I've stocked it with the basics, but am interested in what else you all think needs to be in there. If you have suggestions for category division, or for more books, games, or other items in the Myth-Weavers Shop, post them in THIS thread!!
Background: Though she looks older than most of the Kindred in London, Lillian Chambers only entered her Requiem in 1980. In her mid-50s when she was Embraced, Chambers was a secondary school principal with 30 years of teaching under her belt at the time of her Embrace. She had lived a full life, and a rich one. Born in the one of the black communities London’s East End, she had served as a nurse during the Second World War, marrying a serviceman she met in France. When she returned home, she began to teach secondary school to unruly children in the East End, and in due time she became the headmistress of the Mulberry School for Girls. She had four children, was active in the National Union of Teachers, and taught Sunday school at the local Methodist church.
Ironically, one of her former students brought her into the Requiem, hoping to make her into some kind of advisor or mother figure. It was a poorly thought-out reason for granting the Embrace, and a rash move on his part. Chambers is one of those individuals who made a much better mortal than a vampire. Though she was a warm woman with many friends and a busy schedule, the Embrace appears to have turned everything warm about her into ice. From her perspective, her work as a teacher and a parent was in full swing when her sire plucked her from it. Her oldest daughter was just having her first child, and her youngest (and favorite) son had just begun attending the very prestigious Sheffield University. These were all things she had to be around for. Being pulled into the Requiem plucked her away from her role as a living, breathing human, and her rage and resentment seemed to have no end. After her Embrace, Chambers listened to her sire as he prattled on about the Requiem. She paid particularly close attention when he told her about staking. As soon as she had the opportunity, she made him pay for his rash move. Within a week, she had diablerized him. This was enormously uncharacteristic of her; she was in no way a violent woman, but her seething rage, backed by the Beast, won out, and she made her sire pay in the most absolute way she could imagine. She’d intended to kill him, but the diablerie was unexpected.
Chambers’s cold anger became a constant background for everything that came after her Embrace. Chambers respects mortals and enjoys their company. She dislikes Kindred in general and has a particular dislike for those who think that their curse somehow makes them better than mortals, like the Invictus and Lancea Sanctum.
Chambers’s somewhat cold, patrician demeanor initially brought invitations from the Invictus. She told the would-be recruiter what she thought of the First Estate and soon joined the Carthians. Having been a member of the NUT for decades, the Carthian Movement seemed as rational a choice as any granted to her by the Requiem. Her skills long honed by cajoling students to excel, soothing ruffled academic feathers, and bare-handed political brawling at the NUT ensured that Chambers became one of the Movement’s indispensable members. Someone has to keep the union cards and track dues. The fact that most Kindred are embraced at a young age only helped, as even a centuries-old elder embraced at the age of twenty could still often be made to sit up straight and pay attention with a sharp word from a career teacher and principal.
The only warm spot in Chambers’s Requiem is her son, Frank. She has watched over him from the night of her death, and she has diligently honed her abilities with Auspex in order to be able to do so. Every time she sees him going through something she feels she could have helped him with had she been alive, she weeps tears of blood over her condition. She occasionally uses her connections and knowledge to arrange for small windfalls to help her son and his partner, and she has fed on at least one would-be burglar who was trying to break into their home. Once she has watched her son’s life unfurl completely, and end, she intends to end her Requiem the morning after his funeral, though she hasn’t expressed her intentions to anyone.
Chambers has a certain cold, grandmotherly appearance. A plump, dignified African woman, she has a rounded face and acquired a comfortable heft in the latter years of her life. She keeps her graying hair short, although it has a tendency to go awry when she lets it. Though Chambers dresses like the old woman she appears to be, she favors clothes on the expensive end of that spectrum and often wears expensive silk blouses with colorful scarves and the same gold jewelry she’s been wearing since her breathing days.
Rank: 2 Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 3 Willpower: 1 Blood Potency: 3 Notable Powers: Headmistress's Authority; Bare-Knuckle (Teacher's) Union Fighter Banes: Plague of Purity
Lujza Dvorzsak “Zoltan” Dvorzsak, Kogaion of London, Rampant Dragon, Grandmistress of the Sworn of the Axe, Grand Wyrm, Invisible Philosopher of the Sanguine Terror, Dorika György
Type: Vampire Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Gangrel Embrace: December 1849 Apparent Age: Late Teens / Early 20s
Virtue: Courageous & Righteous Vice: Shy Aspiration: To Achieve Golconda
Background: It was a year of revolution across Europe: 1848, the year that shook governments from east to west and served notice for the social and political upheavals yet to come. She was only a child then, a Magyar girl of eighteen years, enthralled by the events surrounding her, the declaration of Hungarian independence from the rule of Austria. She learned the fiery rhetoric of freedom at the knee of her elder brother, himself a scholar and revolutionary… but not a soldier, of which their country was soon in dire need. The newly independent Hungary was at war on three fronts and facing invasion by the armies of Imperial Russia, the allies of their Austrian former overlord, when young Lujza took matters into her own hands.
She cut her hair, stole some of her brother’s clothing, and volunteered to join the Honvédség, the army marshalling to defend Hungary from its many enemies, using his name. Known to her comrades in arms as “Zoltan,” the girl served well and competently, distinguishing herself for bravery during the bitter campaigns in central Hungary and Transylvania against both the Russians and the Austrians, fighting in the battles of Segesvár and Temesvár and the innumerable smaller guerilla engagements in the mountains. She and her unit were still in arms when the news reached them of General Artúr Görgey’s capitulation to the forces of the Tsar and surrender of the Hungarian army. Vowing to never bend knee to their country’s invaders, Lujza and more than half her comrades defected from the army and melted away into the mountains, intent on continuing the struggle for independence.
It was not to be.
The last time I saw the mountains of Padurea Craiului, I was not yet dead. It was late autumn, and the last of the leaves had long since fallen. In another half-month, perhaps less, it would truly be winter. Each morning, I rose early from my bed, such as it was, a bedroll too thin to ward off the cold and damp that seeped up through the freezing ground every night, even with a mound of dried pine leaves beneath it and the body of another huddled next to mine. Each morning, I crawled out of my pitiful shelter, such as it was, a lean-to of pine boughs lashed together over a sapling center pole, a tarpaulin that we pretended was waterproof for the sake of our own morale spread over that. Each morning, I watched the sun rise bright silver over the snow-covered mountains and then went to check on the men on morning watch, and then the men in the “infirmary,” which was our only actual tent left, though no warmer than any of the other shelters for that. We were freezing to death slowly, clinging to the side of the mountain, hiding from the Russians and the Austrians and any who might betray our location to them. We were starving to death slowly as well, because we hardly dared venture out of our mountain fastness to hunt or scavenge for food, or even use what little money we had to purchase supplies, for the risk of being caught. The wounded were dying slowly for want of real medical attention, and we had almost all been sick with some horrid illness that turned our bowels to water and made us burn with fever and left us weak as children when it passed. I had been cured of the romance of war by my first battle, and this slow death by degrees was rapidly curing me of the desire to martyr myself for the liberty of my homeland. In that, I knew I was not alone.
That morning, there was no sunrise. The sky overhead was low and leaden with snow and the wind was rising, rushing down the valley like a torrent of cold water, tasting of ice and smoke from the cook-fires. Someone’s snares had caught a few hares in the night, I remember, and the morning watch was gutting and skinning them, slicing away the meat to put in our battered pots - the things were bitter and tough but if you boiled them long enough they became edible. There was just enough tea left for everyone to have a thin half-cup, but no breakfast to speak of as we’d eaten the last of the bread the week before and we were holding the cheese in reserve. I walked about the perimeter of the camp, taking reports, and then I went to shake my shelter-mate awake and give him the gist; he was the captain, after all, and I the lieutenant, but I took first watch and he the midnight hours, so I rose first.
His name was Sandor Kajetan and I had the worst, most girlish sort of infatuation with him, practically from the moment we first met. It wasn’t so much that he was handsome. His nose was a bit crooked from being broken in a fight with his elder brother when he was a young boy and his chin was far too stubborn by half. It was that he possessed a fine nature that made others turn toward him like flowers following the sun, a smile for everyone, a disposition that no hardship could long depress, and sense besides. We would have all of us killed or died for him, or followed him into Hell. To this night I regret that I was never in a position to tell him how I felt, as Lujza, the woman I truly was, and not Zoltan, the man I pretended to be in those days. A foolish regret, but one I treasure.
The staff meeting that morning was tense. In truth, there was not much in the way of staff to meet with. Our little band of rebels had been bleeding men for weeks. Less than half of the group that had sworn to resist the despoilers of our homeland to our dying breath remained to fulfill that vow. Now, with winter coming on in earnest, the rate of desertion had increased, particularly in the night watches when it was easier to slip away unnoticed. We were, in fact, talking seriously among ourselves of laying down our arms and going back home, travelling in twos and threes to make certain the more severely wounded members of our little company made it back home alive, if not entirely whole. Then the morning foragers came back with an unexpected report: they had found the opening to a cave, further along the heights of the valley than any of them had gone before, while they searched for a wild goat or a stray sheep to drag back to camp. Sandor and I went back up with them to see what use it might be, kicking ourselves all the while for not searching for such a place before this - all of us who grew up in the mountains had a story about the local caves and the luckless boy or girl who had gotten lost in one and was never found and the like. In truth, I could see how it might have been missed before this, as the entrance was less than a man’s height and half-hidden by a drift of scree and scrub brush, roughly triangular in shape. We lit a lantern and squeezed inside, for the entrance passage was narrow, but beyond the initial tunnel the cavern opened into a single large chamber and branched into smaller rooms as far back as we could find which, admittedly, was not very far. We were principally concerned that no large animal, like a bear, used it to lair in, which did not seem to be the case. In fact, there weren’t even bats.
