Sire: Andreas, 7th Gen NPC
Appearance and Notable Traits: A wiry, somewhat angular figure with a closely-cropped pate and dark, deep-set eyes (typically hidden behind cobalt lenses), Winter's usual attire ranges from formal to utilitarian and he is never found without his pocket watch. He wears a pointed goatee and waxed moustache, walks with a slight limp, and carries an ebony cane with a strange, antiquated pistol for its handle. As a relatively recent arrival to American shores, his English is articulate but marred by a heavy German accent. He has remained rather close to his Humanity for one of his age, and he wears his good manners like a suit of armor. Winter is known to generally prefer more traditional methods of correspondence, as he is wary of computers and mobile phones as potential threats to the Masquerade.
Titles: Elder; Prince of Richmond, VA; Mid-Atlantic representative on the Council of Petals
Status: Acknowledged (in Nuremberg, 1515), Established (Elder), Confirmed (Elder), Privileged (Elder), Authority (as Prince), Commander (as Prince), Sovereign (as Prince), Favored (by Elder Merrick of Richmond VA), Courteous (by Prince Cayhill of Santa Fe, NM), Favored (by Founder Rafael de Corazon), Favored (by Elder Alexander Konrad), Victorious (via symbel in Richmond)
Coteries/Societies: Founder and Notary Scribe of The Fellowship of the Timeless Hand; Cantor of Ex Tenebris
OOC Tumblr: "Der Machinists Geist"
Information Known by Kindred Society
- 1509: Franziskus Winter, a crippled clockmaker, is Embraced in Nuremberg by the Toreador Andreas [7th gen NPC]. The two men share a rather intimate relationship; however, Franziskus is rejected by his new "sister," the renowned seamstress Sybille d'Abancourt.
- 1515: Winter is formally released from his sire’s accounting and is Acknowledged among the kindred of the Camarilla.
- 1520 - 1745: Andreas develops a new interest in a mortal English painter, Beatrice Black [NPC]. After attacking her in jealousy and losing his sire’s favor, Winter is banished from Nuremberg. Thereafter he spends centuries traveling throughout the Old World, amassing knowledge of ancient technologies, divining the secrets of occult masters, and engaging in reciprocal influence with scientific thinkers of that era.
- 1746: Winter settles in Berlin and establishes a reputation as a craftsman capable of strange and unique mechanical wonders. Having developed a talent for fabricating automatons, many mortals whisper that he is some kind of wizard.
- 1761 – 1873: Winter drops out of the mortal spotlight, turning his energies toward Camarilla politics and advancing the goals of the Toreador in Berlin. He is elevated to Keeper of Elysium, then serves briefly as Harpy before taking on the role of Primogen. His involvement in mortal affairs is limited, though he invests heavily in the industrialization of Germany and is the anonymous patron of several inventors and scientists.
- 1874 - 1919: Winter embarks on his first visit to the Americas and contributes specialized vampire-slaying weapons to the war against the Sabbat. He encounters Clarence Merrick, an Elder Gangrel gunslinger, and fashions a fire-breathing pistol for him. Winter does not linger long in any one place, instead traveling to experience all that the New World has to offer. While watching a performance of Faust in San Francisco, he meets a costumist named Mariah Buchanan, and impressed by her skills with thread and cloth, later Embraces her to compete with Sybille.
- 1920: Winter returns to Nuremberg after sensing a summons from Andreas, only to learn that his sire has been diablerized by his traitorous childe, “Black Beatrice” of the Sabbat. He confronts his corrupted sister in a clock tower in Prague and tricks her into falling into the machinery, destroying her.
- 1921 – 1938: Following the dismantling of the German Empire, Winter works with his clan to promote an artistic and cultural renaissance. In 1930, he extorts a boon from a Daughter of Cacophony and uses it to poach her ghoul, a promising young composer named Horatio Greenwood, whose musical gifts wither following the Embrace. For a few golden years, the Weimar Republic represents the advent of modern intellectualism and free expression in Europe; however, the anxieties of the German people in the wake of the economic turbulence of the Great Depression and the punitive Treaty of Versailles contribute to the rise of an oppressive fascist state.
- 1942: Winter suddenly disappears from Kindred society, leading to speculation that he has either been captured or destroyed.
