Elizabeth Sheridan
The Lady of London, The Right Honorable Alder Elizabeth Sheridan, Marchioness of London, Countess of Kensington and Chelsea

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Ventrue
Embrace: 1583
Apparent Age: Late teens



Virtue: Pragmatic
Vice: Deceitful
Long-Term Aspiration: To so arrange Kindred politics in London that she can retire without both the city and the Marquessate going up in flames (literal or figurative)

Background: "You'll be my little birdie now, Ellie." These were the words that greeted Elizabeth Sheridan into her Requiem. Her sire, Walter Burnett, was a petty Scottish Laird and a priest in the Lancea et Sanctum, who, feeling the need for a little beauty in his unlife, Embraced a young artist's model and sometime-prostitute. He chose Ellie because the penniless girl, plucked from the streets where she worked at whatever trade would see her fed for another week, however distasteful, would be easy to control and dominate. Small, green-eyed, and freckled, Ellie was an absolute treat for the eyes.

But Ellie wasn't quite the 'Lady of the Evening' that Burnett was accustomed to. Born in Edinburgh, she came from good family, the daughter of a Highlands crofter who had lost his farm to bad weather and worse debt. Imbued with a fearsome drive to survive, Sheridan did whatever necessary to support herself and her family, and she was ill-inclined to accept the authority of anyone, and most certainly not from the kind of conceited aristocratic dolt who'd driven her family from their homes in fire and blood. Playing the part of the simpering plaything, she took Burnett out into the streets of Edinburgh to look at the sights, called some feral dogs and left them to figure out what to do with carrion that was still moving. Burnett tried to scare them off by firing a pistol into the air, only to find that its plugged barrel made it explode in his hand. The sight of shredded flesh and dripping blood decided the dogs, while Ellie sat back and watched with a gentle smile.

Ellie drifted across the British Isles for a while, but freed of concerns of mortal hunger or time, she wanted to do more than simply survive. She wanted to find others of her type, to learn what she'd become and how to cope with it. But really, more there was the fact that Sheridan had a hunger for society. The painters and poets of London amused her for a time, but it wasn't the same. Mortals could feed many of her hungers, but not all.

She came, in the fullness of years, to Aberdeen, where she tarried for only a few decades. That was her first attempt to re-invent himself as a lady of culture and learning, and it was a laughable one. By the time she realized what she was doing wrong (which was, essentially, everything), her reputation as a poser, buffoon and parvenu was set. Undeterred, she did what few Kindred in Aberdeen would contemplate: she left.

In York, he became Elizabeth Sinclair, and she made a much better job of presenting herself as discerning and educated. (She went back to her soft Scots accent, which helped.) By the time she felt ready to return to London, she had accumulated the equivalent of a college degree. There, she got a position at the Charing Cross Hotel in the 1870s, working as a night maid and, eventually, working her way up to the level of head of housekeeping. By now, the woman who had destroyed her sire in defense of her own freedom was happy to play at subservience — because play was all it was. Acting as the faithful “nice Scots girl” to the wealthy guests was Sheridan's grand joke upon them. She kept their rooms spotless and saw them off to the theater, and while they were dining, she fed on their sons and daughters.

Servility was fun as long as it was an act, which was why Sheridan felt the need to climb the Invictus ladder as remorselessly and rapidly as she eventually did. Kindred today know the Lady of London as the uniter, the moderate, the coalition-builder. That’s because the Kindred who got to know Sheridan the murderous mastermind aren’t around to talk about it. Their childer and colleagues tell stories, but without much credibility — just enough to keep the clans and covenants honest.

By the time of the Second World War, Sheridan was the High Sheriff of London, a position she occupied from deep in the shadows and far behind the scenes. She was involved in some very dark affairs during this period, with dealings on all sides of the Cold War. Rumors of her participation in the Cambridge Five business persist to this day. She was a born puppeteer, saying one thing to the Lancea et Sanctum, something else to the Carthians, and a third thing to her own Invictus, and not a one of them ever earned more than half the truth. Sheridan had a finger in every pie, all the while seeming the quiet, conscientious servant of Augustus Danby, the Lord of London.

When the reign of the Lord of London stumbled in 1966, Sheridan was there to unite the opposition, buffalo the shrinking elite and offer her enemies the mercy of a quick trip out of town. Then she claimed the throne as the vampire whom few really wanted, but everyone was willing to accept. She'd spent decades studying studying the aims and enemies of the city’s influential Kindred in preparation for a moment of weakness in Danby — Sheridan's subtle advantage over him was her willingness to recognize unpopular and lesser-known vampires as influential.

The Lord of London was displaced with a minimum of violence, but everything he had has been broken up among the elders who once supported him, from real estate to ghouls. Danby himself disappeared, but Sheridan presumes he is sleeping somewhere in London, dreaming of a bloody throne and his second chance at praxis. Now, the new Lady of London is concentrating on making her reign look smooth and invulnerable. She knows it can never be those things, but in 200 years, she’s learned how often reality takes its cues from pretense. She seeks a calm and sustainable court, which often translates to a bread-and-circuses approach to her followers. After all, “calm prosperity” isn’t sexy compared to the orgy of bloodshed some would-be Circle Princes espouse or the “total political liberation” promised by the Carthians.

Rubbing awkwardly against Sheridan’s need to keep her Kindred entertained is her genuine love of the city of London. For the lowest common denominator of Kindred joy is the lust for horror of the Beast. Feeding those low urges could keep her in power for a long time, but what shadow would that cast on her city? Sheridan listens to London and, better than any other vampire, understands how little influence her ilk truly have in the long run. With great effort they can, over years, make things a little bit better, if they dare. But they can so easily pull the city toward despair and injustice, even by careless selfishness. She knows she must protect London from her court, but to do so, she needs to control them, and to control them, she must keep them happy.

To keep them happy, she must endanger London.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Sheridan's own nature is ill-suited to the role of Prince. Sheridan was High Sheriff for decades, and as a spymaster and inquisitor she was excellent, but no matter how thoroughly she polishes her persona, Sheridan will never be comfortable as a public figure. The other Kindred of London intimidate her, with their boundless arrogance and bloody prowess, especially those that possess the qualities that she still (still, after two hundred years) fear she lacks. They have poise, grace, dignity, intelligence, education, articulateness... while Sheridan knows that deep down, she's still just an Edinburgh street girl named Ellie.

This isn't to say that Sheridan lacks power. She's a potent vampire in her own right -- the second-oldest active Kindred in London in modern nights -- capable of controlling men's minds and of transforming into cat, falcon, mist, or swarm of flesh-rending bats. The ranks of the truly ancient Kindred have recently been culled by the Black King affair, and Sheridan has been taking action to consolidate her power, though the loss of Alistair Niall has been a severe blow [The Jackal in the Fold]. Though the Circle of the Crone under the leadership of Abonde and the Carthians under Montjoy are largely quiescent forces (though Sheridan has been keeping a very close eye on Cynthia of the Mara), the Lancea et Sanctum under Solomon Birch are a constant danger, and one she may not be able to control much longer. Within the Invictus, Sheridan despises Sophie Penrose for the latter's effortless style, above and beyond any political grudge. Sheridan is keenly aware that she is a weak Prince, and she will do anything to strengthen her own position, however ill-fitting she finds it... because only she can protect London.
Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Ventrue

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 5, Resolve 6
Physical Attributes: Strength 9, Dexterity 6, Stamina 10
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 4, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics 4, Investigation (9-Again) 4, Occult 1, Politics (Psychotic Iconoclasts, AKA Kindred) 4
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl (Claws x2, Swarm x2) 6, Stealth (9-Again) 6, Survival (Streets) 2
Social Skills: Animal Ken 3, Empathy (Analyze x2) 5, Expression 2, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 2, Socialize 2, Streetwise 1, Subterfuge (9-Again) 5

Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Herd 4, Indomitable 2, Languages (French, Latin; Native is English) 2, Professional Training (Spy; Investigation, Stealth, Subterfuge) 5, Resources
6, Status (
Pull; Well-Paid
Invictus; Prince) 5, Striking Looks (Elegant) 1
Lair: Kensington Townhouse; Security 5, Warding 4

Willpower: 10
Humanity: 2
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Feral Curse, The Aloof Curse, Silver

Initiative: 18
Defense: 5 (10/10 w/ Celerity & Quicken Sight)
Armor: 2/2 (7/7 w/ Tough Hide & Resilience)
Mental Shield: 2 (Indomitable)
Health: 15
Speed: 15 (90 w/ Celerity)

Blood Potency: 6
Anomaly of the Blood: Through some quirk or atavism of Vitae, Sheridan possesses the Disciplines and the Curses of both Clan Gangrel and Clan Ventrue
Disciplines: Animalism ●●●●●, Auspex ●●, Celerity ●●●●●, Dominate ●●●, Protean ●●●●●, Resilience ●●●●●, Vigor ●●●●●
Predatory Aspects: Feral Senses, Stalker, Tough Hide; Extra Sense, Quadrupedal, Venomous w/ Force of Nature
Beast's Skin: Falcon, Swarm of Bats, Cat, Panther, Wolf
Unnatural Aspects: Horrid Talons; Wings w/ Force of Nature
Devotions: Claws of the Unholy, Force of Nature, Quicken Sight, Vermin Flood
Vitae: 20/6; Herd 4

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Bat Swarm……………….............0L/A............. 17……….....Ignores Defense; Distracted; Distributable
Horrid Talons…………….............3L/A............. 20……….....AP 2, Venomous (Toxicity 2)

Miss Mary Mack, Mary Mackenzie

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: Harbingers, Freehold of New Jerusalem, Lancea et Sanctum
Court: Spring
Entitlement: Knight of the Rose
Clan: Daeva
Embrace: 1951
Apparent Age: 17

Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Violent
Long-Term Aspiration: Figure out how to mitigate Frenzy

Background: “Miss Mary Mack, dressed all in black,” goes the children’s rhyme. “She’s got a knife stuck in her back. She cannot breathe, she cannot cry, and so she begs, she begs to die.” There’s a friendlier version, too, one that involves silver buttons and elephants, but Mary Mack the vampire prefers the darker one.

Mary was made a vampire in the early 1950s at the tender age of 17. The man who Embraced her claimed to be a motorist, lost in a vicious snowstorm, and Mary let him into her parents’ house. Within an hour, her parents and brother were dead and she was in the midst of a painful transformation. For a time, Mary tried to remain as true to herself as she could. She didn’t kill her prey and she still attended church (night services, obviously), but it’s been decades, and sometimes she slips up. The first time she killed, she went to her victim’s home to explain to his wife and children what had happened. His wife, terrified of Mary, stabbed her in the back with a pair of scissors, and Mary lost control and killed her. With the scissors still in her back, she begged the children to kill her. They could do nothing but stare in shock.

Mary took the name “Mary Mack” in a perverse homage to her first killings, and has hunted the nights ever since. She’s given up trying to die, and now she just tries to pass the time. She likes families and children, and has long since learned to use her youth to her advantage, stalking in boarding schools and other places where older vampires would be hard-pressed to follow her. She tries not to kill, but sometimes accidents do happen.

Mary Mack is basically a vampiric outcast, a nomad with a very rough idea of what vampire society at large is actually like. However, fifty years of surviving on her own have made her a remarkably tough vampire, even as her sanity's weathered down to a nub. She suffers from extreme mood swings, to the point where "Mary the Girl" (chirpy and cheerful), "Mary the Vampire" (depressed and bitter), and "Mary the Monster" (violent and remorseless) may be said to be three different personalities.

Recently, courtesy of Erin Lamothe, Mary's been taken into the Harbingers, with Othello taking a particular interest in her. It is possible that they are sleeping with one another, despite Mary generally being a lesbian (what with Othello being a shape shifter), but as of the moment, no one has been brave enough to inquire.

Affiliation Lancea et Sanctum, Harbingers, Freehold of New Jerusalem
Clan Daeva

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 9, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 4, Composure 1

Mental Skills: Academics 2, Medicine 1, Occult 1
Physical Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl (Grapple x2)
6, Larceny 2, Stealth (Blend with the Crowd) 4
Social Skills: Empathy 4, Expression 1, Intimidate 2, Persuasion (Teenagers; Making a Deal +1) 5, Socialize 4, Subterfuge 5

Merits: Allies (Medical)
2, Mantle (Spring) 1, Resources
1, Status (
Well-Paid, Well-Fed, Support Group
Harbingers) 2, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 2, Status (
Lancea et Sanctum) 2, Striking Looks (Sexy Schoolgirl) 1
Combat Merits: Fighting Style (Grappling) 3, Fighting Style (Close Quarters Combat) 2
Haven: Mary lives in the Cat’s Cradle

Willpower: 3
Humanity: 5; +2 Support Group
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Frenzy, The Wanton Curse, Silver
Personal Banes: Uninvited
Conditions: Madness (Persistent)

Initiative: 11
Defense: 4 (+4/4 w/ Celerity)
Armor: 0 or 1/1 (Resilience)
Mind Shield: 1 (Disciplined)
Health: 10
Speed: 18 (90 w/ Celerity)

Blood Potency: 3
Entitlement Powers: Valiant Heart (Knight of the Rose)
Disciplines: Celerity ●●●●, Majesty ●●, Theban Sorcery ●, Vigor ●●●●●, Resilience ●
Theban Sorcery Rituals:
1st: Vitae Reliquary, Unblemished Chalice
Vitae: 12/3; +3 Starting (Well-Fed 3)

Bloody Harvest
Type: Oath, Courtly Emblem (Autumn)
[Othello] - Ensorcellment (-2)
[Mary]] - Medial Alliance (-2)
[Mary] - Ensorcellment (+2), Adroitness: Brawl (+1)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-3)
Duration: Season (+2)

[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
The Bloody Harvest

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Takedown (●●): Your character can take an opponent to the ground rapidly. When rolling to initiate a grapple, you may choose to render an opponent prone instead of establishing a grapple. You may also choose to cause bashing damage equal to the successes rolled.
Joint Lock (●●●): Once in a grapple, your character can administer joint locks and other immobilizing tactics. Any attempt to overpower your character causes the other character a point of bashing damage. In addition, any successful overpowering maneuvers your character uses cause 1L damage in addition to their normal effects.
Takedown, Joint Lock
Hard Surfaces…………………0L………………18………..If grappling, bang someone’s head against a hard object to deal lethal, ends Grapple

Sophie Penrose

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Ordo Dracul (Formerly Invictus)
Clan: Daeva
Bloodline: Kallisti
Embrace: 1986
Apparent Age: Mid-20s

[spoiler="Sophie Penrose"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Prudent
Vice: Jealous
Long-Term Aspiration: To have a family, and be loved by them

Background: This is a lie.

Sophie Penrose was born in 1978 to Chester and Margaret Penrose, the wealthy and reclusive owners of 10% of the Jones-Klein-Beauchamp, a company that specializes in bleeding-edge pharmaceuticals and designer drugs. Raised in the lap of luxury, Sophie spent most of her youth first in the country estates up in the Midlands, and then in an exclusive Swiss boarding school in the Alps, where she first picked up her love of skiing and alpinism. Something of a wild child, Sophie made minor headlines with drunken debauches in Genevan nightclubs as a teenager, and there was an affair with a young actor that was hushed up. A sex-tape supposedly circulates on the internet. Upon achieving her 21st birthday in 1999, however, broke free from her parents control to become a prominent socialite and minor celebrity in the London set, moving into that half-respectable twilight world of the celebutante. On the one hand, she is regal, majestic, a philanthropist and a regular at the society gatherings of London. At the same time, her penchant for exotic (and erotic) parties has only increased with freedom, and no one doubts that under that icy exterior lies a heart burning with passions.

This is the truth.

Sophie Penrose does not exist. She is an experiment in perceptional manipulation on a truly mind-bending scale. Prior to 1999 and her appearance on the social scene, Sophie Penrose did not exist and had never existed. Chester and Margaret Penrose are fictional entities, and Penrose was never in the Swiss boarding school she was supposedly in. The actor she dated never met her till 1999, and no one ever saw the sex-tape at first not because she was insufficiently famous, but because it didn't exist. But, and this is the very important part, the world believes that these things occurred, because the Golden Room wishes them to believe.

Records can be falsified. Old news stories can be inserted into archives and backdated. Memory is inherently unreliable, and can be altered by means both gentle (leading conversations) and harsh (pharmaceuticals, magic). The vast herd of humanity, confronted with the obvious reality of Sophie Penrose's past and existence, does not question that no one member ever heard of her prior to 1999. Certainly, the specific individual is ignorant, but he or she assumes that this does not hold true for the rest of society.

This is conjecture.

Sophie Penrose was not born to wealth and status, but to its acquisition. For Penrose, objectification is the way of the world. For her parents, she was "Daughter, 1, pretty and bright, symbol of achievement". She was not, strictly speaking, a person. They were kind, in an absent-minded way, but they were absorbed far more in one another and in their ambitions. Sophie was just one more sign that they were successful people, on the way to the highest reaches of the corporate world. Feelings did not come into the equation. "Of course we love you, how can you doubt that?" Was the refrain. And Sophie, in that particular way that children have, internalized the lesson of that saying. There was no doubt that her parents loved her. If there was ever any loss or insufficiency of love, then it was because Sophie was somehow unworthy, and would just have to try harder next time.

The fact was, though, that Sophie was smart, and she was pretty, and she was possessed of seemingly-endless supplies of sheer, bloody-minded stubbornness. But somehow, she was never smart enough or pretty enough to earn the love that her parents would have given her, if only she was worthy. Eventually, Sophie turned abroad for acceptance, but the few who dared date the clever, pretty girl were of the same mold as her parents, interested in her looks (and occasionally her help with homework), but not in her. Sophie went through college, becoming engaged with the most attractive of her boyfriends, and began to reconcile herself to life as a twisted rendition of the perfect daughter and wife, never quite good enough.

But then fate intervened in the form of George Permell, a vampire. For some reason, he appreciated her, enjoyed that edge of barely restrained wrath that Sophie nurtured in herself, enjoyed the elaborate fantasies of revenge and dismemberment that Sophie wrote out in her most private journals, enjoyed her penchant for slicing long gashes on her own arms with a kitchen knife. Sophie was on the crossroads between the death of ambition and a violent, psychotic breakdown. So Permell came to her, seduced her with promises of love and affection, and offered to take her away from it all. She accepted, and he Embraced her.

But then, Permell reverted to type, though when he denied his approval, it was to spur Sophie onward to ever greater things. Sophie could work as though possessed by seven demons when she thought it would get her the affection of her Sire, and Permell knew it. She was the prefect fledgling, eager-to-please and exceedingly competent. Unfortunately for Permell, he had made a slight miscalculation, for when one takes a viper to one's bosom, one should beware, and the same holds for repressed young women with homocidal urges. Finding Kindred society so much less constraining than what she was used to, and with the Beast egging her on, Sophie turned her consistent 'Excellents' in chemistry to good use and fire-bombed her Sire's haven.

Sophie had to flee the city, of course, but she had Permell's money, and a distant contact in London, an eccentric elder named Vincent Moon. The rest, as they say, is history.
Covenant Invictus
Clan Daeva
Bloodline: Kallisti

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 5, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics (+1 to Research) 3, Medicine (Pharmaceuticals, Surgery) 3, Occult 2, Politics 3, Science (Chemistry) 3
Physical Skills: Drive 1, Firearms (Light Autoloader x2) 4, Weaponry 1
Social Skills: Expression (Dominate, Fine Art) 2, Persuasion (Making a Deal)
5, Socialize
4, Subterfuge (Deception) 4

Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Herd 1, Quick-Draw (Light Autoloader) 1, Resources 5, Status (
Ordo Dracul) 1, Striking Looks (Elegant) 1, Taste 1
Lair: Minimalist/Chinoiserie Penthouse Flat; Security 3

Willpower: 6
Humanity: 3
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Wanton Curse, The Curse of the Golden Apple
Personal Banes: Hated by Beasts
Conditions: Madness (Persistent)

Initiative: 14
Defense: 4 (8/4 w/ Celerity)
Armor: 1/2B (Bulletproof Clothing)
Health: 7
Speed: 10 (50 w/ Celerity)

Blood Potency: 3
Disciplines: Celerity ●●●●, Dominate ●●●●, Majesty ●●, Perfidy ●●●●
Devotions: Golden Apple, Passion Fugue
Vitae: 12/3
Type: Vow
[Sophie Penrose] - Medial Forbiddance: Harming a Courtier of the Freehold in Good Standing (-2)
[Sophie Penrose] - Adroitness: Persuasion, Socialize (+2)
Sanction: Pishogue: 10-Success Fleeting Winter 5: Every Sorrow a Jewel (-3)
Duration: Year and a Day (+3); Renewed
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Note: If Sophie is mind-controlled or Frenzied and harms a Courtier, the curse does trigger.

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Skinning Knife/Scalpel.............1L..............3
9mm Glock.............................2L..............12...................Range 20/40/80, Capacity 17

Sir Royston Montjoy
“Monty”, The Phantom of Drury Lane, Earl of Soho

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Carthian
Clan: Nosferatu
Embrace: 1691
Apparent Age: Late 50s

Virtue: Humble
Vice: Cruel

Background: Everyone knows that there are certain things one does not do, certain places one does not go to, if they plan to continue living a healthy life. A young, middle-class girl does not go strolling around Tottenham in the middle of the night, and a group of drug-addicts (assuming they are sober enough to realize), do not invade the private offices of a multinational corporation. It is just not done.

The same applies to monsters.