In retrospect, that should have told the mountain-reared among us that something wasn’t right about that place. Every cave has some sort of creatures dwelling in it, if not bats, then insects, rodents - something. This place had nothing in it, nothing living but us. Had I thought about it, I would have been troubled. At the moment, I was only thinking that it would be warmer by far than sleeping out beneath the winter weather and the relentless wind, and more secure, as well. It took us the best part of two days, our progress slowed by the snow-squalls that swept back and forth across the valley, but in the end we had everyone inside. It was snug, but warmer for it, and to celebrate some of the men went out and poached a pair of unwary sheep from some local’s pasture and a few loaves of bread from his shelf. That night, snug in our new hideaway, sleeping warmer than we had in weeks, albeit on ground not quite as soft, we felt safer than we had in a very long time. More fools were we.
We didn’t realize something was wrong straight away. In fact, we didn’t realize something was wrong for several weeks after we moved from the bowl of the valley into the cave, until winter was well and truly underway and the snow was piling to a tall man’s height outside and we had almost no chance of escape.
It was patient that way.
The first things we noticed were tiny, easily dismissible as tricks of the mind, of the isolation and the boredom that assailed us. The darkness outside the circles of light cast by our lamps and the tiny fires that we built seemed, from time to time, to be just a touch too dark. The shadows that lay on the far sides of certain of the cave formations seemed a trifle too long. The sounds we made seemed to echo a bit too far or else not quite far enough. A cold breeze that seemed to come from nowhere, a sound where no sound should be, like the scraping of stone on stone.
Fear grew slowly in us. We had all lived in fear for a very long time before this - fear of our lives on the battlefield, fear of being caught by our enemies and suffering ignoble execution for our refusal to surrender our arms - and so we were a little inured to fears that seemed, at first blush, to be childish things left over from a parochial up-bringing, a belief in foolish legends. We had forgotten that some legends have at least a grain of truth in them, and some even more than that. Some legends have fangs and claws.
It took one of the wounded first, of course. We had carried our injured with us, unwilling to leave them to be butchered by the Russians, and some had been direly wounded, indeed. Adolar’s shin had been struck by a ball, the bone shattered, and the wound had festered. Before he left, our medic had amputated the leg below the knee, and the stump was healing slowly and not at all prettily. He could not walk, of course, nor move without aid. One morning he was simply gone. There was no sign of a struggle. No sign of footprints. We never did find any trace of him, search though we might.
He was only the first.
It never did let us see it. It was, in fact, extremely adept at keeping just out of the range of our lamps, just out of reach of our hands unless it wished to touch us, a vague suggestion of a shape in the darkness, glittering eyes or teeth catching a stray lamp-beam, a swift skittering motion that set off echoes in the wrong direction. It was fast, and it was strong, and once it was finished picking off our weakest, it blocked the entrance so we couldn’t escape it easily, and set to work on the rest of us.
We tried to get away, of course. There was more than one way in and out of those caverns - we could tell that much from the air currents we could feel and endeavored to follow. We attempted to stay together, but it wasn’t possible. There was too much fear, and too much ground to cover, and too little fuel for the lamps, too few candles. By day - and we could tell it was day, because in those hours none of us could hear it or catch glimpses of it or feel its presence hanging over us - we tried to find our way out. We sent out two man search parties that often didn’t return at all. By night, we found a place to huddle together in our dwindling numbers, fighting terror and exhaustion, staring blindly into the darkness beyond our sad little circles of light. It hunted us like rabbits, and like rabbits we fled from it.
By the end, there were only four of us left, four out of almost two dozen, who found the second exit, too small for a grown man to make it through. So we set about trying to widen it with crude tools of stone and the butts of the weapons we had left and the blades of our hunting knives. It made a horrible racket, and I’m certain the thing heard us in whatever hole it slept during the day. We knew, in our hearts, that it would come for the rest of us that night and that knowledge lent us desperate strength as we worked furiously, the shaft of light passing through the aperture we had found dwindling as the day died.
In the end, we failed. The exit was still too narrow when sunset turned the sky bloody - too narrow for all but one. I was slender enough to get out and Sandor, damn him, forced me through as I stood arguing with him in front of it, shoved me into the opening and out the other side with kicks and blows and shouts. I heard him screaming behind me as I fled down the hill, half-running, half-falling, more than half-blind with tears.
If I see a thousand years pass, I will never forget those screams.
It pursued me, of course. I was the last morsel of the banquet it had prepared for itself, after all, and I doubt it ever had any intention of letting me go. And, of course, it caught me, for I was only a grief-stricken, terrified girl who had just left her only friends to be slaughtered while she made her escape. By some miracle, I even managed to strike it. I can still remember the sensation of its blood on my hands, burning cold, colder even than the air and the snow bank into which it threw me as it took me, tearing away my life and my humanity in great hungry gulps. I remember the pain as it speared out my eye with one long talon and the horrible taste of the blood it spat into my mouth and the agony as I twisted and writhed in the grip of the change.
But I do not remember it. I cannot recall its face, or the form of its body, or anything about it. I cannot remember these things, and I cannot step beyond them. They tether me to a point where I do not wish to remain. I must, in some way, make my peace with the agonies and fears of my past, or I will never progress beyond them, never transcend the anguish of that night in any meaningful way.
Struggling to survive in the bitter winter with dwindling supplies and no hope of reinforcement or further centrally supported uprising, the rebels took shelter in a series of caverns high in the mountains. There they awoke something far more terrible than even the worst invader: a creature that hunted them through the darkness underground and through the ice-bound mountains, taking them one by one in a perverse game of predator and prey.
In the end, Lujza was the last survivor and the only one to earn the monster’s idea of a reward for her cleverness and courage — and for having the temerity to strike a blow against it. The thing took her life, and her left eye as a trophy, and left her choking on its blood in a snow-bank. Staggering through the mountains, half-mad with grief and newly awakened bloodlust, she fed on animals and a few farmers until her depredations attracted the attention of the being who would become her surrogate sire and mentor found her, an elder of the Ordo Dracul who aided her in coming to terms with what had befallen her. She gave Lujza a new path to follow in an effort to transcend her maker’s bloody example.
For decades, Lujza stayed in Budapest, one of the Ordo Dracul’s greatest centers, ruled by the Tenth Dragon (to ever join the Covenant) Hunyadi Dorján and administered by the Juris Draconis. More focused than many on the Great Work of transcendence, Lujza formed her own beliefs of transcendence in that city. Ignoring pseudo-science or ritual magic, the Magyar woman found the Great Work in the perfection of mind and body, in writing and teaching, and in always challenging herself to excel. Strange to say, it worked, and as she mastered the Coils and grew in stature among the Ordo Dracul, Budapest became too small for her, too well-known and comforting. Thus, shortly after the First World War, Lujza ventured forth into the world.
In the 1960s, she settled in London, and has been a pillar of the London Academy ever since. In addition to her duties as Rampant Dragon and Grandmistress of the Sworn of the Axe, Lujza maintains an active mortal identity as Assistant Professor Dorika György of the University of Westminster, lecturing on 19th century German and Hungarian literature or picking off easy underclassmen for feeding purposes. In the 1990s she was made Kogaion of London, charged with keeping the membership rolls and knowledge of all the Wyrm's Nests, but unusually, she hasn't stepped down from her other duties since.
A bit of a loner by nature, Lujza is a perfectly polite young woman (or a perfectly polite elder vampire) when spoken to, but always seems to be slightly withdrawn. She is not quiet or shy so much as distant, often seeming distracted or aloof. Those who know her only poorly tend to think her unspeakably arrogant as a result. But it would be a fatal mistake to assume that she is not paying attention; Lujza is very much aware of her surroundings, as those who might try to take advantage of her quickly discover. Lujza is not prone to angry outbursts, but can become very chilly if anyone upsets or displeases her. On casual acquaintance, this can be hard to notice, which gives Lujza a reputation for imperturbability that she doesn't quite deserve.
Lujza has a very strong sense of duty, especially towards those she considers her comrade-in-arms; whether or not she likes you, she'll stand by your side through any danger. This extends to the Ordo Dracul, and she is legendarily protective of her apprentices. Some of the Dragons in her homeland called her Mati-Syra-Zemlya (Mother Earth), for her care of her charges, though so far the nickname hasn't migrated to England (much to Lujza's relief). She doesn't shy away from extreme hardship, prejudice, or danger when doing what she things is right. Her sense of morality is equally strong, which is likely half the reason that she's so distant towards those she meets. She's come to think that in order to survive, one has to sometimes make deals with the devil, trading freedom for stability, and she suspects that the Kindred and kine of the modern world live better for it. She cannot help but feel that she's better than them, however, for having endured what she has. To her, they know nothing of true duty, as in her mind it's never tested quite as hard as hers has. Lujza does not like being talked down to, by any man or woman.
Deep in her breast still beats the heart of a revolutionary, but Lujza has a decidedly more jaundiced view of politics than, say, most Carthians. Change, whether of the system or of oneself or of one's vampiric nature, requires constant struggle and sacrifice. Most people simply don't have it in them to sacrifice so much, and Lujza's turned her struggle inwards, though without compromising her stern sense of duty. All the same, she still has a soft spot for patriots, revolutionaries, and other idealists, and the Carthian Movement has long been trying to lure her over to their side.
Despite her outward serene confidence, Lujza is a haunted being: haunted by the horrors of her past and the uncertainties of the future, but mostly by the knowledge that the creature that created her still exists and that, one night, she must face it to forever move beyond what it made her. She knows this, desires it and dreads it in equal measure, and hunts her sire with alternating intense commitment and extreme reluctance. In the meantime, she attends to the needs of her covenant and in particular to the younger Kindred who come to her for advice and tutelage, marking time until the hour is right for what Lujza expects will be a truly titanic clash.
Lujza is a tall woman, slender and muscular, showing little in the way of curves. What shape she possesses she tends to conceal beneath loose-fitting clothing of deliberately asexual style. Her black hair was cut relatively short at the time of her Embrace, a now-modern look that emphasizes the handsome angles of her face and her single, vivid blue eye. She covers her empty left eye-socket with a patch when interacting with others, as she is aware that the unhealing wound is a disturbing sight, but otherwise simply wears a gauze bandage over it to keep the blood off her face.