- 2000: Winter surfaces in Richmond, Virginia and, with the aid of Mariah, Horatio, and his "uncle" Alonso Gutierrez, works to re-establish himself financially and politically.
- 2010: The Toreador Prince of Richmond, Valerian [NPC], experiences a sudden and unexplained change in personality, becoming cruel, hedonistic, and careless with the Masquerade. At a farewell party honoring Mariah for her service as Richmond's Harpy, Valerian appears to be drunk, toting around a half-dead mortal woman who is bleeding profusely from injuries he caused. The Primogen Council works quickly to have the unstable Prince removed from power. When confronted, Valerian frenzies, whereupon he is shot and killed by Merrick. With the support of the Primogen, Merrick immediately assumes Praxis and names Winter as his Seneschal.
- 2014: Brujah Elder Michael Steele and Merrick exchange Praxis peacefully and Steele retains Winter as Seneschal.
- 2015: Prince Steele is brutally murdered by antitribu while holding Court. His Praxis passes to Winter, who appoints Elder Brujah Reginald Puddle to the position of Seneschal.
- Arikel, 3rd gen NPC
- Helena, 4th gen NPC
- François Villon, 5th gen NPC
- Brisazardo, 6th gen NPC
- Andreas, 7th gen NPC
Childer: Mariah Lily Buchanan, Horatio Greenwood
Rumors & Whispers
- Winter was once commissioned by Frederick the Great.
- It is believed that Winter had dealings with Assamite corsairs in the Mediterranean during the mid-Eighteenth Century.
- Winter has long been suspected of knowing some degree of blood magic in order to imbue his automatons with mechanical life.
- Winter has a special loathing he reserves for thieves.
- So great is Winter's heartbreak over the death of his Sire, that he is still moved to bloody tears when the subject arises.
- Winter made a terrible war-machine for the Nazis and slunk away to Argentina after their defeat.
- Winter lost everything to the Nazis and went into torpor for decades to escape his grief.
- He fabricated an entire airship by hand, which is large enough to host gatherings.
- Amsel im Käfig ("Blackbird in cage"): The skeletal silhouette of the clockwork bird is more suggestion than substance. It hops and flaps around the cage, opening its beak as if to sing although no sound comes forth. Both bird and cage are sculpted from the same black metal, giving the impression that the imprisoned creature is not just in the cage, but of the cage, each requiring the presence of the other for definition. Whether the bird is oblivious to its confinement, or simply content to be, is left to the beholder.
- Judgement: The scabbard and hilt of this sword are made of gilt bronze and decorated with a relief depicting legions of angels in flight, their shields and spears at the ready, plunging earthward to engage a horde of fanged devils. The scene is a clear reference to the Day of Judgement ("The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers...") as well as the inner struggle between the divinity of the Man and the depravity of the Beast. The blade itself is flared like a falchion and polished to a mirror's shine; however, it has been reversed so that the honed edge faces the wielder instead of one's opponent, rendering it practically useless as a cutting implement. The steel is lightly etched with the following: Es wird aber ein unbarmherzig Gericht über den gehen, der nicht Barmherzigkeit getan hat; und die Barmherzigkeit rühmet sich wider das Gericht. This is the German translation of James 2:13, "For he shall have judgement without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgement." Between the angelic iconography and the deliberately awkward positioning of the blade, the ornate sword is less a weapon than it is a reminder to exercise careful and compassionate judgement in anticipation of the ultimate Judgement to come. (Owned by Elder Merrick of Richmond)
- Rosen um Mitternacht ("Roses at midnight"): A heavy, white marble vase ornamented with a dark lead inlay depicting Apollo and a mortal youth together in slumber, topped with a dozen life-sized rosebuds made of a pink-hued gold/copper alloy. The delicate leaves are also made of copper and have been oxidized to a vibrant green color, while the stems bear prominent lead thorns. The interior of the vase conceals a small reservoir of rose absolute, wicked upward into the flowers to lend them their characteristic fragrance, as well as a wind-up clockwork mechanism which allows the blossoms to open slowly during the evening hours and close again as the daybreak nears, timed perfectly so that the roses are at their fullest bloom at midnight. (On loan to the gallery of Elder Luca Tripoli in Washington, D.C.)