In London, this unwritten rule was simple. Stay above the ground. All of the lands above the street level were, for a certain, given value, ‘safe’. Certainly, there were angry werewolves, and trickster fae, and vampires could be territorial and vicious. But go beneath the streets, into the Undertown, the London Below, and it is a wholly different world. London, you see, was a very old city. Two thousand years and counting, and in that time, places could get… lost. Basements, passageways, sewers, vaults, mithraeums and cult headquarters, graves beneath graves beneath graves. No one quite knew how deep below the earth the Undertown of London stretched, but it was a place of danger and mystery. It was where the monsters — the real monsters, not the petty poseurs who strutted the stage of the world above — where the true monsters lived.

Monsters, in other words, like Sir Royston Montjoy.

In his life, Royston Montjoy was an actor. He was more than that, he was a very good actor, one of the finest in 17th century London. He played the leading role of every romance, had a beautiful singing voice, and set the hearts of many a society belle aflutter. He had dash, he had verve, he had that magnificent ability to make every person in the audience feel as though Montjoy played for him and him alone. For a few glorious years, Montjoy had it all. He married an Italian actress in 1665, when he was 26. He was knighted in the Christmas Honors of 1681, and he had all the money he wanted. Life was beautiful, and even his separation from his wife (in 1680) couldn’t ruin it.

Time could. And that’s the ironic secret of Sir Royston Montjoy, that he asked for immortality. He was getting old, he stopped playing the romantic leads and started getting the distinguished, mature roles. His body began to ache, and time was running out. Royston panicked, and he began to search for something, anything that would halt his slide into infirmity and decay. That would have been too much, to lose everything he had gained to Time. So, one midnight, sometime in the 1690s, Royston Montjoy found himself seated at a chess board opposite Death, dressed in an undertaker’s suit and a grinning death’s-head mask. How the meeting came about, Royston will never say. Only that desperation always finds a way. And when Royston asked to live forever, in exchange for all his fortune and all his fame, Death agreed.

Montjoy could have accepted the loss of his wealth. It had never mattered to him other than as a way of living the high life. He accepted that he would have to disappear, that fame could not follow him to undeath. But what Death failed to mention was that he would lose his voice, that it would break and ruin and that Sir Royston Montjoy’s beautiful singing voice would turn to a scratchy, unholy horror. No one could hear him and do anything but shudder.

Montjoy went a little mad. He haunted the theaters he knew so well, especially the Theater Royal at Drury Lane, and he built his world there, turning it more and more to his liking with every rebuilt theater. Little passageways that only he knew about. Guards who believed every word that he said to them. Addicts who thought him some dark angel, actors who believed in the Phantom of Drury Lane. He became a ghost, whispering through the world, watching the world he could never again participate.

In modern nights, Montjoy is saner if not sane. He’s a monster, with bloody talons and a sadistic frame of mind, and though he is not the most dangerous demon to lurk beneath the floorboards, neither is he the least. He maintains his Necropolis beneath the West End theater district, with its labyrinthine catacombs and its bizarre theaters and storerooms. With blood and secret whispers, he controls his people, the actors and staff of the Theater Royal, and the homeless vagrants who cluster beneath it. With black magic and force of will, he knows every nook and every corner, can bend every aspect of the theater to his darkest desire. He occasionally lets it out to other vampires or denizens of the supernatural world, in exchange for favors. Those he dislikes never see the light of day again.

Rank: 4
Mental 6; Physical 3; Social 6
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 7
Notable Powers: Great Actor, Phantom of Drury Lane, Puppetmaster (Dominate & Obfuscate)
Banes: Tell (Corpse Flesh); Technophage; Grave Soil

Tejal "Chris" Krishnamurthy

Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Nosferatu
Regnant's Covenant: Carthian
Enthralled: 1998
Apparent Age: Mid-20s


Virtue: Just
Vice: Clever

Background: Nothing really singled out Tejal Krishnamurthy for his later destiny as Sir Royston Montjoy's personal hatchetman. He was a normal kid from the East End. His parents were lower-middle class and generally nice people, his brother was a year older and bullied him only the normal sibling amount, and his sister was three years younger and thus doted on. He went to the local comprehensive school where he excelled at nothing other than football, but was neither particularly horrible at anything except history. His grades weren't good enough to get him into a university, so Chris (as people called him, to his long-suffering annoyance) got a job as a day laborer.

Most people who knew Chris considered him a nice guy, an honest, upright fellow. Good with his hands, he was a volunteer at the local nursing home, acting as an unpaid handyman, and generally helped keep his corner of the council flats in good shape. He never got involved in gangs, didn't do drugs, and was active on the dating scene. Pretty much everyone liked the guy, even if they had to admit that Chris had a taste for melodrama -- everything was more dramatic around Chris. The man saw conspiracies and intrigues all around. His crew-boss was having an affair, the government was spying on his co-worker, his sister was secretly working for MI6.

He didn't actually notice when a real conspiracy scooped him up. Chris's downfall came when he took a job fixing some things in the Theater Royal at Drury Lane, right when Sir Royston Montjoy needed someone to deliver a certain amount of tutelary dentistry to a recalcitrant neonate. He spotted Chris. Chris was a big, tough-looking fellow, he had a physical job and he worked out. Montjoy, being a master of Kindred mentalism, crushed the young man's psyche like an egg-shell and told him to go do the job. This, Chris did. He did it very thoroughly -- somewhere in the body of a wiry British-Indian handyman lurked the soul of a berserker.

Montjoy was so impressed that he transformed Chris into his ghoul bodyguard and murderer. He broke Chris and remade him, with vinculums and mental conditioning and blood-addiction, and then he mostly left him alone. Even at the best of times, Sir Royston is not a sociable individual.

For the first few months, Chris was a wreck, but slowly, he started to rebuild his psyche. The human brain is lovely in that it can apply all sorts of cognitive dissonance to life. On the one hand, Chris was an addict now, the lowest, worst sort of addict. The taste of blood was always foremost in his mind, and one word from Montjoy could bring him to heel. Chris became a thug and a murderer, ready to hurt or kill anyone for just a taste of that precious Vitae. On the other hand, Chris was still, basically, Chris, a nice guy who was always ready to pitch in a helping hand, who was scrupulously honest and law-abiding, who loved for his parents and was the 'cool uncle' to his nieces and nephews.

In order to cope, Chris turned to vigilante-ism. In a way, he sees himself as a noir anti-hero. Chris is under no illusions that he's a messed-up addict, but some things just aren't right. So he tries to protect people. Just because he's screwed up and a miserable excuse for a human being doesn't mean he has to stand by and let more bad things happen to good people. Mind you, if Montjoy tells him to kill someone, well, tough luck -- Montjoy is the God and Boss and King of Chris's unsteady psyche, a dark and tormenting angel. But left to his own devices, Chris is driven to protect and save.

This of course means that he'll chop up a single mother one week if it'll get him his blood-fix, and kill some guy for trying to rape a girl the next. Sanity is not a concept on which Tejal Krishnamurthy has a terribly good grasp on. He tries, desperately, to hold onto his moral compass, but addiction and Montjoy serve to keep it spinning wildly around. To be fair, Chris doesn't really commit all that many atrocities. Most of what he does is deliver scares and occasional beatings to other vampires, which is... kind of easy to justify to himself, really. He scares a few nosy mortals, but Montjoy is savvy enough to realize that more often than not, the cover-up is as dangerous as the original crime.

Most of the time, Chris is just kind of left alone. He visits the Theater Royal once a month for his fix of Vitae, acts as Montjoy's bodyguard at various functions, and a few times a year he goes off and axes someone. Montjoy has other ghouls and thralls for other tasks. The rest of Chris's time is free, so he still works as a day laborer to earn money, still volunteers at the local nursing home. He's withdrawn from his family somewhat, since his lack of aging might be noticed, and hangs out more with other Kindred or local supernaturals, where he doesn't need to explain things... and where Chris's penchant for big talk doesn't get him in trouble with the Masquerade. You would think that becoming a ghoul would be enough drama for anyone, but Chris still turns everything around him into some greater plot or intrigue, one that will shake this city down to it's very foundations!

Chris doesn't look all that dangerous. He's a wiry young man with short, curly black hair and big hands, and a nose that's a bit crooked from having been broken on a construction site some years back. He smiles a lot and speaks with a mixed Hindi-Cockney accent (despite having been born in London). He's usually dressed in thick cargo pants and a plain t-shirt, and Montjoy's invested in a grey, Kevlar-lined jacket for him for 'business'. Chris's chosen weapon is a fire-axe, and he is much stronger than he looks, fighting with a mixture of vampiric blood and mad, addiction-driven strength.

Rank: 2
Mental 2; Physical 4; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Arete: 3
Notable Powers: Vigor 4; Addict

Boss of the Machine, Mister Scratch, the Baron of Tottenham and Au Pair

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Nosferatu
Embrace: 1921
Apparent Age: Mid-40s

Virtue: Patient
Vice: Greedy & Cowardly

Background: Scratch is a funny kind of coward. An incomplete coward. When taken by surprise he can handle himself adroitly without panicking or losing his panache. Or when he’s carefully planned and prepared to get into a situation — then he’s cool as a Minnesota New Year. But when he’s got something to dread — something hanging over him — some looming threat or problem that he can’t do anything to abort or defer — then he starts behaving erratically.

Credit it to growing up during the Great War. Credit it to seeing his dad carried off by the cops after a whole year spent on the lam, hauling his family from tenement to tenement. Credit it to going into a life of crime himself, because the kid of a two-time loser whose uncles all break fingers and run numbers doesn’t have a lot of options.

So eventually, the cops hounded him into becoming a stoolie. And his crimey pals hounded him into making his bones. And when the pressure from both sides got too intense, he did something stupid. He looked for protection from the most dangerous creatures on the face of the Earth. He went to the Phantom of Drury Lane, and asked to be Embraced.

Never get old? Be stronger and quicker than humans? Join a society dedicated to preventing people from even knowing you exist? Hell, it sounded like he’d be a fool not to jump on board. After all, he was already mostly nocturnal, and it wasn’t like he’d never seen blood spilled...

It took him about a week to understand what the Requiem really meant, particularly one as a Nosferatu. Everyone else had a good laugh.

Scratch laughed last, though. He kept his head down, changed his name, and used his second chance. He became the Kindred equivalent of the racketeer he was in life, and courtesy of his blood-ties with the eldest local member of Clan Nosferatu, Scratch is the day-to-day leader of the Clan. Not that he wanted the job. No, Scratch just wants to lay low and live the high life.

Scratch is also the head of the Machine, a criminal gang of about seven Nosferatu of different covenants, who have a simple goal. Make money. They deal in robberies, con-games, nothing long-term that might infringe on the turf of mortal gangs. But they pull of their heists, and they rake in the money hand over fist. They have no problem getting money, and they have no problem spending it, either — as long as they’re buying guns, drugs or stolen goods. They have difficulty when they want to get stocks, bonds or real-estate equity — in other words, stuff you can’t get just by plopping down a stack of cash.

The problem is, Scratch and his pals aren't used to thinking of money abstractly -- when he was alive, the gold standard was still a big deal. They don’t have the mindset for seeing money as a stream of placeholders in a vast, computerized financial network, but that kind of money — traceable, paper-trailed money blessed and accepted by banks and credit firms — is what they need to take their unstable payoffs and transform them into long-term benefits. And Scratch doesn't even realize he's got a problem. He's got stacks of money, after all, bales and boxes of it! It seems crazy that he can't just go to a bank and deposit it without explaining where it came from. But until someone explains the art of money laundering to Old Scratch, he's hit a glass ceiling for what he can do with his ill-gotten gains.

With slate-gray skin, sunken, sallow features and an almost comically long, hooked nose, Scratch’s very appearance threatens the Masquerade. His jaw doesn't hinge right and he's got a grin like a deep sea fish. Luckily, he has long mastered the power of moving unseen among the masses. This freedom from mortal mores of fashion or decency allows him to affect the fashions of his own time. He usually wears an old, worn zoot suit, including pointed shoes and a wide-brimmed hat replete with a sagging old feather. The occasional roach or centipede escapes from the folds of the suit, only to vanish again into the loose sleeves or collar.
Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Nosferatu

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 10, Dexterity 3, Stamina 10
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 3, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Occult 1, Politics 3
Physical Skills: Brawl 1, Firearms 1, Larceny 3, Stealth 2, Weaponry (Always Armed x2, Improvised Weaponry x2; 9-Again) 5
Social Skills: Empathy (Face of the Beast x2) 4, Intimidation 2, Streetwise (9-Again) 4, Subterfuge (9-Again) 4

Merits: Allies (Criminal) 5, Professional Training (Crook; Streetwise, Subterfuge, Weaponry) 3, Resources
4, Status (
Pull; Well-Paid
Invictus; Middle Management) 3, Vice-Ridden 2
Combat Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Fighting Style (
Always Armed (●): You can always get your hands on something dangerous, and you’ve an instinctive understanding of how to put it to good — and deadly — use. At the start of your turn, make a reflexive Wits + Weaponry roll to grab an object suitable for use as a weapon in pretty much any environment. (The player is encouraged to work with the Storyteller to determine an appropriate item — a large, jagged rock in the wilderness, for example, or a heavy glass ashtray with one sharp, broken edge in a dive bar.) Regardless of what you pick up, the weapon deals 1L damage, −1 initiative penalty, Size 1, Durability 2, and Structure 3. On an exceptional success, increase the weapon damage and to 2L and Size 2 (and Structure 4), but the initiative penalty increases to −2. Whatever you grab doesn’t suffer the normal −1 penalty for wielding an improvised weapon.
In Harm's Way (●●): You’ve got a knack for putting your weapon in the way of an oncoming attack, no matter how small or inappropriate for blocking it might be. While wielding an improvised weapon acquired with Always Armed, you can treat the Structure of your weapon as general armor against a single Brawl or Weaponry attack. Any damage you take inflicts an equal amount of damage to the improvised weapon, bypassing Durability. You can use the weapon to attack later in the same turn, but can only use this ability when applying your Defense to an attack.
Breaking Point (●●●): One sure way to win a fight is to hit the other guy so hard that he doesn’t get back up, even if that means losing a weapon in the process. When making an all-out attack with an improvised weapon acquired with Always Armed, you can reduce the weapon’s Structure by any amount down to zero. Every point of Structure spent in this way adds +1 to the weapon's damage for that one single attack. Declare any Structure loss before making the attack; this Structure is reduced even if the attack does no damage. If the weapon is reduced to zero Structure, it is automatically destroyed after the attack.

You can use this technique in conjunction with In Harm’s Way, allowing you to parry an attack made on a higher Initiative and then go on the offensive, provided that the weapon wasn’t destroyed.
Improvised Weaponry) 3
Lair: Scratch's Machine; Secrecy 4

Willpower: 7
Humanity: 3
Universal Banes: Aura of Menace, Sunlight, Fire, Frenzy, The Lonely Curse
Personal Banes: Tell (Bat Face); Rat King

Initiative: 13
Defense: 7/3 (Celerity)
Armor: 6/5 (Heavy Clothes + Resilience) + In Harm's Way 3 or 4
Health: 15
Speed: 18

Blood Potency: 4
Disciplines: Celerity ●●●●, Nightmare ●●, Obfuscate ●●●, Resilience ●●●●●, Vigor ●●●●●
Devotions: Hint of Fear
Vitae: 13/4

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.................Special
Chair........................................1L............18.......................9-Again; Breaking Point (+3)
Really Sturdy Chair.................2L.............19.......................9-Again; Breaking Point (+4)
Face of the Beast.....................N/A............11........................2V, vs. Comp+BP or Frightened; Reflexive

"Silk" Eddie Treadwell

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Invictus & Carthian
Clan: Nosferatu
Embrace: 1987 (enthralled in 1982)
Apparent Age: About 40

Virtue: Ambitious
Vice: Gluttonous

Background: Metaphorically, at least, Treadwell was a vampire long before his Embrace. He was a con-man, a club manager and frequent cocaine dealer in London’s discos and dance clubs. Those who knew him rarely dealt with him more than once because he typically sold bad drugs at inflated prices. But Treadwell was accomplished at presenting an illusion of wealth and power, and there were always more suckers waiting to be ushered into the glamorous life of addiction, so Treadwell never hurt for cash or groupies.

Initially a ghoul, Treadwell soon realized that he really wanted to be Kindred. The common rumor that goes out about Treadwell is that he paid to be Embraced, but those who know the truth have mostly faded from view. The rumor is common enough at this point that nobody cares if it’s true or not because they want to believe that Treadwell was such a vile creature that he would not just choose to give up his humanity, but pay to do so.

Oddly enough, Treadwell’s habits and lifestyle didn’t change a bit once he was Embraced. If anything, it gave him the power to do what he was already doing better. He expanded his operations to include whatever club drugs are popular. With the proceeds from his drug sales, he has accumulated three choice pieces of property: the bar Blackout, the dance club Excalibur, and (very recently) the goth-club Lucifer. He readily offers these up for use by any higher-ranking Invictus members, although he usually tries to squeeze a favor out of it when he does.

Treadwell has never legally died, although he’s been giving it consideration, just to get rid of his legal record. His youthful looks can only be attributed to Botox for so long.

Elder members of the Invictus like Treadwell because he is a willing dupe; he knows his place and stays there, biding his time and awaiting the rewards he know must come his way eventually. There are few depths Treadwell will not sink to in his campaign for power. He’s in the Invictus for the long haul, and he’s certain that he will, in time, be Prince. To that end, he has made a reputation for himself of being a willing performer of the covenant’s dirty work. Small-time enforcement, threats, intimidation and the like are Treadwell’s stock-in-trade. If mortals get out of line, it’s often Treadwell who’s sent in to see that they don’t forget their place for long. The secret to Treadwell’s success is simple: he enjoys his work. Few things compare to the joy of pushing others around and putting them through Hell if they resist. If a mortal persists in causing trouble, Treadwell has no qualms about committing murder. He’s also fairly adept at covering his tracks when he does so. These days, Treadwell works for Scratch’s Machine, using the elder Nosferatu as a stepping stone to greater things in the Invictus. No one, but no one, is under the impression that the arrangement is permanent, or that Treadwell would hesitate for even a moment to sell out Scratch if it came to that. Treadwell also maintains a few under-the-table dealings with the Carthians, a purely mercenary but so far mutually beneficial arrangement.

Ironically, though Treadwell may kill mortals in the line of duty, he rarely does so in the act of feeding. He has a huge herd of young women from whom he feeds, but given his appetites, he almost has to. Treadwell is among the most prolific feeders in the city, feeding far more than he needs to for simple subsistence. Treadwell has a habit of glutting himself on blood until he can’t hold any more, even if he’s only down a single Vitae. Due to all the blood in his system, Treadwell often has a rosy pink complexion that makes him particularly adept at passing for mortal.

Treadwell is a bronze-skinned man of indeterminate heritage in his late thirties or early forties, his hair extravagantly quiffed, dressed in a silk suit of some expensive cut. He usually has an unlit cigarette holder in his mouth, and every individual aspect of him screams success and wealth. It doesn’t quite work. ‘Silk Eddie’ was, is, and would always be a bottom feeder. He’s a drug dealer and a pimp, and no matter how he dressed it up, after every meeting with him even the lowliest of scum want to wash their hands. He is sleaze personified.

Rank: 2
Mental 2; Physical 3; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Terrifying Thug, Vigor
Banes: Picky Eater

Lydia Morreluck, Morlock, Cindy Mourville

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements: Archer of the Lonely March
Clan: Nosferatu
Bloodline: Badacelli
Embrace: 1988
Apparent Age: Early 20s



Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Vain

Cindy Mourville's parents were not ... the best people. They were hardcore fundamentalists, some arch-conservative Protestant sect that believed that the End Times were at hand and that sin was everywhere. From an early age, Cindy was educated at home, force-fed a diet of countless Thou Shalt Nots. When the young girl broke one of them, she was punished, usually by being starved. When she was thirteen years old, malnutrition robbed Cindy of her sight. She went blind due to a Vitamin A deficiency. Her parents, distrustful of any earthly authority, put off going to the doctor until it was far too late.

In a strange sort of way, Cindy's blindness helped keep her sane. The reality of the loss of her sight broke her out of the constricted world-view her parents had created, and it led her to realize that this was not normal. So Cindy kept silent. She planned. She considered. She waited. And when she was sixteen years old, she left home forever.

Things didn't quite work out the way Cindy -- now calling herself Lydia -- had planned. With minimal money, no education, and a severe disability, opportunities for her were slim. She was just barely getting by when she attracted the attention of one Alessandro Bourettien. Alessandro was one of the Baddacelli, a bloodline of Clan Nosferatu cursed to blindness. He Embraced her, as a reward for her sufferings, and perhaps as a salve against the loneliness that gnawed at his own soul.

Lydia drifted in Kindred society, though in some ways she acclimated to the transformation exceptionally well. A marginal, dispossessed member of society before, being a neonate of Clan Nosferatu was only a little different. Though the rhetoric of dominance and of being a Predator of the Night appeals to Lydia in deep-down way, Lydia just never had it in her to hurt people. A terrifyingly botched feeding in her early Requiem led her to feed almost exclusively from pigeons and other animals, and that in turn led to her own interest in pigeons and even to ghouling one of her favorites, whom she named Cher Ami.

At the prompting of her sire, Lydia joined the Circle of the Crone. Her original motives were purely mercenary, as they had magic that Lydia wanted, and in turn, she could offer the mimicry of the Baddacelli to their services. But perhaps as a rejection of the myriad Thou Shalt Nots of her upbringing, Lydia has joined in with the Acolytes with a passion. She respects Abonde vastly, and is part of that witchcraft-focused branch of cult, though she's been among the many who have been nodding along in recent years as Cynthia of the Mara argues for a more proactive approach.

