Vampires and Ghouls

Emily Wescote
Seneschal of London, Countess of Shepherd's Bush

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Circle of the Crone
Clan: Ventrue
Embrace: 1914
Apparent Age: Mid-twenties (actually 32)

Virtue: Determined
Vice: Short-Tempered

Background: Emily Wescote was born a child of privilege during the height of the British Empire, and grew of age in the twilight of Queen Victoria’s reign. Though the Wescotes were not as rich or as respectable as they might have been (an alarming tendency towards manifesting violent black sheep marked the family), Emily and her three sisters were taught first by Irish governesses and then by French tutors. Their father, Sir John Wescote, was by the standards of the time an open-minded man, and he hoped for his four daughters to marry well, even as Henry, their brother, would carry on the family name. He was probably not open-minded enough to accept Emily’s hobbies, however.

The farmers around Wescote House had always had more than their fair share of hair-raising ghost stories and dark talk of curses, but Emily’s interest in the supernatural began when a passing spiritualist came through the county when she was just twelve. At the séance, he raised the dead, whispered secrets that he could not have known, and thoroughly captivated the young girl’s imagination. This was significantly more interesting than learning how to crochet.

Even then, Emily’s defining characteristic had always been an absolute refusal to bow to adversity – or to reality, on occasion – and she set about learning everything about the occult. She began to conduct interviews with local farmers to track down local legends and ghost stories – under the guise of ‘recording oral culture’ – and corresponded with figures in London and as far away as Paris and New York. By the age of fifteen, Emily had seen her first ghost, a drowned maiden in a local pond, and by the age of eighteen, she had managed her first summoning, a man of brambles-and-shadows called upon Walpurgisnacht.

In other ways Emily’s life progressed according to plan, as she was betrothed and then married to a certain wealthy American – he got a title, the Wescotes got money, Emily and her husband got to ignore one another utterly. She moved to New York then, entering Gilded Age society there, summering in Newport, attending balls, and hobnobbing – at a suitable remove – with the American industrial aristocracy.

Then, in 1907, disaster struck. Her brother, Henry, was struck down with what others called madness and what Emily suspected was the Wescote Curse. The young woman rushed back to Wescote House, only to discover that her father had had Henry committed to Moorgate Asylum, until his ‘fit of nerves’ was over and done with.

What followed was a thoroughly magnificent row. Emily was an unstoppable force, Sir John (from whom she had inherited her steel spine) an immovable object. They screamed at one another. They argued. There were frigid silences, threats of scandals, thrown objects, and in short, absolute terror for all involved. When her sisters tried to intervene, the two shouted them down. When Emily’s husband tried to take her home to America, she hexed him. Wescote House became utterly unlivable for a month, and then Emily packed her bags and departed for London. She had correspondents there, specialists in the occult. They could save Henry, couldn’t they? And if not, then Emily could get lawyers to at least get him out of Moorgate.

She took up residence in the Charing Cross Hotel and began a furious and swift acquaintance with the leading occult lights of London. She was for a time involved with men and women such as Aleister Crowley, Harry Price the infamous ghost hunter, Margaret Murray of anthropological fame, A. E. Waite of the Golden Dawn and Austin Osman Spare, the occult artist. Most significantly, she struck up a friendship with the head of housekeeping at the Charing Cross Hotel, a soft-spoken but brilliantly intelligent Scotswoman named Elizabeth Sheridan.

For the next eight years, Emily threw herself into the occult, her lawyers fending off those of her father and husband, both of whom eventually gave up on making her come home. Her husband largely thought he was well rid of her, though he never filed for divorce. In the meantime, Emily made no fewer than three separate attempts to break the Wescote Curse – though she was found and ejected from Wescote House on one of the occasions, on the other two she succeeded in summoning beings from other worlds, spirits or demons or other such horrors – but each time she was unsuccessful. Her efforts to see Henry freed from Moorgate were similarly thwarted, in no small part due to Emily’s own increasingly dubious reputation (as if the occult was not enough, Emily was also a noted suffragette).

Finally, in the winter of 1914, as the Great War raged, Sheridan suggested a new course of action to Emily. She knew a way, she hinted, for Henry to at least have freedom, and for Emily to have more time to break the curse. Emily Wescote, close to her wits end, agreed. And so it came to pass that she was Embraced by Elizabeth Sheridan, passing from one life to the next. Now, this was long before Sheridan was the Lady of London, nor even the High Sheriff. At the time, she was a respectable but not dominating Invictus Elder, and over the next few months, she took Emily in hand. Rescuing Henry did not take magic or lawyers. It merely took bloody, unnatural strength.

Sir John’s lawyers were immediately suspicious of Emily, of course, but with Sheridan’s help she hid Henry and waited for the attention to pass. When it did, the two siblings turned to face eternity together. Henry learned, by way of bitter experience, the limits of his curse, while Emily returned into her little home in the twilight world of occult London. In 1918, she divorced her husband, and lived out a seemingly normal, albeit highly eccentric, life until the late 1940s, when she faked her death and more fully joined Kindred society.

For a time, Emily and Sheridan drifted apart, Wescote concerned primarily with the Wescote Curse, her Sire focused more upon political affairs. After her emancipation, Emily joined the Acolytes, continuing to develop her sanguine witchery as a student of the Lady Abonde. She created new human identities so as to continue to engage with the mortal occultists of London, though after her near-Final Death at the hands of Catholic Inquisitors in 1959, Emily has kept a low profile. She Embraced another into the Kindred in 1972, and again in 1984.

Then in 1966, Sheridan became the Lady of London, and suddenly Emily Wescote’s sire was the most powerful Kindred in London. With that ascent came a new offer. Sheridan would make Emily her strong right hand, and in exchange, Emily would have Sheridan’s not-insignificant support for her occult research. Once more, Emily agreed.

In modern nights, Emily Wescote is the Seneschal of London. She is Sheridan’s lieutenant in all matters to do with the governance of the city, and her influence and authority are without bounds. Unlike her Sire, Emily is not some serpent given to secrets and diplomatic intrigue. Instead, she is a steam locomotive, bulling through all obstacles and battering them down with the strength of her will. Essentially, the way Kindred politics breaks down is that Sheridan, with the advice of the Primogen, determines what should happen, and then Emily makes certain that it does happen, the Herald tells everyone that it did happen, and the High Sheriff sniffs out and punishes any violations. More than the High Sheriff even, Emily serves as Sheridan’s iron fist.

Emily is also fairly high ranking in the Circle of the Crone, though since her becoming Sheridan’s Seneschal her rise has hit a glass ceiling, to Emily’s distinct frustration. Simply put, the Acolytes consider her too politically unreliable to advance any further.

To carry out her duties, Emily has several powerful tools. First and foremost, she is assumed to be working with the full backing and authority of Sheridan and the Primogen Council. This assumption holds even when it is not, strictly, true, but Emily is scrupulously careful not to abuse this particular power. Emily also has access to a great deal of monetary wealth, both her own (she divorced well), Sheridan’s, and that of the Court of London as a whole, serving as Master of the Exchequer for the city’s Kindred. She maintains a large number of lawyers on retainer – after her endless legal troubles with her own father, Emily speaks their language. And finally, she has a goodly amount of Acolyte blood-magic, in particular a talent for knowing what will happen right before it happens.

