San Francisco Requiem City History
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The beginning of Kindred history in the Bay Area started at a time before the covenants, wild kindred not of the western world and civilization lived freely among their native peoples as gods. This changed when Catholic Colonization began and the missions were constructed. With the spread of western civilization so did the spread of western kindred influence. The Lancea Sanctum and the Invictus paired together to venture northward from Mexico using the Catholics Missions to sustain them. When they reached San Francisco and Marin counties they encountered the first of these native kindred, gods in their own right, powerful and potent of blood the Native and Colonizing kindred fought in the wilderness which would one day turn into a budding metropolitan area. The Natives savagery and the western kindred’s numbers and wide range of abilities clashed in several battles leaving heavy casualties on both sides. The tide turned when the western kindred began subjugating the local native populations. These “Gods” lost the majority of their herds, only those still able to feed on animals and those on other kindred were able to survive. As the natives peoples beliefs dwindled so did the presence of the native kindred until they were but a memory of the local people who had been converted to Catholicism.
The Invictus and the Lancea Sanctum enjoyed a bountiful victory as both covenants reigned ascendant in the area setting up founts of economical and spiritual powerbases which would last for several decades. They need not worry about the other covenants as the Circle of the Crone tended to shy away from such heavy Lance influenced area, the Ordo Dracul were present but largely anonymous, the Carthians had not yet made themselves known but a group of unaligned were present. The gold rush brought about a turn in events which would light a powder keg in which would have long term negative effects and set the foundation for the future. Thousands of humans flocked to California in search of gold, the Invictus had wrestled away their co-ascendency from the Lancea Sanctum with the large increase of economic power yet their alliance held strong. But with the influx of humans so did more kindred came, many seeking their fortunes and positions in society as had the humans hoped to change their own fortunes. The Status Quo was quickly challenged by these kindred, many were up start kindred; young in age but ambitious, they cared little for what the few dozen current residents had established, given there was no formal praxis as of yet. Midnight sieges on Havens were a weekly occurrence, gun battles and saloon fights were numerous among the kindred and their thralls. The first colonizing kindred to the area sized the initiative and declared praxis over the bay area and all with in it. The new comers scoffed at the actions of their rivals and refuted their claims establishing their own where the previous had claimed. Coteries claimed neighborhoods and areas as their own, and the battles kept escalating. In three months’ time there were four different praxis territories and over a dozen turn over’s in who held them. One such praxis extended from San Rafael through the Marin headlands and into the presidio, another extended from across the bay in Oakland’s region into what was now the embarcadero China Town and North Beach, another from south from the Peninsula into South San Francisco and Pacifica. Fourth Praxis was within the city itself, made up largely of the city’s original kindred colonist’s push so that their backs were to the ocean.
The fighting continued for several months until the will to fight but to simply survive was all that was left. The original colonists were tired and the new up starts had exhausted their resources. The four praxis stabilized and borders were drawn, coteries formed their courts and stability returned to the area with a tenuous understanding. When the dust settled the covenant dynamics had greatly changed, China Town now had a rich and robust Circle of the Crone as well as Ordo Dracul population, much to do with the eastern influence brought in with the Chinese and other Asian cultures present. The Invictus and Lancea Sanctum retained much of their original power but the new influences that welled up with in the city was kept from them putting their economic power on par with the three other controlling interests of the city. While the battle for the city had been a stalemate many personal grudges had been made, the other Invictus who held the city had issues with pioneering younger invictus who sparsely populated the other three praxis, the Lancea Sanctum were split among two factions one being a small group who held onto Archangel San Rafael in Marin having made arrangements to hold onto the Spanish Mission by supporting the new praxis there and the other group in San Francisco proper who focused on their original coterie. The Unaligned greatly populated the southern Praxis while they lacked distinctive covenant advantages and rare powers of the bloodlines; they were the most numerous but also the most inexperienced and youthful of all the political groups.
The city remained somewhat stable for the next 30 years, some princes turned over, violence while was an occurrence only occurred when lines previous drawn in the sand had been drawn. A few attempts were made to unify the four praxis, but all failed with the exception of a unification of the Marin/Presidio and the original colonists of the area, the unification was less about city politics and pressure from within the Invictus and the Lancea sanctum. It was not soon after the unification that the Unaligned in the south shored up their influences in the south by annexing the territory down to San Jose utilizing the resources there to bolster their fledgling hold on the south reaches of the city. The eastern Praxis likewise dug deep into the east bay, shoring up their own hold on Oakland, Berkeley, and sparse holds on the small communities that would later become Walnut Creek, concord, and Pleasanton. Niles, Fremont and Milpitas were long time contested territories between these eastern praxis holders and the unaligned of the peninsula.