Her own quests brought her to the Golden Room cult, and then to Scratch's Machine. The fact of the matter is, Lydia is used to being a marginal person, and she's good at being a marginal person, but she is very, very tired of being a marginal person. She doesn't quite have the ruthless streak necessary to thrive in Kindred society, but she would very much wish to achieve the kind of power and wealth that other Kindred have. She just hasn't quite managed it yet, though she's picked up a nice nest egg so far.

Lydia has pale skin, quite nearly translucent, but her hair is dyed a vivid, eye-splitting pink color, and allowed to fall limply in front of her face. Her eyes are hidden beneath shocking-pink bangs, which is intentional given that Lydia has no eyes, only a blank expanse of skin in her eye sockets. She dresses appropriately to her hair color, with a short, leather skirt with a wide belt, a somewhat ragged black blouse with a skull emblazoned on it, thigh-high boots, and fingerless black gloves. As an accent, there is usually a spiked collar worn around her neck. Though she looks like -- charitably speaking -- a freak, this is entirely intentional. The Curse of Clan Nosferatu ensures that Lydia always comes across as being somehow off, and so she cultivates her punk-rocker appearance as a way of offering mortals a rational explanation for why she makes them feel odd. That and she just likes to dress up however she wants with no care for what others think.

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 2; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Seeing-Eye Pigeon, Blind, Unspeakably Nice
Banes: Tell (No Eyes)

Irina Stamos

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: People's Republic
Clan: Nosferatu
Embrace: 2008
Apparent Age: Mid-twenties



Virtue: Kind
Vice: Vain
Long-Term Aspiration: To get a boyfriend that lasts more than six months.

Background:Irina’s parents met in Athens - her father was a young man travelling abroad before going to University. Her mother was working as a tour guide as she struggled to pay her rent. The two immediately hit it off, and Irina’s father, Daniel Thompson, cancelled the rest of his trip to spend more time with her. Kalliope, or Kallie for short, was even younger than Daniel, but she cared for him greatly.

When Daniel’s time was up and he had to return home, he asked Kallie to come with him - and so she did. The pair had known each other for just four months at that point, but within another two they were married. By the time they had been together for a year, Irina was on the way.

Although the pair was young, they had no concerns over money - Daniel’s father was a successful businessman, and was more than happy to give his son and new daughter-in-law a start. Daniel completed a degree in business and followed his father into the property business. Kallie, although untrained, started a small modelling agency that quickly took off. And Irina grew up in comfort - she went to a private school, lived in a big house, and had everything she could ever need.

Growing up, Irina was a very popular girl. Pretty and funny (if not especially bright), she was well liked. She didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life, and her parents, knowing that she was no great shakes academically, encouraged her to do what felt right. For a while, she worked as a model with her mother’s company, but gave that up in under a year, disliking the other bitchy models and the demands of designers. She did liked the idea of design herself, however, and enrolled in a BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development course at London College of Fashion. Although she did have a good time on the course, she knew it wasn’t what she wanted to do. As time rolled on, she auditioned for some community theatre for something to do while she considered her life… and found herself adoring the stage. She’d found her passion.

She also realised that she didn’t want to lean on her parents for support. She applied for a place at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts - although she had never studied drama before, she absolutely nailed her audition and she was given the place of someone who had dropped out. For her first year, she was put in a mixed sex dorm, and one of her roommates would go on to become her best friend - Michael Oliver. The two bonded quickly, and during their second year moved into a flat by themselves. Irina paid for her part of the rent by putting her skills to good use - making clothing and selling it to other students, each a unique item and therefore with unique appeal.

After graduating, she and Michael moved closer to the West End together and began auditioning like mad. Irina, naturally, hit the big time first, in a London performance of West Side Story as Maria. She has enjoyed much success since then.

Irina is one of those infuriating people who makes everything look easy. She managed to pick up fashion and acting, without prior experience in either field, with ease. Her singing voice sounds effortless, she picks up dance moves in minutes, and her performances are nuanced and touching. Although she is not particularly adept when it comes to more academic pursuits, she has a very high level of emotional intelligence and social skills. She is a charming and charismatic young woman.

On the other hand, she doesn’t handle stress very well. She can loose her temper in a flash if she is having that sort of day. She is also very sensitive to criticism - even mild criticism cuts her deeply. When upset or angry, she will often storm off and not be heard from for days.

[spoiler=Appearance]Age: Twenty-six.
Eye Color: Green.
Hair Color: Blond.
Skin Tone/Complexion: Tanned.
Hair Style: She is a damn actress. Its never the same one day to the other!

Figure Notes: Irina maintains a fairly slim look.

Clothing Notes: Very fashionable, and often of her own making. Irina favours a very feminine look, often wearing dresses or skirts that show off her long legs.

Accessories: A metric ton of them.

Other: --.[/spoiler.]
Covenant: Carthian
Clan: Nosferatu

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

Mental Skills Craft (Clothing) 4, Investigation 1, Politics 1, Science 1
Physical Skills Athletics 2, Brawl 1, Weaponry 1
Social Skills Empathy 2, Expression (Dance, Drama) 3, Persuasion (Seduction) 3, Socialize 3, Subterfuge 3

Merits: Allies (Poor) 1, Double-Jointed 2, Fame 1, Language (Greek; Native is English) 1, Resources 2, Status (
Pull; Support Group; Influence (Poor)
People's Republic) 1, Striking Looks (Wide-Eyed Innocent) 2
Lair: Michael's & Irina's Apartment

Willpower: 5
Humanity: 7; +1 Support Group
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Frenzy, Clan Weakness
Personal Banes: Tell (Boneless); Crossroads; Picky Eater

Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Health: 7
Speed: 10

Blood Potency: 1
Disciplines: Vigor ●●, Majesty ●●●●, Obfuscate ●●
Devotions: Enchantment
Vitae: 10/1

Alistair Niall
Inquisitor of the Lancea et Sanctum, The High Sheriff of London (Former), Adept of the Carnal Void and Sworn of the Mysteries (Former)

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: Lancea et Sanctum (formerly Ordo Dracul)
Clan: Mekhet
Bloodline: Mnemosyne
Embrace: 1879
Apparent Age: Early 50s

[spoiler=Alistair Niall][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Patient
Vice: Treacherous
Long-Term Aspiration: To know the secrets of every supernatural faction in London

Background: In life, he judged crimes against the public. After, he gathers information but judges no one. Before his Embrace, the worst thing that had happened to him was a physical imprisonment, coupled with physical torture. As one of the Kindred, his suffering and durance are all psychological.

It all comes back to Niall’s Embrace, really. That was the moment it all got disjointed. Before that, he was an atheist and free-thinking skeptic with a chokehold grasp of legal subtleties and a reputation for riding the jury, from either side of the bench. Then, in the course of one night, it was all turned upside down. Vampires, curses, life after death — if all that, which he knew was untrue and in fact could never be true, was true — what then? What other preposterous beliefs might actually be the truth? Werewolves? Theosophy? God?

Born into a wealthy, upper-class family, Alistair Niall purchased a naval officer’s commission and fought with distinction in the Crimean War against Russia, in the Second Opium War against Manchu China, and in the Indian Mutiny against the rebelling princely states. After this last, in 1858, at the age of thirty, Niall retired from the British Navy with full honors as a Lieutenant Commander. He studied law at Oxford, and soon entered the legal profession as a barrister. He married, and soon saw his two daughters married off to prominent London families.

He became a judge in a singularly gruesome fashion. A criminal society banded together to abduct and torture the man who had sent them away. For six hideous days, Niall was a captive in a basement somewhere in the East End, before he was rescued by Scotland Yard. To this day, Niall still experiences pain from his torments. Niall rode the sympathy and fame of his captivity all the way to judge’s robes. After ten years on the bench, Niall had the temerity to have a Ventrue’s ghoul hanged for murder, and for that he was given the Embrace. That’s how Niall tells it, at any rate.

The Embrace brought on a crisis of faith to a man who thought he understood the way the world worked. From the start, Niall needed to know what was going on. He had to know the shape of the world into which he’d been dropped unwilling and unknowing. Niall recruited spies, learned black magic, burrowed into the very heart of London and stared into men’s souls till his heart ached. He learned a great deal, but it was never enough. Paranoid and obsessed, perhaps at some level, he realizes that his pursuit of greater power, greater knowledge and greater influence is futile. No matter how much he learns, his knowledge will never outweigh his ignorance, and learning the darkest about the supernatural world isn’t going to relieve his fear in any event. But that part of Niall is very quiet and abstract, while the desperate and furtive part is loud and immediate, always clamoring for another chain around another pawn, and the desperate part only rests when sated with bad news. Even then, that part only rests until that food can grow that part further.

Niall has served the Kindred Court since his Embrace, first as a Hound, then as a Sheriff, and finally as High Sheriff of all London. He’s a clever, insightful man with a knack for finding out information, while at the same time his embrace has instilled him with a feverish terror for social prominence or any kind of limelight. He is perhaps the one Kindred the Lady of London can trust will never, ever seek to take her throne for himself. For his first decades of unlife, Niall was also a member of the Ordo Dracul, a solid fit for who remains a rationalist at heart. In the 1980s, he was Solomon Birch’s most high-profile convert, attracted to Solomon’s absolute certainty. In so much as two such old vampires can be friends, they are friends.

Niall is a stoutly built, broad-shouldered man of average height, with dark hair that falls into his eyes and a luxuriant mustache. He seems fatherly, and strangely old, moving slowly as if in constant pain. All the fingernails are missing from his right hand, a fact he sometimes conceals by wearing gloves. He has pale, grey eyes, like water flowing over a stone.
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Mekhet
Bloodline: Mnemosyne

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 6, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 9
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 6, Composure 5

Mental Skills: Academics (Law, Research; 9-Again) 5, Investigation (9-Again) 4, Occult 5, Politics 4, Science 3
Physical Skills: Firearms 1, Stealth 5, Survival 2
Social Skills: Empathy (Meminisse x2) 4, Expression (Dominate) 3, Intimidation 4, Persuasion 2, Socialize 3, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge (Deception x2, Meminisse x2; 9-Again) 6

Merits: Contacts 4, Fast Reflexes 3, Indomitable 2, Languages (Hindi, French; Native is English) 2, Professional Training (Lawyer & Judge; Academics, Investigation, Subterfuge) 5, Resources 4, Status (
Lancea et Sanctum; Inquisitor) 3
Lair: Hidden Lair; Secrecy 6

Willpower: 10
Humanity: 3
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Frenzy, The Tenebrous Curse, The Transient Curse
Personal Banes: Counting, Running Water
Persistent Conditions: Deformity (Fingernail-less hand). Niall also has Blood Ties to:
Once Removed: Ravenser, Kim Starlight, Lauren Darrow, Anna Darlington
Twice Removed: Elizabeth Sheridan, Lujza Dvorzsak, Solomon Birch, Victoria Cutteridge, Damien
Thrice Removed: Smiley Reid, Henry Wescote, Molly, Tejal Krishnamurthy

Initiative: 12
Defense: 4
Armor: 5/5 (w/ Resilience)
Mind Shield: 8 (Indomitable+Mind of the Inscrutable Hydra+Discipline)
Health: 14
Speed: 5 (Crippled)

Blood Potency: 6
Disciplines: Auspex ●●●●, Coils of the Dragon ●●●●●, Dominate ●●●●, Meminisse ●●●●●, Obfuscate ●●●●●, Resilience ●●●●●, Theban Sorcery ●●
Theban Sorcery Rituals:
1st : Lift the Scales, Vitae Reliquary, Blessed Medallion
2nd: Liar's Plague, Gift of Tongues
Coils of the Dragon: Coil of the Beast ●, Coil of the Flesh ●, Coil of the Soul ●●●
Devotions: Cleansing Impression, Heightened Senses, Identity Crisis, Mnemovore, Restoration of Things Lost, Silent Echoes
Vitae: 20/6
Notable Possessions: A handkerchief with Lauren's blood

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.................Special
Thief of Minds.................. ...N/A.......... 19..........................3V, Minus Resolve, lose (Successes) Willpower, Weakened Memories, possibly Amnesia
Identity Crisis.................. ...N/A.......... 16..........................8V, Minus Resolve, lose (Successes) Mental Attribute dots

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

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

[spoiler=Emily Wescote][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Determined
Vice: Short-Tempered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Virtue: Generous
Vice: Cowardly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Resentful

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Ivenistky
Master David Ivenistky, Childe of Anna Darlington

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


Virtue: Loyal
Vice: Greedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solomon Birch

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

[spoiler=Solomon Birch]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margery Brigman

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How did you do that?” she asked.

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

“What do you mean, prepared…?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rev. Giles Hayworth

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

[spoiler=Rev. Giles Hayworth][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Peaceful
Vice: Corrupt

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

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

He is, one may say, imperfectly loyal.

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

Cynthia of the Mara
Cynthia Carroll

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

Virtue: Ambitious
Vice: Greedy

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

But Cynthia wants more.

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

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

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

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

(Cynthia wanted more.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allison “Allie” Newton

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

[spoiler=More Allie][/spoiler.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lillian Chambers

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: People's Republic
Clan: Ventrue
Embrace: 1980
Apparent Age: Mid-50s

[spoiler=Lillian Chambers][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Kind
Vice: Cold

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.
Covenant: Ordo Dracul
Clan: Gangrel

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 5, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 12, Dexterity 5, Stamina 12
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 5

Mental Skills: Academics (Literature; +2 to Research) 4, Crafts 1, Investigation 1, Occult 3, Politics 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 6, Brawl 3, Firearms 3, Stealth 2, Survival (Mountain) 5, Weaponry (Two-Handed Weapon x2) 7
Social Skills: Empathy (Analyzing) 5, Expression (Written) 3, Intimidation 2, Subterfuge (Cheap Shot x2) 2

Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Indomitable 2, Iron Stamina 3, Languages (German, English; Native is Hungarian) 2, Quick-Draw (Two-Handed Weapon) 1, Resources 3, Status (
Ordo Dracul; Kogaion and Rampant Dragon) 3, Virtuous 2
Combat Merits: Fighting Style (Heavy Weapons) 5, Fighting Style (Armed Defense) 5, Fighting Style (Street-Fighting) 3, Cheap Shot 2, Iron Skin 4
Lair: Academic’s Flat: Security 2

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

Attacks...............................Damage.....Dice Pool...........Special
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

Evan Adair
Scholar of the Burning Hunger

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

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 4, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 6
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics (Classics, Philology; +1 to Research) 4, Computer 1, Investigation 4, Medicine 2, Occult 3, Politics 1, Science 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Larceny (Pick Locks) 3, Stealth (Fade into the Background) 4, Survival 1, Weaponry (Rapier x2) 4
Social Skills: Empathy 1, Persuasion 1, Subterfuge (Poker Face) 4

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.
Flurry (1L),
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.
Weak Spot, Iron Guard
Armor: 1/2B (Kevlar; 4/5 w/ Resilience)
Health: 11
Speed: 11 (22 w/ Celerity)

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)

Attacks........................Damage.....Dice Pool...........Special
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.
Feint, Thrust, Choking Brine (Toxicity 2), Bog Blade 2

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

[spoiler=Van Holt][/spoiler.]

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.

[spoiler=a selection of suitable Classical quotations]Some Latin quotes (from http://latin-phrases.co.uk/):
De gustibus non est disputandum - In matters of taste, there is no argument
Castigat ridendo mores - One corrects customs by laughing at them
De fumo in flammam - Out of the smoke into the flame
Facile omnes quom valemus recta consilia aegrotis damus - when we are healthy, we all have advice for those who are sick
Certum est quia impossible est - It is certain because it is impossible
Dulce bellum inexpertis - War is sweet to those who have never fought
Beneficium accipere libertatem est vendere - To accept a favour is to sell one's freedom
Corruptisima re publica plurimae leges - In the most corrupt state are the most laws
Alea iacta est - The die has been cast

Some Greek quotes (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_phrases):
Κακὸς ἀνὴρ μακρόβιος (Kakos anēr makrobios) A bad man lives long
Λάθε βιώσας (Lathe biōsas) - Lit. "Live hidden", don't get involved in politics, don't stick your neck out
Aνάγκᾳ δ’οὐδὲ θεοὶ μάχονται (Anankāi d'oude theoi machontai) - Even the Gods do not fight necessity
Διαίρει καὶ βασίλευε (Diairei kai basileue.) - Divide and conquer
Δεῖμος καὶ Φόβος (Deimos kai Phobos) - Panic and fear
Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα (Hen oida hoti ouden oida) - I know one thing, that I know nothing
ζῷον πολιτικὸν (Zōon politikon) - Man is by nature a political animal
Μὴ χείρον βέλτιστον (Mē cheíron béltiston.) - The least bad [choice] is the best[/spoiler.]

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?

[spoiler=Ms. Prescott][/spoiler.]

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.

Rank: 3
Mental 6; Physical 4; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 5
Notable Powers: Uncanny Knowledge (Special), Terrifying, Protean 5
Banes: Cold Iron

Frances Black
Scribe of the Dedicated Void

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Ordo Dracul
Clan: Mekhet
Bloodline: Scathain
Embrace: 2006
Apparent Age: 33



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,
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

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

Mental Skills: Academics (Literature, Research; +1 to Research; 9-Again) 4, Computer 1, Investigation (Interview; 9-Again) 4, Occult (Kindred) 4, Politics 1
Physical Skills: Larceny 2, Stealth 2
Social Skills: Empathy (Analyzing x2, Aura Read) 4, Expression (Written; 9-Again) 3, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 2, Socialize 1, Subterfuge (Scrutinize) 4

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

Malik Faye
Scribe of the Untamed Pain

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Ordo Dracul
Clan: Nosferatu
Bloodline: Nagloper
Embrace: 1998
Apparent Age: 26



[spoiler=Malik without all his piercings/tattoos/spines][/spoiler.]

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

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 8, Dexterity 3, Stamina 8
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 2, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics (+1 to Research) 0, Medicine (Vicissitude) 3, Occult (West African Folklore) 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 4, Brawl (Horrid Talons x2) 4, Larceny 1, Stealth 1
Social Skills: Expression 2, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 1, Socialize (BDSM community) 3, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 2

Merits: Charmed Life 3, Fast Reflexes 3, Herd (BDSM/Fetish Types) 5, Iron Stamina 3, Resources 1, Status (
Ordo Dracul) 1, Striking Looks (Freak) 2
Lair: None, Malik has private quarters at the Grand Chapter House.

Willpower: 6
Humanity: 5
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Fire, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Lonely Curse, The Curse of Soil
Banes: Lethargy (African Folk Music)

Initiative: 9
Defense: 2
Armor: 6/6 (2/2 Tough Hide + 4/4 Resilience)
Health: 13
Speed: 16

Blood Potency: 3
Disciplines: Coils of the Dragon ●●, Obfuscate ●, Protean ●●●●, Resilience ●●●●, Vicissitude ●●●, Vigor ●●●●
Predatory Aspects: Quadrupedal, Tough Hide, Venomous
Beast's Skin: Honey Badger, Hyena, Jackal, Kingfisher
Unnatural Aspects: Horrid Talons
Vicissitude Alterations:
1st: Supplication of Skin, Revert the Mundane Clay
2nd: Mandate of Flesh, Excise the Corporeal Flaws
3rd: Exhortation of the Predatory Form
Coils of the Dragon: Coil the Beast ●, Coil of the Flesh ●
Vitae: 12/3; Herd 5

Attacks................................Damage.....Dice Pool...........Special
Horrid Talons............................ 3L............ 17………....…....AP 2, Venomous (Toxicity 2)

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

[spoiler=Dr. Victoria Cutteridge][/spoiler.]

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.

Rank: 3
Mental 9; Physical 2; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 5
Notable Powers: Science!, Gilded Cage 5
Banes: Disruption (Salt); Plague of Purity


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.

Rank: 3
Mental 1; Physical 10; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Jaguar, Resilience 4, Vigor 4

Nathaniel Beaufort

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Daeva
Bloodline: Kallisti (?)
Embrace: 1840
Apparent Age: 35

[spoiler=Nathaniel Beaufort][/spoiler.]
Self-portrait, 1877. His third out of about seven, actually.

Virtue: Hopeful (There will always be someone who appreciates him and his work as they’re truly meant to be appreciated! Right?)
Vice: Arrogant

Background: What do you do when you have a reserved, overly sensitive second son who would far rather read Wordsworth and attempt hackish Romantic landscape paintings than actually take responsibility for your estate? You pack him off to Cambridge, then point him in the general direction of the recently-opened National Gallery in London, hoping that his innate nobility expresses itself in dignified museum curation rather than gadding off about the countryside with a satchel full of watercolors. It almost worked, too: Nathaniel sank into his position (and an almost incidental marriage) under the weight of societal expectations, silently stewing all the while over an artistic career that never was. If they’d only given him a chance...

His sire did. She met Nathaniel for the first time during the process of donating some of her collection to the Gallery, speaking with him frankly and engagingly about their respective artistic philosophies. She met him for the second time while literally abducting him from his bedroom at 4:00 in the morning, secreting him off to her own London estate, and turning him on the spot. Elise needed a personal plaything whom she could in turn nurture as an artist -- and he, as it eventually turned out, needed a muse, a patron, and a lover. Ironically, Nathaniel wasn’t actually a very good painter before the Embrace, but his being undead basically acted as the world’s most perverse “magic feather.” Clearly, he was an all-powerful creature of the night, right? Capable of far more depth of feeling, and worthy of far more respect, than even the loftiest mortal man, right? How could he not be one of the age’s premier artistic voices? His newfound confidence, combined with Elise’s inspiration, made him quite the talented painter within ten years; Elise’s supernatural contacts in the art world made him a successful one, in mortal circles no less than among the Kindred. And, apropos of nothing, his sire kept him on a pretty long personal leash -- since all-powerful creatures of the night were practically obliged to be rakish ne’er-do-wells, who’s to say he couldn’t make a grand showing in that arena, as well? So long as he shared his “successes” with his muse, that is...