In her private life, Emily maintains a large house in Ealing, which she privately refers to as Wescote House, where she lives with her brother. Large, grand, and elegant, Wescote House is a rambling old pile of a house that serves as haven to Emily and her brother, and to Emily’s hobbies. The greenhouse attached to the house is filled with rare and exotic plants (many toxic), while the west wing indulges Emily’s love of rare insect collection, filled with all of the accoutrements of the trade; bell jars, tiny pins and needles, shadow boxes filled with hundreds of minuscule, transfixed creatures. She sometimes holds formal meetings in the shadow of her insect collection or her greenhouse.

Minor gentry from the English countryside, Emily appears as a self-assured, comfortable young woman. In contrast to her forbidding reputation, she is a friendly person, if not garrulous or outgoing by any definition. Emily is very warm and caring, although she does her best to avoid seeming matronly; she is willing to take the initiative to help anyone whom she thinks needs assistance. Despite her better intentions, she is a little overprotective of her brother, who is utterly embarrassed by this. She has a good sense of humor and is usually easygoing and pleasant, though her emotions run deep, and she can get very touchy if provoked. Unlike her brother, she is less optimistic about worldly affairs, often playing the pragmatist to her brother's idealism.

Which goes a bit deeper than that - calling her less optimistic is a complete understatement. For a woman of such cheer and good humor, she is surprisingly and amazingly pessimistic. Unlike many, she does not characterize herself by exclaiming proclamations of doom aloud - it is simply that Emily always assumes things will turn out for the worst. As such, she is always quick to try and take damage controlling measures. As a woman of great generosity, she will often take it upon herself to do this to help others out, even at cost to herself. Decades of undeath have taken their toll on her humanity, and the madness of the Ventrue blood brews in her veins, but Emily soldiers on regardless, refusing to bow to the horror of her existence.

This is in fact something of a theme for her. Emily is exceedingly self-reliant and bull-headedly stubborn, sometimes in the face of reality. This comes through clearest in how she has spent one hundred years trying to break the Wescote Curse, without much success, but it came through as well in her relationship with her father and husband, and in modern nights in how she carries out her duties as Seneschal. Though she can be subtle and obscure when she chooses to be, Emily’s preference, when confronted with a problem is to apply overwhelming force, enough so that no degree of finesse or skill can withstand it. Someone coming to the Seneschal’s professional attentions is liable to feel like a mouse avoiding an elephant.

Slender and leggy, Emily is an amply proportioned, pretty young lady (she was thirty-two when she died, and the Wescote family tended to age very well). She has slate-grey eyes and curly blonde hair which is usually coiffed and drawn back. Her jaw is a bit too strong to be fashionable, and it would be exaggerating for her to be called gorgeous, but her confident air and gracious smile has turned more than its fair share of heads. She is taller than most women, though her tendency to wear short heels evens this out somewhat. She usually wears pragmatic, comfortable clothing, sleek, solid black dresses with gloves and often a hat. Outside of her home, she almost always wears an enchanted black cloak as well. Though a radical feminist by early 20th century standards, to this day she tends to sniff a little at women wearing pants. She usually wears silver jewelry and has a flower pinned somewhere to her person, either on a hat or as corsage.

Rank: 3
Mental 5; Physical 2; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 5
Notable Powers: Horticulturalist of the Damned, Keep the Trains Running On Time
Banes: Holy Ground, Arcane Bond (Mini-Rosebush)

Louis ibn Haroud
Louis de Montagne, Earl of Marylebone (sometimes called the Sheik of Marylebone)

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Invictus (formerly Al-Amin)
Clan: Gangrel
Refined and sophisticated Gangrel from Islamic North Africa, whom prize art, scholarship, and culture. Bloodline Discipline – Majesty. Bloodline Weakness – When not in the company of other vampires, suffer a -2 penalty to all actions.
Embrace: 1972 (Enthralled in 1959)
Apparent Age: Late 20s (born 1931)

Virtue: Generous
Vice: Cowardly

Background: Londoners often call the southern end of Edgeware Road, the part that starts at Marble Arch, just north of Hyde Park, "Little Cairo" or "Little Beirut" for its high concentration of Middle Eastern restaurants and shisha cafes. Louis ibn Haroud likes to think of himself as its Kindred Mayor.

Louis showed up in London in the early-1990s, part of a wave of Algerian immigration sparked by the civil war in that country. Most of the immigrants wanted only to escape the bloody conflict brewing between the one-party socialist government on the one hand and the Islamist insurgents on the other. Louis claimed to be no different. He was a man of culture and elegance, and there was little room for either in the increasingly bloody world of North Africa. London was a respectable place, where a Kindred such as Louis ibn Haroud could settle in peace, growing fat on the blood of prosperity. Louis pledged his loyalty to the Lady of London, and in a surprisingly short period of time he became just one more face in the London scene, an Invictus stooge, all talk and no action.

There were certainly a few... rumors. Not terribly consistent rumors, one had to admit, but some claimed to remember a Louis-Sifal Feraoun, a French informant and torturer who made a great many enemies during the late 1950s. Others talked about Tariq Louis Zidane, a FLN bomber responsible for the Petit-Palais massacre in eastern Algeria, when a dozen died in a cafe bombing aimed at the local chief of police. Certainly no one knows his sire -- his name, ibn Haroud, means that according to the traditions of Maghrebi Kindred, he was sired by a vampire by the name of Haroud. But no one knows who that is. If asked, Louis just laughs off the rumors with an easy smile and an offer of a drink and a song. It helps that Louis spread most of them himself.

The truth is this. Haroud ibn Khalil was an elder of the Taifa, a Gangrel bloodline that stretched well into antiquity. They prided themselves on their refinement and their culture, on being bastions of civilization amidst the savagery of the Beast. They were also great believers in blood and lineage as signs of worth. And so when, towards the beginning of the Algerian War, Louis Ouassi, the great-great-great-to-the-umpteenth-power grand-nephew of Haroud ibn Khalil displayed the beginnings of a poetic talent, Haroud turned him first into a ghoul, and then some years later, into a vampire. Such talent had to be preserved, after all, through war and conflict.

Not that anyone Louis was asked what he thought about this. Three-quarters Kabyle Berber and one-quarter French, Louis was set for the exciting and glamorous life of a junior postal official for the French colonial government before civil strife and then Haroud ibn Khalil intervened. His forays into poetry had been modest, juvenile attempts to impress certain very pretty girls in the neighborhood.

No matter. Over the next decades Louis received training that would not have gone out of place in the most rigorous of finishing schools. He learned to play several instruments, compose poetry and song in a dozen styles, and became a passable calligraphist. He also committed to memory the bloodlines of dozens of prominent Kindred, as well as the history of the Taifa. He served as Haroud’s amanuensis, his secretary and protégé at the courtly affairs of the Al-Amin, ‘the Faithful’ or ‘the Trustworthy’, the dominant covenant in most Islamic lands. Louis learned and waited and watched old, gnarled monsters with centuries of blood on their hands play at civilization.