Willpower: 10 Humanity: 5 Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Frenzy, The Feral Curse Personal Banes: Uninvited, Repulsion (Garlic), Grave Soil Persistent Conditions: One Eye
Initiative: 16 (12 w/ Two-Handed Weapon) Defense: 5 (6 w/ Armed Defense); Iron Guard 4 Armor: Up to 11/11 (Iron Skin + Armor Plating + Resilience); Warding Stance 4 Mind Shield: 2 (Indomitable) Health: 17 Speed: 22 (88 w/ Celerity)
Blood Potency: 7 Disciplines: Auspex ●●, Celerity ●●●, Coils of the Dragon ●●●●●●●, Obfuscate ●●, Protean ●●●●, Resilience ●●●●●, Vigor ●●●●● Predatory Aspects: Claws, Feral Senses, Patagia Beast's Skin: Bat, Falcon, Rat, Wolf Unnatural Aspect: Armor Plating Coils of the Dragon: Coil of Blood ●●, Coil of the Beast ●●●●, Coil of the Soul ● Devotions: Juggernaut's Gait Vitae: 25/7
Zweihander………………………….4(L)………..25/30……….....Cheap Shot, 8-Again, Saddle the Beast, Bring the Pain, Rending
Punch……..….......................... 0(B).......... 15/20……….. Cheap Shot, Saddle the Beast
Light Revolver........................ 2(L).......... 10/15……….....Range 20/40/80, Clip 6, Saddle the Beast
Rifle…................................... 5(L).......... 13/18……….....Range 200/400/800, Clip 4, Saddle the Beast
Type: Vampire Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Gangrel Bloodline: Mara Embrace: 2004 Apparent Age: 22
Virtue: Confident Vice: Resentful Long-Term Aspiration: To master the Coils and dodge the curse of vampirism
Background: Every family has its dirty little secrets and peculiar quirks. The black sheep cousin that stole cars, the hair-pulling squabble at an aunt’s wedding twenty years ago, and so forth. The Adairs, Evan always thought, just had a few more. Grandpa was a virulently anti-German World War Two veteran who still had his old Sten gun and practiced with it constantly. Aunt Emily was a nice, polite dowager who always smelled of garlic and kept a stock of ‘cures’ containing everything from belladonna to arsenic. Evan’s father had a set of six, parallel marks on his face that looked a bit like he’d been clawed by a giant mutant bear. And Evan’s mother said everything in a little sing-song voice as she compulsively did blood-tests on the entire family twice a week, checking for contaminants. Oh, and they hunted vampires. This was perhaps a little odd too.
For the longest time, they tried to keep the family business from Evan, but the young man was an unfortunately sharp one. He had grown inured to his family’s weirdness, though he always had his suspicions, but when his mother came home missing two fingers from an encounter with some ravenous feral thing when Evan was fourteen, the jig was up. What followed was an absolutely blistering row. Evan refused to be kept out of the family business, not when his parents were at risk of death or worse, while his parents refused to involve him and thus risk him.
Eventually, a compromise was hammered out. Evan was a clever kid, the first of his working-class family to have a shot at the university. He could help out behind the scenes, spending hours hidden in old libraries and government archives, cross-referencing aliases and learning quite a bit more about the supernatural than was usually healthy. He went to the University of Essex, where he studied classics and philology, and his interests ranged more widely than his parents. He dabbled in a range of useful subjects, from medicine to psychology to finance law. A bookish sort, it came easily to him, though he went in and out of Essex without making much of a mark on his classmates.
Then the Adairs stumbled across something big in the course of routine surveillance. More than just a solitary bloodsucker in a club, this was an entire conspiracy rooted deep in the local government, which did not have London’s best interests at heart. Over the course of six months of work, involving stakeouts, burglary, and days of research at the national archives, they formed a picture of a plan that, when enacted, would kill hundreds. They never figured out why, whether it was some kind of insane sacrifice to a bloody-fanged god or simply an excruciatingly callous case of insurance fraud, but it didn’t matter. The main question was how to burn this cancer out, root and branch. But even as the Adairs came across the conspiracy… the conspiracy came across them. And Evan was the weakest link.
She came to Evan in the night, when the others were on another stakeout, a goddess, a beauty, eyes dark with promise, shimmering in the moonlight. She was all that the awkward young man could have imagined, and more. He could scarcely think as she ran her fingers along his skin, and a single kiss shattered all his fears. Evan was ready to give her everything, to betray anyone while under the effects of her intoxicating presence, but… he said something wrong. It was just a joke, he wasn’t actually going to give her his blood, but trying to explain it seemed to only make matters worse. Suddenly his beautiful goddess seemed to go mad with greedy hunger. She knocked him back against the headboard and sank her fangs into his neck, and so Evan died.
He awoke a few minutes later, hungrier than he could have ever imagined. His beautiful Sire, furious at losing the chance for his knowledge, chagrined at her own loss of self-control, her mind still clouded by the after-effects of Frenzy, had Embraced him. She held the young fledgling down and fed him three swallows of her blood, and then she asked him what he knew. And Evan told her everything.
When the rest of the Adairs returned, Evan and his new Sire were waiting for them. Infuriated and looking for someone to take out her anger on, with the element of surprise and Evan’s undead presence at her side, Evan’s Sire killed them all. Evan himself remembers only vague glimpses of horror from that night. But as quickly as the bloodshed had begun, it was over. Under his Sire’s instruction, Evan covered up his family’s death, winding down their affairs and making the Adairs vanish. Thus Evan Adair began his Requiem by destroying the last vestiges of his past.
And… that was that. His Sire, having Embraced him, more or less abandoned him to his own devices. Evan can’t prove it (his mind tends to turn into adoring mush whenever his Sire is around), but he’s fairly certain that his Sire did something very wrong by Embracing him. Wrong by vampire standards, anyway. The fact that his Sire forbid him from ever mentioning her name, and sees him at most once a month, rather supports this notion.
This suited Evan just fine. For reasons not entirely clear, Evan – despite his Vinculum – loathes his Sire. He hates her, and if he could think of how to do so, he’d see her turned to ashes. But she’s a good deal more powerful, and somehow his loathing never quite survives encountering her in close quarters. Then it turns into sexually-frustrated adoration, a state of affairs his Sire approves of and encourages with just the right amount of teasing. Evan has a bit of an Oedipal complex with his Sire, to put it mildly. And yet, it isn’t a full Vinculum. It’s more like… half a Vinculum. But his Sire doesn’t know that, and Evan is smart enough to keep his thoughts to himself.
In truth, Evan usually keeps his thoughts to himself. Despite joining a covenant best known for insane mad science, and the Childe of a vampire who is hardly a model of restraint, Evan is a very polite, quiet, and dignified young man. He is calm, composed, and always looks interested in what others have to say, but on the flip side rarely displays anything further. He is neither flashy nor outspoken, and gives his opinion as unassumingly as possible to avoid treading on any toes. In short, to most people Evan Adair is a rather boring neonate, easily overlooked and forgotten, and to most people, this is as much as they’ll ever see of him.
Those that spend time with Evan realize that this is not the entire story. His unassuming demeanor belies a quiet determination, and when the chips are down, he has the courage – or perhaps the ruthlessness – to face down the worst if he has to. Evan also has a cynical streak a mile wide, his sarcastic remarks made all the more cutting due to their infrequency and mild delivery. He also has a twisted sense of dark humor that has lead him to play practical jokes on people more than once.
Evan also likes to know everything that is going on around him, even to the point of spying on other people. To many bad things can happen when one isn’t paying attention, so he tries to protect himself. He generally assumes the worst of any situation, though some distant spark of his earlier idealism remains, and he at least tries to think the best of people. This can be very hard, but in some way he came out of his Embrace thinking that people, when pushed, can do some truly horrible things, so he tries to maintain a spark of compassion and sympathy for them.
Evan ended up joining the Ordo Dracul as a way of finding some undead company, and because on the one hand, his nebbish demeanor suited their methodology, and on the other hand, because transcending the vampiric form is an attractive proposition for a reluctant vampire. Evan follows a ritualistic method his Great Work, focusing on the Coil of Blood as a way of mitigating his bloodline’s curse. Feeding is nightmarishly difficult enough that he tries not to do it any more than he has to. However, Evan was clever enough to make his mentor the local Kogaion, which grants him a great deal of reflected prestige. It also means that he’s constantly doing work for the Kogaion, but it also means that even when Evan is doing something for himself, other Kindred tend to assume the Kogaion’s hand in matters. A useful assumption Evan rarely corrects.
Evan is a tall, gawky young man, six-foot-one in height, with knees and elbows everywhere. He’d been just coming out of a growth spurt when he was Embraced, and so he maintains a certain level of teenaged coltishness, with the attendant breaking of things. He has a sharp Roman nose, high cheekbones, and shoulder-length black hair that he tends to tie back in a short knot. He usually dresses as plainly as possible, earth tones, and has large glasses perched upon his nose, magnifying his hazel-colored eyes.
Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Gangrel Bloodline: Mara
Merits: Fast Reflexes 2, Languages (German, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Demotic; Native is English) 5, Quick Draw (Rapier) 1, Resources 2, Status (
Ordo Dracul) 1, Striking Looks (Adorkable) 1, Unbondable 1 Combat Merits: Defensive Combat (Weaponry) 1, Fighting Style (Armed Defense) 4, Fighting Style (Light Sword) 4, Fighting Finesse (Rapier) 2 Lair: None, Evan takes advantage of the dormitory housing at the Grand Chapter House.
Willpower: 7 Humanity: 6 Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Feral Curse, The Black Water Curse Personal Banes: None
Initiative: 11 (15 w/ Rapier) Defense: 5;
Flurry (●●●●): Your character moves quickly enough to stab opponents with numerous pricks and swipes in the blink of an eye. As long as your character has her Defense available to her (it’s not been sacrificed for another maneuver or denied from surprise, for example), any character coming into her immediate proximity takes one point of lethal damage. This damage continues once per turn as long as the enemy stays within range and occurs on the enemy’s turn. This can affect multiple opponents but cannot be used in a turn where the character is Dodging.