- Die Musikerin mit Weinflaschen ("Lady musician with wine bottles"): A mechanical woman in rustic German Tracht seated upon a wooden bench, with a configuration of various wine bottles set before her in a rack of the same wood. The bench conceals a musical mechanism that, when wound with a key, plays the harmony for Ich Hab die Nacht Getraumet, while the woman's porcelain arms move to lightly tap out the melody against the bottles. Her stricken, lifeless face captures the essence of pure grief: a soul-shattering sorrow from which one never recovers, where oblivion is the only hope for reprieve. The song, for those familiar, is a haunting German ballad about a woman who has dreamed of the death of her lover. (Owned by Eleanor von Spiachigen of Fredericksburg, VA)
- Primum Mobile: A large and elaborate metal sculptural piece roughly five feet in diameter, resembling a complex gyroscope which consists of several moving concentric rings that evoke the geography and cosmology described in Dante’s Divine Comedy. A three-faced Lucifer rests at the center of gravity; as the rotating rings of the underworld extend outward, astute and learned eyes can spy tiny representations of various sinners as well as specific monsters such as Geryon, Cerberus, and Minos. These are all encompassed within the terrestrial sphere, which is crowned with a miniscule model of Jerusalem, while the seven-tiered Mount Purgatory (topped by a griffin in the Earthly Paradise) stands at the southern antipodes. This is followed by additional rings of various metals representing the spheres of the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, respectively, ensconced within a delicate spherical latticework of heavenly constellations. (presented at the 2013 All Hallow's Eve Grand Ball, currently on display at the Cleveland Elysium)
- Der Wundersame Atomtabakstoff ("The amazing atomic humidor"): This nostalgic and darkly humorous device suggests mankind's growing scientific hubris as the epoch of steam and gas power gave way to the era of electricity and radio waves, which subsequently introduced the atomic age. With the discovery of radioactivity, human beings began to play with a theretofore unknown kind of fire, and elements such as radium were initially touted for their supposedly miraculous healing properties; within a few decades, however, those same deadly materials would be manufactured into weapons of apocalyptic magnitude. The artisan humidor hearkens back to those earlier days of unconstrained curiosity, optimism, and ignorance, bathing the cigars it contains with radon fumes in order to infuse them with the gas' "invigorating" powers and keep them literally glowing with freshness! (Displayed at the 2014 national gathering in Nashville)
- Die Sirenes Geheimnis ("The siren's secret"): A large oyster shell cast in lead that hinges open a full 180 degrees. When opened in this manner, a female figurine inside unfolds to stand erect at approximately 12 inches tall. The overall style of the piece is strongly reminiscent of Art Nouveau. The maiden is made of gilded bronze with opal eyes, and her expression is sad yet beckoning. Her flowing garments and long hair cling to her body as if wet. A small music box concealed within the statuette plays a familiar melody, and in her outstretched arms she holds a perfect little pearl. Upon closer inspection, however -- using a magnifying lens or Heightened Senses -- the pearl is actually a tiny, spherical clock! Like the siren's song of myth, persons of a certain character could be driven to obsession trying to figure out how such a marvel was achieved. It must run on a mechanism, but how would one make gears so small? And where are they hidden? The pearl must be hollow, but where is the seam? How does it manage to keep correct time without a means to wind it? Why does the woman seem to grieve and entice at the same time? Does she know something you do not? Perhaps... perhaps she is trying to tell you something... And just when persons of a certain character might be tempted to break the thing open, to reveal its secrets by destroying something beautiful and delicate, the music ends and the shell snaps closed. (Commissioned by Skyler as a gift for Prince Lucien of San Juan, PR)
