New York by Night
istory of the Kindred in the Big Apple
While there were most assuredly Kindred in New York City before 1761, the true story of the Rotten Apple does not begin until a powerful vampire by the name of Francisco Domingo de Polonia established his reign as one of the Bishops of the Five Boroughs to the point that he claimed the title of Archbishop. As the Archbishop, a title customarily being used to declare oneself Prince, he pulled the Lancea Sanctum under an almost fanatical belief that they were both superior to other the Kindred of the other Covenants, as well as the rightful praxis of the New York area. And they took it by force.
The then Invictus Prince, William Wolcott, is said to have handed over the domain rather quickly after two coteries of warrior Sanctified lead by the Archbishop arrived in his haven. No one knows what his fate was after that. By the time of the mid-Victorian Era, he had Bishops in every Borough reporting directly to him and very little to fear from his only potential political rivals, the Invictius. His violent, nearly barbaric sect of the Lancea Sanctum had given him a level of respect and fear so that few were stupid enough to cross him. As a matter of fact, he went to meeting with his only rival, Joseph Wellesley, a Ventrue of the Carthian Movement, armed with a broadsword with which he removed Joseph Wellesley’s head from him body. His bodyguards spread throughout the domain Cardinal Polonia’s only words in the negotiating room. “That is how we negotiate.”
The Great Depression
The end of the 1920’s would lead to a very harsh time for both the Kindred and the Kine. With the crashing of the Stock Market and the beginning of the Great Depression it was hard for the typical influence games of the Kindred to hold much water. Add to that the fact that fear of the Lancea Sanctum kept most Kindred out of most influence games and you had an interesting landscape for a single Invictius to exploit. To most mortal investors the Stock Market seemed to be over, no one could wait long enough for a rebound that probably would never take place. However, one Kindred took several risks and stepped forward. Her name was Michaela, a member of the First Estate from a domain in Pennsylvania. They all called her a fool for leaving, she abandoned a place in the Inner Circle in order to take the big risk of heading to a hostile and oppressive Lancea Sanctum domain and investing in a dead economy.
The Lancea Sanctum basically had spent too much time celebrating to recognize what was happening. As far as Polonia was concerned the Great Depression was God proving that the time of man’s great testing was coming and was priming the Lancea Sanctum to be the ultimate army of adversary. He and the Sanctified as a whole never even noticed a single Ventrue eating up the Stock Market. A House of Two Kindred with the increasing influence of Michaela among the Kindred and the fact that she had become a billionaire by the time the Great Depression was over. The dead economy turned its corner thanks to the Great War and now it was a boom market that wouldn’t be stopped. A boom market that she had a huge interest in, in both stock and in influencing the brokers who marketed it. She had embraced childer specifically for their knowledge of the business and used them to help position herself into a very specific position. With her money and control of Wall Street as well as a rather sizable brood of childer on her side Michaela had put herself in an undeniably strong position in both Kindred politics as a whole and the Invictius Covenant.
In less than two decades she had ascended to the Inner Circle and even been named Marquis due to her domination of the Stock Market. With her new level of clout, something not before possessed in New York City since the rise of the Lancea Sanctum, Michaela came to Polonia with a simple proposal. Form a House between the two of them, one that would name Michaela the heir to the praxis when Polonia finally fell to Torpor and name her his new Seneschal. Having heard of his infamous negotiation tactics she brought her own set of bodyguards to keep her safe. It was tenuous at best, and they didn’t make the best of allies but what it did do is give an odd sense of hope to the Kindred who were sick of being held under the Sanctified’s yoke. There was potential for change. Just what they were unsure of was if that change would be any better. Michaela had made a name for herself as being a particularly ruthless individual, perhaps not violently so as Polonia was but still an individual known for taking what she wanted. Still many clang to the idea that even a little change would one day be a good thing.