Weak Spot (●●): You swing against your opponent’s arm rather than his own weapon. Use this ability when defending against an armed attacker. When you’re taking a Dodge action, if an attacker rolls 0 successes against you, he’s disarmed and drops his weapon.
Iron Guard (●●●●): You and your weapon are one. At the start of each turn, you can choose to reduce your weapon bonus (down to a minimum of 0) to increase your Defense by a like amount. If you take a Dodge action, add your full weapon bonus to your Defense after doubling your pool.
Blood Potency: 2 Disciplines: Auspex ●●, Celerity ●, Coils of the Dragon ●●●, Nicor ●●●, Obfuscate ●, Protean ●●, Resilience ●●● Predatory Aspects: Aquatic, Feral Senses, Stalker Coils of the Dragon: Coil of Banes ●, Coil of Blood ●, Coil of the Beast ● Devotions: Heightened Senses Vitae: 11/3; Coil of Blood (+3)
Bog Rapier....................... 2L............ 12………....….....AP 1,
Thrust (●●): Your character knows when to defend herself and when to move in for the kill. At any time, you can sacrifice points of Defense one-for-one to add to attack pools. This cannot happen if you’ve already used Defense in the same turn. If you use this maneuver, you may not sacrifice your full Defense for any other reason. For example, you cannot use Thrust with an all-out attack.
Feint (●●●): With a flourish in one direction, your character can distract an opponent for a cleaner, more effective follow-up strike. Make an attack roll and record your successes, but you deal no damage. However, if you attack during the next turn, you both ignore the target's defense and add your first turn's successes to your attack.
Cornelius van Holt Adept of the Untamed Void*, Sworn of the Mysteries
Type: Vampire Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Daeva Embrace: 1943 Apparent Age: Early 60s
Virtue: Prudent Vice: Lazy
Background: How was he to know that being able to lie with such proficiency and panache would come back and bite him in his ample hindquarters?
Cornelius Holt was born in modest circumstances in a small town in the Orange Free State in South Africa, in the latter years of the 19th century. As a quick-fingered, quick-witted youth, he ran messages and picked pockets for gold nuggets in the frontier towns there. When the Boer War came, the nineteen-year-old Cornelius graduated to running messages for Louis Botha’s forces and Lord Kitchener’s British army alike, supplemented with a bit of spying on the side. When the war was over, Cornelius found himself with a tidy little nest egg, and South Africa was looking a tad small (also there were a rather lot of people who wanted to string him up).
Cornelius scurried northwards to Paris. He began a second career as an artist, a virtuoso painter of post-impressionist, modernist work and a regular at the salons and coffeehouses of those cities. It wasn’t that Cornelius was actually a very good artist. But he could charm the critics and dazzle the debutantes, and that was plenty. Actually, Cornelius took art lessons and eventually became a decent landscape painter. But no one buys landscapes.
Not that anyone bought his modernist paintings either. In that dazzling period just before the First World War, Cornelius was what was called, politely, an adventurer. Work was entirely too much… work, for him to deign to do it. Instead, Cornelius traded off his wits and his charm to live the high life. His tailor never saw any payment, neither did the wine merchant. The hotel let him live free of charge in exchange for his name-dropping it in conversations with Society friends, and he ate luxurious meals at everyone’s house but his own. This too, came to an end however, when after several years Cornelius’s creditors began to make awkward noises about seeing some money, some day. For his health, Cornelius decided that now was an excellent time to see more of the world.
For most of the 1910s and 1920s, Cornelius bummed about the British Empire. He wintered in Hong Kong, sipped champagne in Sydney, hunted rhinoceros in Kenya, and dazzled Maharajahs in India. It was also during this time that Cornelius appended the aristocratic ‘van’ to his name, and it was during this time that Cornelius’s eyes were opened to the supernatural world. Out where ‘civilization’ (or more accurately, urbanization and rationalism) had not reached its tendrils as much, magic could hide less. Cornelius, always uncomfortably sharp and painfully curious about other peoples’ secrets, found it. Then he started to use it.
When Cornelius moved to London in 1927, he had acquired a comfortable heft, a deft hand at spell-crafting, and the companionship of the dour Ms. Adelaide Prescott. With perfect aplomb and perfectly forged documents, Cornelius began to lecture about art history at local colleges and rub elbows with high society once more. He also began to act as a spiritualist and high class medium, contacting the dead for the enlightenment and improvement of his guests. For a modest fee, of course.
Cornelius van Holt thus lived a very satisfactory life well into the Second World War. His earlier outrageous frauds were now moderated, more subtle, though perhaps no less outrageous for it. Then, in 1943, Cornelius was Embraced. He claims it was because his Sire was charmed by his wit and intelligence and wished to preserve it for posterity – or at least for his own use. But strangely enough, no one is actually sure who Cornelius’s Sire was. For that matter, Ms. Adelaide Prescott was Embraced at the same time, and no one has any idea who her Sire was.
Cornelius did not let his newly undead status slow him down very long. Looking about himself, he discarded the Carthians as too boorish, the Circle of the Crone as too bloody, the Lancea et Sanctum as too religious, and the Invictus as too dour. Thus Cornelius joined the Ordo Dracul, seeing it as the most congenial covenant for a man of his proclivities.
At first, lying about knowing the Coils just seemed like common sense. Being a Slave was just about as much fun as it sounded, and when a few other Dragons proved amenable to a conspiracy to let them lie better and get away with it cleaner – well, Cornelius would have been a fool to pass it up, yes?
Over the years (and decades) his co-conspirators died, moved to Manchester, and passed into a convenient torpor, but by then Cornelius was moving up in the ranks, and frankly, lying did not get any harder once he was Sworn. He made himself useful to a couple of Guardians, mainly by being a politician who understood how important Wyrm’s Nests were without particularly wanting to run one himself.
This detached attitude proved to serve Cornelius well when he himself became a Guardian of a Wyrm’s Nest, an old haunted house near the Lesnes Abbey Woods in the East End. Instead of provoking some macabre disaster by relentlessly questing for forbidden knowledge, Cornelius kept a lid on it, made modest gains, and was well prepared to contain it when things went to hell. In point of actual fact, he had delegated a lot of authority to some very skilled Kindred who became very killed Kindred when those critters with the claws and blood-red eyes came pouring out of the basement, but since there was no one else around to take credit Cornelius wound up with all of it.
No one was more surprised than Cornelius was when he was named Parliamentarian of the Sworn of the Mysteries. Apparently all the other eligible candidates were seen as ‘politically unsuitable’ or ‘untrustworthy’. So now Cornelius finds himself trying to mediate between dozens of squabbling sorcerers and academics on the basis of comparative occult value, with comparatively little idea of what the hell he’s doing. He’s at the point of just throwing up his hands and making all his decisions based on political stability, supported by a healthy dose of fraud and delegation. It’s worked for him so far.
Today, Cornelius is the Parliamentarian of the Sworn of the Mysteries. As Parliamenterian, Cornelius is the leader of the Ordo Dracul’s political branch, setting the schedule, ensuring order is maintained, and allowing or forbidding certain topics from coming up. Lujza Dvorzsak has greater respect and influence, though relatively few actual legal powers.
Overall, Cornelius van Holt is a man who likes to live well. He is unashamed in his pleasures, a connoisseur of gourmet food, fine art, pleasant company, and of course, blood. He is seen at the best restaurants, attends the theaters of the West End religiously, and his chambers in the St. Thomas Club are ever the site of an informal party, with people coming and going and Cornelius enjoying the company of all, most especially the ‘delightful young people’ who form the lower ranks of the Ordo Dracul. Admitedly, he periodically mixes up the names of the aforementioned delightful young people, but after spending sixty-six years lecturing neonates on the artistic legacy of the English-speaking cultures, he can be forgiven a bit of absent-mindedness regarding names. Besides, Cornelius always has some excellent blood on tap, so he can be forgiven many things.
In truth, Cornelius van Holt hides a bitter and nihilistic personality beneath his hedonistic façade. For decades, Cornelius traveled the World of Darkness, and the one central fact that he has learned from his travels is the following: Morality is a lie. It doesn't exist. In a well-ordered universe, the good shall triumph over the evil, the just shall defeat the wicked, kindness will win out over cruelty. Instead, over the course of his journeys, Cornelius has seen villages of people enthralled to blood-drinking overlords, their one purpose in life to be the meal for some monstrous creature of the night. He's seen werewolves chase down and capture peasants to be sacrificed on the bloody altar of some alien spirit. He's seen a merchant's freighter fall to a ghostly pirate, never able to defend itself. And not just the monsters in the shadows. He's seen what people do to each other in the ruins of Nanking and the basements of the NKVD. Even his fellow Dragons, who know more than most what the world is really like, see other people as things.
Cornelius gave up. What's the point? The lot of man is to suffer and die, and if he's unlucky to come back from the dead to torment his neighbors. Cornelius now views the only point of existence as bringing pleasure to oneself. If your life is ultimately pointless, you might as well enjoy it.
Of course, it's not completely true. When he was a young man Cornelius was a con man and a fraud, but while he lied and cheated, he never killed, he never used force or took more than people could afford. He’s grown jaded and cynical from his life, but there’s still some spark of irrepressible enthusiasm and good-feeling towards his fellow man hidden away in him. It's buried deep however, and Cornelius van Holt did not reach his rank in the Ordo Dracul by being a soft touch.
All that aside, though, Cornelius’s fatal flaw is that he's lazy. He’s a brilliant mind, and he talks an excellent game, but he’d much rather argue art history or Coil theory in his parlor than spend three weeks prepping a ritual circle in the attic. He simply lacks the interest and energy to conduct the kinds of grand experiments necessary to propel him to the heights of scholarship. It’s always been easier to simply lie and fake, and the older and higher-ranked Cornelius has gotten, the easier it’s been to bluff his way through.