But all good things come to an end, and so did Louis’s long apprenticeship. It came about during the Algerian Civil War, when in 1993 an Islamist terrorist organization blew up a small hotel in Algeria… and crushed Haroud ibn Khalil under twenty tons of rubble as he slept in his haven. Louis, luckier, merely had the terrifying and traumatic experience of being buried alive for six days, on the verge of slipping into torpor, before allies managed to uncover him.

This was the last straw. Algeria had become entirely too dangerous, and Louis was, for the first time in his Requiem, free. He took such of Haroud’s treasures and finances as he could, then hired a freighter and set sail for somewhere far, far away. London sounded nice.

Since arriving in London, Louis’s worked hard to establish himself as the Kindred that everyone likes and that no one wants to maim, murder, or enslave. Louis is a lover and a scholar, not a fighter. He’s loyal to Sheridan because Sheridan is the most dangerous Kindred in the area, and is otherwise generally seen as a fop and dandy by the elders, while his careful rumors keep younger Kindred from trying their luck. Left to his own devices, Louis would avoid other vampires in general, operating on the not-wholly-unreasonable premise that other vampires are terrifying and powerful, while Louis’s most dangerous ability is his talent for delivering flowery insults (also clawing people, but this is of limited utility against Solomon Birch or Royston Montjoy). But his Taifa blood rebels at the idea of isolation, and so Louis finds himself drawn again and again to Elysium, where at the very least Kindred cannot harm one another.

He’s also focused on becoming the absolute master of Edgeware Road, establishing himself a power-base to protect himself. He has money invested in dozens of small bars and shisha cafes, has community leaders eating out of his hands, and has a lovely estate just off the road, built in the style of a Venetian palazzo, with a courtyard of its very own – ever since his sire’s demise, Louis’s had an acute sense of claustrophobia. He tends to sleep in the courtyard, as a matter of fact. Meanwhile, Haroud ibn Khalil’s library, with its genealogical records stretching back to the dates of Il-Andalus, has been opened to the use of occult scholars and researchers, with Louis’s eventual goal being to have his large estate declared an Elysium. Louis himself is only an indifferent scholar, though his training under Haroud ibn Khalil means he’s frightfully well-read.

In person, Louis is smooth, eloquent, and handsome. He’s a little under average height, just five and a half feet tall, but surprisingly muscular for all his stockiness. He has curly black hair and sports a small mustache and half-beard, and he has a boyish grin that gives him an infectious sort of charm. His mixed-race heritage and bronzed skin gives him an exotic appeal wherever he is, and he uses it to his advantage, supported by generous doses of Majesty. He can dress in a three-piece suit with an elegant cigarette-holder, or in the thobe, bisht and kaffiyeh of traditional Berber tribesmen, as the situation calls for it. Louis acts every inch the decadent Kindred courtier, a patron of the arts and a fixture of Elysiums. He speaks fluent English and French, as well as Arabic and Berber, and can sing or declaim poetry in all of them. And if he has a faint under-current of danger about him, all the better and more enticing. When using the Claws of the Beast, Louis’s hands turn into the talons of a lion, capable of rending and tearing flesh with unexpected ferocity.

Of course, underneath the façade of brown-nosing Invictus courtier is a poet that doesn’t take anything seriously, least of all himself. He tends to think of himself as much weaker than he is, and he treats everything like it’s all an amusing game, and you win if you’re alive. So far, Louis’s been winning.

He has a feline ghoul named Charles, a Maine Coon. Charles thinks he's the brains of the operation.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Charm, The Arts, Protean 3, Vigor 3
Banes: Lethargy (Religious Hymns and Chants)

Persuasion Benefits Stored: Social Acuity, Well-Conditioned, Purpose

Anna Darlington
Madam Anna Darlington, High Sheriff, Baroness of Soho and Dame Knight, Anna Markovna Dragunsky

Type: Vampire
Clan: Mekhet
Embrace: 1924
Apparent Age: Late 20s

Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Resentful

Background: Anna Darlington was born at the turn of the century in the Russian Empire, to a Russian Jewish family in the Pale of Settlement. Her early life was unexceptional, though characterized by a foreshadowing of her later mysticism. When the First World War came, Anna saw much of the menfolk march off to war, few of them to ever return. Then came the Revolution, and then came the Civil War, and Anna had a vision. It was a confused welter of sights and sounds, that came to her in her dreams, but Anna took the message clearly enough. She had to leave Russia.

And so she did. To the west was still a war zone, and so Anna walked east. And she kept walking, for the next three years. She walked alongside the Czech Legion, across all of Russia, the entirety of Siberia, surviving in any way she knew how. She stole. She begged. On one notable occasion, she killed a deserter with unpleasant designs. She learned to fire a gun and she scavenged bullets, and learned to hide. She learned a smattering of Czech. And somehow, she reached the Pacific Ocean.

Anna stole away from Russia on board a British ship, and thus found herself, a pretty, hard-bitten girl of twenty, in London. With that same quiet certainty, Anna anglicized her name, found a job in a factory, then as her English improved, as a shopkeeper's assistant. Sometimes she told stories of her journey, and it was when one such story reached the Kindred of London that she was Embraced. Surely, her Sire reasoned, such a woman would make a magnificent bodyguard.

Anna took the Embrace with the same quiet faith she took everything else. For the next decade, she served her Sire, and then when she was emancipated, joined the Invictus, became one of the City's Hounds. Her interest in faith and God shifted slowly into mysticism, and it was through one of those that she met with Vincent Moon. She became a follower of his philosophy, and would remain such for a long time to come, though Moon's recent disappearance has fractured Anna's ties to the rest of the Golden Room.

Anna is a member of the Invictus in large part due to her belief in old-fashioned courtesy, and because her Sire was a member. She is one of the more mystical members of the covenant, and it is perhaps only a matter of time, now that the Golden Room does not occupy her, before she moves on into the Lancea et Sanctum. Birch has certainly marked her out as a possible convert.

Rank: 3
Mental 3; Physical 7; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 5
Notable Powers: Mystically Inclined, Loves her BAR
Banes: Holy Day (Saturday); Symbols

David Ivenistky
Master David Ivenistky, Childe of Anna Darlington

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Mekhet
Embrace: 1943
Apparent Age: Early 20s

Virtue: Loyal
Vice: Greedy

“I was born in Poznan, in Poland, and I never saw my life as that strange. This was between the wars, you see, but I suppose, looking back, it must have been very strange. I grew up when Pilsudski had made his new country, and this was the first time Poland had lived for… oh… over a hundred years. A long time even as the dead measure things.”

“Everyone was Poland this, and Poland that, and my family was somewhat left out by it. My parents had come over before the Great War, back in ’03 or ’04, I can’t even recall now, from somewhere by the Black Sea. So we weren’t even proper Poles, which made things… difficult.”

“We were poor, though we didn’t expect to be. My father was a clockmaker, actually, and a rather good one. He taught us something of his trade, though I think I’ve forgotten everything I’ve ever learned of it. My brothers and I were a pack of hellions, at any rate, so I don’t think being outcast was wholly unwarranted. We didn’t know any different, really, so we were just boys.”

“It didn’t get to be truly bad till the war. The starvation did more than the Germans ever did personally. I was always the healthy one, the physical one. It’s probably why I lived longest, when the supplies were running out. Not a happy period of history. I was the last one, when Anna came. I think it’s why I took her up on her offer. That was something interesting. You know, I’d never met her before she made the offer.”