But conflict reared its head once again in 1899 when the unaligned successfully assassinated key members of the courts of San Francisco, both the northwestern and eastern praxis. They hit with tremendous speed and poise quickly taking down a sheriff, a harpy, several prisci and primogen as well as the Prince of the eastern Praxis. War broke out amongst the three factions once again ending the requiems of several longtime residents. The chaos of the war resulted in a few masquerade breaches, the war was put on hold so that those responsible could be punished, and those exposed to the kindred conditioned removed. Unfortunate for the kindred, hunters had heard word and had come to the city and a seven month murder spree assailed the local kindred until the great earthquake occurred. The great earthquake of 1906 brought the city to its knees and in a single night brought sixty years of kindred conflict to an end. When the fires were out and the eerie odors of dead flesh were no longer dominant the remaining kindred came out of their ramshackle shelters, their crumbled havens, and holes in the earth. They met in the Presidio, called there by a Gangrel of the Invictus under blood oath of peace.
This Gangrels name was Alexander Covington, a neonate when he first arrived a hundred years previous, regardless of the past transgressions, he greeted every kindred as friend, he offered fresh vitae, he offered shelter from the smoldering ruins of the city, he was the cities savior in every sense of the word. Joined together by his coterie, of Javier roblos, Lachlan McMillan and Lorena Sorbello laid out the plan to rebuild the city, to end the fighting and to unite all the territories of the domain. He brought the few leaders together and sat them down, they discussed their grievances and concessions were made in order to forge the peace. At the end of the meeting the Praxis of the Bay was forged and Alexander Covington was Prince. Like the coterie had promised, they rebuilt the cities, they managed the territories and forged a strong and unified domain, those who fought the peace were turned away and sent to the barrens surrounding the domain which now encompassed, western and southern Marin counties, San Francisco, the Peninsula to the outskirts of San Jose, The entirety of the east bay, Berkeley through to Fremont. The Barrens being northern Marin, Richmond, the cities of Walnut Creek through to Pleasanton, Milpitas and the greater San Jose area.
The Praxis remained strong over the many years, though something changed quickly, the potency of the Prince grew quicker than any others, some rumors abounded that he had diablerized, others he made pacts with demons. The Prince sought out the advice of the mystics among his court offering to be interviewed and tested. A member of the Ordo Dracul suggested he had been changed during the earthquake of 1906, now a few decades afterward it was a distant memory. The energies that had erupted along with the earth it were theorized could have infused his body and soul with a resonance not yet encountered. The thought of being somehow changed forced the Prince to with draw from public society, his ability to sense the prying auspex of others made him feel uncomfortable and paranoid yet he still kept his promises.
In the 1960’s Covington had become so powerful he required the blood of kindred to feed, while he could garner the vitae it needed it left his closest allies taxed. And in good conscience he decided to enter eclipse and slumber the age away so that his potency would decrease. In his absence Lorena Sorbello took the praxis and reigned for a short period of time. The city under her rule became more and more unstable, the younger kindred did what they wanted, and the elders began to cling to their territories caring not for the civic minded agreements laid down at the domains reforming some fifty years previous. While the praxis stayed afloat under Sorbello, a darker influence began taking root among the cities darkest alleys and susceptible young kindred. The 1980’s was greeted with a party hosted by the Prince; all were welcome regardless of status within the city. As the clock chimed on the 23rd hour of the day, violence erupted amongst the lower class of kindred gathering, gun shots, cries of anger and pain echoed through the hall; terror and confusion. The Sheriff and the deputies went wading into the mayhem attempting to stop whatever madness was gripping the kindred, but soon the lawmen were in the grips of frenzy and pain as well. Like a virus it spread through the crowd gripping everyone at the gathering, the Prince and her personal guards panicked but were too gripped in the epidemic. The fighting surprisingly left very few destroyed, many in torpor, others running back to the safety of their havens as quickly as their feet could carry them.
Conflict broke out among the populace once again after that night, old grudges reared and opportunists took the chance to take what they believed was theirs. Again oddly enough these conflicts bore very few final deaths, but millions of dollars in assets were lost, havens burned to the ground and empires built by unlives were destroyed. The creeping darkness had manifested in the souls of the kindred, madness had over taken them. In 1989 Prince Sorbello on her last legs was finally confronted by the domains tormentors. A Shadow Cult of Mehket owing their allegiance to the Conspiracy of Evil Revelations cornered the Prince as she attempted to flee to the last Elysium standing in the city. They quickly cut down her defenders and torpored her, crucifying her upside down and burning her body to ash with a dozen frightened members of court looking on. The next day a terrible earthquake struck the city, several super structures fell, the streets opened up and memories long forgotten were once again remembered. The Shadow Cult among the chaos terrorized the citizens of the city; they drug kindred and ghoul alike into the city streets and beat them into torpor or worse.
