Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Icy-tempered Sheriff of New Orleans
“As a general rule I find traitors, even those I’ve created, despicable. Any individual who repays trust with deceit is one whom I would never trust again. As such, Sheriff Donovan’s betrayal of his sire and defection to his sire’s most avowed foe is mitigated only by the fact that in so doing he swore his service to the rightful Prince of New Orleans. Working alongside him in those early years was a difficult. Understand how tense the city was with the death of the prior Sheriff, of two powerful elders, and with the rise of the new Sheriff’s sire as the Prince’s rival. I think many of us expected that he was waiting for the right moment to turn coat again.”
“That moment never came. Years turned to decades and Donovan remained where he was, the Prince’s loyal servant. In time I came to respect him. His cool head. His analytical mind. The rationality of it all. Most in the city were impressed by his prowess with the saber he carries around and his unshakable demeanor: I was more impressed with the intellect behind it. I think he’d do well outside of New Orleans, and would be a hell of an Archon, but I doubt he’ll leave as long as his sire lives. There’s something that went on between them, something deeply personal that he never even shared with me, that I think burned him more deeply than he’s willing to admit even today. I’d love to know what it was.”
Lavine thinks on her visit to the Sheriff’s sire. While Savoy made familiar grand gestures to avoid real solutions, he at least was warm. Even treated her like an equal, not a slave. Yet looking on at the Kindred in front of her, she feels the burning desire to please.
“I see it in Elysium. He has a way of frightening other Kindred… not making them fear for their physical safety, like Meadows does—but truly cowing them, making conversations simply stop when he passes by, in a way that I’ve only seen Vidal also do."
At first glance, the Sheriff of New Orleans seems more suited to hosting wine tastings or gallery openings than enforcing the edicts of a vampiric domain. Upon closer scrutiny, the source of his notoriety grows quickly apparent—but not due to any substantial physical presence. Donovan is a Caucasian man of average build, clean shaven, who keeps his short black hair combed neat and slick against his scalp. He’s even a bit short, standing only a hair over 5’9” tall. No, what makes the Sheriff an imposing figure is his gaze: Donovan’s inscrutable eyes are the color of troubled skies, and they seem to pierce through to the very soul of whoever looks into them. Even other Kindred find it hard to meet his gaze.
By all appearances, Donovan (who claims to have no surname) is truly the prodigal son of Vidal’s New Orleans. Chillingly poised and refined, the Sanctified Toreador has almost as severe a reputation as the Prince himself, at least among city residents. The Sheriff’s past is shrouded in mystery, and that is precisely how he likes it. Popular rumor tells that he was the orphaned child of a Civil War soldier, and that his sire brought him into the Requiem as a means of influencing certain critical aspects of the city’s post-war effort during Reconstruction.
Of the various “open secrets” floating around the quagmire of intrigue that is New Orleans’ All-Night Society, surely one of the most popular is the origin of the Sheriff’s blood. The “secret’s” popularity is due in part to the juiciness of its subject matter but also in part to the fact that the truth actually corresponds (more or less) with the grist of the social rumor mill for a change. The rumor and truth is that Donovan is the childe of no less a personage than Antoine Savoy, the self-proclaimed “Lord of the French Quarter” and bitter rival to Augusto Vidal.
Although his politesse is beyond accomplished, Donovan makes little effort to display anything but cool disdain towards his own sire. Many believe the night Donovan was ritually exalted to the position of Sheriff to have been an exceptionally painful (or at least embarrassing) one for Savoy, but none can say for sure: However he actually felt about it, Savoy handled the matter with his usual diplomatic aplomb and, in the years since, has had fewer direct run-ins with his former protégé than some might expect—until recently, of course. Given Donovan’s activities of late (see below), many wonder what will become of the already tenuous relationship between the rival Toreador.
What is perhaps the greater mystery, at least in Kindred social circles, is what occurred between sire and childe so many years ago. Whatever it was, it was enough to drive Donovan from the shadow of Savoy—and straight into Vidal’s court. Very quickly, the Ventrue elder took the young Toreador under his wing and, before too many years had passed, was treating him (in public, at least) as Vidal would his own childe. Only the Prince, Maldonato, and Savoy likely know what really happened, and none of them speak of it openly. Two rumors seem to prevail above others, however: The first suggests that Savoy refused to allow Donovan to create his own progeny, but many don’t believe this to be the case as Donovan waited for over sixty years before Vidal permitted him to sire. And the second suggests that Donovan’s feud with Savoy is merely smokescreen, intended to plant Donovan inside the Prince’s court. If that’s the case, however, then the plan is certainly a long-term one, as Donovan has never done anything to either harm Vidal or aid Savoy in his time as Sheriff.
In the Modern Nights, the powerful Toreador is perhaps the most well-known of the Crescent City’s ancillae. And, with the possible exception of Vidal’s errant Scourge Caitlin Meadows, who is nearly all-rampage at this point, Donovan also claims the unofficial title of the city’s most feared ancilla. As Sheriff, Donovan is responsible for the night-to-night maintenance and enforcement of the laws of Vidal’s domain. He investigates matters on behalf of the Prince, and regularly questions Kindred residents about both their own activities and the activities of those they know.
Unlike his counterpart at Elysium, Gus Elgin, Donovan makes sure his presence is nigh ubiquitous in and around the hallowed halls of power. His commanding mien draws immediate attention from new arrivals, and even social veterans find it difficult not to pause in their conversations (even if ever-so-briefly) as he passes by. The impression many have of Donovan is that he likes to think of himself as a knight of the realm; a templar to Vidal’s archbishop. His actual reputation, however, more accurately likens him to a judge-inquisitor—a cunning zealot who uses guilt, guile and the threat of force more often than force itself (when circumstance does not force his hand) to intimidate or otherwise humble into acquiescence those whom he interrogates. Indeed, more than one shaken neonate has opted to abandon New Orleans entirely following a simple “dialogue” with the city’s Sanctified Sheriff.
What is perhaps more intimidating is Donovan’s most recent activity. As Vidal increasingly withdraws from nightly affairs, Donovan takes a more and more stern (and often direct) approach to his “duties.” He seems to have been instructed, either by Maldonato or by Vidal himself, to be more proactive in the furtherance of his position. What is clear to all is that Donovan far less frequently feels the need to bring an offending Kindred before the Prince directly. It is almost as though he has been given carte blanche with respect to his responsibilities, so long as he does not unduly “bother” the Prince with the details thereof or otherwise jeopardize the Prince’s standing among his subjects. And many fear that, where once was a cunning judge, now stands a judge, jury and executioner.
- Unknown sire
Maria Pascual(e. centuries ago, d. late 19th century)
- Antoine Savoy (e. 17th century)
- Donovan (e. late 19th century)
- Camilla Doriocourt (e. mid 20th century)
- Donovan (e. late 19th century)
- Antoine Savoy (e. 17th century)