“To be honest, I think I was hallucinating at the time. Or I thought I was. Old ghosts buzzing about. I was desperate, and I think just a bit cracked in the head. Then there was this woman sitting on the little balcony of the flat I used to share with the others. And we talked. I can’t quite recall what it was about… sunlight, I think. Very philosophical.”

“She asked if I wanted to live forever with her. I said yes, and she kissed me. And everything from there was a bit intense... The next evening we set out for London. Anna had connections, you see, to some very powerful people. They arranged things, even if that arrangement consisted of a rowboat and tying myself to an anchor when the sun came up. It was a rather thorough debunking of the myth of the seductive vampire when one has to avoid being nibbled by crabs during the day.”

“But Anna was there, and reached the city. I won’t say there hasn’t been excitement since. Learning her world, her people and ways… but the worst was over. It’s hard to fall farther. Which is why I love her and love this city and everyone in it.”

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 2; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Courtier & Club Manager
Banes: Running Water

Solomon Birch

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Daeva
Embrace: 1836
Apparent Age: Early 40s

Virtue: Confident (Solomon’s way is the perfect way. Birch believes his wisdom is flawless, or near to it.)
Vice: Stubborn (Is Solomon’s faith in God, or is his faith in himself as an agent of God?)

Background: Birch was a meaningless child in an unloving family, father working London's brutal mills, mother a seamstress, and six brothers and sisters dead from plague-type illnesses (tuberculosis, cholera, flu). Birch himself worked his small hands to the bone at a young age, plying leather and stitching canvas before eventually settling into an unsatisfying apprenticeship making false limbs (forever necessary in a city like London, where men lost limbs daily in the brutal workplaces of mill and factory).

It was this trade that earned him the attention of a murderous Daeva, the lunatic Jacob Wright. He sought an apprentice of sorts, someone who could help him further craft the posed displays of slaughtered victims, creating something both elegant and terrible. Birch, Wright decided in a moment of whimsy, was absolutely perfect. He’d kill. He’d take their limbs. And Birch would replace them with mockeries of life— false limbs made of hard wood or brittle twig, of rusted hook or kinked wire. Wright made Birch his thrall. Then he made Birch his childe.

Birch didn’t help him kill, as Wright didn’t like to share that particular joy. Wright kept him on a short leash, limiting his exposure to the nocturnal society of the Damned. It was an unstable situation, and it couldn’t last. To this day, Birch isn’t entirely certain what happened. Did something kill Wright? Or did the monster simply grow bored of Birch’s effots and abandoned him? It didn’t really matter. Birch found the other Kindred of London, only to realize that with no power, no status, and no Sire, none cared for him. Thus began Birch’s long period as an outcast, a period that would last for nearly seventy years, from 1874 to 1941.

His years in the wilderness came to a close in the early 1940s when, weakened by a fight with agents of the British Government, his haven bombed by MI-18 under the cover of a German bombing raid, he was rescued by members of the Lancea et Sanctum. They gave him a place to stay and tended to his many wounds. Expecting abuse, he instead was treated with respect and given the kind of support and advice his sire had never offered. Solomon suspected a trick for years, but when he converted, he did so with a vengeance. The role of a testing pestilence upon humanity made more sense of his Requiem than anything else ever had, and his zeal led to rapid advancement. In a mere 50 years, he has risen to the rank of Bishop, all while espousing interpretations of the Testament that are far stricter than most of his congregation. Doctrinal strictness has become the litmus test of the Sanctified, thanks mostly to Solomon’s skill at playing “holier than thou” with those who defy him.

Perhaps the fullest expression of his desire to strengthen humanity (albeit through a cruel winnowing process) is his relationship with the Brigman family. A longtime proponent of eugenics, Solomon felt the Brigmans were genetically superior to other London strains, and he has exercised his power through several generations to purify them. In the process, they have become completely dominated by the vampire who dwells in their basement: he chooses who they marry, when they bear children and which of them receive the “blessing” of ghoul status to serve him indefinitely. Though he rules them as a master rules his kennel, Solomon does truly believe that the Brigmans can, in time, become a superior strain that will lead humankind to a brighter future — one in which more humans are able to resist the lures and threats and snares of creatures like him.

He is breeding men worthy of God, and any who tamper with his project do so at great peril.

Solomon is also a great lover of gadgetry. He makes a tremendous effort to stay current with technology, an effort that his 19th century mindset often hinders. But more than one Kindred who expects the Bishop to be protected solely by occult sigils has been unpleasantly surprised by the fruits of Solomon’s fascination with 20th and 21st century instruments.

Above the eugenicist and above the technophile, is Solomon the priest, Solomon the fanatic. Birch, with his lean, ropy body lined with puffy scars (most of them inflicted by his own hand), doesn’t care what you think. Birch cares only what he thinks. Oh, he’ll listen to another person. He’ll let her speak, giving the illusion of respect and due diligence. And then he’ll take her words, casually fashion them into a razor, and slit her throat with her own argument. For the most part, he has a calm demeanor, but that hides a violent temper—though one that is sparked only when he’s pushed to the upper limits or otherwise made to suffer humiliations at the hands of the great unwashed. He doesn’t take well to such indignities, and even a small one (like being interrupted) can bring the Beast to the surface for just a moment, enough time to hopefully put the fear of God in he who would dare to make such an error.

Two things define London’s infamous Bishop: the courage of certainty and the certainty of cowardice. Bishop Solomon Birch walks a wavering line between the two. On the one hand, he recognizes that he is truly Sanctified in the literal meaning of the word: God has chosen him, and he is an acting agent of the divine among man and monster. His convictions are so intense that he is provided a great deal of profound courage. If everything he does is God’s demand, and every action is the righteous one, then he will gladly step into the lion’s mouth and tear the beast apart from the inside. On this, he has no fear. And yet, forever within him is a niggling question, a sharp and scratching hangnail that begs to be picked at, to be ripped and made bleed. The question is, put plainly, What if I’m wrong? For Birch, it’s the elephant in the room; he never acknowledges the question, never shines a light into that dark corner. Ignorance of it doesn’t make it go away, however. It seems only to amplify the fear he has, the cowardice that sits within him like a giant hungry mouth waiting to be fed. His cowardice, unexamined, is therefore forever a certainty, a grim trap into which he steps nightly.

It drives him, though. It is perhaps this dichotomy that keeps Birch on the edge, never staid or content, always pushing to confirm his divinely-inspired judgment.

Rank: 4
Mental 3; Physical 6; Social 6
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 7
Notable Powers: Orator, Ex-Thug
Banes: Symbols; Holy Day (Sunday); Face of Hunger

Margery Brigman

Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Daeva
Born: 1988
Enthralled: 2011

Virtue: Confident (All her life, Margery's been told that she's special and superior, and even if she disagrees with the idea consciously, it's still embedded deep in her psyche.)
Vice: Short-Tempered
Long-Term Aspiration: To break free of her past without sacrificing her family

Background: For as long as Margery's been alive, she's been held up as an example to her peers. She's highly intelligent, clever, and insightful, finishing up a dual-major at Oxford in structural engineering and anthropology. She's vigorous and athletic, an active player in both the track team and women's football team. She's attractive, the sight of her golden ponytail enchanting people wherever she goes. She'd been part of student government. And if her family isn't quite oil-sultan wealthy, the Brigman construction business is nothing to sneer at. And that's just what people know -- Margery doesn't really advertise that she's also been doing combat training with live ammunition since she was thirteen. So people tend to be a little jealous of her.