This state of affairs persisted for about forty years. Nathaniel’s talents -- artistic and otherwise -- grew. He championed Romanticism through the early ‘50’s, was a leading voice against the rise of the Realists, and eventually settled on a rather grandiose Academic style later on in the decade, largely pooh-poohing the rise of the Impressionists despite some small personal experimentation with the style. He and Elise moved to the Continent, then back, then back again. The sex was fantastic, and the partners were plentiful -- though all secondary to his sire, of course. Things were looking up.

In 1881, Elise was staked by a cell of Paris hunters in a Montmartre hotel room. Nathaniel, not being the type to realize deep-seated dependence issues until they come back to bite one in the trousers, did not take it well. After about three months of blank space and ten dead hunters, he set out to acquire a new muse. That was how you knew you were an artist, right? Right?

Amelia might not have known that Nathaniel’s sudden bent towards sustained courtship, and her later abduction and tutelage at his hands, was borne of a subconscious desire to re-enact his relationship with Elise with himself as the sire. He couldn’t really have articulated it either. In his defense, Freud wasn't even out of postgraduate work by then. Of course, when Amelia left...

Nathaniel had a lot more partners. He talked a lot louder. He made a lot more paintings. No, they weren’t derivative at all. How dare you. This so-called expressionist movement is hogwash, and not to be accepted among right-thinking artists. These cubists are even worse. Mortals wouldn't appreciate true genius if it punched them in the neck. Kindred are the only ones worth selling to. The fact that their aesthetic tastes are “frequently stalled out in the 1870s” has nothing to do with it, and your dismissive tone is unwarranted. Kandinsky is a hack. Magritte is a fraud. How dare you. How dare you.

And so, in early 1963, a painter of hackish faux-Rockwell landscapes; a dealer of said paintings to one or two crusty Victorian relics; a man with a loud mouth, a low-rent woman on his arm, and a colossally overblown idea of his own importance... This man unwittingly picked a shouting match with the Jack of Crows in an Austrian bar.

Nathaniel went back to Britain missing most of his throat. He rented an apartment in London, went in, and stayed there for the large majority of the next forty years. He left only to hunt, and even then preferred to lure prey to his door. Coming to terms with one’s own irrelevance can be a long process, and a lonely one.

For the past five years or so, though, there have been whispered rumors of a daring new voice in the art world -- the mortal art world. Cutting-edge, modern, experimental works, rich in symbolism: gallery showings arranged in secret for trend-hunters to stumble upon; murals popping up unexpectedly by busy thoroughfares; original paintings worth hundreds of thousands sold over secure Internet connections. Few claim to have seen him, and fewer still have actually seen him: his public appearances are rare, and only add to his mystique. You haven’t heard of him, the tastemakers say? You will. Any day now, he’s going to blow up.

Today’s Kindred have heard of him, though. Since the mid-2000s, Nathaniel Beaufort has been mixing and mingling with the supernaturals of London, even as he makes his covert play for the adulation of the mortal world. He’s a Harpy -- one of Elysium’s official trend-setters -- and is well spoken-of among his fellow vampiric aesthetes: Louis Ibn-Haroud, to name one, Emily Wescote, to name another (Montjoy never has a good word for anyone). Yes, he’s still something of a homebody, and yes, his advancing age is something of a concern...but in this connected age, it’s become easier and easier to order “food” right to his apartment. For the first time in his life, Nathaniel truly feels like the capable, confident, independently motivated artist that he’s always imagined himself to be. Seeing as both Amelia and the Jack of Crows are currently living in London, only time will tell whether that is truly the case.

Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown-black
Skin Tone/Complexion: Not goth-pale, but pale. Nathaniel’s an Englishman, and an indoor kid before his Embrace, to boot.
Hair Notes: Medium-length and heavily, artfully tousled, with short sideburns: Neil Gaiman with more gel.

Figure Notes: Nathaniel’s on the tall side (around 6’0”) with a kind of wiry athleticism about him, more runway model than gym buff. His face is unconventionally attractive but attractive nonetheless: lean, with good cheekbones and a pointed chin. He might well have been awkward once, but the confidence he’s built over the years shows through -- he moves swiftly but deliberately, with a long stride. The appropriate equation here is probably Lord Byron + Andy Warhol + Benedict Cumberbatch.

Oh yeah, and there’s the fact that a large chunk of his throat has been torn out, leaving a ragged wound that perpetually looks as if it’s just finished healing improperly. Nathaniel has to use a handheld vocalizer just to talk.

Clothing Notes: Nathaniel dresses like the coolest art professor on campus, presuming a parallel universe in which art professors make six-figure salaries and do all their shopping in Portland. Skinny jeans or slacks, loafers, and usually either a turtleneck or a T-shirt-and-scarf combo to cover up the neck, sometimes paired with a blazer or tweed jacket. All of it is likely in black or other dark colors -- deep browns, blues and purples are popular, sometimes with white accents. All of it is definitely expensive, and definitely on the absolute bleeding edge of fashion. And yes, he wears his sunglasses at night. In essence, Nathaniel is who every hipster wants to look like, but never does; he, and possibly he alone, actually makes the look seem legitimate. You have no earthly idea how this is possible.

Rank: 3
Mental 4; Physical 3; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 6 climbing to 7
Notable Powers: Artist, Stylish
Banes: Plague of Purity; Symbols

Patrick "Count" Kelly

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Gangrel
Embrace: 1932
Apparent Age: 42

[spoiler=Patrick "Count" Kelly][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Loyal (You can trust Kelly with your life...)
Vice: Corrupt (...but not your wallet)

Background: They called him "Count" for two reasons. First, it was a call-back to his old boxing days. When Paddy Kelly knocked someone flat, they were down for the count. Second, because Patrick Kelly liked money, and he liked dressing well, certainly more nicely than an Irish bruiser for the mob normally did. A big, brutal man, Kelly had been a boxer before the Great War, before he was conscripted and served a sentence in the trenches, before the gas ruined his wind for good.

There's not a lot of call for a boxer who can't fight for more than a minute before coughing up blood, and with no education, Kelly's prospects were not what one might call good. He could've gone back to construction and day labor, but Kelly liked eating regularly, so he went to work for the Elephant and Castle Mob, a ruthless operation run by the McDonald Brothers, Wag and Wal. The interwar years saw a London divided into a number of gangs, all fighting for control over the bookmaking operations and the money that flowed from it. Aside from the Elephant and Castle Mob, there were the Cortesi Brothers, the Birmingham Boys, the Titanics of Soho, and ultimately the Sicilian Sabini Gang, which would come to dominate London by the end of the Second World War.

Kelly was gone by then, of course. A now-dead Invictus of Clan Gangrel had Embraced him in the early Thirties, but death changed very little about Kelly's existence. He got out in the sun less, and he didn't have to worry about his wind anymore. Still had a drinking problem though, and he was still working as a bodyguard and general legbreaker. In truth, Kelly wasn't overly impressed with his Sire, who may have been an inhuman horror but still ran a distant third to the poison gas and the McDonalds in the list of Kelly's nightmares.

It was about five years after his Embrace that Kelly ran into another thuggish character by the name of Solomon Birch. Solomon may have been an intellectual sort of bruiser, but he was good company and good backup, and so the two fell in together. Thus began an association that would survive right until the present. Kelly'd been in enough fights to appreciate having someone reliable at his back, and the feeling was entirely mutual. Over the course of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, Birch and Kelly brawled their way through the supernatural world of London, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

Birch joined the Lancea et Sanctum in 1941, and Kelly followed him into the covenant in 1954, spurred by a combination of loyalty for his comrade-in-arms, a vestigial appreciation for the Roman Catholicism of his mortal youth, and the realization that Birch was a rising star and Kelly was in a position to ride his coattails straight up. They made Kelly a Deacon in '66, but he never achieved any higher rank, for all that he's got the Bishop's ear in modern nights.

The usual first impression of Kelly is of a low-rent thug with delusions of eloquence, a nasty piece of work who'll break you in half if you offend him, but who has the mental acuity of a gerbil. Certainly Kelly's crude, boorish, and uneducated, but this overlooks that he's also a survivor and a long-term associate of the decidedly brilliant Solomon Birch. Kelly's quick on his feet and he has a particular genius for violence and combat tactics, and he's not quite as stupid as he looks. He is, however, as crude as he looks.

These days, "Count" Kelly is one of Birch's best henchmen. He'll do whatever he's asked, and he's quite good at hurting people if that's what's necessary (and in the militant Lancea et Sanctum, it often is). That doesn't mean he's happy though. Kelly's frustrated by his lack of upward advancement, though he's aware that his lack of education and imperfect piety are holding him back -- Kelly's sort of a "Sunday and Easter" Sanctified, showing up at the ceremonies but otherwise basically living his own life. Still, Kelly figured that his close connection to Birch should've counted for something, and he resents Alistair Niall fiercely for snagging the Inquisitor's position that Kelly wanted for himself.

Physically, Kelly's in his early forties, and has the build of a boxer gone to seed. He's a huge bastard, six-foot-two if he's an inch, with thinning brown hair and a short, dark beard. He's got absolutely huge hands that make any weapon he uses look toy-like, but he's a passable shot and perfectly capable of knocking someone flat with his fist -- and as a member of Clan Gangrel, he can make those fists sprout vicious-looking rocky ridges, a kind of biological brass knuckles. Kelly still wears the nicest clothing he can afford, and as one of Birch's chief henchmen, he can afford a lot.

Rank: 3
Mental 3; Physical 7; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 5
Notable Powers: Bruiser; Obfuscating Stupidity
Banes: Fog and Mist; Open Wounds

Georgina "Georgie" MacAulay

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Gangrel
Embrace: 1894
Apparent Age: Mid-30s

Virtue: Adventurous
Vice: Hateful (People that either restrict or abuse personal freedom)

Background: Georgina MacAulay was born in 1861 in the British Raj, in what was then Bombay (Mumbai nowadays). Her father was a British military officer, Colonel George MacAulay of the 14th Bombay Infantry, and her mother was Amala Cursetji, a local woman who served as Colonel MacAulay's housekeeper and concubine. This fact would inform much of Georgina's life.

The years immediately after the internicine bloodshed of the Great Rebellion of 1857 were bad years to be growing up as a mixed-race child in India. To his credit Colonel MacAulay was a decent man and did his best to provide for 'Georgie,' as everyone was soon calling her, and to shield her from any unpleasantness. It helped that Georgie was a bright, inquisitive child, and so she was pretty soon sitting in on the lessons of sahibs' children, and occasionally getting her own private tutoring. When she was old enough, MacAulay paid for her to be boarded and schooled in Great Britain, culminating in a few years at Cambridge. Georgie's education was among the finest to be had. Of course, she saw her parents approximately once a month until puberty hit, and once a year afterwards (MacAulay's good nature did not extend to letting Cursetji raise her own daughter, and he himself had a wife in Scotland).

By the early 1880s, Georgie had an excellent education, a decent if not spectacular allowance from her father, and absolutely no idea what to do with herself. Marriage didn't seem to be in the cards, and so Georgie found herself accompanying one of her Cambridge professors on an archaeological expedition back to India as a general assistant who could also speak the language. It was on that expedition that Georgie discovered her true calling. She was a scientist, but she was a very specific kind of scientist, the kind that went out, dug up ancient ruins, collected plants, and drew maps. She wasn't very good at the 'sit down and write about it' part of research, and her circumstances and race meant that she was only ever an assistant on the expeditions. But when it came to tramping all over India and Mesopotamia in search of bugs, books, and anything else interesting, she was first-rate.

Georgie also turned to religion. She'd gotten a certain amount of dutiful Presbyterian indoctrination as a child, but she became a good deal more serious about it as she grew up. The church's message about chastity, faithfulness, and 'till death do you part' had a great deal of appeal to a girl who's mother was never allowed to see her because her father and his wife would not allow it. It is an extremely unpleasant thing to realize that neither of your parents really cared for each other beyond sexual convenience on the one hand and money and status on the other, or that neither of them ever really loved Georgie as a person. The Colonel did his duty by Georgie far beyond what anyone would expect, and she tries very hard to be grateful for it, but she resents him fiercely at the same time.

Georgie's skills as a researcher were why her sire embraced her. Her sire was an Invictus vampire who had after decades of work in the covenant finally decided to allow himself the pleasure of a Grand Tour of the Empire. He needed a capable assistant, and Georgie fit the bill. The young woman wasn't exactly thrilled with this transition, but she also didn't have much choice, and after a few years she came to terms with it. It helped that her sire was a generally easy-going master, and also that undeath had opened up Georgie's scope for exploration a hundred-fold.

Georgie's sire emancipated her formally in 1921 (the two stayed in touch until his torpor in 1953 in Iraq), and Georgie promptly joined the Lancea et Sanctum of London. Becoming a vampire had only hardened her religious conviction, and she swiftly made herself useful. By the 1970s, Georgie was adding regularly to the Church Eternal's Black Collection, the repository of ancient relics and theological treatises that was the church's most valuable possession. Other vampires were in charge of its management and protection. Georgie just made sure there were plenty of interesting things to add to it.

At heart, Georgie's a scientist, archaeologist, and anthropologist, a late Victorian Lady Explorer who can do a bit of everything. She knows how to translate several languages both modern and ancient, can catalog plants, insects, and animals, knows first aid and can perform basic surgery, is familiar with archaeological best practices, can draw maps and navigate by the stars, and can fix a car engine. Her knowledge isn't very deep, but it's extremely broad. Furthermore, Georgie is passionate about finding out new stuff. In fact, to her its nothing less than a religious sacrament. God created the world and everything in it, and Georgie's highest calling is to learn more about God's work, both so she can educate herself, and so she can point it out to other people and go, basically, 'isn't this cool?'

In terms of faith, Georgie falls firmly in the Lancea et Sanctum mainstream -- she buys into the Scourging of Mortals and into the idea that Kindred are Damned, though her basically optimistic nature leads her to think that so long as she does a good job and honestly tries, then God will look out for her. She's also a leading proponent of what may be called Sanctified Feminism. In life, Georgie was a part of what's today called first-wave feminism, even if she feels a bit left behind by the current movement (through Henry Wescote she's a friend of the Seneschal, Emily Wescote, and the two share long conversations on the subject). For Georgie, women's equality and church authority are not two opposing poles, but two sides of the same coin.

Georgie is sublimely convinced of men and women's spiritual equality, and she tears down any sorts of biased institutions wherever they may be found. At the same time though, Georgie doesn't believe that absolute freedom is a good thing. Or rather, freedom is good, but freedom without spirituality, freedom without morality, respect, restraint, responsibility, that sort of freedom just leads to license and immorality. It's bad for the soul and it's bad for peoples' happiness. Emphasizing faithfulness and chastity and mutual-respect, as far as Georgie is concerned, is wholly compatible with advanced the feminist cause by breaking down unfair restrictions.

Beyond that, Georgie's generally very happy with her life. She finds her work both intellectually stimulating and spiritually fulfilling, and she gets to meet plenty of interesting people. She lives off the residue of her trust fund, moneys that her sire gave her, and contributions from the church, and she keeps busy. Not to say that Georgie's life is perfect -- the letdown of coming home to an empty flat after some expedition never quite stops getting to her -- but she doesn't dwell on it.

People who know Georgie tend to find her gregarious and friendly, always keen to show something off. Her general happiness with life means that she's a very mellow person, not easily flustered or upset. About the only thing that shakes her out of her easy-going manner is being presented with something new or interested to do, at which point she focuses on it with laser-like precision.

In person, Georgie is a short, solid woman of mixed Scots-Gujarati heritage. She has a broad, open face, bright and cheerful eyes, and wears her shoulder-length black hair unbound. She tends to dress modestly, long skirts or pants and long-sleeved shirts, with the only vanity she allows herself being a variety of earrings and pendants, which are usually dramatic but not particularly expensive. Whatever she wears, she usually has a coat close at hand with about fifty pockets stuffed full of notepads, magnifying glasses, vials, bandages, forceps, and who knows what else.

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 2; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Victorian Lady Explorer; Knowledge that's Broad but not Deep
Banes: Uninvited

Yesheq Tekla-Masqal
Father Isaac

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Nosferatu
Embrace: Before 1240, all anyone can say.
Apparent Age: Somewhere between a hard-used late 30s and a well-preserved early 70s.

Virtue: Humble & Peaceful
Vice: Miserly

Background: Yesheq Tekla-Masqal is probably the second oldest Kindred in London, after Abonde. He's not sure, really, because he's not sure how old he is, and it's always possible that any other methuselahs are keeping a low profile. Then again, so is Yesheq. No one actually knows he's as old as the hills, not Solomon Birch, not Alistair Niall, not Abonde, not Sheridan, not anyone else. Just like no one actually knows he's got some of the most valuable Sanctified relics in the world buried under his haven, treasures from the earliest years of the covenant. And Yesheq is perfectly happy with this state of affairs.

By this point, Yesheq doesn't really remember his mortal life or when he was embraced or any of those details. After the third or fourth bout of torpor, those little details sort of blur together. He was a vampire when Yekuno Amlak deposed the last of the Zagwe kings and established a renewed Solomonic Dynasty, so he's at least seven hundred and fifty years old, but he might be older than that. Much older. Much, much older.

Yesheq's not actually as impressive as his great age suggests, because for most of his long Requiem, he was a monk of the Monastery of the Black Covenant. The Monastery was a small Lancea et Sanctum monastery located in what is roughly present-day South Sudan, in a section of territory that was on the frontiers of the Ethiopian Empire. Yesheq and his fellow monks claimed a direct line of descent from the Black Abbey of the Monachus. It was their belief that they held relics dating back to the very earliest nights of the covenant's existence, including first-generation copies of the murals that revealed the secrets of Theban Sorcery to the covenant, in a hidden chamber beneath the necropolis of Thebes.

Despite the fact that it was small (at its peak in the 14th century it had sixteen Kindred) and composed of blood-sucking horrors, life in the Monastery of the Black Covenant was much like monastic life the world round. The monks lived quiet, ascetic lives, filled with prayer. They herded goats and drank their blood, and when they could no longer do so they were laid into repose with ritual and prayer in the crypt beneath the Monastery until they could awaken with thinned blood. In their waking hours, they acted as scourges to the living (such as there were, for the Monastery was ever isolated), and spent a great deal of time in prayer, theological debate, and preserving their relics. Yesheq, for his part, was their master illuminist, churning out beautifully decorated copies of the Testament of Longinus and the Sanguinary Catechism alongside devotional icons of various saints. So it was for a very, very long time, one century following after the next.

Until the coming of the Mahdi. Not the actual Mahdi, that long-awaited redeemer of Islam, but Muhammad Ahmad, a Sudanese religious leader who in 1881 proclaimed himself the Mahdi. Over the next few years, the Mahdi led a anti-colonialist rebellion against the British-controlled Egyptian government, culminating in the Siege of Khartoum in 1884, which saw the British General George Gordon slain. The Mahdist Revolt continued for another decade after that, until Kitchener finally put it down (not that Ahmad was alive to see it), and in that time the Mahdists managed to invade or otherwise antagonize quite nearly every one of their neighbors.

The Monastery of the Black Covenant was one of the casualties. Most likely, someone in the Mahdist forces had more than the usual amount of occult talent, for the detachment of troops fell upon the Monastery during the day, burning it to the ground and destroying everything they found within. Not that they had it all their own way, for there were spells woven as traps around the Monastery, to burn and vitrify those who attacked. They weren't enough though, and after a thousand years of existence, the Monastery of the Black Covenant perished in a single day.

Yesheq was one of the three survivors -- in his case because he had been away with the herds that day, and had slept in an outlying haven away from the rest of the monks. When he and his fellows came in the day, they took stock of the situation. The Monastery was done for, so each agreed to take a share of the ancient relics (such as were still intact), and to go abroad into the world. God had made it clear that the Monastery's time was over, and a new era had begun.

So began Yesheq's years of wandering. The elder Nosferatu was in for one case of culture shock after another, especially as he wandered northwards, into British Egypt and Ottoman Palestine and thence into the mainland. He didn't have any strong motive in his wanderings, only to observe and to learn just what the rest of the Covenant had done. Ethiopia had been an isolated land, and the Monastery more isolated still, but Yesheq slowly adapted. He learned to speak English and French, for one thing, and learned of the machines of mortal men (at least to the point of 'getting hit by a car while crossing the street in Marseilles is painful'). He was in France during much of the First World War, walking as an angel of death among the slaughter. Between 1921 and 1923 he was in Algeria preparing an extremely secure haven, and then he went into torpor until 1968, when his blood had thinned some more. Looking around at the warfare that had sprung up about him, he moved to London.

Why? Well, Yesheq can offer up some profound explanations. London was the heart of the world, to which all roads lead. It would be an honor for him to help build the Church Eternal in London, especially as monasticism seemed an outdated relic in the modern world (Yesheq sometimes feels like a relic himself). But the truth of the matter is that Yesheq was simply tired. He's a homebody by demeanor, and London seemed as good a place as any in which to safely immerse himself in humanity. It also helped that while Yesheq followed a somewhat different brand of Sanctified ritual (his is derived from the Oriental Orthodox churches, and thus is rather heavier on the incense and icons than London's High Anglican approach), it was still fairly close. In fact, Yesheq is pretty much single-handedly responsible for bringing the practice of confession back into the London Sanctified community (Anglicans don't really do it, but it's a big deal in the Oriental Orthodox churches).