- Die Einsame Tänzerin ("The lonely dancer"): This life-sized, fully articulated mechanical ballerina is truly a marvel of engineering. She is so balanced and graceful, her movements so fine and fluid, that she could match the best dancer among mortals. She is adorned in a delicate, pure white classical tutu with blue beading arranged in sworls that are reminiscent of unfurling rose blossoms. These patterns continue up the right side of her bodice for an organic, asymmetrical effect. The dancer’s painted “skin” is just imperfect enough, with almost imperceptible variations in color and texture, to make her appear very nearly alive. Only her static, frozen facial expression betrays her true nature; for no heart beats in her chest, no dreams dwell behind her eyes, no feeling or passion animates her movements. She is at once a beautiful and painful reminder of the lovely lie all kindred live. (A collaboration with Spencer Stanwood and Mariah Buchanan exhibited at the 2015 Toreador Victory Ball in Roanoke, VA)
- "To all who have ears, let it be known that as I am Established in our sacred halls, that Herr Winter is to be seen as Favored. This not only for his service, but also for his dedication to fortify the spirit." -- Clarence Merrick, Elder Gangrel, speaking during his tenure as Prince of Richmond, VA
- "The man can make one hell of a watch." --Sigil aka Byron Lancaster, Elder Tremere
- "He has captured the untamed beauty and terror of love in metal and clockwork. I would trust no one else with such a personal commission." Adrienne Maxwell, Elder Ventrue Clanhead
- "I've no memory of a more talented artist in the medium of metals. Herr Winter has never met a gadget or doo-dad that he cannot overmatch. I'm certain he was worth the price my dear Andreas paid for him." -- Alonso Gutierrez, Elder Toreador Harpy of Richmond, VA
- "I know Herr Winter through his work, and his work is astounding. Truly great art has the ability to inspire others, not simply be a product of inspiration, and the awe I knew at viewing Herr Winter's work assures me that this is truly great art." -- Viveka von Daun, Elder Toreador
- "It is a shame Herr Winter does not take the utmost pride in his work. His instruments of violence have shed the blood of countless, proving that war is indeed a form of art. Why then, do you think, he is so ashamed of his craft?" -- Einhardt Wagner, Elder Toreador Myrmidon and Primogen of Houston, TX
- "Herr Winter is one of the last of a dying sort, a kind of man who I thought had all but disappeared. He is personable, but always a gentleman. He is strong, but not overbearing. What astounds me about him though, most of all, is his capacity to ignite passion and devastation through his art. Many Toreador claim that gift, but follow flighty trends; here, I see a stalwart paragon of the Roses." -- Adeline Bellamy, late Ventrue Archon of Fredericksburg, VA
- "Men do not whisper with reverence over faddish displays and egotistical showmanship. No, men are moved to silence through beauty that transcends time and place--the kind Herr Winter builds of metal and dreams. Perhaps, one night, I shall see them and be so moved." -- Orenna Komnenos, Elder Toreador
- "He is one half of the equation. The Muse will inspire others to dance or sing or perform as they are best suited, but that is for nothing if one is not given an opportunity. Monsieur Winter allowed me to fly on silken petals and my feet have not touched the ground since." - Chloe Pavlis, Toreador of Austin, TX
- "Franziskus Winter with the lightest touch can become a force to be reckoned with, there is a lot I could learn from him." - Spencer, Toreador Steward
- "Arthur had Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, and Thor Mjolnir from the smith brothers Sindri and Brokkr. Likewise I carry dragons crafted by Winter, and I would touch no other weapon." - Goodman Goring, Elder Nosferatu
- "Monsieur Winter has proven himself to be an invaluable adviser to me and those I care most for. I am grateful for his presence in the endless night." -- Veronica Devries, Toreador Servire to Archon Samuel Vesper
- "Elder Winter, I feel, views the world with clockwork precision, but to his dismay, not all gears turn so effortlessly as he might wish." - JR Forbes, late Harpy of Austin, TX
- "As in Dante and Eliot I see my wings as no longer meant for such flights. He hopes otherwise. May his muse be Daedalus and not Icarus." -- Alicia Vangelista, Toreador Archon to Jan Pieterzoon
- "His Majesty is unlike any other Toreador I have met. I recognize the desire to know how things work, because it burns within me, as well." -- Costanza Rodriguez, Elder Magister, Diplomat
- "Words cannot express the magnificence of your work of which I am truly humbled." -- Skyler, Neonate of clan Brujah
- "He is a frighteningly patient man who has the kindest way of offering course corrections when one is skipping gleefully down a perilous path." -- Clé deMontes, Elder Toreador Clan Head
Player: BR US2010096592
Location: VA-013-D Richmond, VA