Weakening of Sabbat Rule: Fall of a Bishop
Ecaterina the Wise was one of the most influential Bishops in the Lancea Sanctum, if by pure age than anything else. As potentially the oldest and most traveled Kindred in the city, Ecaterina had earned her moniker. Unfortunately she found that she was growing more and more jaded in her age. The rush of Faith that she felt when she first left the Ordo Dracul for the Lancea Sanctum was rapidly waning much as her waning love of power had led her to leave the Invictus for the Dragons. Her wise counsel to Cardinal Polonia, a Kindred many centuries her younger, had originally proven to be incredibly useful to cement the Lancea Sanctum’s control of the domain. However her growing ennui and near disgust for the new crop of Sanctified, Kindred she viewed as mere Beasts and not the damned sword of God, drove her to be standoffish and even hostile towards the Cardinal and the other Bishops. This culminated on one final night that would be the end of Ecaterina the Wise.
The Gran Ballo was where Ecaterina could stay quiet no more for her hand was forced. A Kindred who had been recently anointed, a mere neonate especially in comparison to an elder like Ecaterina, challenged her claiming she had no right to call herself a Bishop of the Lancea Sanctum. The Cardinal demanded that they fight in the old Traditions of Monomancy, an Invictus Practice that the Cardinal enjoyed. Ecaterina looked at Polonia as if he couldn’t be serious, but Polonia only shrugged as he claimed that it was the way it was supposed to be handled. Ecaterina dispatched the neonate with much ease. She then looked at the crowd of assembled Kindred and stated, “How dare you call yourself Sanctified!” With those words she began a rant about how fat and complacent they had all grown, how they had lost their purpose and had grown to be as weak as the other Covenants. She did not finish this rant as several assassins hidden under a shadowed Veil revealed themselves and attacked the Bishop. Staked quickly her body fell out of the barge that they held the Gathering on falling into the Hudson River where she would “rest” forever.
Shift to Joint Camarilla-Sabbat Rule: The First Estate
It was inevitable, especially after many battles with both the VII and Brood that Cardinal Polonia, the ruler of New York City for centuries, would grow heavy with the weight of both his blood and with the world in general. He prepared his Bishops for the change, placing an elder Ventrue, Nicholas Andrevetti as the Archbishop of the Lancea Sanctum in his stead, the title not meaning Prince in this case instead meaning that Andrevetti would be in charge of all the Lancea Sanctum in the Five Boroughs of New York City, a sizable population of over one hundred Kindred. With Andrevetti in place within the Sanctified’s hierarchy, Polonia stepped down and placed Michaela in as the Prince of New York City for the next two hundred years.
In was expected after that point in time that Polonia would awaken from his torpor and regain the title of Cardinal, and Michaela would be ready for her own two hundred year rest. Michaela’s reign could be described as an iron fist within a velvet glove. She named her childer to positions of power, those that had survived the Sanctified Civil War anyways, as well as having a mainly Invictus court. While many expected her to be more liberal than Polonia it was discovered that the reverse was true. Michaela tightened restraints on the Embrace and gave harsher punishments for violating the Masquerade. In Elysium she was the only one permitted to speak except for her Herald or if she “allowed” someone to speak. Many of the Kindred of New York City had realized that they had traded one tyrant, for another.
Michaela’s Rules replaced those of the old regimes
The Recognized Traditions
I. Secrecy – The Masquerade shall be maintained and those not of the blood shall not learn our secrets. We do this to protect all of the Kindred Race from the Kine that would hunt us.
II. Progeny – Only the eldest can give the perspective to the young necessary for them to make a wise choice in creating childer. As such only the Prince can approve the additions to our race.
III. Elysium – In recognition of the taint of our Beast and its effects on us each borough and county shall have a location deemed safe from any harm or danger of a physical nature.
IV. Lextalionis – When a Kindred’s crimes are found to be egregious to the Prince they will be demeaned in forfeit of their potent blood. Only the Prince may declare a Kindred to be so outcast.
V. Amaranth – Those who would drink the blood of the heart without the sanction of the Lextalionis will find themselves to quickly be on the end of a Lextalionis themselves. No Kindred may drink the heart’s blood without sanction.