Yesheq didn't actually tell his fellow parishioners that he was older than the hills, mind. He had no interest in becoming a target for every interested Kindred in a hundred mile radius. He sort of let people think he had been embraced in the mid-19th century, making him old, certainly, but not ancient. In any case, Yesheq's theological experience and his willingness to work hard meant that he was soon anointed as a Priest of the Lancea et Sanctum (in his mind, Yesheq is amused that it only took him seven hundred years to become a priest), and not long afterwards, the old Nosferatu became the Secret Archivist, charged with maintaining the covenant's records and relics, the Black Collection. Yesheq's rather discreetly added the treasures of the Monastery of the Black Covenant to it, though he keeps them separate. He goes by Father Isaac about as often as his real name nowadays, mostly because trying to get Londoners to pronounce Amharic is more trouble than it's worth.

People who meet Yesheq invariably think him somewhat strange. Not bad, necessarily, but strange. He's far more human than Abonde, since unlike her, he hasn't spent his Requiem staring into Nietzsche's Abyss but has spent centuries tending to his soul, but he's still not normal by any definition of the word. His personality is like a stone submerged into a river, all the sharp edges and extra pieces of his personality abraded away by time. He doesn't get very angry, he doesn't get very happy, he doesn't really have an existence other than the Church Eternal, nor does he want one. He hunts, he prays, he carries out his pastoral duties, he cares for the Black Collection, and for entertainment he illuminates manuscripts. That's roughly it.

He's a soft-spoken man who dislikes violence and is seriously awkward in informal gatherings. He can sermonize and lead prayers with the best of them, and he's perfectly capable of holding up his end of a theological debate, but he'd rather stab himself with a red-hot knife than carry on small-talk with a neonate fresh from a nightclub. His avoidance of any conversational topic unrelated to the Church Eternal, combined with the fact that he's simply heard every possible theological argument already means that Yesheq's acquired a reputation for sage wisdom that he himself feels is grossly undeserved. Yesheq doesn't feel like he's a fool, but he's met actual sages, and he knows he's not one of them (Henry Wescote... maybe, in another century or two). By the same token, Yesheq has a reputation as being very good with the Theban Miracles, but again, this has less to do with any particular talent of his and more with the fact that he's been studying them since before the Black Death.

That said, Yesheq tends to make people uncomfortable. Yesheq, you see, doesn't kill people. At all. He still feeds almost exclusively on animals. About the only exception is the Feast of Longinus, when he sips on mortal blood after spending about a week making sure that he's not going to hurt anyone. The man goes into Torpor regularly to keep his blood thin (he's guessing he'll be going to sleep again sometime in 2040). A carefully controlled Torpor such as Yesheq's, carried out ritually and in a safe place, is much less dangerous than falling into it because someone tried to burn you alive, but that's a bit like saying it's a 'less dangerous' way of jumping out of a speeding car. Someone familiar with Yesheq's history might suspect that the ancient Kindred's spotty memory of his mortal life is from torpors which Yesheq didn't come out of with everything in its rightful place.

But he still does it, because he doesn't want to kill people. And this is what makes other vampires uneasy. Plenty of Kindred take efforts not to kill casually, but they accept that accidents happen. Yesheq, meanwhile, plays Russian Roulette with his psyche every hundred years. Their reaction to him, then, is roughly equivalent to that of normal, middle-class people who give to charity towards a stockbroker who donates all of his money to the poor and then sits in front of a church with a begging bowl, and is totally happy doing so. He shows that there's another way of existence, if you have the moral fortitude to take it. Needless to say, lots of Kindred, even in the Lancea et Sanctum, prefer to laugh his example off by saying that Yesheq is just kind of crazy (which isn't necessarily untrue), but it would be an uncomfortable laughter, and one they'd be hard-pressed to justify.

For the record, Yesheq isn't a pacifist, precisely. The Church Eternal is a militant church, and Longinus was himself a soldier, and so Yesheq believes that sometimes violence is necessary. For him, however, it should always be the last resort, and it should always be deliberate.

Beyond that, Yesheq has less power than he ought to be for his age, though he's also more powerful than he pretends. On the one hand, a monastic life doesn't really offer opportunities to practice fighting skills or supernatural disciplines or gather profound occult knowledge. Yesheq's spent about a quarter of his Requiem, two hundred years at the least, watching goats. They weren't even magical goats. They were just goats. On the other hand, there are certain things that Yesheq does extremely well, just because he's been practicing for centuries. Theology is one of those things, though he's dreadfully unfamiliar with anything that happened in Europe. Theban Sorcery is another, though he lacks anything like Abonde's unique flair for blood-magic. Illumination is a third.

In person, Yesheq is a middle-aged Ethiopian man who looks as if he's been carved from teak wood. He looks old and he looks ugly (he's a Nosferatu), and he tends to wear simple clothing of a monastic sort. He has yellowing but very strong teeth, and he's fairly tall, six-foot-two and with a build like a linebacker underneath those robes. He also usually has a stout wooden staff at hand, which is also his go-to weapon on the rare occasions he's forced to fight. Yesheq almost never bothers with magic, he just figures that anything that doesn't go down when he hits them with a six-foot length of oak is something that he should run away from. He also occasionally thwacks people on the head with the staff if they aren't paying attention in church.

Yesheq spends most of his time in his haven, which is located in a church crypt in the Barbican (one may draw some interesting psychological conclusions from the fact that both of London's oldest Kindred sleep in crypts beneath churches), which is also where the Black Collection is. The relics from the Monastery of the Black Covenant are further underground, buried in a large metal box under three feet of soil and some stone slabs. All of this is covered with illusions and protective wards -- nonviolent, primarily, but a very determined trespasser will have to deal with a pair of large and unfriendly golems. Yesheq tends to spend his time either illuminating some new manuscript, sorting the archives, or else devising new and creatives ways of protecting his lair (the destruction of the Monastery left an impression on him). He sometimes officiates services when Birch is busy, though he prefers trading the more pastoral of his duties with Henry.

As for the relics? The material and archaeological value alone would let them sell for about eight figures on the open, human market. The mystical value, the spells and rituals on them, would be worth killing for. The religious value to the Lancea et Sanctum is simply priceless. And no one knows they're there.

Rank: 3
Mental 6; Physical 4; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 2
Notable Powers: Theban Sorcery 5; Theology; Illumination; A Thousand Years of Practice
Banes: Grave Soil

Clarence Ivett

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Ventrue
Embrace: 2005
Apparent Age: 29


Virtue: Kind
Vice: Arrogant

Background: Before he was Damien, he was Clarence Ivett, a concert bassist who had come to London to pursue dreams of musical stardom, albeit with slightly fewer groupies than such dreams usually involve (same amount of drugs though -- classical orchestra is full of amphetamines and beta-blockers). He was living through his own hip, remixed version of 'waiting to be discovered', mixing bouts of starving-artist-hood with playing jazz to pay the bills, when he met a fascinating high-society patron named Elaine Isaacs, (whom he now knows as Ellen Smythe, and Emily Wescote, and Elizabeth Fabian and “sire”). Things were going great until she killed him.

Now Clarence finds himself divided between keeping up the façade of his mortal life, and coming to terms with a new existence as a predator from the darkness. He has coped by re-inventing himself as “Damien” — a glamorous sybarite Id with the wardrobe of a goth-themed gigolo — but when he needs to, he can still be Superego Clarence, strait-laced and prim and all business. When he’s alone in his apartment, he usually still thinks of himself as Clarence, with Damien as a role he plays to keep himself insulated from other Kindred, and from the acts he himself must perform. But when the Beast calls, more and more he finds it’s Damien’s voice that answers.

The first time it happened, Damien joined the Lancea et Sanctum. Being God's Monster must be better than being just a random horror of the night, than being alone with the Beast. Right? Things might have worked out differently if, after his very first frenzy, Damien had gone to someone other than his Sire's brother for advice. But Henry Wescote pointed him to the church and to God, and while Damien is far from in love with the hard line of Birch's preaching, the sermons soothe something in his uneasy soul. He feels better after the Midnight Mass, and Damien is willing to put up with a lot in exchange for keeping that little piece of mind. Besides, there's the example of Henry to show that maybe some kind of moral compass is possible even for monsters.

Emily didn't approve, and there were some terrible rows over it. But with Henry supporting the young Kindred, Emily backed down. The truth, which Damien is only vaguely aware of, is that this wasn't the first row between the two Wescotes. Emily embraced the young musician for a host of reasons, including his musical talent, her feeling that Damien would eventually become a very effective Kindred, and because the older vampire was just the slightest bit in love with the handsome, self-assured, stylish young man. Henry, however, has different views over the ethics of turning someone into an undead predator of the night.

Right now, matters are sort of at a truce. Emily, whatever her other faults, truly loves both her brother and her childe, and won't go too far to antagonize either. She doesn't approve of Damien's choices in his Requiem, but Emily figures that one lures more flies with honey than vinegar, and prefers to persuade him. She's got eternity after all, and if there is one thing Emily has in spades, its stubbornness. Henry, meanwhile, is intent on making certain Damien has the freedom to make his own choices and the moral support he needs -- at the same time, Henry is concerned for the state of his own sister's soul, because he sees the Embrace as murder and worse than murder. This isn't Emily's first murder, of course (by Kindred standards, Emily is downright ascetic and morally upright, but she's still an Ancillae and that means a body count), but unlike any other deaths Emily may have caused, this one has the victim still wandering around and talking and in Henry's own covenant. And Damien? He's fond of both Wescotes, but he finds himself caught in the middle once again. For the moment, he's thrown his lot in with the Sanctified and Henry, but as the nights continue, he's finding it harder and harder to deny the attractions of an Invictus Requiem.

Past these more elevated problems, Damien's been making a name for himself as a musician to the Damned, someone who can play at venues where mortal musicians would be problematic at best. Of course, there's only so-so much he can do on his own, so what he'd really like to do is form a proper band or chamber quartet. The problem is that this sort of thing requires money, ghouls, or other supernaturals, and money isn't something that Damien has in great supply right now. He's not a starving artist, that's for certain, but his own funds aren't going to stretch to cover a band, and the Lancea et Sanctum hasn't anywhere near the free cash to spend on this kind of frivolity. Emily Wescote and the Invictus, on the other hand, do have the money. That, more than anything else, may be what leads Damien back to his sire, and Emily is perfectly aware of that.

Typically, Damien is of two minds about his long-term goals. When things are going well, he hopes to find a balance between his personae — Clarence for managing the every day tasks that he confronted as a human, such as laundry and shelter and interacting with his living friends and Damien for hunting and politicking and dealing with the Kindred. But more and more, he finds himself pressured to give up on the human side of his existence, abandon the memory of life for the reality of the Requiem, and sever his ties to the mortal world. Clarence is smart, willful and strongly motivated, and he has Henry Wescote looking after him. If anyone can find a middle path between man and monster, it’s him. At least, that’s that he tells himself. But he finds himself spending more time as Damien, and his old friends and behaviors feel like the lie, with his vampire act the reality.

Did Clarence really create Damien? Or was Damien there all along, just waiting to be needed and released? That’s a question that haunts him when he lies down for daylight, regardless of who he’s pretending to be.

Damien isn’t crazy. He has a decent sense of his own identity, he knows the difference between pretending to be a gaudy club-tramp and truly being an urban musician with smarts and self-respect. He doesn’t suffer lost time, he doesn’t have multiple personalities, he doesn’t change between being two different persons named Clarence and Damien. Furthermore, he won’t start.

If Damien goes crazy, it’ll be some kind of borderline personality or dissociation disorder in which he feels himself to have no true identity whatsoever — no beliefs, no feelings, no real drive. His every action will seem hollow, as if he’s on the outside watching himself act. Once he becomes empty of any volition, he will truly become a monster, a slave to the appetites of the Beast.

But that’s a long way off, yet. For now, he’s hanging on just fine, trying to figure out exactly what his position is in the court. On one hand, he’s under Emily Wescote’s wing, and that counts for a hell of a lot. On the other hand, he's a visible sign of weakness and rejection, a Sanctified grand-childe of the Prince. The best way he can help his sire, as often as not, is to stay quiet and hope people forget he exists.

Mainly, Damien wants to get the personal settled before plunging any deeper into the political. He’s been Kindred for a short time, and he killed his first human only three months after his Embrace. He didn’t mean to, but she was just some dumb girl from a club and, in the passion of the moment, Damien got carried away.

Since then, he’s been far more careful. He no longer feeds from women who repel him, because he knows that can tempt him to treat them as if their lives are disposable. Instead he looks for nice women, sweet girls, kind and shy and not overbearing. He tries hard to like them before he bites their necks open. That way it’s a lot easier to back off, take it down a notch — let them live.

Chances are very good that in a few decades, Damien is going to be a force to be reckoned with on the supernatural stage. He's got brains, he's got looks, and he's got a first-rate education in Disciplines courtesy of all the elders taking an interest in him (Emily of course, but it's funny how many Sanctified elders and Ancillae find that they don't mind giving the Seneschal's Childe a few lessons in vampire mind tricks).

Plus he's a pretty good musician. Clarence was a graduate of the Leeds College of Music, and he can play a pretty mean bass violin, and at least knows how to use most other stringed instruments. His specialty is classical music, though he's played an awful lot of jazz to put food on the table and is reasonably fond of it.

Damien is a good-looking young man in his late twenties, a kind of classically handsome fellow with dark, auburn hair, a jaw you can use to cut granite, and clear, open grey eyes. As Clarence, he normally wears business-casual clothing (white shirts, dark jackets, etc), or plaid if he thinks no one is looking. He has a slightly strange fondness for plaid. As Damien, he goes for a full Corporate Goth look, with black and red pinstripe suits, silver jewelry in the shape of ankhs, and shirts that show off his throat and nicely muscled arms (playing a bass violin means carrying a bass violin around a lot, and those things are not small or light). He absolutely oozes style.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 2; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Music; Striking Looks (Stylish) 1
Banes: Fog and Mist

Kim Starlight
Kimberly 'Kim' Pennington

Type: Vampire
Covenant: Lancea et Sanctum
Clan: Mekhet
Embrace: 1999
Apparent Age: 23

Virtue: Prudent
Vice: Arrogant

Background: When she was alive, Kim was a vegan, refused to wear artificial fibers or anything that was made by exploiting an animal, drank only freshly squeezed organic juice and non-fluoridated spring water, refused to allow alcohol or cigarettes in her presence, kept her head shaved bald and abstained completely from all forms of sexuality. Becoming a vampire has altered her eating habits, but the rest is still accurate.

She claims (and somewhat believes) that these precautions keep her pure from the corruption and “static” that prevents most normal people from perceiving the tendrils of divine energy that connect all people, places, and events. She believes that God provides people with far more in the way of information than is generally realized, and it's only the dissonance caused by meat, plastic, and sex that clouds peoples' senses.

In actual fact, Kim could probably do what she did even if she were an alcoholic hooker who wore nothing but polyester lounge suits. Kim's ability to perceive energy flows and auras and spot omens is entirely the result of the decidedly unusual circumstances that surrounded her birth.

Her parents were members of a small cult called the People of the Emerald Void. The People had a strange medley of beliefs that blended poorly-understood Theosophy, worse-understood quantum theory, millenarian apocalypticism, and lots and lots of paranoid racism into the kind of faith where everyone lives in a small compound and wears funny-colored robes. Somehow, the People managed to get their hands on a few slivers of occult knowledge, and in 1976 they decided to try and create a new breed of humanity, someone who could tap into the vast mass of probability that surrounds the cosmos. Kim's parents were picked for the ritual, and the entire cult (twenty-three people) were involved in a grand ritual working.

It worked. The People also really hadn't thought this through.

Attracting the force of primordial chaos to an unborn child isn't exactly the healthiest thing to do. It was a difficult pregnancy, and there were complications with the delivery that forced Kim's parents to rush to the hospital for a Caesarian birth. A nightmarish mixup at the hospital put Kim in the custody of the Penningtons, two nice, square yuppies from the suburbs (who also delivered a baby that night with a traumatic C-section) while the Penningtons's daughter wound up in the hands of Kim’s biological parents.

This switch was only the first in a lifetime plagued by bizarre coincidences, mysterious mixups, and strange, random interludes. Chaotic forces have shaped Kim’s life far more than any plan or intention of her own. Basically, if anything weird can happen to Kim, it does. In the 23 years between her birth and death, Kim has been struck by lightning, has won the lottery (twice, but only about five figures each time), has had to perform an emergency tracheotomy, has survived a school shooting, and has discovered a stash of ancient Roman coins while walking her dog.

Possibly as the universe's way of making it up to her (probably not), Kim is also a sensitive. Or rather, she's as Sensitive, with a capital letter and everything. She could turn on the television, flip through the channels, and pick out three omens before the second commercial break. She could smell blood on a murderer and when her 'father' spent a few months trying to write a book, she could see his progress based on the amount of ink reflected in his eyes.

Under the circumstances, the surprise is less that Kim's a bit strange, and more that she's in spitting distance of sanity as it is. She got through school with grades that were good but not fantastic, managed a few friendships, and went to a small university where she studied sociology. She started getting into New Age stuff around the time she was twelve, and spent a lot of time staring at crystals and playing with tarot cards and purifying herself. After all, if anyone could do this kind of thing with enough effort, that makes Kim special and enlightened, as opposed to a freak. By this point, Kim has almost managed to persuade herself that cause and effect flowed backwards, and that it was getting into New Age stuff that led to her weird luck.

Not that this meant weird stuff stopped happening to her. Kim's death is a good case in point. She’d gone to visit a friend who, unknown to her, was running a meth lab in his basement. A series of pratfalls ensued that resulted in the lab exploding and her friend dying in flames. Kim fled the scene in the guy’s car, not knowing there was a suitcase with two hundred grand stashed in the trunk, money from a well-connected drug distributor intended to finance more meth. Kim was charged with murder and grand theft auto, the cartels wanted their money and her head, and then she accidentally rammed Civitas's Rolls-Royce in downtown London. At the hospital, a bad mixup with drugs led to Kim having a freak allergic reaction, and she died before anyone figured anything out.

Her luck still wasn't done with her, because the night after she was buried, Kim crawled out of the grave as a Revenant, despite never having been either a ghoul or exsanguinated. Somehow, the extremely confused young pseudo-vampire managed to wander into Alistair Niall's haven (he's still trying to figure out how). Niall uplifted Kim into Clan Mekhet, and brought her into the Lancea et Sanctum. She kind of amuses him, though he makes a point of never standing too close to her and communicating almost exclusively by phone or email.

It's been about a decade since then, and Kim is a strange but generally accepted member of the Sanctified tonight. Vampires have a much higher tolerance for 'bizarre and inexplicable events' than normal people, after all. Kim's banged her pseudo-hippie New Age understanding of the universe against Longinian Theology a few times to make some sort of synthesis, though she's still more crystal-gazer than Sister in the Church Eternal. Her precognitive abilities, combined with tutoring from Alistair Niall, means that Kim is really good at Auspex, which helps win her some brownie points.

Kim affects a demeanor of smug superiority to people she meets, and tends to come off as a bossy know-it-all, especially when the supernatural comes up. She's not mean or cruel or anything, but she is extremely irritating. It doesn't help that between her Auspex talents, Niall's tutelage, and general occult knowledge, she really does know and understand much more than most people.

Kim is also compulsively organized. She's the sort of person who organizes her sock drawer and sorts her notes into color-coded folders. She has an index for her private occult library (nothing special or valuable, but fairly impressive for a neonate all the same).

What most people don't realize (though Niall does, because Niall is a clever man), is that both of these habits of hers are coping mechanisms. Kim hates and fears the eternal swirl of chaos that bubbles around her. Sometimes it works out for her, but more often than not it makes her life much, much more difficult than it should be. Kim is organized because she clings to anything predictable and orderly in her life with the strength of a drowning woman. She really likes Sanctified rituals for precisely that reason. Every Sunday, she goes to the Midnight Mass and the same things happen. This is deeply comforting. At the same time, Kim adopts her superior attitude in an effort of mental jujitsu. If the weird chaos stuff is because Kim is so enlightened, then it isn't because she's some kind of cursed freak-of-nature. Some days this works, some days it doesn't. These aren't the healthiest coping mechanisms, but they get Kim through the day.

Coping mechanisms aside, Kim is an unhappy, perpetually exasperated young woman looking for a purpose in (un)life. She's not completely sold on Sanctified theology, but they tolerate her, and Kim has always been a very lonely individual (Most people avoid her after hornets nest in their trunk once while they're going to the movies, so anyone willing to keep dealing with Kim immediately earns her friendship). She tends towards mood swings, cycling between bleak, miserable depression and a kind of zen serenity. Even when she's feeling at peace with the world, however, Kim does tend to be rather grouchy, and she has very little patience for people who aren't up to her standards (which means people who are stupid or who have noxious personal habits).

People who see Kim tend to remember her. She's tall, five-foot-ten, and she's skinny like a stick figure (vegan diet and lots of yoga, natch). She's completely bald, of course, which is what most people notice first, along with the tattooed dragon on her skull. She has large, dark brown eyes and she usually wears either fairly shapeless clothing of natural fabrics and solid tones (blue and green mostly), or else incredibly elaborate batik designs. She drives a Prius -- Kim is actually quite well off, financially, the result of those two lottery tickets and the fact that she's rather frugal. She goes by Kim Starlight, since the name 'Pennington' might lead someone to her family and she doesn't want that.

(What about the People of the Emerald Void and the Penningtons' real daughter? The Guardians broke up the People in 1979, and about half of the People ended up in prison. The cult was finished then. The Penningtons' daughter was named Esmeralda, spent some time in foster homes, and is now living a reasonably satisfying if unexciting life as an actuary in Swansea).

