Blood and Bourbon
Accou Poincaré is a moderately dark-skinned man of mixed race who favors old-fashioned suits with cuff links and bowties. He appears no older than his early 20s in spite of his thick mustache. Those who spare more than a casual glance can observe a subtle, marble-like pallor to his features, and a weight behind his eyes that carries an indelible impression of advanced age. Though events in recent years have given him little cause to smile, it is still quite bewitching when he chooses to show it.
Accounts from the Crescent City
“Mr. Poincaré is a most gracious man, with a talent on the old ivories that would make the devil himself blush. Come see him play at the Kindred Club this Saturday for yourself.” – George Smith
The eldest childe of Pearl Chastain began his life as a mulatto slave freed but never acknowledged by his white father and master. He was a talented pianist, and his mother, a field slave whose back still bore scars from her overseer’s lash, encouraged his playing in hopes that he would be able to secure a comfortable life for himself as an entertainer. Accou played at some of his father’s social gatherings and it was at one such event that Maria Pascual first saw him. The Toreador elder was sufficiently impressed by the mulatto pianist’s energy and skill to make him her ghoul.
Unknown to Pascual, however, Accou’s father was a pawn of Alejandro Ruiz-Castillano, one of the Prince-less city’s most prominent Ventrue. Fearful that Pascual had designs upon his domain, he sent his ghouls to make a point that these mortals were his to do with as he pleased. The Ventrue’s thralls crushed Accou’s hands so he could no longer play the piano. Pascual, incensed, prepared for war—until Pearl Chastain intervened, assuring Alejandro that her clanmate had been ignorant of her intrusion upon his domain. She stated that Pascual had learned her lesson and was even prepared to send her beloved ghoul away from New Orleans by means of further restitution, an idea which Chastain was sure to make Alejandro believe his own. To Pascual, however, Chastain promised revenge for Accou’s suffering—and Embraced the broken pianist.
Knowing her progeny’s life would be forfeit should Alejandro discover what had become of him, Chastain promised Accou that his time would come and sent him away with two traveling cousins of hers, Maria Rosal and her childe Annabelle Triabelle, trusting them to teach her childe the vagaries of Kindred existence. Accou accompanied the other Toreador for a time, but found he was unable to keep the same company as two white women. He set out on his own and traveled to Havana, where he established himself among the city’s Kindred and free black communities. By the turn of the 19th century he had become Prince of Santiago, sired his own brood of childer, and was living an existence of luxury and power he could have scarce imagined as a mortal. He never forgot the Ventrue who crushed his hands, however, and remained in correspondence with his distant sire. Chastain counseled him to build up his strength and wait until the moment was right to return to New Orleans.
That moment came sooner than either Toreador anticipated. Alejandro’s haven was burned down by assailants unknown during the Union’s capture of New Orleans, and his childe Francesca Dumont confirmed that she had felt her sire meet Final Death. Pleasantly surprised by his adversary’s destruction and still feeling he owed a debt of gratitude to Chastain for his Embrace, Accou ceded the Princedom of Santiago to one of his childer and returned to New Orleans, assuming a place by his sire’s side on the Prima Invicta. His timing proved fortuitous, for the elder Toreador had grown weary with the passing centuries and needed a loyal, experienced Kindred to manage her affairs after she entered torpor. After three decades of carefully re-acclimating Accou to the Crescent City’s political scene, Chastain formally ceded her titles and positions as Toreador Primogen, Regent of the Garden District, and de facto leader of the Invictus to her eldest childe.
All three of Accou’s charges prospered under his leadership over the next seventy years. He maintained the First Estate’s centuries-old alliance with Vidal, served two terms as regional Grand Master of the Guild of Aphrodite, and Embraced several further childer, one of whom would go on to become Prince of Lafayette. His tenures were not without setbacks, however. Castro’s revolution and the subsequent U.S. trade embargo against Cuba undermined his childers’ sway over the country’s affairs and his own economic influence within New Orleans, which had long been a trade partner of Cuba’s. He was required to make the weighty decision of whether to cast in the Invictus’ lot with Antoine Savoy’s newly-emergent power bloc, and then to placate Vidal when he decided not to, for the Ventrue was suspicious that Accou sought to place a clanmate (who would be indebted for his help) on the Crescent City’s throne. By and large, however, Accou handled his duties with aplomb, and readily ceded his stewardships back to his sire when she rose from torpor in the 1970s.
Chastain, however, did not adjust well to the greatly-changed world of the 20th century. Her disdain for contemporary art and other conservative, hide-bound ways drove many younger Toreador (who had never even known their ancestor before her torpor) into joining the Anarchs, Accou’s own childe Veronica among them. The ancilla Pierpont McGinn, who had long despised being subservient to a mulatto but helpless to do anything about it, seized upon Accou’s loss of status to launch attacks against his power base. The Toreador found himself simultaneously straining to prop up the Invictus’ diminishing influence, only now without the benefit of the authority he had previously enjoyed.
