Walter Jones was brought to Geneva in 1590 as the ghoul of Camilla Baines, then Justicar and a Founder of the Camarilla. All evidence suggests that he was an Englishman as a mortal. He was embraced in 1591. In 1595, she released him in the presence of other Kindred at court in Geneva, then departed southward for Cannes, France. She never returned from Cannes. He remained in Geneva until 1660, when he liquidated his assets upon leaving for the conclave in Venice, where he offered his services as translator for numerous European Kindred (a service he offered commonly throughout his career as a neonate). Upon the conclusion of that first conclave (for him), Walter, now “Walter the Grey”, relocated to Vienna, where he took residence for many years. He has been located in the United States since the 1750s, first living in Philadelphia for nearly a century, then Savannah, Georgia for a half century. He has lived in Indianapolis since 1910.
As Seen by the Camarilla
Walter was long known primarily for his conservative and "right-thinking" political stances, which arose along with his moniker "the Grey" in the years following the death of his sire Camilla Baines at the hands of the Sabbat. In his earlier years as a neonate and ancilla, he is known to have spent several centuries living mainly in areas where de facto power was in the hands of the Tremere (e.g., Vienna and Austria-Hungary) while associating with his broodmates and prominent Toreadors such as Viveka Josephina Von Daun. Once he stood firmly among the ranks of Camarilla ancillae, he briefly relocated to Paris in the mid-18th century before finally crossing to the New World, where he has made his home in various courts of the United States ever since.
Since establishing himself in the court of Philadelphia (before the Sabbat interregnum of 1844), he also forged a controversial reputation (infamy?) for himself by contractually arranging to appear in various Camarilla courts as The Fool. Once the Camarilla was ousted from Philadelphia, Walter's residential future was in flux. As a senior ancilla, it seemed he was looking for a place to call home once he became an elder. Finally, after the Civil War came to an end, he was able to become a permanent resident of the court of Savannah, Georgia, where he served Prince Elena Tibbet as The Fool for over 140 years, even after his relocation to Indianapolis in 1910.
Walter has been historically formative in securing and building up the domain of Indianapolis for the Camarilla. Always among the elders advising the former princes Andrew Montrose (Elder Ventrue NPC), Alexander Garrick (Elder Ventrue retired PC), and Stephano Ratavichi, he became holder of praxis there in July of 2014. Meanwhile, he has fallen into a period where he makes no appearances as The Fool in any Camarilla court.
In general, Walter is known to be a conservative political voice in the Camarilla and to have an interest in the mentorship of neonates in the Camarilla, not always from his own clan.
As Seen in Public
Since taking on the moniker "the Grey," Walter has consistently worn gray garments to the exclusion of any colors (except when he portrays The Fool), with the exception of occasional highlights with black or white. Despite the impression this fashion practice tends to leave on Kindred over the period of decades and centuries, his monochromatic palette easily blends in with the current fashions in any given period, because he generally seems to pay close attention to the cuts and lines and fabrics that are current. Perhaps his attention to fashion is simply due to his commitment to the Masquerade, or perhaps it reflects the influence of Elder Viveka Josephina Von Daun upon him during his formative years as a neonate.
Of course, all of these considerations seem to go out the window when one considers the riot of colors and clashing patterns he employs when he portrays The Fool. Still, the garb of The Fool is authentic to the aesthetic of European jesters of the medieval and early modern eras, so his attention to detail cannot be said to lapse even at these times.
As Seen by Clan Malkavian
Walter's line has prospered over the centuries. Aside from numerous broodmates now located in North America (many affiliated with House Oculus), Walter is also the patriarch of The Grey House.
Walter appears to be firmly established within the Thought Police, but his connection to The Fool leads some to wonder whether he might in fact be one of the Hatters.
It appears that Walter takes great care to make sure that his role in the clan follows what his sire might have wanted of him, had she survived into modern nights. It is unclear to many what she would have thought of his undertakings as The Fool in some Camarilla courts. Given that he initiated that work over 150 years after her Final Death, it may be that The Fool is an expression of Walter's own emerging philosophy independent of his training by his sire.
Vienna, Austria: 1660-1690: As a newly released Neonate in this period, he learned what he could about the Clan Tremere, which he has consistently supported politically ever since.
Budapest, Hungary: 1690-1725: In 1690, four years after the Christian reconquest of Budapest from the Turks, Walter briefly relocated to Budapest in order not to stay too long under mortal eyes in Vienna. He remained there until 1725, when he liquidated his assets again, then returned to Venice for conclave, where he offered translation service again. In the course of the conclave discussions, Walter became a strong supporter of the more “security-minded” stance that the Inner Circle furthered in the following years.