As the cultists attacked the city, the city began to fight back as though something had been awakened. It seemed block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood order was being restored, the cultists were being fought back by unseen forces and kindred wearing red hoods and masks. One by one kindred across the city could feel a summons pulling them towards the presidio and one by one the kindred went there to find that their sleeping Prince had returned to them. Though his potency had not decreased, it had increased. The once gentle ruler had an air of predatory ferocity that he did not have before his slumber, he cowered those with in his presence and vengeful gaze. He waited until all of his kindred were present, and one by one his “red guard” brought out the cultists and executed them. With terrible fury he commanded those of his “kingdom” to cease all warfare upon one another. He reiterated that this was his domain sleeping or not and would not tolerate insolence and lawlessness, society would not stand for it. Shame crept into the eyes of the domain as he casually listed individual kindred’s crimes as though the Prince had watched them occur. He reiterated that the domain would follow the laws and edicts set forth otherwise they would find themselves without a home and without a head. A single kindred attempted to speak out but was cut down by one of the Red Guard. With order restored, he declared that all kindred would be required to pay a tax of vitae once per month to live within the domains boundaries and to benefit from his protection. Failure to do so meant that they would lose their citizenship and would not be under his protection. Furthermore all shadow cults and conspiracies would be banned. Should any be found to have such allegiances would mean their citizenship would be revoked and subject to the blood hunt.
With his will enforced he gave the subjects of his court assignments to start the reclamation effort to rebuild the city, and within a few years’ time the job had been done. As the years crept by the social climate of the kindred did change, ones status within the city meant which gathers you could attend, who could speak with the Prince who rarely made public appearances except it be to welcome a new Prisci and his annual lupine hunt which was always a spectacle to behold. Those that openly broke the rules were subjugated to the ire of the Prince sending his red guard to haul in any law breakers. The Princes rule became tighter as the years passed but peace was maintained, the kindred flourished and social order had been restored, sighting of the Red Guard became less and less frequent. In the early 2000’s the Prince’s kingdom fell under attack by the Belials Brood, while the citizenry came to its defense it was clear that the Prince was solely concerned about san Francisco proper, the barrens of the domain quickly fell to Brood incursions save a few pockets in Marin headed by the Lancea Sanctum and the East Bay by the Carthian Movement, the Peninsula were occupied by a hodgepodge of kindred of all walks and covenant loyalties. Instead of fighting the Brood the Prince used his influences to quell their activities, protecting the masquerade and hindering them when he could. San Francisco was his castle, and the Bay his mote.
In 2007, the Prisci council offered safe haven to those living in the Barrens and outside the walls of the city, a tense political intrigue among the Prince and the Prisci unfolded behind closed doors only rumors and speculation crept through the gatherings of the lower status members of the city. Soon the Prince showed his first act of compromise in conjunction with the will of the Prisci, those of society were allowed into the city for their protection given they were not Belials Brood and would follow the decrees of the domain. Those who did not accept citizenship in the domain were allowed to remain but lacked representation and had no rights other citizens had, many of these individuals found that the poor treatment they received and the hardships of surviving in such a state gave in and accepted formal citizenship, the negotiation of such lead to alternatives of the vitae tax in the form of boons to be established. Even members of the Carthian Movement long opposed to the notion of taxes began to give way to the decrees and edicts.
Like a Blitzkrieg in 2011, swarms of Belials Brood and other heretical allies stormed the city using the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. They struck deep into the city attacking known gathering locations burning them to the ground; they swept kindred hot spots, feeding grounds, havens, a dozen citizens died. Like before the city fought back citizen and non citizens formed kill teams and were sent out against the Brood and their allies. Three main battles occurred that night, one in the Presidio where the retreating brood was cut off at the Golden Gate Bridge forcing them to retreat back into the old military district many low on vitae and expended from the nights activities they fell one by one until the small mob of vampires were scattered to the four winds. The other notable battle took place as another group went to assassinate the prince himself; the Red Guard as well as his Inner Circle fought the Brood as they came to assault the “known” Haven of the Prince a venerable fortress at the heart of the city. The Brood there were routed and defeated with in minutes of their assault; none survived the counterattack of the Red Guard. The last major battle took place across the Bay Bridge as the last remaining brood in the city attempted to retreat across it. The dozen Brood were ambushed on Treasure Island with members of the court throwing everything they had at them. The few remaining survivors returned back into the city to find what hidey holes they could but during the day ghouls were sent in and eliminated the last few survivors while they hid and slept the day away.
In 2012 Belial's Brood having thought defeated the previous year returned and attacked the confederated Territories of the east bay slaughtering over half of the carthian population where some thirty carthians and nearly a hundred humans lost their lives in the battle (which was covered up as a giant riot). The Carthians lost all of their holdings except for Oakland which they keep a tight hold on despite continued assaults by Belials brood.
The Sheriff launched an investigation into the attack, finding that the Brood had captured kindred coming and going from the city, withdrew the information they wanted and altered their minds to forget it had happened. The prince showed mercy to those kindred and did not punish them, instead he had them looked over and after a few weeks of being sequestered they were returned to their nightly endeavors. The investigation also revealed that the cities surrounding San Francisco were rife with Belials Brood; several groups had cropped up over the past few years occupying what space had been abandoned when the Prince consolidated his holdings. While pockets of covenant kindred hold onto the last bastions of power outside the city, the city itself is surrounded by the cold waters of the bay and the cold hearts of its enemies.
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