Which really, she finds kind of darkly hilarious, since she knows the price. The Brigmans are the private eugenics project of the Black Bishop of London, Solomon Birch. Fascinated with the promise of eugenics even when he was a mortal man, the Brigmans were deemed more 'evolved' by Birch back before the Great War, and the vampire's been guiding them ever since. Birch decides who the Brigmans marry, who they have their children with, and who among the family is given the gift of immortal life. He lives in the basement of the Brigman house in Shepherd's Bush, driving the Brigmans forward to excel.

Margery's known Mr. Solomon -- the family's name for him -- as long as she's been alive. She learned he was a vampire when she was eleven. She lived in a house that contained five generations of Brigmans, from Great-Great-Grandmother Elena, still as pretty and bright as she was in the 20s, down to her parents and herself. Margery met her second vampire, Alistair Niall, when she was fourteen, and by the time she entered the university she served at Lancea et Sanctum functions.

It would be wrong to call the Brigman household thoroughly miserable, but Margery was always keenly aware that it was wrong. The push to be the best, to demonstrate the superiority of her lineage, was constant. And Birch made certain that the Brigmans had the very best, private tutors, athletics coaches, he himself taught the Brigmans to fight. But as Margery grew up, she watched the cycle of need and addiction, the way her family begged Birch for his blood (subtly, but it was begging all the same), they way they quivered when the old vampire fed on them. When he fed on her -- it was never forced, but the pressure of one's entire family is hard to resist.

And so Margery hates her family's regnant, hates him deeply, and strongly, and pits her will against his in every way that she can. A thousand little clashes, most of which she loses, but she fights all the same. She refuses to break, will not ask for the Kiss or the blood, and rebels in every way that she can.
Margery Brigman stepped lightly across the dust-strewn floor. She didn’t want a wayward creak to give her away.

“I hear you, Margery,” came a cooing, taunting voice. “I can
smell you. Delicious.” She didn’t let it get to her. An old trick. A psych-out. She was way beyond that.

The gun in her hand was a Colt Delta Elite. Solomon had given it to her, describing it as ‘the Cadillac of semiautomatics,’ on her 16th birthday. Now she was trying to shoot him with it.

Something stirred behind her and she spun in time to see him charging, hands hooked like claws, and she snapped off two shots toward his chest. He flung himself to the side, rolling into a passageway. She stepped quickly after him, though she knew that if he was moving at top speed she wouldn’t catch up. No human would. She maintained a safe space from uncontrolled tactical areas and she held her gun alertly, ready to fire. Like a well-trained cop, she ducked in and out, checking the corridor.

“One hit, one miss,” came his chuckling voice. “Not bad, but you’ll need to do much better to put down one of the Kindred. Let’s escalate, shall we?”

The pair was on the fifth floor of what had once been a thriving office building, long closed and decaying before finding a bizarre second life as a maze for paintball enthusiasts. Solomon had rented out the entire facility and permitted Margery to hunt him with live rounds.

It wasn’t the first time. She’d had her first game of “cat and mouse” when she was 13, prepared for it by her father and grandfather taking her to a shooting range and regaling her with stories of their ‘training’ exploits with Solomon in Scotlands’ wildlife preserves. All her life, Margery had been told that she was special and superior — that others would envy her gifts and that she might need to save herself, possibly with force.

She’d been a terrible disappointment the first time. She’d cried and hadn’t been able to shoot at him until he was inches away, screaming at her to do it, telling her he’d kill her if she didn’t pull the trigger, and when even that hadn’t worked, he’d slapped her and she’d fired. Now she was more motivated.

Carefully stepping from the outsides of her feet inward to transfer her weight smoothly and quietly, she came to a staircase. There was dust in the air and paint spatters everywhere from more frivolous contests. She knew the terrain, and besides could tell from the density of color that this was a good choke-point. She was staying away from action zones, but she was confident that Solomon was smart enough to do the same.

Can you really smell me? Smell this then, she thought, stepping out of her shoes. She peeled down one sock and dropped it down the stairwell. If he thought she was a few floors lower, good. If not, well, she could walk without a sock.

She heard a door creak behind her and decided instantly. She bolted down a few steps, rejecting stealth for speed, and then vaulted the rail at the turn to clatter farther downward. Her plan was to get below him and shoot up through the floor, or maybe catch him on the stairs. She was five feet into the corridor of the fourth floor when Solomon’s hand smashed through the ceiling above her. He started tearing a hole and she raised the gun and started shooting. The hand zipped back and she saw a little blood dripping through the hole. A little, but not much.

Did he retreat or go to the stairs? Even with a silencer, the gun was loud enough to deafen her, or at least to
keep her from picking up footsteps and stair-creaks. Instinctively, she’d been counting bullets and knew she had one left in the chamber. She pulled a fresh clip from her left back pocket, and crouched to eject the empty so that it would fall in her lap and not clatter on the floor.

In a rush, he exploded down the hallway. He must have gone to
another stairway. So fast, and without her hearing, he was coming at her like a freight train. When she pulled the trigger nothing happened, because the clip wasn’t all the way in. She slammed it and raised it and felt it click home. She pushed the gun up and forward even as his hands closed on it from either side, bracketing her own. The muzzle was an inch from his face, his grinning face. It was pointed between his eyes.

“Very good,” he said. “When fighting Kindred, keep your cool and aim for the head. But you should have fired sooner.”

His eyes were locked on hers and he saw it. He couldn’t read her mind, but he’d known her since infancy and he’d fought a lot and when her pupils dilated, he instantly knew that she was going to shoot him and that he didn’t have time to command her (even if he could). For all his strength, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to shove the gun away before it went off. All these factors flashed across his mind in an instant and he responded even before Margery realized she was going to pull the trigger.

He reached out with the cursed part of himself, blood called to blood and the pistol melted away in her hands, turning crimson. Her eyes widened as the blood did not drip, but
crawled, crawled to Solomon. The fine veins in his wrists opened, like tiny lips drinking. She saw the blood flow into him and she was left holding the full clip. It was dry. Her hands were dry, too. The pistol was gone.

“Sorry, my dear,” he said. “But for a moment there I thought you were going to do something foolish.” He was still holding her hands and she pulled them away.

“How did you do that?” she asked.

“Not every Kindred can,” he responded. “And I’ll admit it, the gun was prepared beforehand.”

“What do you mean, prepared…?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “You played the game well, as well as any mortal. You are a credit to your lineage. Would you like to go get ice cream?”

“No,” she said, drawing away from him. “I want to go home.”