That said, while Cornelius is only about half as clever and competent as he appears to be, he is still very competent. He’s an autodidact who taught himself the classics, art history, arcane theory, several languages, and a significant amount of economic theory. Underestimating him is a very dangerous thing to do.
Though frighteningly intelligent and very on the ball, Cornelius tends to act like a somewhat absent-minded, bumbling professor. He quotes lots of obscure artists and scholars, introduces bits of Latin or Greek into the conversation, and is generally always eager to talk shop, but at the same time he can acts a little vague about the people he talks to, as though he doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to anyone but himself. This is particularly the case with students and 'delightful young people', but pretty much applies to anyone whom he hasn't known for decades. This isn't really an act, strictly speaking, as it is what Cornelius’s really like when he's not paying attention. Around the Ordo Dracul politics or supernatural threats, he's a lot more focused.
Cornelius takes very few risks, partially out of laziness and partially out of a strong self-preservation instinct. He prefers to put off decisions for a while to think them over. Any snap judgments or whimsical decisions he makes were actually preplanned days in advance, at least. If forced to make decisions on the spur of the moment, Cornelius almost always opts for greatest safety and least risk.
In person, Cornelius is an enormously fat (as in pear-shaped) man in his early sixties, with a whiskered face that has a kind of strangely engaging ugliness about it. No one would ever call him handsome, but with his large ruddy nose, intelligent brown eyes, and imperfectly trimmed whiskers he is simply interesting to look at. His hair was once black and is now layered strands of black, white, and grey, and he dresses in formal academic clothing, well-tailored black suits with white cravats and such, perhaps with a colorful flower in his breast pocket.
Rank: 3 Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 6 Willpower: 1 Blood Potency: 5 Notable Powers: Old Fraud, Erudite, Old-Fashioned Charmer Banes: Lethargy (Smell of Cooking Food); Mirror Reversal
Ms. Adelaide Prescott Initiate of the Elysian Curse, Sworn of the Dying Light
Type: Vampire Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Gangrel Embrace: 1940s? Apparent Age: Late 50s / Early 60s?
Virtue: Curious Vice: Callous
Background: No one is entirely certain where Ms. Prescott comes from. The generally accepted story is that Cornelius van Holt discovered her somewhere in the East, working as a teacher somewhere in China or India. Or perhaps she’s an Australian, from some tiny township out in the great desert of that country. Or perhaps she was a missionary in Africa, bringing God and modern medicine to the tribes of the interior.
Not that anyone knows for certain. Cornelius isn’t consistent, and if asked, Ms. Prescott merely sniffs and says that she fails to see how it is relevant. Her life after arriving in London in 1927 is more thoroughly documented. She worked closely with Cornelius, acting as his secretary and personal manager, though their relationship has always been one of equals. At least, even though they squabble constantly, they seem to stay together?
Like Holt, she was Embraced sometime during the Second World War, though no one has the faintest idea who her Sire was, and Ms. Prescott is singularly uninformative on the matter. She joined the Ordo Dracul, like Cornelius, though her upward rise has been significantly slower than his. In part this is because Prescott, at least, is scrupulously honest in her Great Work, but also because transcendence is only a secondary goal for Ms. Prescott. Instead, she has been engaged in her own version of Chasing the Dragon’s Tail, running a decades-long social experiment in consciously shaping mortal belief by means of stories.
For someone so wholly free of whimsy, Ms. Prescott’s dedication to music and stories seems somewhat incongruous. Ms. Prescott does not see it this way, however. A devoted nihilist, Prescott considers most of what man holds dear - justice, morality, religion, right and wrong - to be utter hogwash, and yet these lies and stories cause men to do strange and great things. To her, stories are everything: they create reality, not vice-versa, and whomever understands them and controls them controls humanity. To those who ask, she might point to history as the greatest example, but in general, she focuses on the smaller scale of things; how stories effect how people view the world and how they act.
To that end, Prescott has been crafting and spreading songs for decades now, inserting her chosen themes and motifs into human society, specifically the concept of ‘The Restless Wolf.’ It’s a little manipulative, but doesn’t seem particularly harmful unless one considers overly-catchy tunes harmful. Prescott teaches night classes in musical theory at several local colleges, and acts as a behind-the-scenes songwriter for numerous local London musicians (usually through a variety of blood-bound cut-outs). It seems a very great deal of effort for very esoteric rewards, but Prescott is pleased with her results so far.
In person, Ms. Prescott is a woman with absolutely no sense of levity whatsoever. Everything is serious business to her, and she does not appreciate anyone treating things otherwise. She has an exceptionally dominant personality, demanding respect from others while being exceptionally slow to give it herself. She rarely gets involved in other people's affairs, but she does not take well to being challenged in any way. She interprets disrespect as a threat to her authority, and is unlikely to be assuaged until she has reasserted herself as superior. Oddly enough, if legitimately defeated, she will usually defer to said person until such a time as they prove themselves her inferior.
Despite her constantly sour demeanor, Ms. Prescott is never sarcastic, which would require far more humor than she possesses; that is to say, none. She is instead blunt and straightforward - the niceties of society seem to only confuse or annoy her. A wholly pragmatic woman, she is completely unconcerned with pleasantries, societal taboos, or gender roles, as well as having a somewhat callous attitude toward somewhat touchy subjects like infant mortality or killing. Though she is not an evil person, she places necessity and common sense over sentiment, seeing the comforting taboos and rituals that humanity surrounds itself as no more than silly play acting, which makes her somewhat horrific to the civilized Kindred who think themselves anything other than monsters.
At the same time, while Prescott is exceptionally pragmatic and not very good at the little white lies society is built on, she is certainly interested in said little white lies. Prescott doesn’t respect most people, but she doesn’t disrespect those who act dumb for the sake of a cause: the stupider they act, the more curious she becomes as to understanding why. (Those who act dumb because they are just stupid are not quite as interesting to Ms. Prescott).
Ms. Prescott is… a distinctly unique-looking woman. Silver-haired and hazel-eyed, she is of average height, looking taller due to the high-heeled shoes that she wears, but is very solidly-built – powerful and muscular. Her limbs are slightly stocky, and her skin is unusually rough; it is sometimes joked out of her earshot that she gets her figure from running down and thwacking fledglings with her baton. Her face is long and thin, showing the signs of her age, though it might have still been handsome if not for her permanently disapproving expression. Even when not actively annoyed, Ms. Prescott looks stern and unfriendly. She has an overbite that is visible whenever she sneers at anyone. As perhaps a tiny concession to fashion, she wears her nails long, filing them into rounded points that only increase her intimidating appearance. She customarily wears dark grey dresses and high-heeled, sharp-toed women’s boots that laced up at the front. Her clothing is coarse and unpleasant, but virtually indestructible. She also wears a simple iron band on the third finger of her left hand (though no other jewelry), and carried an ebony conductor’s baton that has been fitted with a silver handle – it looks more like a switch than a baton, and she has been known to use it to rap the knuckles of misbehaving neonates.
Virtue: Humble Vice: Secretive Long-Term Aspiration: To learn the history and nature of the Kindred
Dying makes you shallow.
I used to pride myself on knowing who I was and thinking about serious questions and taking my part in the democratic process and buying fair trade tea and, you know, caring.
I go cold when I’m hungry. It’s like my mind slips into the gaps, into this dark, empty pit that’s eternally occluded from the light. Except it’s not empty. It’s full of darting voices, and they whisper to me and they make me do things, and when I come to myself, I’ve done terrible things. Except, every time I come to myself, I come to myself a little less me, a little less Frances, a little more empty. So I make myself superficial. I care about information above meaning, knowing above understanding, looks over substance.
Because if I start caring, the next time I give into the whispers might make me stop caring altogether. I have to pretend. To be bright and funny and cheerful. And shallow. Because I have to be.
What I remember about the bridge is this: I was on the ledge. I’d been standing there, on the stone rail thing, looking down at the Thames. I could have been there for hours, and you know, all these people walked by and there wasn’t one of them who said or did a thing. But I decided that really, tonight wasn’t it. It was too cold, and I thought about Mum and Dad a bit, and I think I thought a little about black cherry ice cream – I don’t know why – and I thought, oh, stuff-it, not now, and I got down and just sat there, dangling my legs over the edge and kicking them a bit and I think I sang a little. I forget what it was I was singing, something cheerful, maybe. Living wasn’t so bad. The moon was bright, and the lights on the other side of the river were twinkling like stars, and I thought, it’s too nice a night for it. It should be colder than it was, and raining, maybe.
I stayed there for ages. It got really late. And then I realized that I could hear footsteps which meant that, actually, the bridge was dead, and there was only the one other person on the bridge, which is why I looked over my shoulder when I heard.
I think he was drunk. He was in a suit, and he ran right past me, and he didn’t even see me. And maybe my balance was off, but he just brushed me as he went past, and I clawed at the edge of the bridge, and then I just fell into the river, whoosh, splash, and the very last thing I thought was, bugger.
Frances was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. She went to school there, and studied journalism and English literature, and she went to London, because all people go to London. It's rather like a lodestone, really, a magnet that attracts nails and paper-clips and metal fillings, so long as they're not too heavy, so long as they don't have anything holding them down. Frances didn't. She worked for a little London evening journal, a sub-editor on the art and culture beat. She was single, lonely, and far from home.
Slowly, she began to be forgotten. Emails and telephone calls never reached her. Her co-workers and few friends forgot conversations or remembered things differently -- until her friends stopped talking to her, and her co-workers stopped talking to her too, just staring past her sometimes. Disconnected from the rest of the world, Frances tried a half-hearted suicide that proved far too successful.
The pale, ancient thing was there when they dredged Frances from the river. She was there at Frances's funeral, and during the night she shredded the flowers laid on the grave, so that when Frances's parents came the next day, they cried even more than they had expected to. Every night, the ancient creature lay upon Frances's grave, and whispered words down into the dirt. She admitted that she had been there all along, that she had hidden and isolated Frances, had disconnected the phone and wiped the messages from the answering machine and deleted the e-mails. She had made Frances lonely. So very lonely. She confessed, to the dead, still corpse.