Hurricane Katrina was the nadir for his Requiem. Chastain was unwilling to flee to Lafayette as he suggested, and Accou was forced to devote much of his energies to procuring now-scarce vitae for his lethargic sire and protecting her against the storm’s many hazards. In his absence, Pierpont McGinn took the reigns of power and provided decisive leadership to the Invictus during its time of need. After two other members of the Prima Invicta, Francesca Dumont and Dominique Toutain both met Final Death, Accou found he could do little but watch as his younger rival assumed a seat on that august body.
Ten years later, Accou is still a prominent elder within New Orleans, but his influence is not what it once was. Many of his descendants, now Anarchs, deride him for his obedience to a leader who is clearly unfit to lead. Pierpont McGinn schemes incessantly to erode his power, both out of racial hatred and to cement his own place on the Prima Invicta. Accou continues to advise his sire (when she will listen to him) and do what he can to reverse the worst effects of her decisions without undermining her authority, which in truth is very little. The city’s other elders greatly respect Accou for his filial devotion, but he has tied his fortunes to what is undeniably a sinking ship. It remains to be seen whether she will drag him down.
• Childe of Pearl Chastain (e. 14th century) An influential elder within New Orleans, Pearl Chastain serves as Toreador Primogen, Regent of the Garden District, and de facto leader of the Invictus.
• Childe of
Philip Vollgirre (e. 1st century, d. late 16th century) Vollgirre is not this deceased elder’s original name, for he was originally Embraced during the nights of ancient Rome. Vollgirre was a powerful lord within the Courts of Love by the early Middle Ages and feuded with its matriarch Salianna, but was outmaneuvered by her and reduced to little influence for a Cainite of his age and generation. He became bitter and reclusive over the following centuries, rarely leaving his castle. Though he survived the Black Death, Inquisition, Anarch Revolt and Hundred Years’ War (which even claimed the unlife of his ancient nemesis), his ennui caused him to neglect basic maintenance of his centuries-old home, and he was finally destroyed when a freak accident released sunlight into his haven.
• Childe of
Helena (e. 13th century BCE, d. 1st century) The legendary Helen of Troy herself, what other clan could the most beautiful woman in the world have possibly belonged to? Helena’s activities following the Trojan War are obscure, though she is believed to have fought against the Carthaginian Brujah in the Punic Wars and been an active player in Rome’s Cainite politics. She became Praetor (Prince) of Pompeii by the 1st century and was destroyed in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
• Childe of Arikel (e. prehistory, fate unknown)
• Pearl Chastain is believed to have sired a number of childer before Accou. She has stated they were all destroyed or went missing during the Inquisition and 1720 Great Plague of Marseilles, which forced her to flee to the New World.
Bruno Courtet (e. late 18th century, d. 1922) Accou’s next-youngest broodmate was a poor writer and an exceptional duelist, Embraced by Chastain because she believed those talents to be reversed. Disparaged as a poseur, he served as Myrmidon to his sire and brother-in-blood when both served as Toreador Primogen. He was destroyed by the vampire hunter Nathaniel Bordruff.
• Barthélemy Lafon (e. early 19th century) Accou’s next-oldest surviving broodmate is a noted Creole architect, civil engineer, and former pirate who designed the Garden District. He left the Invictus after Chastain rose from torpor and has struck out on his own.
• Adelais Seyrès (e. late 19th century) A Notary, Accou’s youngest broodmate is a Notary, Harpy, and recent addition to the Prima Invicta known for her scathing wit.
• Accou Embraced numerous childer in Cuba from the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries. Many have gone on to Embrace descendants of their own, and a sizable number of Cuban Toreador now claim Accou and Pearl as their ancestors. Many met Final Death at the hands of Anarchs during the Cuban Revolution, and the subsequent U.S. embargo has served to limit his contact with them.
• Avoyelles Desormeaux (e. mid 19th century) The Invictus Prince of Lafayette, Desormeaux claimed praxis over the Hub City with her sire’s support. She maintains cordial relations with her kin in New Orleans.
• Marguerite Defallier (e. late 19th century) A current Harpy and former whorehouse matron, Defallier was Embraced by her sire to help manage his affairs while Pearl Chastain was in torpor. She remained loyal to the Invictus after her grandsire’s reawakening, but is derided by many of her clanmates as a poseur.
• Veronica Alsten-Pirrie (e. early 20th century) Accou’s youngest childe was a flapper and nightclub singer Embraced for her voice. She defected to the Anarchs after Chastain’s rise from torpor and now has little to do with her sire.