For a moment she thought he almost looked
hurt, but then her mind was too busy wondering what had happened to her gun, how and why, and had she really been about to blow his brains out? Would that have worked? She wondered. She didn’t know, didn’t know anyone to ask. She didn’t know anyone who had killed a vampire.
Outside of home -- and Margery spends as much time out and about as possible -- she's a quiet, and not entirely normal young woman. There's a touch of gloom that threads its way through her, a bitter raging against the world that comes out as an unwillingness to submit to any kind of unjust authority and an utter lack of fear towards anything less deadly than an elder vampire. In a more general sense, Margery's rebelliousness also manifests as a sharp competitiveness, a desire to win and to excel at whatever challenge is put before her. If she can't beat Birch, she can at least beat other people, and maybe some day she will defeat her family's monster. It's something to work towards, anyway.

Otherwise, Margery tends to be withdrawn around 'normal' people, always careful about what she says so as not to break the Masquerade or let her real feelings shine. Actually, between deceiving all of her mortal friends and acquaintances, and concealing her true feelings at home, Margery is an extremely accomplished liar. It's not a skill she's proud of, but she's very, very good at it. She's been doing it for a long time, after all. She'd unwind a little more around supernatural friends, if she got any, though her busy schedule and general distrust of the supernatural (and specific distrust of vampires) makes that tricky.

Despite what one might think, Margery is neither a ghoul nor under a Vinculum. In the case of the former, Birch believes that too early an Enthrallment can stunt one's biological and mental development, and prefers to wait till one's late twenties. In the case of the latter, the Bishop disdains so brute-force an approach to control (to an extent, he rather enjoys Margery's defiance, taking it as a sign of a will strong enough to perhaps break free of Damned monsters such as himself) and not wanting to taint his precious Brigmans with that kind of emotion-warping effect. Even with his ghouls, Birch prefers to use reliquaries. This isn't to say that Birch doesn't use every trick in the book to break his pet mortals, but he sticks to emotional blackmail (he threatened to let Margery's great-aunt Hortense's enthrallment and her to die unless Margery let him feed), considering magic to be cheating.

Having finished her education at Oxford, Margery is now working on a master's degree in engineering at the London School of Economics, again in structural engineering -- the family's plan (well, Birch's plan) is that she'll join the military for a few years when she finishes, to get some combat experience. She also works as Birch's unwilling "humanity-guide," explaining how to use Facebook, what reality TV is all about, and who David Beckham is. Combined with her continued training, this keeps Margery busy, though she takes advantage of Birch's religious approach to the Sabbath to sneak away on Sundays. She's heard about some place called the Cat's Cradle...

Well, she went, and she met Mary Mack, and now she's Mary's mostly-independent ghoul. Funny how these things work out.

Physically, Margery has the beauty that comes with being a young, healthy, athletic woman. She's a little taller than average for a woman, standing at about 5'8'', and has the hard-muscled body of someone who's been doing football, track, and swimming since she was a girl. She has blue-grey eyes, rather like slate or an overcast sky, and shoulder-length golden hair that is usually kept in a short ponytail.

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 4; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Arete: 3
Notable Powers: Eugenics Works; Smart and Strong; Never Had a Social Life


Type: Vampire
Covenant: Circle of the Crone
Clan: Mekhet
Bloodline: Scathain
Embrace: 328
Apparent Age: ???

Virtue: Trustworthy
Vice: Curiosity
Long-Term Aspiration: To master all forms of blood magic

Background: Eerie, elegant, and inhuman, Abonde has been a vampire for so long she has all but forgotten her mortal roots. She was once a woman in a village in present-day Yorkshire, sometime towards the end of the Roman period. She remembers washing and carding wool, and suspects she was a weaver. She remembers dark nights beneath a full moon, the feel of a knife in her hands and blood flowing through her fingers, and listening for sounds of wolves in the woods. She thinks she was a witch, or some manner of wolf-blooded lackey or demoniacal cultist, but the truth of it is that Abonde doesn’t remember.

But it was for her talents with the occult – talents that have carried over quite well to the realm of blood sorcery – that Abonde was Embraced. Her sire, the Methuselah and ancient known as Gaius Bassianus Numidiens, desired an apprentice, but one with a more methodical approach than his current apprentice, the being who would one day be known as Vincent Moon. Theirs was an incestuous little family, steeped in sorcery and prophecy, isolated from the outside world. Sometime in the early 9th century, it finally broke apart, and Abonde went her own way. She spent much of the 19th century in Torpor, awakening in 1881. Since then, Abonde has dwelled in the crypt of St. Alcuin’s, with the priest there – Father Giles Hayworth – as her adoring ghoul and manservant.

The occult, particularly its place in vampire spirituality, is Abonde’s primary fascination and the focal point of her Requiem. She has sought out complex and exotic Disciplines to improve her own understanding of magic. Her knowledge of Crúac rituals is thought to be second to none in London, and several of the rituals she knows are of her own devising. To maximize her own usefulness, she has explored other types of magic as well. She has made several subtle overtures to members of the Lancea Sanctum and the Ordo Dracul, seeking to learn their forms of blood-sorcery. In response, both covenants threatened to summarily execute (or place into permanent torpor) any Kindred who taught her even the fundamentals of Theban Sorcery or the Coils of the Dragon. Such is her understanding and quick mastery of blood magic that these covenants fear she might learn their own sorcery better than they, and in half the time.

With Moon and Gaius Bassianus Numidiens gone, Abonde is perhaps the single most powerful sorceress in the Kindred world of southern England. In addition to being the Hierophant of the Circle of the Crone, Abonde is a Mekhet elder, with all the shadowy prowess entailed thereby. When she chooses to be, she is among the Lady of London’s most important advisers on occult matters. All these facets have combined to make Abonde a powerful figure in London’s political landscape, though not nearly the operator she could be if she paid more attention to politics.

Which, of course, is something of the problem. Though her occult power is incredible, the same cannot be said of her social skills. Abonde is odd and off-putting at the best of times, much like her sibling, albeit her manner is more disconcertingly mysterious than irritatingly enthusiastic. The result is that Abonde is not the uncontested master of the Circle of the Crone in London. She has their respect. She does not have their loyalty or adoration. Furthermore, that respect has its limitations as well. As the only Kindred in London with access to the highest holy rituals of the Circle, any use of those rites is likely to turn curious eyes in Abonde’s direction.

Formally, Abonde is the high priestess of The Three. Most of London’s Acolytes worship or at least acknowledge The Three: The Crone (called Lilith by some), the Horned King, and the Great Beast. Other deities may be called upon as circumstances dictate, but for most of London's Acolytes, worship of The Three (by whatever names the Acolyte prefers) constitutes the orthodoxy. Peripheral cults within the Circle may not revere The Three at all, but some other symbolic pagan god altogether.

Lilith is the ruling principle, who represents spiritual testing and judgment, the balance of light and darkness, and the power of blood, fertility and sacrifice, life arising from death. The Horned King is the lord of shadows, death and winter, and the master of the wild hunt. The Great Beast is primordial chaos, hunger and madness, the seed of frenzied rage that resides within each Acolyte’s unbeating heart.