And when she was ready, she brought a man in a sack, and she dug up the grave -- she was terribly strong, this ancient thing -- and opened Frances's coffin with her pale, tiny hands. And she bled black blood into Frances's mouth and grabbed her soul and shoved it back.
Drowning is strange. You panic and you thrash around, and then you go all sluggish, like you can’t move, like you’re in one of those dreams where there’s a monkey or something sitting on you and your limbs go weak and you can’t even scream out. It’s like that.
It might not be like that for everyone. But then, those of us who are able to tell people what dying is like didn't really die properly. So how can we tell what dying is like? Anyway. It was like that for me. I drowned. And then I sort of shuddered and went into this ecstasy I hadn't ever experienced before, and thought, where’s the light?
And then, I think I must have been dead.
I didn't know it at the time. I've worked that out since. It was like it was immediately afterwards that I started to be aware, still stuck in blackness, but aware of my body stiffening and arching and my arms flailing around in open air and my mouth full of the taste of blood. And it was so powerfully strong, but it was sweet, too, because I started gnashing my teeth and licking them and biting on air and I was screaming and I was so cold, so cold. I flailed my hands around and touched cold earth and grasped handfuls of it. Then there was this tearing sensation, like something was being torn out of me, like ripping cloth, only inside me. It seemed to go on forever, the pulling, the ripping, and it left behind this gaping, gnawing feeling, and I was more hungry than I think I have ever been I was only this cramping, sucking hunger. But I could see, in this kind of narrowed perspective.
There was a man in front of me. Lying on the ground. A man in a suit. He was all I could see, in that tunnel vision, and I shook myself free of the hands that were holding my shoulders and I half-crawled, half-jumped across the earth and held him tight and bit him hard on the mouth, on his tongue maybe, and his mouth filled up with blood and I drank it and kissed him hard and I sucked and sucked and he wriggled for a second, and then he stopped and began to kiss me back. And it felt so good. It hasn't ever felt like that since. His blood got all over me, all over my hands and down my chin, and I sat there on the ground and let him fall sideways, wide-eyed and dead. Someone had tied him up. I nearly didn't recognize him. I leaned over, and reached out a hand, and put it under the dead man’s chin and turned his head to look at me, and it was Chris Sutton-Jones, and I snatched my hand back and let him fall face-down and I thought, Oh God. I've just snogged my boss.
Which is just typical of me. Something significant happens and I have to go spoil it.
I began to feel very conscious of myself. I was outdoors. On grass. In the dark. I was wearing my favorite dress, the one with the embroidery and the little mirrors on the hem, and too much make-up. Apart from Chris’s blood, I was mostly dry. A little damp, maybe. And I could hear everything. The fluttering of a moth by that sharp smelling pine tree. And within its branches I knew there was a bird’s nest, with three sleeping chicks in it, and – yes – one dead one. I could feel the paint on my face, the movement of the air on my skin, in my hair. I could feel every individual blade of grass under my fingers, every grain of clay.
But I couldn't hear myself breathing. I couldn't feel my heart beat.
I was next to a hole in the ground, and a little wooden cross with a black-and-white plastic plate screwed to it,like you’d put on a grave before the headstone was finished. It had my name on it.
The ancient thing was called Abonde. That wasn't her (or it's) real name, but then Abonde didn't remember her mortal name, or her mortal life. She was ancient and occulted and thoroughly mad. She terrified her young Childe, but whatever strange compulsion had led Abonde to spend three years systematically ruining Frances's had not told her what to do with the young vampire. And so the ancient thing bade Frances to go forth and learn. Sometimes Abonde summons Frances back, by means of dreams and spirits and other strangeness. One time, Frances helped Abonde carve the heart out of a middle-aged housewife, and listened while Abonde explained what every line meant, how each line was a prophecy, and then Frances watched the auguries come true over the following months. Another time, Frances helped dress Abonde in modern clothing, and took her to Harrods, where she tried every jacket, and ripped the sleeve of each garment she tried on, and bought them and then simply gave them to Frances to do with as she saw fit.
The rest of the time, Frances was left to her own devices. She joined the Dragons -- she couldn't join the Acolytes, not when her Sire was the Hierophant -- and she proved to be good at it. She used to be a journalist, after all, and a writer. She understands people, and she understands herself, and Van Holt took her on as an apprentice, though the old vampire gives her only occasional guidance. Mostly, Frances is found out and about London, watching, learning, and writing, a Shadow in the night. She found the Awakened, and she and Whim know one another, and she found Rakesh Morgan, who has taught her a little more about the world.
The fact that Frances is Abonde's childe is not common knowledge, but neither keeps it a secret. Those who know of it step lightly around Frances, for if roused the elder is an terrifying foe. The ancient keeps a lock of Frances's hairs and a vial of her blood, and if anything untoward happens to her childe, Abonde will know.
Frances's has the mad curiosity and terrible intellect of the line of Gaius Bassianus Numidiens. In her, the insight is turned towards understanding. Frances’s main personal asset is her self-knowledge. When she was alive, she watched people and understood them, despite her terrible shyness. Now that she is dead, she understands monsters. She continues to learn about herself, aware of just what she is capable of doing, of becoming. Frances is painfully aware that when she looks at Abonde, she's looking at her own future, if she lives long enough, and the thought frightens and disturbs her. Maybe it’s right for her to be a monster, she thinks, but she doesn’t have to like it.
Were that not enough, but Frances needs to worry about part of her wayward soul as well. She, the Ba, is here, and dead, and hungry. But just as worrisome is her spiteful and clever reflection, which is devoted to making her Requiem as lonely and loveless as her life was.
Even so, she does have fun with what she is. She makes a point of feeding on the kind of people who might have bullied or humiliated her when she was alive, and enjoys playing tricks on them (such as following a victim around for an evening and messing with her stuff) before taking their blood.
I’m feeling better now. I went a bit wrong last night. Started seeing patterns, that just weren’t there, in things.
The true nature, I think, of “evil” is in essence a lack, a deficiency. Not just a failure to see another person’s point of view, but an inability to put yourself in another person’s place.
Evil isn’t simply an intellectual failing. It’s an emotional failure. A failure of sympathy. But sympathy is precisely what I don’t have. I used to be so sure of my compassion, and now I try so hard to have that bleeding heart again. I remember once getting into a row with some racist, some BNP activist, who called me a “self-loathing liberal do-gooder.” Which was his way of trying to say that he thought that I clearly didn’t hate immigrants and asylum seekers because I didn’t love myself. And I thought, anyone who uses the term “do-gooder” as an insult clearly isn’t good. So I took it as a compliment. Well, why not?
I'm not a do-gooder anymore.
I can’t summon up that compassion again because I have to feed. I have to prey on people, and I so have to be unable to relate to people. I can pretend to relate, but I can’t. I know what they’re feeling when they see me, when they catch how pale I am, how messy my hair is, and they make their judgments and conclude that they don’t want to know me.
I can see how they love each other. Couples holding hands on the street. People with children. I’m never going to be able to have children. I mean, I didn’t want them when I was alive, but now I resent people with children so much. They don’t have a clue how important that is. They don’t understand how valuable a thing they have. They don’t know what they’ve made.
And this vision I have, these senses – I see more, and I feel less. I can hear a rat’s breath twenty feet away on a busy pavement, and yet something in me, something in my make-up makes it impossible for me to feel it. I can hear a boy’s heartbeat, but I can’t feel what that means anymore. I can see his aura, but I’m not supposed to see his aura, it tells me too much. It divorces me from finding out what he’s feeling from all the cues and the conversations and the connections, the connections.
The only way I seem to be able to connect anymore is to find the patterns. I listened to Chelsea Girl again this evening, and when Evan said he was going out, he was just going out. But the connections were real last night. What if they’re real again for me tomorrow night? What if I’m going mad?
It’s hard to think about this. I think, I’m hungry. I think, I’m thirsty. I think, want that dress. Even though I can’t see my reflection, I know that I’m the same when I wake up each night that I was the day I died. My clothes are clean. My hair and make-up do themselves forever. I’m like a doll outside, and the longer I’m dead, the more I’m a doll inside. Every time I sleep, the dreams show me things and make me more and more confused about who I am and where I came from and who I was when I was alive. Every time I lose myself in hunger, or anger or fear, I lose a little more of myself to the shadow. How long will it be before it’s all gone, and I’m completely empty, everything that was Frances gone away, just a doll made from a corpse, empty-headed and shallow, whispering in the dark with the other shadows, action and appetite running on little clockwork gears click-click-click, no thought, no self-awareness... How long?
I’m scared. I’m really scared. I don’t want to be dead. I don’t want to be a vampire. It’s made me shallow.
Frances is small; she often escapes notice entirely, even when she’s not invisible. Her angular, pretty face has the marks of someone who smiles a lot. A couple of strands of gray run through wavy, shoulder-length black hair that never seems to wholly behave, even when it’s neatly combed. Green eyes, hidden beneath heavy lashes, miss very little of her surroundings. Frances dressed like an eccentric, even when she was alive: she would wear a suit with a frilly blouse and at the same time wear buttons from bands like Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian. Since she died, she wears a lot more black. Whim has called her a “twee goth secretary,” which is pretty accurate, really.
She leaves no reflection at all in mirrors; she casts no shadow.
Her voice is high and sweet-sounding; she speaks in perfect Received Pronunciation English, although she says little around those she doesn’t know or trust. If flustered, a trace of an Irish brogue slips through. She’s still cripplingly shy, but her natural vulnerability and sweetness has been eroded by her Requiem, to be replaced more and more with the ruthless coldness of death.
To those who take the trouble to get to know her, Frances is funny, apparently sweet-natured and breezy. Her manners aren’t perfect, but she charms the few people who bother to show an interest in her with her frankness and perception. Most people who meet Frances find her immensely nice. But every so often, the mask slips, and something of the nature of Abonde's line slips through, and she's suddenly colder and more ruthless than any young Kindred ought to be.
Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Mekhet Bloodline: Scathain
Merits: Contacts 2, Doll Face 1, Herd (Students) 2, Professional Training (Journalist; Expression, Investigation, Academics) 5, Resources 3, Status (
Ordo Dracul) 1, Striking Looks (Twee Goth Secretary) 1, Sympathetic 2 Lair: Attic of Student Housing; Secrecy 4
Willpower: 7 Humanity: 5 Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Frenzy, The Hollow Curse, The Mirror's Curse, The Curse of Truth Personal Banes: Counting
Initiative: 7 Defense: 3 Health: 8 Speed: 9
Blood Potency: 3 Disciplines: Ars Speculorum ●●, Auspex ●●●, Coils of the Dragon ●●, Obfuscate ●●● Coils of the Dragon: Coil of the Soul ●● Devotions: The Smoking Mirror, Two Sides to Every Story, Heightened Senses Vitae: 12/3; Herd 2
Virtue: Adventurous Vice: Gullible Long-Term Aspiration: To be totally awesome
Background: Malik Faye never quite got along with modern society. Modern technology, he was completely fine with – telephones, televisions, cars, all of that were things he was entirely behind. But modern society seemed to come from nowhere and lead nowhere, and Malik felt adrift. No one cared about a rough-looking kid from the Estates, and Malik found no rites to mark his journey through life except for losing his virginity and gaining a criminal record – and even animals can manage the first one.
So Malik went looking for something more than a rap sheet to show that he had come up against adversity and triumphed, and it was then that he came across Fakir Musafar’s Dances Sacred and Profane. Musafar had participated in the Indian Sun Dance, and hung himself from steel hooks as a way of finding transcendence. He was talking about exactly the things Malik felt were missing from his own life. Pain wasn’t about enduring, but about celebrating existence and marking your own way.
Malik started slow, with tattoos and piercings, but he moved swiftly through the entire gamut of body modification rituals – hot and cold branding, then cuttings and scarification. He immersed himself in the modern primitive movement because it sang to him, and he saved up the money from his dead-end delivery job to go to Africa and commune with his ancestors.
Unfortunately for Malik, the ancestors felt like communing with him. As part of a ten-day road trip through West Africa, Malik and a few friends were to get authentic tribal tattoos. One of the Nagloper saw them, and chose to make Malik – strong, tough, with a proper appreciation for the flesh – into its Childe. It came upon Malik and his friends that night, and it twisted their flesh and consumed their blood, and gave it into Malik. Then it took him back to its cave, and for four years it schooled him in the way of the Nagloper. Needless to say, he missed his flight back to London.
The Nagloper are an ancient bloodline of fleshwarpers from the West coast of Africa, originating in Southwest Africa – the word Nagloper is Khoikhoi for ‘Night Walker’ or evil sorcerer. They were tricksters and demons, who ruled as petty gods in the secluded villages of the interior. Malik’s sire was a bit more forward-thinking than most, and the old horror took him in to spread the Nagloper ways to a new land. It was an absolute horror, neither male nor female but ineffably other, with an eye on a stalk emerging from its mouth, and sharp spines and a tail, a creature out of nightmare. But somehow, to Malik, it also looked wicked cool, and he’d been looking for authenticity, hadn’t he? What could be more authentic than this?
Somehow, Malik’s enthusiasm survived the Nagloper’s tutelage, and when it tired of him, it kicked him back out into the bush. Malik somehow managed to return to London in one piece, and he began to put wreckage of his life back together again. Not that there was very much to put together – his father had left when he was four, his mother had long since ignored him, and his sister was mostly happy because now she had a place to crash when the withdrawal symptoms kicked in.
On the whole, Malik’s taken to the whole ‘vampire’ business like a duck to water. The world had been boring and lacking in adventure, but being a Kindred provided adventure in spades. Malik moved into ever more extreme body-modification rituals – an undead body was bloody durable. Steel hooks? Malik could twist his own bones into hooks, detach it on a length of flesh and sinewy, and hang from the ceiling that way.
Malik started working in a tattoo parlor, and he became increasingly active in the body-mod community – it was one the few places where showing off fangs earns a “man, sweet teeth filing” as opposed to any more extreme reaction. The vampire community found him after one of his body-mods attracted the attention of medical professionals, whereupon Malik found himself given a long lecture about the Masquerade. He joined the Ordo Dracul afterwards, because of their attitudes towards transcendence, and because the idea of calling himself a Dragon appealed. He’s still a major part of the BDSM/Body modification/Modern Primitive/Fetish community, and someone’s a really good chum, or really sounds serious about body mods going to the next level? Well then, Malik gives them a cup of the red stuff, and then he twists their flesh like a latter-day Picasso.
The elder Dragons tend to be dubious of Malik’s commitment, and his regular skirting of the Masquerade does not endear him to the Invictus. But Malik’s a useful fellow – a shapeshifter and deadly combatant, and he’s always got easy access to ghouls and blood dolls. Need a guy who doesn’t mind fighting something terrifying and deadly? He knows a man. Want a girl who’s cool with biting and blood? Wear this and come to Friday’s party.
Malik is outgoing and energetic, a classic extrovert who is ready for anything. He might be an undead horror, but he loves life so dearly it makes him ache. It sings to him, challenges him with a thousand dangers that absolutely demand testing. He’s the new vicar of pain, a DJ of the flesh, twisting and turning and making monsters for no better reason than because it makes people come alive, and hey, it looks wicked cool.
He’s got some issues with authority figures, and they tend to have issues with him – Malik is independent-minded to a fault, and orders and commands tend to go in one ear and out the other. He just smiles and nods and then completely ignores what they have to say. Still, they provide him with room and board at the St. Thomas Club, and the Nagloper curse means that Malik has certain requirements not easily fulfilled – like enough dirt to bury himself in every night. He’s also one of the Lady of London’s Hounds, which is basically his way of keeping the attention off his occasional flirtations with breaking the Masquerade.
In his ‘natural’ form, Malik is about five feet, eight inches tall, with a heavily muscled body covered in an ever-shifting array of piercings, scars, tattoos, and more exotic body modifications including Vicissitude-crafted spikes and ridges. He keeps his curly black hair cut short, and he has dark eyes, deep brown verging on black, and sharp, aquiline features. Left to his own devices, Malik wears as little as he possibly can, usually either shorts and a tank-top, or even just a pair of jeans and nothing else.
Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Nosferatu Bloodline: Nagloper
Dr. Victoria Cutteridge Questing Initiate of the Burning Hunger, Sworn of the Dying Light
Type: Vampire Covenant: Ordo Dracul Clan: Ventrue Bloodline: The Architects of the Monolith Embrace: 1934 (Enthralled 1929) Apparent Age: 42
Virtue: Honest Vice: Arrogant
Background: Victoria Cutteridge (née Victoria Gallagher) was born to a middle-class Dublin family in 1887. Her father was a Methodist minister, her mother a nurse at a local hospital, and young Victoria grew up surrounded by no fewer than eight brothers and sisters, most of whom were younger than her. Even in the crowded, noisy Gallagher household, Victoria stood out as being quiet, reserved, and bookish. She was not a very social child, but she was scarily intelligent, with a photographic memory that meant that by the age of twelve she could quote from the Bible as easily as her father.
Under the circumstances, it was clear that Victoria was destined for great things, so her family scrimped and saved and managed to send her to the London School of Medicine for Women, where she studied epidimiology and graduated as a full doctor in 1911. She set up her own practice in London, catering to a primarily female clientele, and used the pay from her wealthier patients to do pro-bono work in the slums of London, studying the progression of contagious diseases through the lower classes, and doing what she could. Even at the best of times, Victoria had the bedside manner of a dead fish, but beggars couldn't be choosers, and unpleasant or not, she was a very good doctor.
She met her husband that way, a fellow doctor named James Cutteridge, and they were married in 1913. She wasn't really very good with people, but James seemed to understand her, was able to communicate with her on her own level. They both served on the Western Front, where Victoria discovered that she had an admirable talent for remaining cool under artillery fire. She rather thought she might have been in love with him. And then he died in the Spanish Flu of 1919, and Victoria was all alone.
Ten years later, she was still alone, still working among the poor of London, keeping up with the latest in medical trends and quietly withdrawing inside of herself. Then one evening, a new patient came and offered her a deal. Serve him, mind and soul, and he would let her live forever. Victoria considered the offer presented to her, and she accepted. In 1929 she became a ghoul, and in 1934 she was Embraced. Her sire, an elder of the Ordo Dracul and an Architect of the Monolith, did not live out the Second World War -- a German incendiary landed on his haven during the Blitz.
Since then, Victoria has mostly gotten used to surviving on her own, though she's never been completely at ease with it -- Dr. Cutteridge is that unfortunate mix of a person who wishes to be social but is singularly bad at it. She tried to Embrace a childe once, choosing a vivacious, passionate nun who had spent time teaching abroad. Unfortunately, the Embrace all but shattered her childe's psyche, and after a few years of trying to help, Victoria just moved on and left her childe to her own devices. Then, much to her chagrin, the Carthians picked up her abandoned childe and were able nurse her back to sanity. Relations between Dr. Cutteridge and Allie Newton are decidedly frosty, though they exchange phone calls and letters every so often.
Today, Dr. Victoria Cutteridge is one of the leading experts on the vampiric condition in Great Britain, and possibly in the world. In her mind, magic and the supernatural are simply undiscovered branches of science, and can be determined by way of reason, experimentation, and the scientific method. Sometimes, Victoria feels like she's a kid in a candy store, with so many possibilities for untapped research before her, and almost no competition. She gets to pioneer her very own scientific field. Meanwhile, she gets to see the march of science forever -- unlike most Kindred, Cutteridge is extremely up-to-date on the latest scientific trends and technological innovations, even if her understanding of mortal culture is stranded in the 1930s. She's tries to get a new degree in a medical or biological field every decade, and has accumulated a frightening array of letters at the end of her name.
