the Sabbat. Johannes’ entry into the world of the Kindred was therefore an unusual one – a Lasombra outside the Sabbat, but not part of the Camarilla either, he eventually adopted a position of neutrality.
He kept an eye on his family over the years, breaking cover just once some fifty years after his Embrace – to gloat at his elder brother’s deathbed. After that he faded into the background once again, only to emerge almost 200 years later when another inquisitive family member, Eleanor, decided to start investigating the family legends….
See morrigan posts for further background