Abonde is a willowy sylph, small and lithesome. All the color has left her — her skin features only a hint of pink, and her eyes and hair are both white. The only color is usually the smear of red around her mouth from feeding. She tends to dress in old-fashioned, flowing clothing, kirtles or gowns or the like, usually of a whitish-grey color.
Clan: Mekhet (Hollow)
Bloodline: Scathain

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 7, Wits 6, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 10, Dexterity 6, Stamina 12
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 7

Mental Skills: Academic (History) 6, Crafts (Weaving) 4, Investigation (Riddles) 6, Medicine 4, Occult (Crúac x2, Divination, Faerie) 9
Physical Skills: Athletics (Climbing) 5, Brawl (Bite x2) 7, Larceny 3, Stealth (Darkness) 6, Survival (Tracking) 4, Weaponry 3
Social Skills: Animal Ken 4, Empathy 1, Expression 3, Intimidation 4, Subterfuge 5

Merits: Fast Reflexes 2, Herd (Cult) 5, Language (First Tongue, Greek, Gaelic, Hebrew, Latin; Native is English) 5, Resources 5, Small-Framed 2, Striking Looks (Eerie) 2
Supernatural Merits: Omen Sensitivity 3, True Dreams 2
Lair: St. Alcuin's; Security 3, Secrecy 3, Warding 6, Ritual Area (Crúac) 3

Willpower: 12
Humanity: 1
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Hollow Curse, The Mirror's Curse, The Curse of Truth
Personal Banes: Disruption (Verbena); Mirror Reversal; Technophage; Unearthly Sight

Initiative: 20
Defense: 6 (11/11 w/ Quicken Sight & Celerity)
Armor: 5/5B (Spider-Silk Gown) (10/10 w/ Resilience)
Mental Shield: 2
Size: 4
Health: 16
Speed: 21 (126 w/ Celerity)

Blood Potency: 9
Disciplines: Animalism ●●●, Ars Speculorum ●●●●●, Auspex ●●●●●, Celerity ●●●●●, Dominate ●●●●●, Obfuscate ●●●●●, Protean ●●●●●, Resilience ●●●●●, Vigor ●●●●
Predatory Aspects: Extra Senses (Echolocation), Venomous, Wall-Crawling
Beast's Skin: Serpent (Adder), Serpent (Python), Stag, Bat, Hound
Unnatural Aspects: Horrid Talons (Serpentine Fangs)
Crúac Rituals:
1st: Hunger of the Great Beast; Drops of Destiny; Blood Scourge; Lilith's Whisper; Favor of the Horned King; Pythian Renewal; Heightened Vitae
2nd: Lair of the Great Beast; Mark the Huntsman's Hound; Breath of the Horned King; Thorned Snare; Ichor for Blood; Conscripting the Weavers; Taste of Knowledge; Mandrake
3rd: Beloved Deodand; Claws of the Great Beast; Lilith's Garden; Join the Wild Hunt; Lilith's Beckoning
4th: Call the Horned King; Blood Price; Maw of the Great Beast; Lilith's Voice
5th: Mother of Demons; Balance of Life and Death; Heart's Curse
Devotions: Undeniable Reflection; Two Sides to Every Story; Wilderness of Mirrors; The Smoking Mirror; Ritual of Nourishment; Cleansing Impression; Incubus; Quicken Sight; Heightened Senses, Shatter the Shroud
Vitae: 50/10; Herd 5

Attacks...............................Damage........................Dice Pool.............Special
Touch Attack..........................N/A..............................13.......................Blood Buff; Wilderness of Mirrors or Claws of the Great Beast
Serpentine Fangs....................3L................................22.......................AP 2; Blood Buff; Toxicity 2

Note: Abonde usually has two Claws of the Great Beast, a Thorned Snare, and a Breath of the Horned King ritual hanging on her at any given time, each with a Potency of 8 or so. (Her Cruac Dice pool, with extra Vitae and her Ritual Area, is 24).

Rev. Giles Hayworth

Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Mekhet
Regnant's Covenant: Circle of the Crone
Enthralled: 1881
Apparent Age: Mid-50s

Virtue: Peaceful
Vice: Corrupt

Abonde's Ghoul-Friday aide, Father Giles is a handsome man in his later years, utterly overflowing with charm, tact, and a deep and abiding cynicism. In exchange for functional immortality, so long as he gets a monthly fix of Vitae from Abonde, the atheist priest handles his mistress's financial accounts, runs the day-to-day activities of her blood cult, and makes sure that such little things as property taxes are paid on the Church of St. Alcuin. Having hunted tigers and elephants while a young man in India, he is also quite capable of protecting his mistress.

For a ghoul, Father Giles is relatively content with his lot in life. He has more freedom than most, Abonde caring precious little about mundane affairs, and so as long Giles avoids any tremendous mistakes involving blood or money, he can run things as he sees fit. With wealth, influence, a loyal cult of followers, and effective immortality as his 'perks', it is a very sweet deal.

He is, one may say, imperfectly loyal.

Rank: 3
Mental 5; Physical 2; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Arete: 5
Notable Powers: Priest & Cult Leader; Manager of an Immortal's Affairs

Cynthia of the Mara
Cynthia Carroll

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum (formerly Circle of the Crone)
Clan: Gangrel
Bloodline: Mara
Embrace: 1928
Apparent Age: Late 20s

Virtue: Ambitious
Vice: Greedy

Background: The River Thames is full of dirty and unsavory things, not least of which is the strange cult of water-dwelling vampires known as the Mara. The slaughterhouses and butcheries of the East End poured thousands of gallons of blood into the water daily, though such feeding often involved straining out other matter. (The river was also the city’s sewer and junkyard.) Burrowing in the muck on the bottom provided extra shelter from the sun, though many found that the water itself was opaque and polluted enough for full protection. By local legend, the Mara have dwelled in the River Thames since at least the 11th century, worshipping their strange water-goddess and eagerly recruiting more Kindred to ‘join the river’. Since the 1970s, their voice and guiding will has been Cynthia Carroll. She has secure havens, the support of her fellows, and the patronage of something truly alien that lives in the river.

But Cynthia wants more.

Really, at any turn of her personal history, you can simply fall back on that recurring theme: Cynthia wanted more. When she was growing up poor in the East End? Cynthia wanted more. Got tutored by a pickpocket in her youth? She wanted more. Worked as the sex appeal tool for grifters and con-men in her teens? Wanted more. Became a cat burglar, a bank robber, the mastermind of a plan to hijack a train car full of treasury notes? More, more and — if she hadn’t gotten caught on that last one — more again, probably.

She sobbed for the jury and made startling (and untrue) revelations about her boyfriend Edward, how he forced her into it, the shame, the degrading things he made her do, oh, any woman would do anything to keep such a beast of a man from harming her again . . .

The jury bought it and she only served five years, while Edward got sent away for 15 but, as luck would have it, escaped after killing a guard and headed back to London with a fairly elaborate revenge on his mind. (Edward Faulkes was something of a dummy when it came to women, but he was a genius with a lock and, additionally, pretty damn handy with an edged weapon. He taught Cynthia everything she could learn, which was about half of what he knew).

With Edward impending, Cynthia needed protection, and fast, but chumps of Edward’s caliber were scarce on the ground. Then she met Valencia. Valencia offered Cynthia protection. Valencia offered her prestige, grace, inhuman longevity and, at first, Cynthia was glad to take it. Then she learned what Valencia really was.

(Cynthia wanted more.)