This isn't to say that it's all roses, of course. Most previous scholars of the vampiric condition were not exactly pillars of rationality or sanity, so Victoria has to more or less do everything from the ground up. And modern science is extremely skill-intensive. Victoria is an absolutely brilliant scholar, but even she can't possibly possess all the skills and talents necessary for her research -- so if she needs a MRI technician or specialist in gas chromatography, she has to take time out to get one... and she can't even feed them her Vitae because then they go mad in short order. Sometimes, Victoria feels like some divinity is playing a cruel joke on her (she's normally an atheist, but old habits die hard). And if that isn't enough, Victoria's research both requires a great deal of very expensive and difficult-to-procure machinery (CAT scanners, electron microscopes, etc) and data (usually demographic data on vampiric populations, which are rarely eager to be surveyed). If Victoria wasn't immortal, she'd have probably torn her hair out decades ago. But she does have all the time in the world.
Dr. Cutteridge is something of a polymath in matters vampiric, and she occasionally indulges herself with small research projects, but her main focus over the decades has been two-fold. First, Victoria is perhaps the foremost specialist in the study of Vitae in the world (admittedly, it's a small field). How is blood transmuted into Vitae? Does injected blood so transform, or only ingested blood? What are the physical properties of Vitae? What is the mechanism of the Vinculum? Her greatest success so far has been the discovery of the Vitae Effect Unit (VEU), the amount of Vitae necessary to power most vampiric abilities, determined by measuring very precisely the amount of Vitae in a vampiric body before and after the use of supernatural powers. She's currently working on calibrating it more precisely for the vampire's body-weight.
Her second focus derives from her mortal interest in epidemiology, the geomantic beliefs of the Architects of the Monolith, and the Dragon tradition of Chasing the Dragon's Tail -- to wit, she studies the effects of the supernatural on human communities. To do so, Victoria studies the historical record, observes supernatural occurrences and traces their side-effects, and is constantly on the lookout for 'clean' communities, that is, ones with no supernatural presences in them, to use in her studies. How does the addition of a single supernatural event or presence cause the community to change? What are the side-effects of a long-term supernatural presence on various statistical markers -- mortality rates most particularly, but also income levels, health, education, and so forth.
Victoria has long since given up on doing all but the most basic research in the St. Thomas Club, though she can still be found there in the library, studying or theorizing. She carries out her experiments in a variety of academic or corporate research facilities throughout the city instead, borrowing the equipment after hours and using her ability to control minds to cover for her.
In person, Dr. Cutteridge is a cool, rational individual more comfortable with books than with people. She doesn't actually believe in free will, instead believing that each individual is essentially a collection of hardwired drives, predilections, and neuroses, determined by their genetics and their upbringing. She tries to be patient with other people as a result. It's not their fault that they're more intellectually limited than her. Victoria is consistent, however, in that she doesn't exempt herself from this sort of critical analysis, and has deduced that her own drive for knowledge is an attempt to impose order on an uncaring universe that is devoid of the God of her parents (in whom she is unable to believe in) and which took away her husband from her. Victoria loathes randomness and irrationality in all its forms, and tends to get snippy when people are being illogical. In particular, Dr. Cutteridge is a hard-line skeptic and rationalist, and considers the more mystical beliefs of her fellow Kindred to be superstitious bunk. She is usually smart enough to keep her mouth shut about that, however.
Past that, Victoria at least makes an effort to be charming and personable, but it is not counted among her many talents. Victoria fervently believes that she is the smartest person in the room, and the fact that she's usually right doesn't help. She's not really comfortable with social interactions outside of her work, though she's usually willing to be drawn out of her shell, even if she's not good at it. She's also willing to defer to professionals in their fields of expertise, which means that she's actually quite capable of working in the Ordo Dracul's academic hierarchy.
Dr. Cutteridge is an impeccably groomed woman with shoulder-length, dark-blonde hair and round glasses (which given her mastery of Auspex, is almost certainly either an affectation or an obsessive habit). She moves briskly and efficiently, and speaks in a measured tone all the time (her efforts at putting more inflection in her voice have ended in disaster). Deliberate attempts to anger her are usually met with subtle, icy condescension. Within the confines of her laboratory, where she feels most comfortable, she dresses in white labcoats and durable clothing. When forced to don regular clothing, she wears an immaculate grey dress that is about twenty years out of date. Decades of working with lethal and contagious diseases have made Victoria something of a germaphobe, and being dead since 1934 hasn't lessened her obsessive need for hygiene.
Type: Ghoul Whisperer Regnant's Clan: ? Regnant's Covenant: Ordo Dracul Enthralled: Before 1945 Apparent Age: Mid-20s
Virtue: Loyal Vice: Violent
Background: The St. Thomas Club is one of the more unique properties in London, a huge, rambling building that treats the laws of Space and Time more as suggestions. And one of the more unique residents of the St. Thomas Club is the maid, a creature or person named “Molly.”
Molly is a ghoul, though a ghouled what is an excellent question, since Molly does not appear to be human. None of the younger vampires of the Ordo Dracul have much idea, really, though Frances Black has certain theories involving genii loci. The Sworn appear to have some better idea, and are generally either kind (Van Holt, Dr. Cutteridge) or business-like (Prescott, Dvorzsak) to her.
Molly’s role in the St. Thomas Club is to keep the building in some sense of organization, though given that there are two hundred rooms for one maid, this is a challenge. Nevertheless, she is always seen dusting, polishing, washing, fighting an eternal battle against entropy. She also cooks for those Kindred that enjoy food – her classic English cuisine is very good, though her chicken curries are spoken of in tones reserved for mustard gas.
Aside from her housekeeping skills, Molly has certain other talents – she knows where everything and everyone in the St. Thomas Club is, and she has certain magical talents, though only the Sworn know what. She’s older than she looks, though how old is another mystery. She’s been around since at least the Second World War.
In person, Molly is a very polite, albeit very creepy young woman. She either can’t or won’t talk, but manages to be quite expressive despite that, friendly and demure, with an obscure sense of humor. More disturbing is that when by herself, or when distracted or caught off guard, Molly reverts to her instincts, which are patently inhuman – she has a hissing-snarl she deploys at unexpected visitors. She’s always a little apologetic about these lapses.
Description : Molly is a slender woman dressed like an Edwardian maid, complete with a starched white bib apron over a full black skirt and white cotton blouse. She is never seen in anything else. Her face doesn’t fit her outfit, being too long and sharp-boned with black, almond-shaped eyes. Despite her mob cap she wears her hair loose, a black curtain that falls to her waist. Her movements are graceful but somehow inhumanly sinuous, more like those of a serpent, and she has a mouth full of sharp, slender teeth, with prominent fangs like those of a viper. She never makes a sound when she moves.
Rank: 3 Mental 2; Physical 9; Social 1 Willpower: 1 Blood Potency/Arete/Whatever: 5 Notable Powers: St. Thomas Club, Utter Silence
Type: Ghoul Jaguar Regnant's Clan: Gangrel Regnant's Covenant: Circle of the Crone Enthralled: ~1880s Apparent Age: Eight
Virtue: Curious Vice: Lazy
Background: Britain has long been known as a hotspot of Alien Big Cat activity. According to the story, the ABCs, also called Phantom Cats or Mystery Cats, are large members of the felidae family (cougars, jaguars, leopards, etc) who live all across England. They hunt and kill livestock, are blamed for the occasional disappearance, and are a favorite of cryptid-hunters world round. Xicohtencatl is responsible for probably a third of ABC sightings in and around London.
Xicohtencatl (an Aztec name that means 'Angry Bumblebee'), or 'Xico' for short, is a ghouled Mexican Jaguar (Panthera Onca Hernandesii) that was brought over to England by the awakened Aztec elder Jean LeNoir. She served him as a pet, an ally in combat, and as a totem animal, a symbol of his power. When LeNoir perished in battle, she was inherited by Sophie Penrose, and when Sophie joined the Ordo Dracul, Xico went with her. Nowadays, the jaguar belongs to Sophie only nominally, and is more of a general covenant 'pet', at least in so far as a hundred-and-fifty pound South American death machine can be a pet.
By any rational standards, Xico is a freak of nature. Jaguars tend to live twelve to fifteen years in the wild, and up to twenty-three in captivity. Xico is over a hundred and twenty years old, making her loosely comparable, in her separation from common jaguar stock, to an elder vampire in their fourth or fifth century. Furthermore, just as elder Kindred grow strange with the ages, so has being ghouled for so long slowly mutated Xico's biology. Not to mention the fact that she's been trained and intellectually challenged for for eleven or twelve jaguar lifespans.
Xico is far smarter than the average big cat, which is fairly intelligent to begin with. She can understand hundreds of spoken commands (mostly in Nahual, unfortunately), has a very vague concept of the Masquerade, can use tools and objects (she can open doors, and understands guns and cars), and can form surprisingly sophisticated plans for hunting or combat. Mind you, she's still just an animal, so her understanding of abstract concepts is nearly non-existent. She understands that humans travel in big metal boxes frequently and can recognize specific cars, but the concept of 'having a job' is beyond her. Her motivations are likewise simple, as she wants to eat, sleep, and play with Alpa or Molly, both of whom she would protect with murderous ferocity.
Xico is most active at dawn and dusk, and tends to sleep the rest of the time. Like other big cats, she's capable of roaring, but does so rarely, instead opting to make a variety of mews and grunts when hitting things with her paw fails to get the message across.
Description : Xico is a Mexican Jaguar, a species found in (logically) Mexico and Central America. As a jaguar, she's the third-largest big cat after lions and tigers, and is possessed of a stocky, heavily-muscled build. Jaguars are compact animals, with a short tail and relatively short legs. Xico is fairly big for a Mexican Jaguar (which is normally one of the smallest jaguar breeds) -- she's about five and a half feet long from her nose to the tip of her tail, and weighs in at just under 150 lbs. She has a short muzzle and extremely powerful jaws -- Jaguars can bite down with about two thousand pounds of pressure per square inch -- Xico adds significant unnatural strength to that and can bite through tank armor. She is adept at swimming, climbing, and jumping, and her spotted coat (a tawny yellow with black rosettes) breaks up her form and gives her extremely good camouflage. Jaguars are primarily ambush predators.