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 2; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Auspex 5; New Age Occultism; Chaos-Touched
Banes: Arcane Maelstrom


Type: Vampire
Clan: Mekhet
Bloodline: Mnemosyne
Embrace: ??? (The entity may be older than any of the component bodies, and dates back to at least the English Civil War)
Apparent Age: Varies


Virtue: Loving
Vice: Curious

The entity will answer to many names - in fact, it will answer to almost any name you can possibly sling at it. People tend not to be understanding about this, however, demanding a singular name for a singular form. It thus also answers to Ravenser, which is a reference to Ravenser Odd, a town that was supposedly lost to the sea and abandoned. Those who understand the nature of Ravenser find this slightly worrying.

"It" is really the only other way to refer to the entity, beyond "the entity", because it consists of more than one vampire. At the very least, more than one vampire is moving around, responding to the name Ravenser, and they all act similar enough the difference could be considered academic. Niall thinks there are three of them, but even he admits he can't be certain. They wear different faces every time they approach, so it's impossible to tell if one happens to be wearing different flesh as well. When they drop the comforting masks, they look like dolls, with glassy eyes and porcelain skin, every scrap of identity peeled away or otherwise made modular. Even gender identifiers are missing, either well disguised or somehow removed. One of them has darker skin than the others, one a distinctive bow-shaped lip it can't seem to disguise. They customize themselves with wigs, hair dies, jewelry, clothing and makeup, but nothing they do makes them feel more lifelike than a plastic doll.

Not much is known about where it came from, not because it has forgotten, but because it remembers. Everything. It remembers being a lower class prostitute, of being a blacksmith, a tanner, King Charles II of England, the mage Hierarch Sandalphalon. It remembers being embraced ten times over. It remembers dying of old age, surrounded by family. It is utterly convinced that all of these things are true. Every magic spell or power thrown at it agrees with it.

What is known that it is a Mekhet vampire, or more accurately three Mekhet vampires, all of the Mnemosyne bloodline. What is gathered is that they have swapped memories too many times, killed too many mortals feeding, until they all lost any scrap of individual identity. It talks to itself, three vampires arguing different viewpoints, and then suddenly finishing each other's sentences. Ravenser believes all three vampires to be a part of itself, and believes that everything it has tasted blood from is still alive, within its flesh. The worst part is, it acts like it. It breaks into a man's home and drains him nearly dry, only to finish his critical business proposal for him afterward. It goes home to its loving wife, wearing her husband's face, and wonders why she recoils from it when it walks in the door. It can't bear for her to be so upset at it, so it eats her too. She'll be together with her husband forever, safe and happy inside of it.

In the late 1800s, it Embraced Alistair Niall. Niall doesn't know why. At the time, Ravenser simply said he admired Niall; now, Ravenser has five different stories. The best guess Niall can make is it consumed someone who was fond of him. He considers it one of the few kindnesses of his Requiem that he only learned gradually how insane his sire was - perhaps it only truly slipped into madness after it Embraced him. He doesn't think it's dragur, as it certainly would have tried to devour him by now if so. It does tend to take his blood every few years. It offers him it's blood as well, which Niall tends to decline. It acts like it loves him, which Niall doesn't even pretend to seriously consider. It is a very good act.

It comes to him in the face of his long dead wife, or his long dead daughters, and speaks to him in familiar words that only they would know to use. It took their blood, and thus took their memories, back when they still had both to give. It is another small kindness of Niall's Requiem that Ravenser didn't completely devour his living family... instead saving them, suggesting that Niall might wish to do it himself. Niall did not.

Despite its utter insanity, Ravenser is frighteningly intelligent. It is capable of holding a single identity down for quite some time, possibly assisted in the fact it has three bodies. It tends to switch identities only when it considers itself being "unfair" to one of the people inside it, diligently doing its best to ensure everyone it has devoured is happy and has enough time to spend on their loved ones. It is usually found lurking around the family of people it has killed, acting out a mockery of its victim's life. Inevitably, the illusion breaks down, the family becomes unhappy, and Ravenser eats them all to solve the issue. It does, more often than not, leave its vessels alive, happy enough to have a copy of them inside its blood. But, accidents happen, and when they do, it would be unfair to leave the family bereft and grieving, when their loved one is right here and calling out to them.

The real trouble begins if Ravenser gets a taste of supernatural blood. Niall does his best to prevent this, after the last time.

Rank: 4
Mental 8; Physical 4; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 7
Notable Powers: Meminisse 5, Obfuscate 4; Multiple Individuals, Varied Talents; A Thousand Fractured Memories
Banes: Tell (Doll-Faced), Plague of Purity, Crossroads
Banes: Tell (Doll-Faced), Holy Symbols, Grave Soil
Banes: Tell (Doll-Faced), Running Water, Holy Ground

Rache, Rachel Harcourt-Ogilvy

Type: Ghoul
Affiliation: Invictus
Profession: MI-18 Hunter (Former)
Born: ~1975
Enthralled: 2011


Virtue: Courageous
Vice: Violent

Background: If there is no glamour in counter-occultism, Rache did not get the memo. A stunning redhead/brunette/blonde (delete as appropriate based on her current guise) with a long, aristocratic face and legs to die for, Rache has been training for the Hunt since she was eight years old. Her family is old, hereditary hunters going back to the 19th century, when a distant relative founded the Ashwood Abbey. Through a combination of being more cautious than being given credit for and being noticeably prolific, the Harcourt-Ogilvy's have managed to survive, and Rache learned about the Great Hunt when she was just a child on her grandmother's knee.

It was all a great game, and it's stayed that way, even when the werewolves devoured her father in front of her on a botched hunt in Scotland when she was barely sixteen. She escaped -- though not unscarred -- and came to the conclusion then and there that she needed something more serious than a hunting shotgun filled with silver birdshot. Luckily for Rache, she had an uncle in the Home Office, and he steered her to MI-18. She still has a shotgun filled with silver, but now it's a fully-automatic AA-12 with silver flechettes.

Rache has a powerful personality, vibrant and domineering in equal measures. She's willful, in all senses of the term, but she makes up for it by being the kind of hunter that very few at MI-18 can manage to be. A lifetime of training does pay off. She also has a sixth sense for werewolves, and a great facility for infiltration and disguise.

Of course, then came the crash, and austerity, and now Rachel (she's dropped the code-name) is working for the Prince of London, Elizabeth Sheridan. A bit of a career change, but the blood makes it worthwhile.
Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Ventrue

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 6, Stamina 7
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics 1, Medicine 2, Investigation 3, Occult 1, Science 2
Physical Skills: Athletics
3, Brawl (9-Again)
4+Killer Instinct+Prodigy
7, Drive
4, Firearms (Shotgun x2, Light Autoloader x2; 9-Again)
6+Killer Instinct+Prodigy
9, Larceny
2, Stealth (9-Again)
4, Survival
2, Weaponry
Social Skills: Intimidation 4, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 4

Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Indomitable 2, Professional Training (Killer; Brawl, Firearms, Stealth) 5, Resources
2+Well Paid
4, Status (
Pull; Well-Paid
Invictus) 3,
Combat Merits: Fighting Style (Street Fighting) 1, Quick-Draw (Shotgun, Light Autoloader) 2

Willpower: 12

Initiative: 12
Defense: 10
Armor: 6/8B (Dragon's Skin + Natural Armor x2); Durability 1 vs. Firearms; +2/2 w/ Resilience
Mind Shield: 5 (Indomitable + Huginn Visor); (Arete+3 on perceptive Clash of Wills)
Health: 12
Speed: 27

Arete: 6
Blood Potency: 0
Paragon Powers: Physical Prodigy, Natural Armor x2, Wire-Fu x2
Kits: Skill Kit (Brawl, Firearms, Stealth); Mad Science (Stolen MI-18 Equipment); Ghoul
Skill Tricks: Brawl (Killer Instinct; Mechanical Compliance), Firearms (Killer Instinct), Stealth (Find Cover)
Mad Science: Hod Rounds (FN Five-seveN, AA-12) ●, Huginn Visor ●●, Odin Reticle ●●●
Disciplines: Obfuscate ●, Resilience ●●
Vitae: 7/1
Persuasion Bonuses: Clarity

Attacks...........................Damage...........Dice Pool..........Special
FN Five-seveN............................2L....................19.................9-Again; Advanced Action; Clip 17; Range 20/40/80; Trick Shot
AA-12 Automatic Shotgun...........4L.....................21...............8-Again; Advanced Action; Clip 32; Range 50/100/200, Fully Automatic; Trick Shot

Note: Rachel also carries a wide assortment of knives, grenades, and alternative loads for her shotgun and revolver (Hod Rounds, Dragonsbreath rounds, silver, cold iron, frag-12 mini-grenades...) provided by the Invictus.

Caelan Brennan

Type: Vampire
Affiliation: Guardians of the Veil
Cabal: The Mortlake Division
Clan: Mekhet
Embrace: 2001
Apparent Age: 17


Virtue: Patient
Vice: Secretive

Caelan is dead.

Sixth form's first year was finally coming to a close, and the hardest bloody tests on the planet were being loaded onto the students for life direction and career paths. The last few weeks had Caelan's head in a vise as studying went through the eyes and her mother's disapproval went through the ears. Good grades weren't good enough, she needed top grades. She needed to be a doctor, a barrister.

There was some straw that broke the camel's back but Caelan couldn't remember what it was. She finally screamed back, she finally defended herself in more ways than she ever had before. She did everything she could for her Mum and for Cliff, working part time at a coffee shop and full time at school. Was it so much to ask to be appreciated for pulling the weight in this family?

Well, she never. She needed to respect her mother and think about her for a change. About how Caelan's father left poor old Mum and Caelan all alone (out of wedlock) and how hard Cliff worked to put food on the table as a lousy office manager.
On and on. Caelan didn't want to be a lawyer anyway. A family of taking, and taking, saying "That wasn't any good, you deserve nothing for it."

All this hotly stirred around in her brain as she stumbled outside, not knowing where she was going. There was a vague idea, though, that she was 17, now the age of consent and drinking, almost the age of majority. She could leave if she wanted.

Caelan never saw her maker, but she met his eyes. It was dark, and she thought, after all, she'd become a statistic for rape and murder.

Or was she, if she survived it? No, she wasn't alive. She was something else, stained by salty blood.

It was the last night she saw her mother or her stepfather. And her new father, gone like her first one. Something crawled in her bones, asking to be fed. Caelan managed to kill, maybe once. She scrounged and wallowed in confusion and shame...until he came. Not human, he noticed her. He brought her to safe haven where she met another, and how could that be bad? They could share what once was, maybe.

That is most of what she's known, but Caelan is dead.
Caelan Brennan was Embraced one dark summer night in 2001, as she wandered London's streets following a long and stressful month and a heated (near physical) fight with her mother and stepfather. Having finished secondary school and studying for her A-levels, the confused young woman was attacked and killed. A tragedy, but a confusing one, as she was then brought back from the grave by her attacked, who promptly fled.

As best anyone can guess, Caelan's unknown Sire may have killed her by accident and Embraced her in a fit of conscience, though there are darker possibilities to be certain. In any case, the feral fledgling was cast adrift from Kindred society, consumed by her Beast and by the Hunger. It was Caelan's eminently good fortune that the person who found her first was not the High Sheriff, but the werewolf known as Rakesh 'Madboy' Morgan. He found her and took her in, calmed her down and gave her something to eat, and gave her a place to stay until she got her feet under her, so to speak.

Somehow, Caelan never quite left. What was supposed to be a temporary arrangement stretched into something more permanent, as Caelan began first a lodger at Morgan's house in Greenwich, and then became his girlfriend (this did require Cae to bang Rakesh's head against the obvious a couple of times first). By this point, they're about as close a couple as is found in the supernatural world, the sardonic, intense werewolf and the downright fae young vampire.

In her mortal life, Cae was a listener. One who listened to her mother's verbal abuse and her stepfather's and father's silence for years. Her self-esteem was a flayed and bloody cloth, her spirit half-crushed by the feeling that she was responsible for all of it. As a child, she did everything she could to try and make things better, but no matter what soft words she chose, no matter how high her grades, it was never quite enough.

Finally, Caelan snapped, and fled her house in high dudgeon. Under normal circumstances, she'd have spent a thoroughly miserable night at a bus station and come home. Under worse circumstances, she truly would have ended up a statistic. But under her own twisted luck, she ended up Embraced, and that fury has been with her ever since.

The Requiem has freed Cae in ways that she never quite considered before. It freed her from family and from expectations, even from the burden of time. There was the matter of Rakesh, of course, but he never judged her and for that Cae came to love him unreservedly. Of course, Rakesh didn't always notice Cae (the werewolf had a tendency towards a certain obsessive monomania when something caught his interest), but after a few years Caelan developed her own methods for handling that ("You, Bed" worked wonders).

Most of the time, Caelan still slips back into the habits of her youth. She's non-confrontational and rather wary, like an animal always expecting to be struck. A Shadow to the bones, Caelan's first reaction is to hide or to flee or appease. But increasingly these are habits of the mind which life with Rakesh are wearing down. She's quicker to offer an opinion now, and less concerned about what people think of her. The werewolf blood coursing through her veins gives her a temper, though she and Rakesh are fairly good about keeping her frenzies under control.

The rest of the time, Cae is a rather free-spirited young woman interested in learning for learning's sake. She's the long-term girlfriend of one of London's top occultists, she's close friends with Erin Lamothe, and like Rakesh, she works for the Guardians (in her case, as a messenger and apprentice archivist). Without the stress of school or family, Caelan studies whatever she likes, spending weeks on Polynesian creation myths or French werewolf trials.

Physically, Caelan is a modest 5'4" and has more content on her than the waifs in uggs and heels of her generation. She has striking green eyes and short-cut brown hair, layered with bangs. Caelan looks much like a "girl next door" or "the nice girl," being that she isn't terribly striking or hideous either way. Yet there's a charm to her features, which could be an innocent sort of cute if the pale skin and red-rimmed eyes weren't off-putting. Her oval face and pert nose dotted with freckles are remnants of such a mortal concept as cuteness. Caelan dresses in many ways to hide herself, a habit carried over from life. Knits, sweaters, scarves, and the like, are prized over extreme trends, though jeans and long-line shirts (smocks? tunics? what are they now?) are also convenient. Caelan also has a pendant from her paternal grandmother of an earth symbol, a bizarre amalgamation of meanings from the world over, including the Solar Cross. It is a keepsake if ironic.

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 2; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Obfuscate 3, Protean (Bat, Rat, Wolf) 3; Incubus; Eclectic Occultism
Banes: Uninvited


Type: Ghouled Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Regnant's Clan: Mekhet

Virtue: Loyal
Vice: Gullible

Background: One night, after a particularly bad encounter with a completely ordinary housecat, Lauren Darrow decided she could really use a guard dog. She picked one of the biggest breeds she could find, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and promptly turned him into a ghoul. Indeed, Alpa is capable of causing some serious damage between his 150 pounds and his sharp teeth, but he tends to act like an oversized golden retriever. He'd much rather make friends than enemies. After all, enemies don't pet him. This has sometimes been a source of great exasperation for his regnant.

Once Lauren joined the Ordo Dracul, Alpa was shortly moved from her small flat to the sprawling and non-Euclidian St. Thomas Club where he's free to roam the halls with his best friend and partner in crime, Xico the jaguar. While he still technically belongs to Lauren and he loves her as much as a loyal dog with a vinculum possibly could, Alpa now spends most of his time with Molly, the ghoul maid (she feeds him meat). Like Xico, he's become something of a covenant pet.

Description: From a distance, Alpa looks like a fairly normal Swissy--short brown fur with brown legs and markings and a white belly, floppy ears... It's only when you get closer that you can see that Alpa's actually a bit bigger than your average Swissy thanks to a steady diet of vitae. He's 150 pounds of pure muscle, and it shows.

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 5, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 6, Dexterity 2, Stamina 5
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation --, Composure 2

Mental Skills: Investigation 4
Physical Skills: Athletics 4, Brawl (Bitex2) 4, Survival (Tracking) 4
Social Skills: Empathy 1, Intimidation (Massive Swissy) 5, Persuasion 1

Your character’s reflexes impress and astound; she’s always fast to react. +1 Initiative per dot.
Fast Reflexes 3,
Your character’s reflexes are honed to the point where nothing’s shocking. You gain a +2 modifier on reflexive Wits + Composure rolls for your character to detect an impending ambush.
Danger Sense 2,
Each dot eliminates a negative modifier (on a one-for-one basis) when resisting the effects of fatigue or injury. For example: a character with Iron Stamina ●● is able to ignore up to a –2 modifier brought on by fatigue. The Merit also counteracts the effects of wound penalties. So, if all of your character’s Health boxes are filled (which normally imposes a –3 penalty to his actions) and he has Iron Stamina ●, those penalties are reduced to –2. This Merit cannot be used to gain positive modifiers for actions, only to cancel out negative ones.
Iron Stamina 2

Disciplines: Celerity 2, Resilience 2, Vigor 3

Arete: 1
Blood Potency:
spend 1 vitae per turn, can hold as much as stamina

Willpower: 4
Initiative: 9
Defense: 5 (7/2 w/ Celerity)
Health: 9
Size: 4
Speed: 15 (base 7) (45 w/ Celerity)

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Bite.................................. 2(L)........... 14

Felicienne L’Évêque, Countess of Battersea

Type: Vampire
Faction: Invictus
Clan: Daeva
Embraced: ~1730

Virtue: Trustworthy
Vice: Manipulative (Cowardly)


Felicienne L’Évêque has an office near the top suites of Apex Maritime. It's not the biggest office in the building by a long shot, but it is exceptionally nice. It sits unused most the day, as Felicienne L’Évêque always telecommutes. She's not the CEO, or the CFO, or the C-anything-O. No one is really sure what her title is. No one is really sure what she does. No one is entirely sure how to contact her when she's not on company time, or why they even would. What they are sure of is that she is important, because if Felicienne L’Évêque requests something, it happens. That's the way it is. That's the way it's always been.

The vampire who now calls herself Bishop began her Requiem in West Africa, the memories of her mortal life long faded over centuries. She was snatched from her home and Embraced by an older Kindred, an awe-inspiring monster looking to extend her clan and legacy. This did not, however, translate into a sense of parental responsibility - after teaching the young childe the ways of the African Kindred, the elder vampire turned her out, to make her own way in the world. Seeking her own territory, the childe traveled west toward the sea, winding up in a thriving port town while searching for food. It was here that she made an incredibly fateful mistake: lured onto a slave transport ship by the promise of a meal that couldn't fight back, the childe was caught unawares by sunrise and didn't manage to make it off before the crew cast off. By the time the sun set again, she was too far from shore to swim, on a one-way trip to Jamaica with no place to hide and limited food. And she looked like a slave.

She survived. She charmed as many of the slaves in the hold as she could, blending in among them while she considered her next move. She sought out the weak and the sick among them, the ones who were likely to be tossed overboard like refuse if she didn't give them blood to strengthen them - the desperate. With those slaves on her side, she managed to snare some of the sailors, enthralling them to her will. With the sailors on her side, she had them slip her blood into the captain's drink. Once that was done, well, things got easier. Food was always a nagging concern, but the trip killed so many slaves anyway. All she had to do was tell the captain to let her bleed dry the sick and unwanted. If anyone objected to the monster in their hold, she could bleed them dry too. By the time she reached Jamaica, she didn't even have to come above deck anymore, simply sending some thrall to make her requests known, and then waiting patiently for it to get done.

It seemed something about the arrangement appealed. Upon her arrival in Jamaica, she recreated it, "requesting" her favored thralls would be sold in the same lot, then following them to their new owner's house. Using them to secure the cook was easy enough. Once the cook was in hand, she dripped her blood into the owner's meals, along with the rest of his family. It was terribly easy. She no longer had to leave her cellar haven at all, simply sending up her requests with one of her servants. Company, food, books or games, anything she wanted, she simply had brought down to the basement to her. It was in that cellar she took on the title "bishop", not in the religious sense but taken from the chess piece, as she'd grown rather fond of playing the game with the plantation owner's son.

Eventually, her ambitions began to spread beyond her own little plantation. Ostentatious dinner parties brought in many other powerful people, several of whom Bishop set her eyes on. Unfortunately for her, before she managed anything, Britain passed the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 - which meant the people she'd been eying were no longer quite so powerful as she wanted them to be. She lingered in her cellar for a number of years afterward, reluctant to leave her own little fiefdom behind after all the work she'd put into it. When her pet plantation owner caught deathly ill, however, Bishop decided to cut her losses, and packed up for someplace where slavery was still in full force: America.

She'd taken her favored thralls with her once more, easily arranging for them to be sold to a promisingly influential master in Louisiana. Once inside, they let her into the household, where she set up shop just as she had before. Over the next twenty years, she set up a blood-soaked network among the slaves and their owners, ruling the whites via Majesty and the blacks via power and fear. L’Évêque, the Bishop, quickly became a whispered legend among the downtrodden. When L’Évêque made a "request", rich white men would jump to fulfill it. Seek out L’Évêque in hidden lair, and she might end your woes, if you're willing to pay in blood. Find L’Évêque, and she can give you the power to fight back, to have revenge against the men who treat you like a beast. But never, never cross L’Évêque, or her punishments would be more terrible than a thousand lifetimes of slavery.

Among the plantation owners, the name L’Évêque was never spoken. That name came only from the lips of slaves, and came only with a request attached. That's how the Bishop liked it.

It wasn't to last either. In 1861 America made war upon itself. Bishop lingered at the edge of society, hoping to wait out the storm - mortal occupations came and went, after all, and she was reluctant to lose all her hard work again. But in 1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta to the ground, and Bishop decided it was time for her to move on.