When Valencia wouldn’t Embrace her, Cynthia kidnapped her and forced the issue. Cynthia’s weakened sire escaped during Cynthia’s fledgling hunger and disorientation, leaving the neonate Cynthia to make an ugly little rampage before her sire could recapture her. Valencia had a lot of fun at Cynthia’s expense for a long, long time. That’s why Cynthia suffers from paranoia, delusions of grandeur and the odd fugue state in modern nights. But eventually Valencia crossed the wrong kindred, and while she was occupied with keeping Solomon Birch from reducing her to a fine vampiric paste, Cynthia escaped. Cynthia had gained her freedom, but Cynthia wanted more.

She hid with the Mara, who were always willing to accept a new Kindred, until Birch finally pounded her sire into torpor. Her forceful personality and willingness to manipulate anyone ensured a swift and steady rise among the Mara, and in the Circle of the Crone. She became their ambassador to the dry land, a position of inordinate influence among the river-dwelling vampires. But she still wants more.

Namely, Cynthia wants the Circle of the Crone to be more than a tiny little cult among the vampires of London. She, and the rest of the Mara, believe the Circle can, and should be the dominant faction at Court. (Why? Because they’re right and everyone else is misled.) But Abonde only sticks her oar in when she’s needed to break a tie or to defend Circle interests against egregious abuses. She’s not making any gains and is content to let things slide — and let Solomon and his fire-breathers steal the High Sheriff of London out from under Sheridan’s nose without any opposition.

Cynthia respects Abonde. She’s in awe of the elder vampire’s skill at blood-sorcery. But it’s an awe tempered by the realization that Abonde’s a relic and worse, a poor politician. Abonde has trouble taking her seriously, though; the Mara’s spiritual insight, as expressed through her understanding of Crúac, is clearly not in Abonde’s league. That said, Abonde’s social skills are clearly not in Cynthia’s league.

Towards the inevitable struggle for leadership, Cynthia’s marshalling her resources. Mostly, the Mara have the river. There are currently about three decent havens branching off the River Thames underwater — places where Kindred can enter and sleep submerged, store their possessions dry and leave on dry land after bathing. All are, of course, occupied. There are many more makeshift boltholes with river access, ranging from holes dug under piers to abandoned conduit tunnels that have been broken into via storm sewer pipes. The Mara know all these spots, they know how and where to put a dead body so that cops will never find it, they know the cheap ways to filter water in a semi-enclosed space and they know all the ins and outs of going from being undead under the water to passing for a normal citizen up on the streets. By ancient right, the Mara also have feeding rights over the river – not the shorelines, but the water itself and any bridges passing over it. They also have the patronage of something, some alien and horrific river spirit that they worship as the Sunken Mother. No one’s quite sure who or what it is, but more than one educated werewolf has made the guess that the Mara have a pact with Jenny Greenteeth.

But there needs to be more than that if Cynthia’s to encourage more Kindred to go to the river. To that end, she has a vision of a fortress, utterly submerged, concealed from human prying and nigh-impossible for the breathers to penetrate. She wants a ballroom, a maze of private quarters, exits into the river and up through the sewers, she wants serious purification for this completely submerged micro-empire and she wants it built without mortals being any the wiser. No one ever said Cynthia lacked for ambition, though common sense is another question altogether. Even so, Cynthia’s got her plans for it, and the first step is to have a really lovely shipwreck on the river. Cynthia wants more.

Rank: 3
Mental 2; Physical 4; Social 6
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 5
Notable Powers: Slinky Siren; Looking out for Number One

Allison “Allie” Newton

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: People's Republic
Clan: Ventrue
Bloodline: Architects of the Monolith
Embrace: 1970
Apparent Age: Late 20s

Virtue: Righteous
Vice: Callous
Long-Term Aspiration: To see the Invictus lose control over London and be replaced by either Carthian or some kind of democratic rule

Background: “You can have clarity or you can have the truth. Choose carefully, Citizen.”

When Allie was eighteen, she chose clarity. Her passionate nature was poorly suited for compromises and contradictions. Born during the Second World War, growing up in the bombed-out suburbs of Surrey, south of London, the second of three children, she wanted a world of good and evil, right and wrong, black and white. Religion had an appeal to her, a sense of clarity and righteousness that promised to explain everything. In hindsight, no one was too surprised when in 1960, at the age of eighteen, Allie became a nun. Everyone was certain this would end in disaster. It didn’t.

Allie joined the Marist Missionary Sisters, a Catholic religious order originally dedicated to missionary work in the South Pacific Islands, but which over the years had moved into education and medical services. Sister Allie spent her twenties shuttling between Samoa and London, specializing in teaching, and becoming ever more involved in social justice movements, especially the communitarian Catholic Workers Movement.

Then came the Embrace. Sister Allie was passionate, active, personable… all qualities that endeared her to her scientifically-minded Sire. But when she was embraced, something broke in her soul. She’d done everything right, and ended up a bloodsucking monster. She was Damned, and so she must have transgressed. For years, Allie moped around London Kindred circles, locked in deep depression. Her Sire eventually abandoned her to her own devices, the vibrant personality she’d desired lost.

It was the Carthians who pulled her out of it. They knew a hurting Kindred when they saw one, and ever desperate for members, they dragged her in, cleaned her up, and started preaching the philosophy of the Movement to her. It took a while, and some not so gentle persuasion, but eventually something clicked.

Nowadays, Allie is one of the Movement’s up-and-coming occultists. Her combination of quick wits, thorough theological training, and the fact that she used to be a consecrated nun makes her remarkably well suited for handling ghosts and demons, and while Allie’s still young, she’s also active. If she survives, she’ll be a value to the movement.

Allie’s own personal ethos is a variant on that of Christian Anarchism, the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, and Dorothy Day. Critical of both Church and State, Allie’s nevertheless thoroughly selfless and believes in simple living and abstention from unnecessary ‘luxuries’. Despite her best intentions, she doesn’t always practice what she preaches, and she more or less figures that vows of chastity and nonviolence are for people who aren’t bloodsucking vampires.
Covenant: Carthian
Clan: Ventrue
Bloodline: Architects of the Monolith

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 4, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics (Leftist Ideology, Theology) 4, Crafts 1, Medicine 2, Occult (Geomancy) 4, Politics 3, Science (Gilded Cage x2) 4
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Stealth 1, Survival 1
Social Skills: Empathy 3, Expression (Demagogue) 3, Intimidation 1, Persuasion 2, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 3

Merits: Allies (Poor)
0+People's Republic
2, Common Sense 3, Language (Latin; Native is English) 1, Resources 3, Status (
Pull; Support Group; Influence (Poor)
People's Republic) 2, Striking Looks (Sexy Anarcho-Punk) 1
Lair: Comfy Flat in Un-Comfy Circumstances; Security 3, Warding 3, Ritual Area (Gilded Cage) 3; Erecting the Cyclopean Walls

Willpower: 8
Humanity: 6; +1 Support Group
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Aloof Curse, The Urban Curse
Personal Banes: Webs

Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Health: 7
Speed: 9

Blood Potency: 2
Disciplines: Auspex ●●●, Dominate ●●●●, Gilded Cage ●●●
Gilded Cage Rituals:
1st: Paths of the Prey, Tremors of the Crystal Web, Master Key, Erecting the Cyclopean Walls
2nd: Aura of the Monolith, Summons to Speak
3rd: Eye of the Pyramid, Sacred Hospitality
Vitae: 11/2


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