Vienna, Austria: 1725-1746: After the 1725 conclave, Walter again returned to Vienna, where he used connections with the Clan Tremere and old prestations to re-establish himself. Thus he was already there for the 1738 conclave, where he was among those Malkavians who advocated very strongly for the pro-Tremere policy to regulate the practice and spread of Blood Magic.
Paris, France: 1746-1751: After conclave, Walter remained in Vienna until 1746, when he relocated briefly to Paris. He was drawn there by news of political unrest - not merely mortal discontent with the Bourbons, but also some most unusual social developments in the Camarilla courts in Toreador-dominated France, where princes were coming under pressure to enforce social standards. Already quite obsessed with the absolute power of the monarch, Walter wanted to see this strange political development, manifest in the growing power of the office of Harpy. While in Paris, he offered himself to the prince as a licensed fool of the court, putting to use all he had observed in Elizabeth’s court across the Channel before his embrace. From this position, he observed the actions of French Harpies, studying them for what they would do to the face of the Camarilla in their social check on the Tradition of Domain.
At the London conclave of 1751, Walter the Grey opposed the growing power of the Harpies and defended the Tremere Blood Magic control policy of the previous conclave most vociferously, clearly marking himself as an ally of Clan Tremere despite the rumors of some Tremere defectors to the Sabbat.
New World: 1751-present: Walter took advantage of the presence of several New World Kindred at the London conclave to make new acquaintances (and find new political allies), including the Elder Malkavian Chandra de Soissones, who invited him to Philadelphia. He arranged passage to the British colonies for himself with the intent to establish himself as one of the Camarilla’s Elders in the new urban landscape of North America based in Philadelphia.
Initially residing in Philadelphia during his early years in the New World, Walter initiated his practice of serving princes as licensed Fool. His contract (set at the term of 10 years and one day) was signed into the Prince's Law in numerous domains (i.e., historical ties still developing), not limited to where he resided at the time. He traveled most often to domains where the prince had licensed him as the Fool. He maintained residence in Philadelphia until the abandonment of the city in the face of the Sabbat by the Camarilla in 1844.
From 1870-1910, Walter was a steady resident of Savannah, Georgia and licensed as The Fool. Since 1910, Walter has been a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana.
- 1751: At conclave in London, England, Walter the Grey opposed the growing power of the Harpies and defended the Tremere Blood Magic control policy of the previous conclave most vociferously, clearly marking himself as an ally of Clan Tremere despite the rumors of some Tremere defectors to the Sabbat.
- 1881: Walter the Grey attended conclave in London, England. While there, he supported efforts to track down the origin of the Bitter Rose ritual, and supported Clan Tremere in the political move to force registry of Assamite sorcery.
- 1933: Walter the Grey attended conclave in Venice, Italy. He strongly supported establishing the Red List (not just for Setites or foreign clans), and was in favor of persecution of the Setites, though not total war on the clan.
- 1935: When Rinaldo Amadeo de Medici founded the Guild of the Silver Flame in Princeton, NJ, an organization that supports and educates Neonates and Ancillae and assisting Harpies and Keepers in upholding the laws of Elysium, Walter corresponded with de Medici about the new Guild. He was convinced to become a patron of the Guild, even though it is clear that Walter has no love for the growing power of the Harpies.
- 1946: Walter the Grey attended conclave in Boston, Massachusetts. He was obviously in favor of disempowering the Anarchs, and supported those who would most harshly punish anyone calling himself an Anarch.
- 1972: The Temple to the Masquerade. Walter attended conclave in Vienna, Austria. To demonstrate his support for the hot political topic of the Masquerade at that conclave, he called due repayment of “one prestation from each pillar for each Tradition”, a massive symbolic effort of 42 prestations that coordinated a significant portion of the Masquerade-preserving effort for that conclave. These "pillars" constituted what he calls his "Temple to the Masquerade". Some of the prestation debts he called due for this had been traded between Kindred since the dawn of the Camarilla. With regard to the discussion of Paths of Enlightenment, he advocated a stance requiring concealment of Paths for the sake of the Masquerade, a position which left the Giovanni particularly objectionable, since they are not naturally inclined toward the Obfuscate discipline.
- 1985: Walter the Grey attended conclave in Monrovia, Liberia. He took a hard stance against collaboration with the Sabbat and any defiance of the Masquerade. He is known to have cashed in many prestations to put pressure on Clan Ventrue to clean up its own house, and gained a few from Clan Ventrue for his assistance.
- 1998: Walter the Grey attended conclave in Vienna, Austria. He supported the position banning serious regard of Noddist texts as anything more than allegory or ancient literature. He did not provide any direct arguments to debunk such texts.