Other Important Laws
1. The Prince chooses her advisors and may appoint any title or regency that she requires.
2. The powers of any titled Kindred shall be at the will of the Prince.
3. An Assembly shall be formed to act as the voice of the Kindred and advise the Prince.
4. The Prince may appoint members of Assembly; members must be ratified by the Assembly.
5. The Assembly shall consist of the Masters of the Boroughs and the Prince’s appointees.
6. The Assembly serves at the will of the Prince.
7. The Assembly may vote on and enact a law with the Prince’s approval.
8. None may lie in front of the Prince.
9. None may refuse a gift given to them by the Prince.
10. Court is held wherever the Prince is at the time.
11. Do not attend Court if you are unwilling to accept the consequences.
12. Violate the Tradition of Elysium at your own risk.
13. The Prince is not subject to the rules of Elysium.
NOTE: since taking power, Michaela had added about 100 or so “little” laws that were never mentioned in the original contracts of rule. Some claim she came up with any rule or law she wanted in order to achieve the things she wished to achieve, especially since there seems to be no real logic or consistency to the new laws except that they applied to the situation at hand.
Beneath the top world of New York City there are a multitude of tunnels, sewers, train ways and more. For many Kindred who wanted more isolation from the Danse Macabre and the nightly horrors of the surface, the tunnels beneath the city provided a perfect haven for them. As the Tunnels beneath the city grew, more and more Kindred began to use it. A coterie of Nosferatu and Mekhet of various covenants began to influence the city-planning department in order to make more and more sections that could be used as both private, and communal havens.
By the 1970’s the Tunnel Kingdom, as it came to be known was being used by many individuals as a haven and a den. The Kingdom had grown so large that there was a movement within the Kingdom to codify rules and codes of conduct. The codified rules stated that any Kindred of good standing of the Ordo Dracul, Mekhet and Nosferatu clans were allowed to take refuge in the Tunnel Kingdom during any time as long as they respected the permanent residents of the Kingdom. With these bylaws the Tunnel Kingdom became a recognized domain of its own, to the point that the Prince herself had to ratify it and appointed Zeilos, an Nosferatu of the Invictus who had helped influence its creation, as it’s Regent.
The Nosferatu Conspiracy
With the advent of the first computer network came a startling change, and a new rally point for the long defeated Carthians. A Nosferatu Carthian by the name of Gerald Raffin, though others knew him as an Invictus bagman by the name Uncle Smelly, invented and perfected an intranet that operated out of the famed Tunnel Kingdom. This network allowed the Carthians who used it to interact and communicate in a secure network that other covenants didn’t have. In fact pretty soon any computer savvy Carthian was following the “in thing” by transmitting news, information, and habits of many Kindred the Nosferatu network began to compile all sorts of information on the Kindred of the city.
Talks of sharing this discovery with the Prince were quickly dismissed due to the idea that the Invictus would use all the data against the original compilers. Instead the data was stored and analyzed looking for predictable patterns and other things in order to use one day to bring the Carthians, or more specifically in the minds of its creator the Nosferatu, out of the sewers and into the light. Other Nosferatu, a clan that was more closely knit than is common in the city, flocked to Gerald’s cause of giving the Nosferatu more power. They were the majority clan yet held very few positions of power in the city government or even in the other covenants. Zeilos was an exception not a rule. Thus a rather large coterie of twelve Nosferatu began to administer and change SchreckNET to monitor leaders of the various covenants and the Prince herself, in an effort to claim as much data on them as possible. Through secure e-mail channels they communicated with each other, ready to synthesize the revolution when the time came.
Beginning of the Era of Total Camarilla Rule
Michaela’s rule became evermore oppressive over time. And, her total lack of respect for the city, it councils, and clans finally forced the Nosferatu to use the intelligence network they had built to topple the regime. In what would end up being the least violent Camarilla-Sabbat war ever waged, the Tal’Mahe’Ra Major and deep-cover Nosferatu Spymaster Eli Dracul convinced the Camarilla Nosferatu clan leader Maximilian Albrecht to join forces with a group of well-backed mortals and one of the last surviving members of the True Brujah, the future Scourge of New York, Sir Edward Grey. What Michaela never expected was that her death would happen in plain sight, and that no one would give it a second thought, Sabbat or Camarilla.
The Modern Era (Today): Yet to be written . . .