Bishop arrived in London with a lot of money, a couple of favored ghouls for front-men, and the equivalent of a post-graduate education. Her first order of business was to use her money and contacts to set up a shipping business, specializing in trade to America and Jamaica. She also wound up a bit more embroiled in vampire society, no longer able to neatly avoid the Kindred as she could in the plantations of Louisiana. London was a bit less wild, with rules and regulations on who could feed where. She fell in with the Circle of the Crone for a while, as fear and faith were tools well known to her, picked up from hundreds of superstitious rumors about her. She herself was not terribly faithful, however, nor was mysticism her favorite color to wear. Nor was she terribly impressed with the covenant as a whole, given how disorganized it was. It was Invictus that came sniffing for her, then, drawn like sharks to the smell of money. Her shipping business had done quite well for itself, and her dispassion for her current covenant well-known. The promises of an even larger power-network made the switch easy for her. As soon as she joined, she faded into the Invictus background, letting everyone forget about her even as she trailed her bloody webs across London.

In 1966, there was a coup, and Elizabeth Sheridan became Prince of London. To Bishop, this meant all of nothing, given both past and present Prince barely recalled she was there. The real change was that Sheridan's childe, Emily Wescote, became Seneschal - and Emily did recall Bishop. They'd been together in the Circle of the Crone for a few short years, and had found each other pleasant enough, even if Bishop had been long since beyond caring about the rest of the covenant. They'd vaguely been aware of each other in the time since Bishop had left, and Emily took the opportunity to re-kindle the acquaintance. It was mutually profitable, and they worked together well, sharing both an efficient streak and a good-natured humor at the foibles of the world. But an on-and-off partnership with Emily meant business meetings at the Wescote house, and the Wescote house meant inevitably meeting the other denizen who lived there. Bishop found herself meeting the demon-possessed Henry Wescote, and felt something twinge in her long-dead heart.

She'd known Henry in a vague sense as well, as he'd been around since the Great War, but she'd never paid him much mind. He was, in her mind, an idealistic fool, and she'd met plenty of idealistic fools in her time. For the most part, they broke under the weight of the world, or instead got themselves killed. But over the past half-century, two things had become apparent: Henry's body could not die, and Henry's mind would not break. Bishop took one look at him and, on a thoroughly Daeva impulse, decided she wanted to own him as thoroughly as she'd owned those plantation owners in her past. The only trouble was that she couldn't do it via blood or Majesty, not unless she wanted to start a war with his viciously protective sister. And without Majesty, Henry Wescote was remarkably resistant to being owned. Bishop's actual social skills had atrophied a long time ago, the natural result of being loved on command and getting everything she wanted at a whim. She was used to demanding, to commanding, and she was quickly finding that while very sad to disappoint her, Henry had no trouble doing it.

Her desire to control him shorted out quickly, before she ever really put it into serious action, but it set the pair into a slow orbit around one another. Henry interested her on some primal level - polite, without guile, filled with pain and yet also strength. She's not really sure why he struck her more than anyone else, for surely in her years she'd met others like him. Perhaps because she could neither have him nor be rid of him, could neither force him to love her nor kill him for defying her. Perhaps because for all that he would stand against her requests and decisions, he never seemed to judge her, nor to fear her. Perhaps the fact that he was like her, an old monster hiding in a grand estate, and yet was somehow still so painfully moral. Henry himself seemed desperately in need of a friend, despite being well-liked in his covenant: liked, but perhaps not ever loved. Always friendly, yet distinctly uncomfortable around her (for she was a very beautiful woman), he readily agreed to meet regularly and play chess. Eventually they began to go on other friendly outings, or just to stay in and talk while waiting around for Emily. It's been decades since then, and they've seen the best and worse of each other. Her complete failures at socializing with him like a human being, the things said that she didn't mean (but deep down really did), the frenzies where she finally tried to force him to obey, or tried to kill him. The time she caught him holding a knife, the smell of his own blood in the air. The several, soul-searing times she came face to face with the demon inside him, after it wrenched away control. They were not common events, but over the course of forty-odd years, they've happened a number of times.

They're still close friends after it all, perhaps even with an edge of something else. As far as anyone in a position to know believes, they aren't lovers. They can have a habit of acting like them from time to time, or perhaps an old married couple, venturing out on odd little outings with an intimacy that comes only through a long acquaintance. It's also highly suspected that Bishop regularly feeds on Henry, her blood too thick for mortals to sustain it well. Henry, for his part, has been known to stare at Bishop with a frightening intensity, though he usually seems to strangle it down. But whatever it is, the relationship has changed them both greatly. Henry is far more likely to give a genuine laugh with her. And as for Bishop, the surprise came when she realized she no longer cared about her network of power if it couldn't bring a smile to her friend's face.

The revelation of how much she'd changed caused Bishop to retreat for a bit, trying to get some space. She was not, in any way, a good person. She'd extorted blood from the damaged and desperate. She'd forced them to soak their hands in violence, so she wouldn't have to. She'd sold her servants into slavery to get an edge. She'd murdered, for poor reasons. She'd tortured, for even less. She'd turned hundreds of people into blood slaves, enthralled to her will, and she'd used and abused that bond to get anything she wanted. To be a good person would require feeling somewhat guilty about all those things, and Bishop did not. What she felt was mostly tired, tired of being a disappointment to decent people week after week. Tired of only being loved because she forced people to love her. Besides, she already had more money than she really ever needed, given her preference for living in tucked away corners.

So she let the strings of her network slip, let most of her thralls go, let the shady bits of her company fall away, and generally retreated from her manipulative attempts at further power. That being said, while her company was founded on blood, it now continues on due to business contracts and a grand sense of "this is how it's always been". Apex Maritime may have a harder time making an honest buck than a dishonest one, but it's still a large conglomerate with very advantageous ties. It's doing quite well, and Bishop is still sitting right in the center of it, being generally amused at her shift from an illicit slave demi-goddess to a businesswoman in sensible suits.

Bishop is a cautious woman by nature, preferring to keep her strings and self out of the limelight. She's lurked in the edges of the Invictus for ages, preferring to do her business by proxy. She likewise heavily enjoys being shrouded in mystery, leaving her capabilities unclear and letting people jump to false conclusions. There is power in the unknown, of being able to solve problems through mysterious means - once the trick is known, anyone can do it, and the power is gone. And if the mystery causes people to think she's more powerful than she actually is, so much the better. So Bishop rarely makes a habit of explaining any more than she has to... unless she thinks there's some service to outright stating the truth and letting people second-guess it to death. The latter comes up more often these days, as Kindred are a paranoid lot. Besides, Bishop is old, and at this point bored of ceremony. The stuffy, overwrought rules and rituals of vampire society are things she enjoys rushing through or otherwise knocking flat.

So for the most part, Bishop keeps out of politics, spending her time figuring out how to enjoy life, and likewise figuring out how to interact with people without the aid of supernatural Majesty. The general exception to this is an odd streak of semi-generosity she's developed over the last decade or so. She's trying to kill less, trying to manipulate less, even if she sometimes reverts to form simply because it's rote to her by now. Left to her own devices, she usually does nothing either terribly good or terribly bad, but if prodded by someone - usually Henry Wescote - she can pull her strings and make good things happen. Charitable donations, public building projects, bailing a hapless person out of supernatural trouble... the Invictus isn't usually aware of any of it, and if they are, Emily usually spins it off as a Public Relations project. And Bishop tends to be careful the trail doesn't lead back to her.

Bishop is a beautiful dark skinned woman, her black hair running down to the center of her back. Her eyes are likewise jet black, though they glow bright gold when the light catches them right (there are some rumors about her in light of the outburst of Strix in London, though Bishop has been here much longer than that). Her face is marked with neat black scars, arranged into elegant patterns down her cheeks - she carefully covers these in makeup when she goes out on the town. She wears her nails long, and trends towards gold jewelry, with heavy earrings, tight necklaces and bracelets. When "on the job" she wears sleek black or blue suits, with slender skirts. Off the job, she prefers sleeveless dresses. She likes to go barefoot, but wears slip ons if it's not practical. There is a feral, hungry cast to her face, although she is looking a great deal more human these days, and isn't sure what to think of it. She also tends to have issues with demon blood, although she and Henry do their best to keep it under heavy control.

Covenant: Invictus
Clan: Daeva

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 4, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 12, Dexterity 4, Stamina 8
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 5, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics (Finance) 4, Occult (Cruac x2) 4, Politics 3
Physical Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl (Grapple x2) 7, Stealth 3, Survival 2
Social Skills: Empathy (Auspex) 3, Expression 1, Intimidation (Quell the Crowd) 4, Persuasion (Making a Deal x2) 4, Socialize 3, Subterfuge 5

Merits: Allies (Shipping) 5, Contacts 5, Herd 4, Indomitable 2, Languages (English, French; Native is Yoruba) 2, Resources
Resources 3 + Well Paid 2 + Resources 1 to bring it up to 6
6, Status (
Pull; Well-Paid
Invictus; Countess) 4, Striking Looks (Regal) 1
Combat Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Fighting Style (Grappling) 3
Lair: Unobtrusive Flat; Security 3, Warding 3

Willpower: 8
Humanity: 2
Universal Banes: Sunlight, Aura of Menace, Frenzy, The Wanton Curse
Personal Banes: Tell (Gold Reflecting Eyes), Open Wounds, Face of Hunger, Uninvited, Running Water

Initiative: 16
Defense: 4 (9/4 w/ Celerity)
Armor: 3/3 Silk Gown (7/7 w/ Resilience)
Mental Shield: 2 (Indomitable)
Health: 13
Speed: 21 (126 w/ Celerity)

Blood Potency: 7
Disciplines: Auspex ●●, Celerity ●●●●●, Majesty ●●●●●, Protean ●●●●●, Resilience ●●●●, Vigor ●●●●●
Predatory Aspects: Claws, Feral Senses, Stalker
Beast's Skin: Green Monkey, Carmine Bee-Eater, and a rotating cast of Olive Baboon, Nile Crocodile, Bat-Eared Fox, Royal Python, Swarm of Driver Ants, African Leopard, African Hawk-Eagle, and Lion.
Unnatural Aspects: Sinuous
Crúac: 3
1st Level Rituals: Lilith's Whisper; Pythian Renewal; Drops of Destiny
2nd Level Rituals: Mark the Huntsman's Hound; Conscripting the Weavers
3rd Level Rituals: Lilith's Beckoning; Join the Wild Hunt
Devotions: Cult of Personality
Vitae: 25/7; +2 Starting (+ 4 Herd, -2 Protean)

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Grapple........……………….......0B............. 27……….....Initiates Grapple & Deals Damage
Drain...........……………….......1L............. 28………......Joint Lock (+1L Damage)

Valerie Summers

Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Gangrel
Affiliation: Invictus
Enthralled: 2008
Apparent Age: 24


Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Pushover

Background: Valerie grew up in a nice, middle-class family. She had a house with a yard, she had both her parents, she had a dog, she went to a good school and she always had friends. Somehow, things didn’t work out. Her parents never really disapproved of her “dreamer” sensibilities: she often stared out the window at the trappings of suburbia… and focused past all that. Watching birds at the feeder. Clouds drift across the sky. Two white cabbage moths whirling in some mad aeronautic dance. They punished her for it, and it only encouraged Valerie’s behavior.

And it translated over to school. In high school and college, Valerie went to class stoned or bombed, because it was easier to disconnect, then. Far simpler to unhook oneself from all the day-to-day reality and just float free. Music classes were the only ones in which Valerie excelled, and she took up the violin, and she was good at it. It was her only talent, the only thing she really cared about.

It couldn’t last, and it didn’t. One fine evening, Valerie received a letter that her financial aid had been revoked due to her persistently atrocious grades. Valerie’s still not quite sure why she made the decision she did. She was drunk at the time, and possibly stoned, but even so, she packed a duffel bag with clothes and her violin, and then she left the dorm in a haze. Valerie never went back.

Even when she sobered up, she didn’t go back. Some of it was that she couldn’t face her family after it, couldn’t bear to hear their lectures and their demands to shape up. And some of it was that she was, for the first time in her life, free. It was glorious. Really, the only regret Valerie has is that she never got to see her dog again.

For a while, Valerie’s money was enough to let her live in hostels. But then it ran out, and soon she took to sleeping on the streets and busking for money. It wasn’t that bad. London wasn’t very cold, and Valerie always had a hardy constitution. She made enough money from playing in subways and parks to keep herself fed, and when things got rough, there were homeless shelters, or a string of on-again, off-again boyfriends. Most days Valerie spent playing music, classic melodies, Gaelic songs she picked up from an Irish boyfriend, and little ditties of her own devising. It’s not a great life, but at least Valerie was free.

In 2006, when Valerie was twenty-two and living with the aforementioned Irish boyfriend Aidan (a verbally-abusive young man who did offer a roof to put over her head), Valerie gained a fan. A sad-eyed girl named Mary Mackenzie, 'Mack' as Valerie knew her, who took a shine to Valerie's violin-playing (and to Valerie herself). Mary Mack managed to persuade the street musician to take up playing at a new venue, the Cat's Cradle, which was always good for a hot meal even if the clientele was a little on the stranger side. But then Valerie, even when she wasn't stoned or tipsy, wasn't one to judge, and they were good tippers. Mary Mack watched her play regularly, even if Mack was bitterly disappointed to find that Valerie only played for the opposite team.

It was two years later, in 2008, that Valerie got 'discovered'. The man who did the discovery was named Louis ibn Haroud, and he was a vampire. After two years at the Cat's Cradle, this was less of a surprise to Valerie than it probably should have been. He was a very charming vampire, and he was very impressed with Valerie's violin-playing, and pretty soon he made Valerie an offer to play at some kind of big vampire party. Valerie got paid in money, and she got paid in blood -- immortality on tap.

Which brings Valerie to the present day. She's a ghoul of Louis ibn Haroud and a member of House Leanansidhe of the Invictus. Mostly, she goes to Elysiums or the private parties of Kindred and plays the violin -- the Invictus purchased a new violin for her, a Swiss-made Rhonheimer, though Valerie still has a fondness for her old one. Beyond that, Louis is careful to leave her to her own devices. The Gangrel has a keen sense of just how fond of her freedom Valerie is, and he gives her a very long leash, drawing her back with money and blood, but always careful to let Valerie decide what to do. Valerie's blown off a few engagements for the Invictus when she was high enough, but the disappointed look on Louis's face was enough to make sure she doesn't make a habit of it.

There's also the fact that Valerie has money now, for the first time in forever. She has a flat of her own (which she promptly filled with stray dogs, of which she presently has four, ranging in size from a schnauzer to a very mild-mannered Husky-German Shepherd mix), she has food that does not come out of a can, and she has money to spend on stuff. Mostly she spends it on exploring London, or taking day trips out into the wilderness, or else feeding the strays she used to know when she lived on the streets. After living in homeless shelters, material possessions just aren't a big thing for her, so she tends to emphasize going places and doing stuff.

Being discovered has changed Valerie really very little, as has finding out the truth about the supernatural world (her reaction to being told that Mary was a vampire was 'huh, makes sense I guess'). Most importantly, Valerie is extremely, extremely nice. She is kind, she is gentle, she is friendly, she is thoroughly non-violent and wouldn't hurt a mouse. Actually, Valerie is a great fan of animals -- all animals, though canines are her favorites. As a mortal, she possessed a mild empathetic talent and often earned audiences of pigeons, rats, and stray dogs and cats, and as a ghoul she has learned to speak with animals. It's easily the best thing about being a ghoul.

She is also a dreamer. Truth be told, 'stoned and drunk' Valerie differs very little from 'sober' Valerie. She finds everything to be fairly interesting, but has a hard time focusing on anything other than music. She's also a habitual drug user, though she rarely deals with anything stronger than beer or marijuana -- though Ove Waldemar occasionally lobs some new pharmaceuticals her way. The two have been known to share a bong.

Being a very nice, very spacey girl does have downsides, and that's that Valerie is kind of a pushover. She's usually willing to go along in order to get along, and she's congenitally non-confrontational. If pushed too far, Valerie simply drops out and wanders away, vanishing whenever people aren't looking at her.

In the past, this has made Valerie prey for all manner of domestic abusers. It's to her great fortune that Valerie is now with Louis, who may have his flaws, but is an absolute gentleman compared to the men Valerie's known before. Valerie's kind-of in love with her regnant, and she was even before the Vinculum was brought into matters (handsome, charming, rich, and treats Valerie like a princess? Sold). The two of them were sleeping together before Valerie ever took a sip of Louis's blood, and it's mostly Louis that keeps Valerie tied to the Invictus.

Valerie's other great relationship is with her long-time fan and close friend Mary Mack, and with Mary's own ghoul Margery Brigman. The three of them form a curious sort of girl posse. Mary and Valerie introduce Margery to modern culture, Margery tries to get Valerie to deny being a blood slave (no luck so far), Mary sighs wistfully after the violinist, and everyone ends up running peculiar errands for Othello in a kind of twisted version of Charlie's Angels.

Past that, Valerie is fairly ambivalent about the supernatural world -- being a regularly stoned dreamer means that she accepts them as they are, and is neither enthralled nor frightened by them. She thinks werewolves are wicked cool, and she's fond of animal-themed changelings or vampires who can shapeshift or have ghouled pets. Supernatural politics leave Valerie cold -- the Invictus is alright in her book because they pay her and because Louis is a member, but most of the rest look like one flavor or another of weird fringe church. She's considered whether to ask to be Embraced one day, but hasn't made any decisions yet (she'd miss the sun, but on the other hand, ghouled pets).

Valerie is short and lithe, only 5’3” or so, and perhaps twenty-four years old, her golden brown hair kept in dreadlocks that framed a pale, oval face. Her clothing is usually dirty and torn, not in the artful way of someone who bought pre-torn jeans at the market, but in the threadbare way of someone with only a single pair of jeans worn year round. Even though she can afford better now, she still tends not to buy new clothing while the old still has even an inch of life in it. Her prized possession is an old violin, its varnish peeling and cracked, but which she still uses and keeps up constantly. She also has a tattered silk top-hat, which she sometimes wears, and sometimes collects money in when she goes busking.

Before formal engagements, Valerie tends to drop by Louis's place on Edgeware Road, where she is bathed, has her hair done, is fitted into one of several very expensive dresses, and where she picks up her Rhonheimer violin, a sleek and elegant machine of Swiss make. She puts up with this with a long-suffering patience, and only because it 1) pays well and 2) Louis is so sweet when he asks.

When out on the streets, Valerie's usually surrounded by animals, rats, pigeons, cats or feral dogs, all of whom act like playful puppies or kittens around her. When high or drunk, Valerie tends to start chatting up any animal that can't get away fast enough, which only contributes to her 'homeless person with a few screws loose' look.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Arete: 3
Notable Powers: Violinist; Animal Empath; Dreamer and Stoner

Samira Naguib

Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Gangrel
Affiliation: Invictus
Enthralled: 1927
Apparent Age: Actually 26, tends to look closer to her upper forties (makeup!)

[spoiler="Samira Naguib"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Prudent
Vice: Pessimist

Background: Samira Naguib was born in 1901 in Algeria, her father a wealthy Egyptian trader and cotton broker who did regular business in the French colony, her mother the niece of a local Algerian notable. An intellectual and vivacious young woman, Samira was afforded chances of travel and of education given to few in her time and place, and though she took full advantage of her opportunities, it wasn't without a measure of guilt about the plight of those less fortunate. Which rather explained why Samira became a journalist, to the general confusion and disapproval of a small host of relatives.

In those days, women journalists were not so unusual, even in the Islamic world -- the Ottoman Empire had hosted a woman's journal since the Tanzimat days forty years previously -- and Samira took to it like a duck to water. She wrote about politics, about colonial affairs, she penned literary reviews and exposes on poverty in the slums of Algiers, and she got all of them published in one or another journal (it helped that she was perfectly willing and able to charm her father into donating to various newspapers, though her work was of a good enough quality that such tricks were rarely necessary). Her family arranged a marriage for her, she herself was eyeing politics at the head of the women's movement, when disaster struck.

Samira got polio. A thoroughly gruesome disease, in the present day polio is all but eradicated from the developed world. But in 1925, there was no vaccine, no cure (there still isn't), and no hope. An immensely varied disease, in Samira's case (as in that of Polio's most famous sufferer) it struck her legs, shredding nervous tissue and atrophying the muscles of her legs and feet until walking unaided became an exercise in pain.

The story would have entered there, were it not for the existence of one Haroud ibn Khalil, an old Maghrebi Kindred who had long been a patron of Samira's mother's family. Loathe to see such a woman destroyed, and in need of a new majordomo, Ibn Khalil came to Samira and made her his own, with blood and with offers of a greater future than being a pitied spinster in her father's house. Samira grabbed it with both hands, and she hasn't looked back.

The next sixty-odd years proved to be quite exciting. Samira, already used to charming disapproving relatives and arguing in editorial columns, swiftly brought Ibn Khalil's household to heel. She was only a ghoul, but she was the ghoul who set his schedule, managed his finances, solved disasters (the ghouled tiger incident still gives Samira nightmares) and rode herd on his other ghouls, as well as the occasional neonate. Which was how Samira came to know Louis ibn Haroud, a fledgling and rather feckless charmer of a vampire. He gave her flowers, though, so perhaps he wasn't as feckless as that.

Samira also kept up with her journalism and her political interests, even if Algeria's steady descent into chaos took a toll on her. From the hopes and dreams of reform in the colonial period, Samira was to live through the Algerian War, when terrorists and torturers fought on both sides. It was a situation guaranteed to wear down even the most high-minded idealist.

Life proceeded in this fashion, Samira growing but not aging, until the Algerian Civil War. Ibn Khalil's haven ended up on the wrong side of a bomb, and Ibn Khalil himself was killed, along with many of his household staff. Samira lived because she had been away from the haven, and Louis lived because he was buried alive and eventually dug out (he's still claustrophobic). Louis ibn Haroud became her new regnant, and then they both took such money of his sire's as possible and got out of Algeria. It hurt Samira to leave her country, but less than being blown up by a bomb would have.

In London, Samira swiftly settled into her old role as the manager of Louis's household, but things weren't quite the same. It was an order of magnitude smaller than Ibn Khalil's great estates, and Louis himself a self-sufficient man. Rather than have a very competent, very bored, supernaturally-more-powerful ghoul on his hands, Louis looked for other options, and after some conversations with Emily Wescote and with Samira, a new plan was hatched. Samira set her shoulders, brushed up on her English, and got a job at the Ministry of Defense.

In the fifteen years since then, Samira's rise has been nothing short of meteoric, for a number of reasons. First, Samira herself. The ghoul was no stranger to either administration or to politics, not after nearly seventy years of managing a vampire lord's massive estate and moonlighting in political journalism on the side. Samira was smart, forceful, and though the years had drained a great deal of her idealism and good nature from her, she could still charm. Secondly, there was the fact that the Invictus have a Good Old Boy network like no other, and Emily Wescote really liked the idea of having an agent placed in the Ministry of Defense. Add to that the fact that as a disabled Arab woman, Samira was a diversity trifecta, and that everyone involved knew the Kindred powers of Majesty, Dominate, or both, and it's no surprise that by 2010, Samira hit the coveted Grade 7 of the Civil Service.

Samira's formal title in the MOD is Deputy Director (London) of Accounts, in the Defense Business Services (Finance) branch of the Ministry of Defense. This is a very fancy way of saying that when someone in the Greater London Area (which accounts for about a sixth of Britain's population and a lot of the administrative and research bits of the military) receives a check from the Ministry of Defense for lighting or rent or the like, Samira's or someone who works for her's signature is on the check. Samira doesn't handle military procurement (that's an entirely different department much higher in the chain), but as the person who pays the electrical bills for most of London's MOD properties, Samira has influence, and she has connections.

But Samira's more than just an Invictus plant. That is to say, yes she's an Invictus plant, and yes she makes certain to direct her contracts the way of her parent covenant, but Samira also takes her job seriously. She runs a tight ship, does her level best to follow good governance practices, and aside from the little note about being a member of a secret supernatural conspiracy, is pretty much a model of a hard-working bureaucrat.

Which in a way gets at the fundamental core of Samira's nature. When she was young, Samira had hope. She was an idealist, she wanted to change the world, she was as anti-establishment as an Arab woman in the 1920s could be. Nowadays, she's a government bureaucrat working for the Invictus, which is about as Establishment as it's possible to be. Furthermore, she's had almost a hundred years to get disillusioned and bitter (and being largely confined to a wheelchair for a hundred years will sour anyone's personality). But the sparks of her old idealism aren't quite gone, and just because Samira is a grumpy curmudgeon of a person doesn't mean she still doesn't want to do right, at least in her own little fiefdom. She's sold out, she hasn't given up.

Basically, Samira's a dark, brooding sort of personality. She's a bone-deep pessimist and has had a century to learn cynicism. She has no faith in anyone or anything other than the enduring idiocy of mankind (mind you, the British sort of idiocy is at least less violent than the Algerian brand). Samira expects the worst and is rarely disappointed.

Now, when she wants to be, Samira can be charming. She had a formal, old-world kind of courtesy that works wonders on elder supernaturals. She just rarely bothers with it unless she wants something, and the rest of the time tends to be snappish, grumpy, and sarcastic. Samira can be very sarcastic. She's well-read, literary-minded, and can belittle you in seven different languages.

Her particular hot-button subject is people who take her disability as something to pity her about. Now, Samira isn't completely confined to her wheelchair. She can stand up (especially with something to lean on), and she can even walk around briefly, but it's enormously tiring even for her supernatural endurance, and actually walking sends sharp, miserable pain up her body with every step. So most of the time, Samira sticks to her wheelchair, which is nowadays a very nice motorized wheelchair with a host of bells and whistles (including a built-in computer). It costs more than a new car and would not be out of place in an X-Men movie. That said, Samira does not appreciate being pitied, or being treated like a little old lady who needs to cross the street. She is not a boy scout badge. Trying to cheer her up with empty platitudes is a fast track to getting insulted and denigrated in French, English, and Arabic.

Still, Samira does have a bit of a soft spot for genuine idealists or innocents. They irritate the hell out of her, but she'll support them and do her best to protect them. She figures it's the least she can do. The world will wear them down in time.

A word on Louis and Samira. Their relationship is, to put it ever so mildly, complicated. Louis is a vampire, and Samira is his ghoul, with a vinculum towards him. Samira is also twice his age, probably smarter than him, definitely more experienced, and with a suite of supernatural powers that are nothing to sneeze at. Samira intimidates Louis very much. So, rather than trust the Vinculum, Louis has promised to do his best to find a cure for Samira's polio (which is now complicated by about a hundred years of vampiric blood-twisting mutating it). As soon as that happens, he'll Embrace her, and Samira is very much on board with that idea. The thought of being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of eternity is one of the very few things that truly frightens Samira.

But... Louis isn't actually in much of a hurry to fill his end of the bargain. Oh, certainly he tries. But if Samira becomes a vampire, she's going to outshine Louis very quickly. So Louis isn't exactly taking enormous pains to find a cure (...in his defense, it would be hard even if he was moving heaven and earth). Samira, being a clever and perceptive woman, is well aware of this. She doesn't blame Louis too much (see: expects the worst and is rarely disappointed), but she has been making discreet inquiries of her own into how to solve her mobility problem.

Otherwise, Samira is a member in good standing of House Leviathan. She works with Emily Wescote extensively, and the two are overall quite friendly to one another, and she's dealt with both Shannon Hudson and Lily Anderson in the course of her work. Relations are polite if not precisely cordial, though Shannon does prompt the occasional eye-roll.

Physically, Samira is an Arab woman in her mid-twenties, but who uses fashion and makeup to make herself look a few decades older. She has a somewhat masculine aspect, with a square jaw and piercing eyes, and long black hair that she keeps carefully coiffed and beneath a modest headscarf. She dresses in high fashion but with a Middle Eastern flair, and tends to roll around in a very high-tech motorized wheelchair. If she has to, she can stand up and walk (unaided if she must, though with braces is much better), but she rarely bothers to do so outside of public speaking engagements since it sends nasty shooting pains up her legs with every step -- those legs, in fact, are laced with surgical scars, but at least aren't the bent horrors that most polio victims have.

Rank: 3
Mental 5; Physical 2; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Arete: 5
Notable Powers: Disabled; Expects the Worst and Is Rarely Disappointed; Master Administrator

Sanjay Rowland

Type: Ghoul
Regnant's Clan: Mekhet
Affiliation: Invictus
Born: 1961
Enthralled: 2003

[spoiler="Sanjay Rowland"]


Virtue: Honest
Vice: Deceitful

Background: Whenever Sanjay Rowland speaks about his childhood, whether at a formal awards ceremony or simply giving a talk at a student writing program, he always focuses on the library. It was a small library, but to the eight-year-old son of Tamil immigrants, it was a place of limitless wonders. The librarians, happy to see a small boy take such palpable joy in the written word, always treated him with respect, as a borrower like any other. The young boy was not used to being called 'sir', or being suggested books by adults. It was an impression that stayed with him (perhaps in contrast to his home life, of which Sanjay never speaks). The boy worked his way through the children's section, and then set to work on the adult shelves.

In college (the first in his family), Sanjay majored in literature and creative writing. He continued to read a great deal, and he began to write a great deal as well. And because writing does not pay very well, afterwards Sanjay found new things to do. A great many new things to do, as a matter of fact. During his twenties, Sanjay was a professional dog-walker, a court stenographer, a private tutor in literature, and for one summer he writes about only with a wince, a construction worker. He got married, and then he got divorced (it was amicable enough). He kept writing. Poems, short stories, novels, whatever came to mind. He managed to publish a few short stories. Then he managed to publish a book. And then he managed to publish another book, The Broken Apple. And that book let him quit his day job.

The Broken Apple was a modern faerie tale, a story about angels, and Snow White, and very dark forests with metaphorical wolves in them. It was a surprise hit, and when Sanjay proved able to follow it up with another book, Prelude to a Requiem, his name started showing up in bigger font than the titles of his books. His work blended magical realism, faerie tales, an enormous knowledge of the occult, and more than a dash of horror into books that sold quite well and which won their share of literary prizes. Sanjay wasn't going to turn into a millionaire anytime soon, but he was hardly in danger of starving. In the thirteen years following The Broken Apple's publication in 1990, Sanjay wrote four more novels, twenty-two short stories, one television series, one highly-read blog, and four Doctor Who episodes. Being famous was something the mild-mannered Sanjay was never going to get used to, but telling stories was something he was never going to get tired of).

Then came the diagnosis. All his life, Sanjay had suffered from mild tremors in his body, and while they had been certainly aggravating (he couldn't have a driver's license), neither were they something that bothered him to much. When the first Grand Mal seizure hit, Sanjay visited the doctors rather promptly... and after a great many diagnostic tests, the results were singularly grim. Sanjay Rowland suffered from a genetic disorder that would, within a decade, leave him functionally brain dead. There was no cure, at most palliative treatments that could tone down the symptoms and perhaps push things back a year or two. Sanjay listened to the doctors options very politely, thanked them, and went home.

When he finally spoke about the disease on his blog a few weeks later, there was someone reading who actually could help. Of course, Anna Darlington wasn't a doctor. But she was a vampire, and she was a great fan of Sanjay's books, and when Sanjay next visited London (he lived in Surrey, normally), Anna sought him out. To her mind, what point was being an immortal predator of the night if you couldn't help ensure a steady supply of Sanjay Rowland books into eternity?

Sanjay reacted to Darlington's offer... really rather calmly. To someone used to finding the mystical and the magical in everyday life, finding out that there were such things as vampires wasn't that much of a shock. The deal Anna offered was actually extremely generous. Sanjay got to live (so long as Sanjay was a ghoul, the disease was in remission, and he has at most one serious seizure every two-three years), and in exchange, all he had to do was keep quiet about the Masquerade and give Anna a signed first edition of everything he wrote. Matters would have probably ended there, except for the fact that anyone as interested in the unusual side of the world as Sanjay was hardly going to hear 'vampires exist' and leave it at that. He asked to be introduced to others, and soon enough, Sanjay Rowland was attending an Elysium, and not long after that, he was a member of the Invictus and of House Leanansidhe in his own right.

These days, Sanjay maintains his normal career (and continues to be very successful at it), but he is also the Poet Laureate of the Invictus. He continues writing novels and short stories and television scripts, and then on occasion he also writes works-to-order for his undead patrons (usually poems or short stories). Some of them are clearly Masquerade-breaching and are never heard outside the halls of Elysium, while others are carefully reviewed (usually by Emily Wescote) and then allowed to be published normally. Popular rumor has it that Sheridan is either considering or already dictating her autobiography to Sanjay, but the ghoul knows to neither confirm nor deny this, beyond just giving a sheepish smile and changing the subject.

When dealing with Sanjay, the two things to keep in mind is that he is very smart, and he is very curious. First, the smart. Sanjay is a highly intelligent, very well-read mortal. He has a natural intellect, he's studied the supernatural for decades (mostly mining it for literary material, but still), he's quite intuitive, and he has a keen ability to read people and analyze interpersonal relationships. Combine all of that with an element of what might be called 'genre savviness' and Sanjay is probably one of the more intellectually dangerous members of the supernatural world. At the same time, Sanjay is deeply curious about the supernatural world. Or perhaps more accurately, about the hidden world. He's a seeker after knowledge, an explorer of mysteries, drawn to occulted lore like a moth to the flame.

Most people don't mind too much, because on the surface Sanjay is also just a very nice man. He's kind, he's unassuming, he's actually really quite shy. Sanjay is much more comfortable as an observer of life than as a participant. He does have a kind of cruel streak, born out of his own curiosity -- he can be the emotional equivalent of a doctor prodding a sore in order so that he can find out more. Still, Sanjay is a thoroughly non-violent man (he's an unathletic, forty-two-year old man) and is keenly aware that he's the supernatural equivalent of a munchkin. He rather makes a point to stay apolitical.

Sanjay also has a rather whimsical sense of humor. He tends to seem a little quiet, a little morose at first encounter, with a gentle and yet strangely sad smile. But he has a deep sense of the silly, and his manner of humor is close cousin to that called 'fae'.

He's an extremely good liar. Really, Sanjay tells lies professionally, for money, and people really enjoy hearing his lies. He has a strong appreciation for underlying truths, but facts are often secondary to crafting an appropriate story.

All of this, together with Sanjay's fame as a mortal author, means that the ghoul is something of a regular observer at supernatural gatherings throughout London. Whether Invictus Elysiums or fae parties, Sanjay is likely to be found there, watching, gathering material for his next book, and enjoying the finger food. As a result, he occasionally gets dragooned into serving as an Invictus Goodwill Ambassador, a living, breathing proof that the Invictus sometimes does worthy things.

Sanjay enjoys a very cordial relationship with his regnant, though Anna doesn't really treat Sanjay as a ghoul other than to make sure he has enough blood. Sanjay is a regular at Die Katakombe, though David Ivenistky tends to be extravagantly catty towards him (it's jealousy). Sanjay also enjoys a rather pleasant and friendly relationship with the Lady of London, Elizabeth Sheridan. When one is four hundred years old, one tends to become starved for intelligent conversation that doesn't have political risks involved, and so Sanjay has sort of ended up as a not-quite-advisor, not-quite-friend to Sheridan.

In person, Sanjay is a dark-featured, curly-haired Tamil man in his early forties. He has a neat little beard, too much unruly hair, a prominent nose, and very dark, thoughtful eyes. Quite some time ago, Sanjay came to the realization that if you wear all black, it will always match, and nowadays it also helps him avoid standing out in the supernatural world. He has a quite distinctive, gentle-but-slightly-sad smile.

Rank: 2
Mental 6; Physical 1; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Arete: 3
Notable Powers: Famous Author; Modern Faerie Tale

Shannon Hudson

Type: Vampire
Clan: Ventrue
Affiliation: Invictus
Embraced: 2005
Apparent Age:: early 30s

Virtue: Ambitious
Vice: Callous

[spoiler=Shannon Hudson][/spoiler.]

Background: “Ambitious” is the word used most often to describe Shannon Hudson, whether in praise or contempt. It’s a bit of an understatement.

The natural conclusion, and one that many people have drawn, is that Shannon’s initiative came from being raised by a successful banking executive. Certainly, her father played a part, just not as much as one would think. He paid for his daughter to attend the best schools, funded her fascination with technology, and his network greatly improved Shannon’s career options. But Mr. Hudson never demanded as much of his daughter as she did herself.

Getting straight A’s was enough for her father, but not for Shannon. Why stop there? Why be satisfied with that when she knew she could do better? She taught herself speed reading, calculator programming, and memorization techniques. It wasn’t so much competing with her peers (though Shannon has always preferred to be on top), but competing with herself. She strived to be the best she could be at whatever it was she was doing.

Shannon had always been very interested in the applications of technology. More specifically, she was concerned with how it could be used to make work easier and more reliable. Her father’s generation was often hesitant to embrace change, but while at university, Shannon saw that the business environment was quickly shifting. She knew how that worked; she’d paid attention in biology. You adapted, or you died. Shannon was very quick to adapt, and more than eager to step over the corpses of those stuck in the past.

One of the benefits of using technology to work smarter was that Shannon ended up with a surplus of free time. Fortunately for her, she was attending Columbia University in New York and New York was never short on parties to entertain the young and obscenely wealthy. Shannon was an overscheduled perfectionist by day, but by night… When she cut loose, she really cut loose. Her father greatly disapproved, but there wasn’t much he could do all the way back in California. Besides, somehow Shannon was somehow maintaining exemplary grades in spite of her extra curricular activities, which made it hard to complain.

The partying did stop for a couple of years after Shannon’s graduation, which gave her father hope… but that was only because she was putting in 80-hour workweeks at Goldman Sachs, or “business bootcamp” as Shannon likes to call it. It was brutal even for her, and not just because of the workload. Shannon was used to competition, but things at her first job were so cutthroat it would have been more accurate to call it war. The nice part about coming out on the other side (thanks to her two best friends, Adderall and double-shot espresso) was that everything else looked like a cakewalk in comparison.

Her next job was working for Barclay US like her father, but in short order she’d secured a choice position at their headquarters in London. There were two reasons for this. The first was that Shannon was very skilled, very driven, and ahead of the curve when it came to modernization. The second was that her father had pulled some strings to get her away from him. If she was going to keep ruining his dreams of a respectable, conservative corporate dynasty, she could at least do it where he couldn’t see her. They still talk… in business memos.

Shannon’s first objective in London was getting noticed and making a name for herself… primarily in the business world, but everyone knows the best parties are usually invite-only. And she did get noticed, but not by the people she was expecting. She was at an Invictus-owned nightclub when they dragged her off to a private room where a beautiful woman waited for her with a proposition. It involved a lot less nudity and a lot more blood-drinking and secret organizations than most propositions she’d received in private rooms. She did agree eventually, though in retrospect she realizes that Emily Wescote had never planned to explain that much about the Invictus and then let her walk.

As usual, Shannon adapted quickly. Entering the world of the supernatural was like starting her first job, really, except easier. Emily at least taught her the basics before throwing her into a shark-filled pool and expecting her to swim. Shannon loved being a ghoul--Dominate was incredibly useful in a corporate environment--and she liked the Invictus… mostly. Their philosophy was great, but the titles and traditions? Shannon felt like she’d travelled back in time. She still dies a little inside whenever she receives an official communication from one of the elders on a paper letter with a wax seal.

A few years later, Shannon secured two promotions in rapid succession. The first was becoming Assistant Vice President for the High-Risk Loans desk. The second was becoming a vampire. If becoming a ghoul had greased the wheels of Shannon’s machine-like efficiency, becoming a vampire sent it into overdrive. There was so much more room in her schedule now that she didn’t need meal breaks, or haircuts, or doctor’s appointments. Really, dying was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Shannon’s primary goal in (un)life is to become the best businesswoman she can possibly be. To that end, she is utterly focused on the bottom line at all times. “Charity” is not in her vocabulary; if she won’t gain something from it, there’s no point in doing it.. Everything she does is put through a cost-benefits analysis. Her takeaway from the Ford Pinto controversy was not “don’t put a dollar amount on human life” but “the public is naive and should be kept in the dark as much as possible.” You accidentally killed a man while feeding? Mark it down in the debit column and do better next time, champ. People die all the time and “world peace” is something reserved for Christmas cards. It’s just a fact of life that you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

However, moral bankruptcy isn’t the only key to corporate success. Shannon not only follows the latest studies in workplace efficiency, but she’s also run a few herself. As it turns out, people work better when they’re treated well. She’s generally a fair boss, and almost always honest (if blunt to the point of rudeness). Are you expendable? She’ll make sure you know it. She won’t downplay your accomplishments either, though. Shannon also tends to avoid backstabbing and only strikes first when she has good proof that the other party was about to do the same. She’s found that the extension to lifespans for many supernaturals also applies to how long they hold grudges (mortals, though, she will happily screw over). Besides, assassinations and bloody revenge are so bad for business. No one wants a high turnover rate, and you can’t get a refund on corpses. And while she’ll never give for the sake of giving, Shannon isn’t opposed to banking favors or getting a good word put in with someone powerful.

There are three factors which decide Shannon’s opinion of someone: the first and most important is their work ethic, followed by how much fun they are, and finally, their aptitude with technology. She’s closest to Emily, and not just because of the lingering vinculum. Shannon very much admires her work ethic and composure. She’s also perhaps a little smitten with her boss. As for the rest of the Invictus, she views everyone as potential competition and somewhat resents those she sees as threats to her continued upward momentum, not that she’s ever anything less than cordial to their faces. The most irritating thorn in her side is Damien, Emily’s other childe. She hates that Emily seems fine with the fact that not only has Damien not done anything with himself, but he’s gone and joined the wrong covenant. She picks on him mercilessly when Emily isn’t around to stop her.

There is also the small problem of Louis ibn Haroud, who Shannon dated for a brief time. It was a textbook case of “opposites attract,” but they turned out to be a little too opposite. Shannon preferred brutal honesty while Louis liked flowery compliments. Louis told her she was getting a little too wild, and Shannon told him to pull the stick out his ***. The breakup came after a long series of fights, but the one that finally ended it was over, of all things, Shannon’s taste in music. Shannon drunk-dials him regularly.

It’s the Invictus itself, and not the specific people in it, that Shannon has the most problems with. She’s come to realize that her advancement options are rather limited as a neonate, regardless of her personal skills. It’s not going to stop her from trying, but, well… getting her started on the subject is emphatically not a good idea. And of course, there’s the issue of some aspects of the Invictus being distressingly behind the times. Titles like “prince” are for useless relics like the British Royal Family. Why aren’t all their records digitized? And what the hell is up with that Elysium entrance? This is why they lose people to hip new movements like democracy and anarchism. Shannon is determined to give the Invictus some sorely-needed updating. The most important rule of life, as she’s fond of saying, is “**** or be ****ed,” and Shannon has always preferred to be on top.

Shannon is a rather petite woman in her early 30s with blonde hair and ice-blue eyes. She sounds like a sarcastic Valley Girl, and her usual vocabulary consists of equal parts slang and business jargon. Her taste in fashion skews modern whether she’s in suits or dresses, and she’s never seen without her lips painted bright red (it’s a custom-order shade called “The Blood of My Enemies”).

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 1; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Blood Potency: 3
Notable Powers: Corporate Vampire; Work Hard, Play Hard
Banes: Webs